New year, new everything. For the lucky ones, they probably have new clothes, new shoes and new gadgets. For the not-so-lucky ones, they probably are still down about how they can’t replace their dilapidated Nokia N95. It surely doesn’t help that most of us also burned our bonuses during the holiday revelry, leaving us with little cash to buy a new phone. Fortunately, budget phones nowadays don’t lag too far behind the iPhone 5S and Galaxy Note 3s of the world in terms of pure functionality. Case in point: Starmobile’s Like phone.
The Starmobile Like is as “budget” as a modern smartphone can get. Priced below P5,000, it’s actually cheaper than some running shoes. But as they always say, don’t judge the book by its cover.
Open the screen and you’ll be pleasantly surprised. In the past, budget phones meant pixelized screens that hark back to 8-bit video games of the 90s, but the Like features a bright and sharp screen that belies its price. Running Jelly Bean 4.2.2 out of the box only adds to the pseudo-higher-end model feel. I’d like to think that the Android OS platform is the great democratizer in the phone world, enabling any phone to have the functionality of the flagship models, and the Like succeeds in attaining this. Of course, the dual-core, 1.3 GHz processor with just 512MB of Ram is lacking in terms of speed of operation and multi-tasking, but considering the price, the performance is really decent. It does help that Starmobile isn’t marketing this phone to those who get annoyed with a 0.3-second lag and frequently uses the hashtag #firstworldproblems.
Connectivity is another area where this phone overachieves. Save for LTE (which is missing even on some high-end phones like the early versions of Galaxy Note 2,) the Like has you covered – WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, and HSPA+ among others. And while it only as 4 GB of on-board storage, it has a Micro SD card slot that can accommodate up to 32 GB cards.
For the shutterbugs, it packs an 8-megapixel camera albeit with no auto-focus (as far as I can tell) and very limited settings. In good lighting though, it does produce average pictures. It also has a front-facing camera for the all-important selfie, but again, don’t expect too much in terms of quality. For those who use their phones as often as they blink, its best that you invest in an external charger as the 1,500 mAh battery can only keep your Like running from sunup to sundown if you’re a frugal user.
The StarMobile Like is a very likeable and affordable budget phone. With a package that was not so long ago considered high-end, the Like is really a great replacement for your run-down phone. And if you really crave that shiny new 5S or Note 3, well, there’s always next year.