The Feel

The device fits in my hand comfortably, although not easily to use one handed as I mentioned above. I've been using it in the silicone case, and I have no issues with that - it gives the edges a curve meaning I'm not subject to something sharper such as the Galaxy S6 Edge or One M9. Actually more often than not I'm playing with the case when bored, flicking it off at the edge and reattaching it, in some weird sense of being therapeutic. People who are used to small or light phones are going to notice a difference here as it certainly isn't either of those, but neither are excessive. There's a reason the 7 inch P8 max smartphone sells well in China, for example.

Audio quality is satisfactory on the H1 - my use case for this as of late has involved taking it into the bathroom and leaving it on the side playing music while I shower. This way if I know how long the track is, I can ensure I don't spend too in there if I'm in a hurry. I place the single speaker facing a wall to act as an odd form of amplification, and it only needs to be at around 90% volume to be over the sound of the water. That being said, there is a jump up in the last 5%, causing some minor distortion. As anecdotal as that seems, if you're playing something to a group of people in a noisy environment, it is worth noting. I've mainly been playing melodic or 8-bit speed metal and the clarity at reasonable volume levels are not degraded by a fast paced tune.

Phone call connection quality is also good, despite the fact that I live in an area that seems to have lead paint in the walls. Using it both for audio calls through the air or Skype video calls over Wi-Fi while on business trips came through without issue.

The Camera

On the camera side, of course we weren't expecting anything great and my own results confirm that. Based on my broken DSLR, I was left with the H1 as my photography device for the recent SuperComputing 15 conference. In the interests of taking pictures to as reference material it was good, as long as I was sitting in the first few rows. In the varied light of the show floor, bad light photos were pretty junk even after post processing in Windows but in light photographs were satisfactory for publication.

For home use, in natural light, the camera provided a much nicer response, giving shots suitable for family albums assuming the subject was still. Cue pictures of cats, food, the theatre and a bookshop (click through for full resolution):

Cat One: Summer

Home-made Marshmallows

London Coliseum, before The Nutcracker

Carturesti Carusel, A Bookshop in Bucharest, Romania

Cat Two: Cici

The camera software is the standard android app, and with the H1 it is noticeably slow when taking an image. Focusing is noticably longer than a high end device but if you need to capture one photo in an ongoing scene, it is best to hold down and take up to 40 continuous photographs and then delete most of them. The camera does come with a form of EIS which is great, but the stability range is limited, making a burst capture of at least 2 or 3 required to get the best shot. There are motion capture modes, as well as beautify and panorama also. With Lightroom now free for Android, at least basic photo editing can be done almost immediately.

For an image comparison, I took photographs of three scenes using the devices at my disposal (caution, large images). It is worth noting that the HTC One Max I have suffers from the purple effect, due to the image low-light amplifiers burning out on some early models.

The Competition Other Devices to Hand

The Competition Other Devices to Hand

The Competition Other Devices to Hand

A quick note on the rest of the software - despite the origins of the phone, mine came with an English based kernel / OS. I changed the default home screen to Google Now (because I'm using it a fair bit these days) and all of my usual software and games (Kairosoft, naturally) including Fallout Shelter seem to work and can be switched between easily using the long press on the home button. I have noticed in the past month two apps that seem to close without an error message - it happened once after a crop in Lightroom that involved rotation, and any time I want to start TrickShot. I'm not sure if this is a compatibility issue based on the OS, the platform or the chipset, but I was expecting the H1 to handle it properly.

The Video

At this point the 16GB storage on the device hasn't become a burden, perhaps due to the microSD. Pictures come out at ~2MB each and videos at just over 1MB a second using the fine detail settings (720p) saved in 3gp format. From what I have read, the video mode on the H1 gets a lot of criticism due to the low quality or the EIS being very basic. It's true it's not the best to capture long lasting memories on, because at distance there is not much detail and requires a good light source, but it's more of an add on than a focal point.

For video comparisons, the garden and night-time road scenes were used for motion and static video:

The Competition Other Devices to Hand

The Competition Other Devices to Hand

Visual Inspection Benchmarks
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  • nathanddrews - Wednesday, December 23, 2015 - link

    This review wins the "glod metal".
  • protomech - Wednesday, December 23, 2015 - link


    "with the first SIM for 3G/4G requiring a full-sized SIM card and the second microSIM for 2G (basic data/SMS)"

    It looks like the first SIM slot is a mini-SIM slot. There's actually a non-mini SIM card, which is about as large as as credit card. It was introduced first, but it was replaced by the mini-SIM before most people (including me) started to use cell phones.
  • Ryan Smith - Wednesday, December 23, 2015 - link

    You are correct sir!
  • leexgx - Monday, March 14, 2016 - link

    little update been using the phone for 3 months now nearly and works brilliantly get 2 days normal use or 1 day if using TomTom Go for 8-9 hours screen on time

    another Note You can Use 3G and 4G in Both sim slots, just not at the same time
    the sim with active data enabled has 3G and 4G access the sim with data off only gets 2G, ( when you enable data on the other sim the phone disconnects both sims and flips the radios around to the opposite sim and enables 3G and 4G on the sim with data enabled)

    voice on loud speaker seems to not be reliable, but i use Bluetooth so does not bother me
  • leexgx - Wednesday, December 30, 2015 - link

    well i got the phone and its impressive for just £110

    first day full charge i got 2 days of use out of it (8 hours of Screen On Time, not 15 hours but i had over 3 hours of google navigating so 8 hours is outstanding, as navigation uses mobile data, GPS and screen, GPS is norm especially a power hog, the phone did not even get hot)

    second charge seems to be longer, 1 day 25% battey drop (phone is saying 4 days approx remaining, i expect it to be 2 due to my useage) charge time is very slow thought (something like 4 hours but not sure when i started charging it, but that's fine due to how long phone lasts)

    battery drop is something like 1% every 10 or more ish minutes when watching 720p video

    speed wise everything seems responsive spec wise it should be slower then my M7 but seems more snappy, and it seems that they also made sure that the OS knows its a 5.5in phone(needs a new ROM installing on it as i just reset the phone and there is no google apps installed on the phone) not fully used to having a 5.5in phone thought but battery life is very nice
  • protomech - Wednesday, December 23, 2015 - link

    (woops, meant to be a top-level reply)
  • Ikepuska - Wednesday, December 23, 2015 - link

    Seriously though, the original SIM card was just a particular Smart Card. Which is still using the Credit Card form factor.
  • leexgx - Thursday, December 24, 2015 - link

    as well as gold award, it comes in gold as well
  • Robalov - Wednesday, December 23, 2015 - link

    Bought a similar knock off phone from Amazon before, battery Amazing, and typical use of the phone was fine.

    Camera was laughable, but the killer was the call quality. Unusable to make phone calls.

    I bought a bluetooth headset to temporarily get round the issue, but eventually the phone starting falling to pieces, with Bluetooth failing 50% of the time.

    With no mention of call quality here, I can't see this being any different. I hope to see an update in 6 months, with this phone in the bin.

    No free lunch, as they say.
  • Ian Cutress - Wednesday, December 23, 2015 - link

    > With no mention of call quality here

    Third page: "Phone call connection quality is also good, despite the fact that I live in an area that seems to have lead paint in the walls."

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