Replacing your broken smartphone is a stressful experience. But if you look beyond the well-known brands, you can find a pretty decent Android-powered replacement phone for a reasonable price. The Verykool S470 ($229.99) has a sharp display and dual SIM card slots, although its power won’t compete with our unlocked Editors’ Choice, the Google Play Edition Samsung Galaxy S4. Then again, it’s $400 less expensive.
The S470 measures 5.39 by 2.79 by 0.41 inches (HWD) and weighs 5.66 ounces. It’s heavy, even compared with the 4.7-inch Nexus 4 at 4.9 ounces. The S470 has a rounded back, similar to the Moto X. The phone is made of plastic, save for the glass screen, but feels really sturdy. The S470 still feels like a high-end smartphone, despite its size. Pop off the plastic back to reveal the microSD slot, and remove the battery to get at the SIM slot. Removing cards was a little bit difficult, but only took a few seconds longer than normal.
The S470 has a 4.7-inch IPS LCD screen with 1,280 by 720 resolution. Viewing angle is solid; I was able to read the text clearly at all but the most extreme angles. At 313 pixels per inch, the screen has the same pixel density as the Moto X. Text is crisp, and videos and images look great.
The phone has a plastic volume rocker on the left of the phone and a micro USB port on the bottom. Up top are the Power button and headphone jack. Included with the S470 is a wall charger, a micro-USB cable, a stereo headset, and a microfiber cloth.
The S470 uses 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, but only on the slower 2.4GHz frequency, and it includes the older Bluetooth 3.0, so it won’t work with new Bluetooth 4.0 LE health-tracking devices. There’s no LTE on this GSM phone, so you’re stuck with HSPA+ 42 on the 850/1900 MHz bands. 2G connectivity happens on the 850/900/1800/1900 MHz bands. This isn’t a great phone for international travel, as it’s missing the 2100MHz band responsible for 3G around the world. Also, since it supports HSPA+ 1900, it’s more effective on AT&T’s network than on T-Mobile’s due to T-Mobile’s limited 3G coverage on the 1900 band. In our speeds tests in New York, the S470 hit 4 Mbps down and 0.90 up, reflecting that T-Mobile runs an HSPA+ 21 network on the 1900 band here.
What’s unusual about the S470 is its dual-SIM card slot, capable of using either SIM for voice calls, video calls, messaging, or data connections, depending on which SIM you choose for what. You can adjust the SIM choices for the actions in the easy-to-use settings panel. It can also ask every time you make a call or send a text which SIM card to use.
In the U.S., dual-SIM phones have limited utility because you can only use them with AT&T, T-Mobile, and virtual carriers that use those networks, such as H2O, Simple Mobile, and ReadySIM. You can’t use a dual-SIM device with Sprint, Verizon, or any virtual carrier on those networks. But for frequent international travelers, a dual-SIM device could be a big help—for instance, letting you receive calls on your regular T-Mobile number, but make calls using a foreign SIM.
Call quality was adequate on T-Mobile’s network. I heard the other person quite well, as the earpiece delivered more than enough volume. My voice sounded a bit muffled to them, however. Noise cancellation was decent, though it couldn’t handle louder cacophonies like multiple honking cars. The speakerphone was deathly quiet, and could only be heard outside when I held it against my ear, a surprise given how loud the phone gets during media playback. In our talk time test, the Verykool S470 lasted 8 hours and 56 minutes on its 2000mAh battery.
Performance and Multimedia
The Verykool S470 is powered by a 1.2GHz quad-core ARM Cortex-A7 processor with 1GB RAM. The phone runs a relatively clean version of Android 4.2.1, with an extra settings page for managing the two SIM cards. It has an FM radio app for listening to and recording whatever’s being broadcast. It only has 1.48GB of available storage, so a microSD card will come in handy. It does read microSD cards up to 64GB.
The overall Android experience was surprisingly zippy, considering that this is ARM’s low-end architecture right now. Browsing through tabs in Chrome was fast. During the Antutu benchmark test (which tests processor performance) the S470 scored 13499 overall, beating another midrange phone, the HTC One Mini, and its 11158 overall score. The phone’s GPU doesn’t perform as well as the CPU, though. Asphalt 8, a graphics-intensive game, was too choppy to play. Stick with simpler games like Temple Run 2 and Candy Crush Saga, which ran without issue.
With the exception of WMA and WMV files, the S470 played every music and video file we threw at it—even FLAC and OGG. Videos looked good and played flawlessly. There’s no HDMI port for TV output.
The 8-megapixel camera has about a second of autofocus delay, which we think is too long. Photos don’t look too bad, but they aren’t great. Video is tinged with poor low light recording and some serious exposure issues, and images look the same way. For example, everything seems either too bright or too dim, with a weird lens flare. Video recording with the main camera did stay at a consistent 30 frames per second, and there were no major issues with the predictably poor front-facing 2-megapixel camera that records at a slower 15 frames per second.
For about $230, the Verykool S470 is a decent Android smartphone and a good unlocked replacement for a broken one. Our Editors’ Choice for unlocked phones is the Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition, but at $650 it’s in a different league. The S470 isn’t fast enough for graphically challenging games, and it doesn’t have LTE, but it has a pretty good screen as well as a pair of SIM card slots for versatility. It’s a good deal for an unlocked phone, now that the Nexus 4 has gone by the wayside and phones like the ZTE Nubia are too expensive for what you get.
Still, we can forgive some faults when you’re getting this many features at this low a price. If you’re looking for a well-built Android phone that’ll go well with a prepaid plan or as an off-contract replacement for a busted device, as long as you aren’t looking for LTE support, the Verykool S470 is it.
|Phone Capability / Network||GSM|
|Screen Resolution||720 x 1280 pixels|
|Dimensions||5.39 x 2.79 x 0.41 (HWD) inches|
|High-Speed Data||GPRS, EDGE, HSPA+ 42|
|Battery Life (As Tested)||8 hours, 56 minutes|
|Processor Speed||1.2 GHz|
|Service Provider||AT&T, T-Mobile, Unlocked|
|Total Integrated Storage||1 GB|
|Screen Type||IPS LCD|
|Operating System as Tested||Android OS|
|Camera Resolution||8-Megapixel Rear|
|Screen Pixels Per Inch||312 ppi|
|Bands||800, 850, 900, 1800, 1900|
|Form Factor||Candy Bar|
|Screen Size||4.7 inches|
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc