Ninetology is a local smartphone brand that is still quite new to the scene. They offer quite a range of mid range smartphones. I previously review the Ninetology U9X1 and if anyone still interested to read the review, you can have a look at it here. The Ninetology U9R1 priced at RM799 is one of their latest smartphone model. Here is a quick review of the said device.
The accessories are pretty standard. From the huge ass box, you have the smartphone (obviously), the earphone, charging and USB cable, the charger head and like every Ninetology U9 phones, they throw in a casing and a screen protector to it as well.
The build quality this time for the Ninetology U9R1 is slightly better than the previous X1 I reviewed. The build is slightly more refined and parts fitted well to one another. This smartphone has the polycarbonate or plastic in laymen’s term build towards it.
I like the idea of having the red blends in with the black part of the design. It makes the phone slightly stands out but I do not really fancy the slight bulge over the camera lens. If the phone were to place on any surface, the camera lens will be in contact with the surface first.
With a 4.3 inch screen size, I felt the phone is quite small in my hands. Probably I was too used to a bigger phone but I think for price range of the phone, the screen size is acceptable.
The screen resolution is at 960 X 540 with IPS screen and with OGS on it which said to give a much clearer projection of the screen. Well, the screen is quite clear and colours are quite ok to me.
The one thing that I really dislike about the Ninetology U9R1 is definitely the confusing button layout. Sure it have a giant circle where it signifies the Home button but the 2 dots which suppose to represent Back and Menu button each are quite confusing. You will have no way to tell them apart than trying them out yourself. And this definitely needs some getting used to.
The thing I like about Ninetology is that they provide a flat and thick cable instead of the typical cable. This way, the cable wouldn’t get tangled easily and it is much easier to deal with.
I heard so much about the quality of the camera for this Ninetology U9R1 and I was eager to try it out. I didn’t like the framing size of the camera and also the annoying side panel which made my viewing size even smaller than the screen though. But this camera is only standing at 8MP which is smaller than the other U9 models. I did not know the sensor size of the camera (which ultimately decides the quality of the picture) but I was surprised that many told me the images were sharp in this one. Here is what I found out.
The details captured by this camera is quite impressive especially for a phone ranging below RM1000. The sharpness and details are quite unexpectedly good in this one. As you can see, the sky were captured almost similar to what a human eye would perceive and in fact this camera is better a lot than the U9X1. I was still unconvinced so I decided to try out its low light ability. Here are my results.
Do note that I never edited any of the pictures taken with the phone. Before taking the pictures, I was annoyed that the screen was actually quite dark. I opened the further light source in the room and it was actually quite dimmed. Similar to the amount of light a normal dimmed restaurant would get. I initially thought the results are not gonna be good. But surprisingly, once captured, the picture brightens up. Not sure if the phone automatically does your post processing brightening but it definitely wasn’t the quality I saw on the screen. The low light capturing is quite good as well like you can see from the picture above. Before capturing it, I have my doubts because of the darkness of the screen but I am obviously impressed here. How dark is the screen? It is slightly 40% darker than what the picture is shown here.
Still unsatisfied, I tried to block the direct light from the light source. So my subject is only lighted by the environment bounce lights. And the results is still impressive for a mid-range phone.
The Ninetology U9R1 is running on the Cyanogen Custom ROM, one of the most installed and probably the best custom rom at the moment. It is highly responsive and customisable as well.
The phone’s battery is only at 1600 mAh which is definitely a downside for me. That means the phone couldn’t last me a full day of usage even if the screen is smaller. Using a Snapdragon 200 processor, which is a 1.2 GHz Quad Core, made this phone quite fast. You can play most games with it but you can never get to play too long with it though.
That’s all for my review of the Ninetology U9R1 smartphone. The choice is up to you whether you would like to purchase the phone. Out of all honesty, if I were looking for a smartphone around that price, I would definitely consider it considering it has quite a good camera and design. They could do something about improving the confusing layout and battery size though.