This product was sent to us for review from MeriMobiles.com.

When you first open the box you’ll notice the phone looks identical to the HTC HD7 in nearly every way. One big difference: it runs Android. Of all the things I liked about the phone, the most substantial one was probably the screen. It has a very high-resolution 4.3″ display with good contrast and colors. I’m guessing it is a AMOLED display due to its performance, and washed out colors when watching outside. A characteristic of AMOLED displays is that they are terrible for viewing outside, and that is certainly true on this phone. It includes both a front and back facing camera, as well as a shutter button, but neither cameras perform good in low light conditions, and are just good enough for Facebook pictures in good lighting. The back camera also has a dual LED flash, although it isn’t very powerful compared to many phones.

On the back of the phone, you will notice a nice, but flimsy, piece of matte plastic. It’s nearly soft touch, but just doesn’t feel rubbery enough to posses the title. This may or may not be a bad thing for you. The back unfortunately feels fairly flimsy, but during drop tests it did not break. You’ll also notice a metal kick stand around the 2 MP camera and dual LED flash, just like the HD7. I did occasionally have to tighten the screws that hold it in, but other than that, it performed excellently while watching video or reading. The display is covered with a hard plastic rather than glass, meaning it attracts even more fingerprints, although it won’t affect performance. You’ll also notice 3 backlit capacitive buttons, unlike the normal 4, but I never missed the search key. Battery life was OK, but like all Android phones, will only get you through a day.

When you power it up, which unfortunately can take a little while, you’ll notice you have a full vanilla build of Froyo. Due to its capacitive screen, this phone runs most tasks surprisingly well. It won’t be the real thing, but for a $200 unlocked phone, this can pack a punch. It did sometimes spontaneously lag or even crash all together, but it was defiantly usable. Typing was great due to the large screen, although I installed the Gingerbread keyboard to improve accuracy and eye candy. It would sporadically type the incorrect letter, but it was no just as good as iOS. I did notice substantial speed increases when using a 3rd party launcher such as Launcher Pro or ADW.Launcher.

Still, this regrettably isn’t true in gaming. It can hardly load Angry Birds, and once it does, you’ll notice 7 frames per second performance. Not exactly a gaming phone. The MediaTek MT6516 416MHz processor isn’t exactly designed for gaming. It does have a second 260MHz core for all phone operations, so in regular tasks it will run fine, but don’t expect it to outpace a HTC EVO 3D, or even the EVO Shift 4G for that matter.

I think this is the perfect secondary phone for travelers or a first time smartphone buyer, perhaps for kids on a prepaid plan, as it’s unlocked and will run on any GSM carrier. Another example could be for travelers, it works internationally unlocked and has dual sim card slots. Overall it is a fairly good priced phone, but unless you absolutely need that 4.3″ high resolution screen, you might instead buy the Star A5000, which has 3.5″ multi-touch screen, has a touchpad, looks like a G2 without a keyboard, and is only $160. Remember, the iPhone 4 (and pretty much all smartphones) cost $630+ unlocked, so $200 is nothing. I think Chinese phones have a market, and they are just getting better and better. For many people, this will be all they need for a phone.

Included:
-2 batteries
-A bad headset
-Micro USB cable
-Manuals
-The A1000 itself

Pros:
-Stock Android 2.2
-Wi-Fi 802.11b/g
-4.3″ high-resolution multi-touch Screen
-Good viewing angles
-GPS and A-GPS
-Dual Sim/Dual Standby
-Decent call quality
-Good build quality
-Excellent customer support from MeriMobiles
-Includes 2 batteries

Cons:
-No 3G data, only EDGE (2.75G) and GPRS (2.5G)
-The screen is very hard to view outside
-Not too good battery life
-It can sometimes lag, and it has very poor gaming performance

Buy:
Star A1000
Star A5000

Rating:
3/5