Phicomm Passion 660: Good but not impressive!

Phicomm is here from China to take on Xiaomi, Gionee, Lenovo, Huawei, ASUS and the rest. They have come here with a pretty decent handset – Phicomm Passion 660. Like all the companies mentioned above, they have tried to pack in solid specs into a device at an affordable rate! But the key question is, having priced the handset at INR 10,999/- they are taking on pretty strong contenders in that segment! Have they lived up to the segment tack? Let us see here

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Build and Feel

The Passion 660 is just a very flat rectangular slab of plastic and some metal. You would not be wrong to think that it reminds you of the Blackberry Z3, or the Xiaomi Mi3. A very common and slightly out dated form factor

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The handset tries to beat the Mi 4i in the design and ergonomics department. Not all plastic. Both the right and left edges have pieces of metal attached to them, though these metal strips don’t extend to the upper and lower ends. But something about the feel, makes it feel a little on the plastic side! Just a little. No denying that  the maker has played well with the plastic and metal combo, resulting in a device that doesn’t look cheap and lacking in workmanship. Decent and good is what we felt.

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The right edge has the power button that is basically metallic but coated with a bronze paint  It also has two SIM card slots (Micro+Nano with SD card slot). The volume rocker is on the left edge and is metallic, without a bronze coating. The color scheme is a bit like the Honor 4X where the power button is colored differently. The buttons are firm and offer decent tactile feedback.

We thought the Mi 4i was the lightest handset in this price point, till we held the P660. The slim frame and light weight (110 grams) beats the Mi 4i convincingly in this department. The P660 is one of the lightest 5-inch handsets we have seen yet! Good work there! The sharp edges and sleek frame ensure the P660 is comfortable to hold and operate, and is non-slippery at the same time.

The company has been able to keep the bezel as small as possible. The problem is that the capacitive buttons on the front are not backlit and that is a tad bit uncomfortable. Also, the P660 doesn’t come with a LED notification light. The speaker vent is located on the back lower end of the handset.

Display

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The P660 comes with a 5-inch full-HD IPS display with a 1920×1080 pixels resolution that roughly translates to 441ppi. The exact same specs that we get on the Mi 4i, however, Xiaomi’s offering is better than the P660 in terms of the quality of display output.

The Mi 4i is brighter, and its sunlight visibility is just brilliant! On the other hand, handsets like the Honor 4X , Redmi Note and the Yu Yureka around this price range come with an HD display (with 5.5-inch screens). Even if you keep the Mi 4i out of the competition, the P660 does pack in a full-HD display and delivers more pixels per inch and obviously better results. Very well done there!

Having said that, we found the display output on the P660 significantly lacking in brightness. The color reproduction on the device is decent. The viewing angles are good for this price range. Outdoor visibility takes a major hit due to the overall lack of brightness on the P660.

Software

We are disappointed that a device like the P660 that has a Snapdragon 615 (64-bit architecture) comes with Android 4.4.4 KitKat out-of-the-box, a dated software when rivals are increasingly giving consumers Lollipop. The P660 runs its own custom Expect UI on top of Android, nice to see a Chinese UI that has an app drawer for a change! But the skinning is heavy and very much not like Android, so even though you get an app drawer there’s very little out there to suggest you’re dealing with Android. Potential to strike a masterstroke has been missed here!

The UI isn’t as slick as MIUI, or Huawei’s Emotion UI. But on the good side, lag is non-existent! It comes with a pedometer for counting the number of steps and a barometer to calculate atmospheric pressure.

Performance

The P660 is powered by a 1.65GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 processor and has an Adreno 405 with 2GB RAM.

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The Snapdragon 615 does neatly well in regular day-to-day use. We liked the fact that the Expect UI is not a resource hog so and gives you a largely lag-free experience for most of the time.The only issue we had while using the phone was the low brightness level of its screen. And yes it cannot stand up to the Mi 4i in sunlight!

The P660 is handles GPU-intensive games decently well at medium settings. We played games like Asphalt 8: Airborne and Modern Combat 5: Blackout at medium settings and were pretty pleased with the results. Playing these games at higher settings caused frame rate issues that in some occasions saw visible drop.

The P660 comes with 16GB of internal storage, out of which 13.18GB is available for our use. The device supports expandable storage of up to 64GB via micro-SD card. The single speaker vent on the back of the P660 gives out a decent output. Muffling happens when you place it on a surface on its back!

Phone calls made with the P660 are of acceptably decent quality and we did not see any major call drops with our review device. On the downside, the earpiece sound could have been louder.The device supports 4G LTE on both SIMs.

Camera

The P660 sports a 13-megapixel rear camera with Sony IMX 214 sensor, auto-focus and LED flash. It has a 5-megapixel camera with BSI sensor and 84-degree wide angle view on the front. We were underwhelmed by the camera. There are a variety of devices with impressive camera optics at this price range. Therefore, the P660 had to do something brilliant to beat competition in this category. But, it doesn’t: it’s an average camera phone!

Battery

The Phicomm P660 has a 2,300mAh battery, which is lesser what you can get in the Yu Yureka, the Honor 4X, the Mi 4i. A general usage should see you through the 12-hour mark, but that’s the maximum you can get out of the P660. Decent but not yet impressive

Verdict

Phicomm is an interesting and interested player in India now, I hope they get their act one notch up if they are to beat the competition that is already here! The specs are good, but not impressive! The phone is good, but not impressive! We’d rather wait this one out!

 

 

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