[Review] Ninetology U9R1: Affordable Feature-packed Mid-Range Smartphone (Part 2)

Ninetology U9R1

The review of the new Ninetology U9R1 continues where we left off in Part 1 where we covered the Design & Build, Key Features and Camera.

Software
Ninetology didn’t do too much with the UI, leaving it pretty much vanilla Android, which in my opinion is a good thing. This leaves the user experience light and responsive. The UR91 runs Android 4.1 and is bundled with key apps like Facebook, WeChat, Google+, File Manager, Adobe Reader and ThinkFree Office Viewer, just to name a few.

What I really like in Ninetology products is the inclusion of NQ Mobile Security and NQ Vault suites. With so much malicious malware and vulnerabilities in the Android space, it good to know that your smartphone is well-protected. NQ Mobile Security has anti-virus/malware, anti-theft capabilities, as well as the ability to block SMS and calls. Ninetology’s warranty application M Warranty is also bundled as default.

Performance
There’s little to complain about in terms of outright performance in doing everyday tasks like social networking, taking and sharing photos, browsing, checking emails, streaming music, instant messaging and even using navigation apps like Waze. The UR91 took it all in stride and performed as advertised throughout.

For those interested, I’ve also run some benchmarks using familiar tools like CF Bench and Antutu (not shown here). The UR91 performs as well as any mid-range device should.

Audio playback for music and audio quality in-call is of acceptable quality. No major issues there.

Ninetology U9R1

 

For more photos of the Ninetology U9R1, visit Flickr.

Battery life
Ninetology quotes up to 8 hours of talk time with its non-removable 1,600mAh battery. While I always wish for a bigger battery, the UR91 performs amicably, usually lasting around 8-10 hours of typical usage.

To further extend and optimise battery life, the UR91 comes with Snapdragon Battery Guru.

Specs at a glance

  • Dimensions: 62.9 x 126.3 x 7.8mm
  • Weight: 105g
  • CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon, 1.2Ghz quad-core
  • GPU: Adreno 203
  • OS: Android 4.1
  • Memory: 4GB ROM / 1GB RAM
  • External Storage: microSD up to 32GB
  • Display: 4.3-inch IPS, 960 x 540 pixels, One Glass Solution (OGS) and Optical Clear Adhesive (OCA)
  • Connectivity: SIM 1: GSM/WCDMA, SIM 2: GSM; Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n; Bluetooth 3.0, GPS/A-GPS
  • Camera: 8MP with autofocus, LED flash (back), 2MP (front)
  • Connectors: USB 2.0, 3.5mm audio jack
  • Battery: Lithium polymer 1600mAh
  • Talk Time: up to 8 hours
  • Standby Time: up to 177 hours

In the box: U9R1 unit, battery, charger, USB cable, earphones, screen protector (clear), protective casing, quick start guide, warranty card.

Ninetology U9R1

So much #win

Pros

  • Feature-packed
  • Good performer overall
  • Good software bundle
  • Plenty of extras out-of-the-box
  • Decent camera
  • Decent battery life
  • Very affordable

Cons

  • Glossy finish is fingerprint magnet
  • Users may prefer a bigger display
  • The.packaging.is.way.too.big.
  • Not updated version of Android

Pricing and availability
The U9R1 is priced at RM799 (SRP) and is available in black and red colours at Ninetology Flagship Touch Point at Low Yat Plaza and all Ninetology retailers nationwide.

Overall impressions
A good effort by Ninetology with the U9R1. A very affordable, feature-packed device that will appeal to first time smartphone buyers, students and even executives. With Ninetology’s Smart Ecology 2 drive where buyers are rewarded up to RM200 rebate with every purchase of a U9R1 while surrendering an old or unused phone during purchase, the device becomes an even more compelling buy.

While not a deal-breaker it would have been nice if the device came with Android 4.2 or 4.3 out of the box, and it is unclear if it will receive the updates in the near future.

[Review] Ninetology U9R1: Affordable Feature-packed Mid-Range Smartphone (Part 2) by