Towards the end of our full review of the Torque EGO Phab, we stated that if you can afford to throw in additional moolah on your next tablet, then it’s best if you do so rather than go for that inexpensive tablet.
Enter the Torque EGO Phab 3G, the tablet that just cost Php400 more than its non-3G counterpart yet has a quad-core processor, twice the amount of RAM, runs on Android Lollipop right off the bat, and more importantly has support for 3G connectivity on top of the basic call and SMS functionalities.
Design and Build
Design-wise, the EGO Phab 3G is almost indistinguishable from its non-3G sibling. As such, most of the things that we mentioned on our previous review still hold true for this model.
The material used for this tablet is also the same with the cheaper variant. A soft matte plastic is prevalent on the back side of the device, while an uninspiring 7-inch display occupies most of the real estate at the front.
The placement of the external components is also identical with the EGO Phab: audio jack and microUSB at the top, volume rockers on the side along with the power button. The two SIM card slots, as well as the microSD storage expansion slots are also tucked underneath a removable plastic cover just like on the EGO Phab.
Display and Multimedia
The EGO Phab 3G also shares the same qualities of its cheaper cousin in the audio/visual department. As we pointed out on the EGO Phab review, the 7-inch WSVGA display isn’t exactly capable of delivering immersive viewing experience, but should handily get the job done for basic computing needs.
The same can be said for the tablet’s loudspeaker, if we can call it that. Even when we cranked up the volume, the audio component just doesn’t have the power to make the sound very audible. Thus, it might be a good idea to plug in a pair of headphones on this tablet especially if you’re watching flicks on it.
OS, UI and Apps
We didn’t have qualms over the fact that the EGO Phab is two generations behind in terms of software advancements since it was running on Android KitKat, albeit it would’ve been nice if it at least ran on a newer version of Android.
Luckily, for an additional nominal amount, you can opt for the EGO Phab 3G which comes pre-installed with Android Lollipop, and it benefits from all the features and software-based improvements that it brings to the table.
Another thing that we really appreciate is that the EGO Phab 3G doesn’t suffer from the lack of pre-installed Google apps, unlike the non-3G model. This means that the tablet should be ready to go right on the onset, and users will no longer have to download Google apps that should’ve been there in the first place.
Since we’re in the topic of apps, it’s worth noting that Torque also did a great job of limiting the third-party apps that were installed on the EGO Phab 3G. In fact, other than a few nuance apps like Top App Zone and PopStar! Social, which by the way you can easily uninstall, there’s not a lot of unnecessary apps that could take up space on the tablet’s already scarce 8GB on-board storage.
If there’s one aspect, other than the display, that the EGO Phab 3G still struggles with, it’s the camera. It is, however, understandable for a tablet at this price point to not have a top-of-the-line snapper. Thus it’s more of an “it’s here if you need it” component rather than a main selling point for this tablet.
And besides, it’s only a bonus if your tablet can take good pictures since these devices were never meant to do that anyway. Mankind has already built a thing called point-and-shoot cameras for that specific purpose.
Performance and Benchmarks
Having that two extra processing cores and an additional 512MB really goes along way for the EGO Phab 3G in terms of providing a smoother and more seamless performance compared to its non-3G sibling. So it’s really hard to justify not going the extra mile, or in this case shelling out extra Php400, to get the former instead of settling for the cheaper, significantly slower EGO Phab.
Before we even ran our usual set of synthetic benchmark test, we already noticed the difference in performance between the two Torque tablets when we loaded an identical 1080p movie on both of them.
The EGO Phab 3G didn’t seem to break even a single sweat during the playback and delivered a smooth viewing experience. Meanwhile, it’s non-3G cousin was noticeably laboring all throughout the simple task, but only managed to give around 10fps (maybe even less) of frame rate on movie playback, on a 1080p movie at least.
Despite not having the snappiest processor, nor the highest RAM capacity, the EGO Phab 3G has enough firepower under the hood to provide decent gaming experience, especially on relatively less demanding games like Temple Run and Angry Birds.
The tablet also fared well with more tasking 3D games like EA Sports UFC and Asphalt 8, albeit we had to close all others app running on the background to keep the game relatively lag free.
Battery Life and Charging Time
After draining the EGO Phab 3G’s battery bone dry, we measured the time it takes to fully charge while it’s turned off it using the pre-bundle wall charger and USB cable. We expected that the charging time will be roughly the same as with time we got from the non-3g model.
Surprisingly, despite having the same battery capacity, it took 30 minutes more to fully charge the EGO Phab 3G compared to its cheaper counterpart. We started the charging the device at 7:29PM and got to 100% at 10:14PM which equates to 2 hours and 45 minutes.
While having more processing cores under the hood might sound a good idea, at least with performance in mind, it doesn’t bode very well for the battery life. That’s exactly what happened with the EGO Phab 3G which only clocked in 3 Hours and 57 Minutes on PCMark Battery Life test.
In retrospect, that’s almost an hour and half shorter compared to the mileage we got from the EGO Phab which recorded 5 Hours and 25 Minutes on the same test with the same testing parameters.
Oddly enough, the EGO Phab 3G actually outlasted its non-3G sibling on our video loop test. The latter only lasted for almost 5 hours (4h:51m:4s to be exact) while the former registered 6 hours and 9 minutes when we looped the same video file and recreated the same testing environment.
Had it not been for the existence of the Torque EGO Phab 3G, we would’ve probably cut the non-3G model more slack that we’d given to it on our review. It’s dirt cheap, it gets the job done for simple computing tasks, and it can double as a secondary dual-SIM phone thanks to its built-in support for voice call and SMS features.
But as it is, you’re better off saving that extra Php400 to get the EGO Phab 3G instead. For that nominal amount, you’ll be investing on a tablet with better processor (dual-core vs quad-core), more RAM (512MB vs 1GB), and most importantly you’ll not be too dependent on Wi-Fi access to connect to the internet since it supports 3G-enabled SIM cards. As a bonus, you’ll also get a tablet running on Android Lollipop instead of the ageing Android Kitkat.
At Php2,590 the Torque EGO Phab 3G is a tough bargain to beat given the aforementioned features. And if you’re in the hunt for an inexpensive tablet, this one should definitely be on top of your list.
What we liked about it:
* Respectable build for its price
* Support for dual-SIM and 3G connectivity
* Call and Text functionalities
* Better processor and RAM compared to the non-3G model
* Very affordable price tag
* Android Lollipop pre-installed
What we didn’t like about it:
* Poor display quality
* Inadequate sound output from loudspeaker