The General Mobile 4G is the newest entry in the Pakistani smartphone market poised to compete with the likes of Infinix Hot 2 and others.
The question is, does it offer enough for the price to stay competitive in such a rapidly growing and competitive market? Let’s find out in this full review of the General Mobile 4G.
The General Mobile 4G features a plastic build with a faux leather back to give it a premium feel. The back definitely feels nice and it helps to grip the phone easily in one hand.
Upfront you have the 5” 720p screen, the earpiece, secondary 5MP camera and the standard sensors. The screen is protected by the Gorilla Glass 4. There’s also an LED notification light on the top left corner of the phone.
On the right hand side, you have the volume rocker and the power button. The buttons are of very poor quality and there is hardly any feedback to let you know that you have pressed them.
The top has the 3.5mm headphone jack and the secondary microphone for nice cancellation.
The bottom contains the microUSB port and two speaker grills on ether side of the microUSB port. However, only the right side has the speaker and the primary microphone inside the other one.
The phone also has two silver lines running around all the sides of the phone that gives it a really good look. The back has the 13MP camera with dual-LED flash right in the center.
In addition to that, there is General Mobile and Android One branding on the back.
Underneath the back cover you have 3 slots; 2 for the SIMs and 1 for the microSD card. The battery is also removable.
Overall, the design of the phone is very good and I was surprised by its sturdiness and the premium feel it gives. This is a very well designed and constructed phone and you don’t really expect such things from phone at this price. It has everything in the right place and follows a standard layout design.
The display is a respectable 5 inches with 720×1280 resolution and 294ppi. This display can easily put other mid-tier phones to shame.
It’s bright with vivid colors, has good contrast and excellent viewing angles. The screen is also easily readable in direct sunlight. There’s also no light leakage in dim environments. As far as the resolution is concerned, the text and graphics on the screen are sharp and clear.
Now, I won’t be talking about the benchmarks of the phone because in my experience they don’t translate into real world usage. I will however be including screenshots of the results so those who want to see those can check them out.
Moving on, the General Mobile 4G is powered by a 1.2GHz 64-bit quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 processor which is backed up by the Adreno 306 GPU and 2GB of RAM.
The 3-year old processor handles all the tasks thrown at it quite easily and smoothly. The phone will easily power through your daily usage of WhatsApp, Facebook, web browsing, picture taking etc.
In my daily usage of the phone, I barely had any delays or stutters in between opening and closing apps and switching between them.
There were instances where it felt the phone was a bit reluctant to move from one application to another, but that was only in the case of some heavy gaming.
Chrome, which is a nightmare on low end devices, handled web pages very well and the rendering of the text and images was smooth. Credits for the phone’s performance also goes to the software on which it runs, which we’ll talk about in a bit.
For testing the performance to the limits, I opened 3 games at once; Real Racing 3, Asphalt 8 and Riptide GP2 with a few applications in the background and SoundCloud running. I was fully expecting the phone to slow down or just not switch in between the games and eventually crash – and that’s what it did.
I am sure you were expecting it to handle all 3 games and to run smoothly without any issues but that is not the case. The frames were dropping and I could hardly get Asphalt 8 to start running.
So basically, you can’t abuse the phone like that. It runs all of the above mentioned games quite smoothly with a respectable fps but not in parallel and especially not while multitasking and having multiple apps open in the background.
In conclusion, this phone has more than enough to plow through your basic everyday tasks but it is not a power house.
Obviously it isn’t a Samsung Galaxy S7 or a Nexus 6P and neither should you expect it to behave like one. But in this budget does it provide the best performance you could ask for? My answer would be a solid yes.
Below are some benchmarks:
The General Mobile 4G comes with 16GB of internal storage out of which you get user accessible storage of 12.02GB.
However, the good news is that this storage can be further expanded by adding a microSD card. The microSD card can be used as either a “portable” storage device or an “internal” storage device. As this is more of a software feature, I will have this explained below in the software section.
Powering everything is a 2500mAh battery that is also removable. While ordering this phone, it was a major concern for me because in numbers, the battery size is quite average and I wasn’t expecting much from it.
On the first day I charged it, unplugged at 3:41am and didn’t put it to charging again until 10:30pm. Keep in mind that as this was the only the first day, so it was being used to take pictures, carry out benchmarks, some short sessions of gaming and the usual consumption of Facebook, WhatsApp, web browsing etc. My use was 70% on Wi-Fi and 30% on LTE and brightness was at 50%.
Sure, the phone’s screen was off for most of the time but I didn’t care because it gave me around 6h15m of screen-on-time out of just a 2500mAh battery.
And you don’t carry out benchmarks or play games in your everyday routine so it can be even better than this. I also owe the amazing battery life on the first day to Doze (more on that in the software section).
The rest of the days I used the phone more heavily with around 60-70% of LTE usage and averaged around 5 hours of screen-on-time which is very good. Oh and, battery saver was never used. I hate how it decreases the performance and the animations become all stuttery. Below are some screenshots showing you my usage:
Perhaps the best thing on this phone and the reason why I had bought this, is the software. This is because the General Mobile 4G runs none other than the Android 6.0.1 (Marshmallow) in all its stock glory.
Stock Android is loved by both Android enthusiasts and developers because it delivers the best of Android without any bloatware or any slowing down of the system. You use Android just the way it was meant to be.
The interface is very simple. It is clean and functional. If you’ve used stock Android Lollipop then you won’t notice much change as interface has hardly changed.
Most of the changes are behind the scenes such as the permissions control, Now on Tap, Doze etc. So I won’t talk about the interface or those things in here but I will just explain the terms that are new in Android Marshmallow and that I have discussed in the above sections (Doze and SD card).
Doze is a battery saving technique in this version that actually works, unlike most apps. What Doze does is that it puts the phone in a deep sleep mode where only high priority notifications, such as calls and SMS, can get through. Applications won’t be allowed to sync in the background. For Doze to work you should have your phone on a table, screen off and not on charging.
The phone then detects movement using the gyroscope and accelerometer. If there’s no movement, Doze kicks in. Honestly, the only time I feel that Doze is ever useful is when I am sleeping but during that time my phone is charging, so there’s no Doze. Still, for those of you who do not charge their phones at night, this is a helpful feature to save battery and it certainly helps.
Now on Tap
Now on Tap basically provides relevant information of what is on your screen. To use Now on Tap, hold onto the home button for a few seconds and a card(s) will pop up showing information related to the text you have on the screen.
I have found Now on Tap to be more of a hit or miss. It works most of the time and sometimes it will just not provide you with any information at all. This also means that you can’t access Google Now by swiping up from the home button. Instead you have to open Now on Tap and press the little “G” icon to open it.
This is perhaps my most favorite feature on Android Marshmallow. What this does is, if you insert a microSD card in your phone it gives you two options; 1, mount the SD card as a portable storage device for your photos and multimedia or 2, adopt the SD card for its internal storage. Select the second option and the phone will format the microSD card and make it a part of the system.
Now the microSD card cannot be removed otherwise apps might get broken. Apps can be installed and migrated to the SD card now as well as your multimedia. You can think of this as a way to increase the internal storage of the phone.
Latest Android Updates
Also to note, since this is an Android One smartphone you will have the update for public release Android N through OTA as soon as it is available. You can test out the developer version of Android N by following this link and enrolling yourself in the beta program. Though I would not recommend it as it is not a stable release and you will face bugs in your daily usage. I am currently testing it out, so if you want to see how that is on the General Mobile 4G, drop a comment below.
While many of the specs exceed the price of this phone, I believe that the camera is not one of them. It is not the strongest aspect of this phone.
It comes equipped with a 13MP primary camera coupled with a dual-LED flash. It isn’t one of the best cameras around but for the price you really can’t complain.
The quality of the pictures that you take on this depends on the lighting situation a lot. In broad daylight you are able to capture some really good looking photos but even then if you zoom into them, pictures start getting soft and pixelated.
Move into low light and the situation gets even worse. It really struggles to focus in most situations and end up not focusing at all.
HDR helps a lot in low light situations, though it will take a second and a half to capture.
I don’t want to end this by saying that the camera is bad by any means, it’s just that it takes a lot for it to decide whether it will take a good photo or not.
The front camera is a 5MP shooter and it just gets the job done. Photos have good color in them though they seem a little bit soft on closer inspection.
It handles low lighting really well and features HDR too. Below are some sample shots from both the primary camera.
For more full resolution images, follow this link. I will be updating this link with new photos.
The camera interface itself is very simple. You have a huge shutter button on the bottom of the screen. Shooting options such as HDR, Flash etc are accessible from a little circle with three dots on it on the top right corner of shutter button.
The camera also offers some other shooting modes such as Photo Sphere, Panorama and Lens Blur.
These options can be accessed by swiping from left to right. Another great thing about the camera is that it can be accessed by pressing the power button twice from anywhere on the phone even when it is locked. This is a useful feature and saves valuable seconds.
In conclusion, I wouldn’t rate this as the best camera but it gets the job done. If you are getting the General Mobile 4G just for taking photos, this is not for you.
General Mobile 4G is enough to share all your shots on Facebook, tweet about them on Twitter or post on Instagram, but viewing them on your PC is not really a good experience.
I wasn’t planning on writing this section but after a few days of experience with General Mobile 4G, I felt that I should. Because it is worth mentioning.
The speakers are some of the worst I have ever listened to in a while. There is a lot of distortion and the speakers can barely handle any kind of loud music. The earphone jack on the other hand reproduces excellent sound and it is very, very loud.
The earpiece is also nice and loud and the voice of the other person talking is very clear.
Something else to note, I don’t know whether this problem is only with my unit or it is a general problem, but sometimes both the speakers and the headphones jack stop working completely.
You can’t get it to work at all unless you restart your phone. This happens 2-3 times a day. It is completely random and I haven’t found a fix for it yet.
The General Mobile 4G comes with standard connectivity options such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, dual-SIM slots and both of these SIM slots offer LTE.
I am using the SIM slot 1 on Warid’s LTE and the SIM slot 2 on Zong’s LTE and I am very happy to report that both work perfectly. I haven’t experienced any dropped signals or bad signals in general.
Wi-Fi connections also seem strong and the phone is able to hold up an internet connection well in low signal areas too.
Wrapping up the review I would like to say that the phone handled everything I threw at it exceptionally well and it performed well beyond my expectations.
The design feels premium, display is excellent, battery life is great, camera is passable, has a mircoSD card and dual SIM capability with LTE, Android updates directly from Google.
What more could you ask for in a mid-range phone?
If you could get past the little annoyances such as the speaker, I really think this is a solid buy for anyone who is in the market for a smartphone in the range of 10k-15k and I would definitely recommend it.
You can get the General Mobile 4G in either black or white color over at Daraz.pk from here at a price of Rs. 13,499.