Mobile Phones Guide
Starmobile Neptune B302 and Jupiter B305 Preview
A Rising Star
New Filipino mobile phone player Starmobile is set to stage an event tomorrow where the company is going to present its handsets and, probably, together with TV personality Vice Ganda as its product endorser. Starmobile’s handsets are divided into four lineups: Mercury which is composed of mobile phones with basic features; Venus which carries handsets targeted at fashionable consumers and ladies; Neptune which consists of models that highlight multimedia features; and Jupiter which underlines the company’s top-end handsets some with unique features and equipped with a QWERTY keypad.
Evaluating the price range of these mobile phones, it is clear that Starmobile aims at the masses whose priority is practicality over luxury. Recently, the folks at Starmobile showed us two of their current units: the Neptune B302 and the Jupiter B305, both of which are dual-SIM phones that share similarities in terms of features.
Assimilating the candybar form factor, the Neptune B302 is a feature phone that has a 2.2-inch display, numeric keypad, VGA camera (640 x 480), and a built-in flashlight. The latter is placed along with the audio port and micro USB all of which are found on top side of the phone. Looking at the upper portion of the B302, it partly reminds us of the high-end Nokia N8 which features tapered edges. The bottom side of the B302, on the other hand, flaunts a rounded outline.
Above the B302’s numeric keypad, it comes with a navigator flanked by call buttons for the first and the second SIM, back key, and cancel switch that doubles as the phone’s power button. Inspecting the phone’s rear side, it comes with a back cover with glossy blue paintjob. Another highlight feature of the B302 is its large built-in speaker on the back. According to Starmobile’s representative, the handset is the loudest model in their current range. The B302 is based on a platform which combines GMobi’s Maui Runtime Environment (MRE) and MediaTek’s hardware. Starmobile sells the handset for the price of PhP 1,990.
Like the Neptune B302, the Jupiter B305 also presents a candybar form factor, but it has a larger profile due to its 2.3-inch display. The B305 is also equipped with a numeric keypad but this does not follow the B302’s grid pattern. At a glance, the navigator above the keypad looks like a trackball but in actuality, it is not. Integrated into it are a 3.5mm audio port and a micro USB terminal.
On the rear side, the B305 carries a 2-megapixel camera (2048 x 1536). However, the most important feature of the handset is its inclusion of a Bluetooth earphone. The B305 has a dedicated compartment on its back where the Bluetooth earphone is discreetly inserted. In our initial trial, we noticed that the earphone worked when we were playing music by using the unit’s built-in music player, but it did not when we tried the FM radio. The B305 cannot activate the FM radio without an earphone or a headset being connected to its 3.5mm audio port, which is not necessary on the B302. Priced at PhP 2,990, the B305 uses a Java-based platform.
In reality, in spite of the popularity that entry-level Android smartphones enjoy today, it may take some time before we could actually see an Android handset that goes below the PhP 3,000 price mark. If such a thing exists, it could be coming from a less-known manufacturer with less-than-average specifications and could not deliver a decent Android experience. While this is the case, at the price range of PhP 3,000 and below, feature phones will continue to dominate the heart of many. Many consumers, particularly in the Philippines, still fall for mobile phones that deliver basic mobile communications functions like calling and texting, come with a practical set of features, and offer lengthy battery life.