Walton Primo S4 Hands-On Review: Design is Key
We got the opportunity to take a look at a Walton smartphone before launch and here is what we thought about the device. The Walton Primo S4 is the newest addition to Walton’s ever growing smartphone lineup and brings some sweet design to the table paired with some capable internals.
Design & Hardware
As the title suggests, the design of the Walton Primo S4 is the main highlight. An Aluminium-Magnesium alloy chassis gives the device a lightweight and firm profile accentuated by the panes of glass on either face of the device. Glass sandwich devices became popular with the iPhone 4 came out years ago and it is still incredibly popular to this day. The Walton Primo S4’s rear resembled the back of an Xperia device to me however the S4 has a super reflective layer right below the Dragon Trail glass. While using the device outdoors, we found out that the reflective back functions decently as a mirror too so Walton essentially packed in a feature by accident it seems.
The glass on either face is highly prone to fingerprints but in this day and age it is actually expected from a glass sandwich device thus users simply have to wipe the glass and deal with it getting dirty.
The metal frame houses the loudspeaker on the bottom edge, which by the way has been neatly machine drilled. The bottom speaker is adequately loud but poses the same problem we’ve seen before, they can easily get covered when playing games. Nevertheless, having the speakers on the bottom is much much better than having it on the back so kudos Walton.
As we go along the frame, we find a volume rocker on the right hand side of the device and the power button on the left hand side which is a departure from the regular convention of having them on opposite sides. It takes only a few minutes to get used to the setup even though it may feel awkward at first. The buttons are made of metal and are clicky and responsive.
The Walton Primo S4 has a slim 7.5mm profile and weighs just 129 grams which makes this smartphone very comfortable to hold and maneuver in one hand. The display is 5 inches so the overall footprint of the S4 is quite manageable.
The Walton Primo S4 utilizes an HD (1280 x 720) pure black IPS display which is 5 inches long and has a pixel density of 320 pixels per inch. The display offers some very nice colours and deep blacks as advertised. Outdoors, the brightness is adequate for use whilst indoors, the brightness goes nice and low. Viewing angles on the device are nice too. The display is protected by Gorilla Glass 3 (the back uses Dragon Trail glass) and a pre-installed screen protector offers up additional protection.
On the software side of things, we have a lot of granular customization options on the Walton Primo S4. The version of KitKat (4.4.2) is not similar to stock Android. The settings menu is different, the notifications shade is different and even the lockscreen is different. The Walton Primo S4 ships with two different launchers just like the Primo NX2 we reviewed a while ago. There is a theme store from which you can change up the look and feel of the user interface and there’s also a theme store for the lockscreen as well.
Most other software treats lie buried in the settings menu. Starting from the top, we have “smart wake”, “smart light” and “floating multitask window”. Smart Wake allows you to draw gestures when the screen is off to execute certain tasks. Each gesture can be customized to launch a different app right from the locked screen and works all the time so long as you draw the gesture correctly. Smart Light is a simple “tap to wake” feature which when enabled causes the screen to wake when double tapped. The Floating Multitask Window offers a floating widget like tool over any app which allows you to launch certain mini apps for the purpose of multitasking.
In terms of security, there is a built in app locker on board. What the app locker allows you to do is to select any app and assign a password to it. Without the password, the app simply won’t open. This is very handy if you have notorious snooping friends or relatives around.
The notifications panel also has some customization capabilities. The user can change what toggles are shown on the quick toggles page and can even choose how the toggles line up and appear. The recent apps menu also has an additional touch int he form of a RAM cleaner.
The Primo S4 is scheduled to receive the Android Lollipop update and supports updates Over The Air (OTA) although there is no guarantee on whether or not this device will get Marshmallow anytime soon. Regardless, the version of KitKat is very fast, stable and reliable and offers a bounty of customization options to keep users excited.
The octa core 1.7GHz MediaTek 6592 processor yielded a great score of 32,980 on the AnTuTu benchmark app and performed as expected when put through the paces. Along with the processor, we also have 2GB of RAM, 32GB of ROM and a Mali 450 GPU. When playing games, everything went smoothly other than the occasional stutters you’d expect in super intense games. The 2,200mAh battery performed well too.
We were able to get a full day off the device with some power left to spare. The device was actually used quite extensively so this figure is appreciable although a bigger battery could have benefited the user. Alas to keep smartphones thin and sleek, manufacturers have to sacrifice in the battery size.
We have a duo of powerful cameras on the Primo S4. The back houses a 13MP BSI auto focus sensor with a single LED flash whilst the front has an 8MP BSI sensor with auto focus and a single LED flash as well. The front facing flash and high selfie resolution produces some quality results surely to be loved by the selfie addicts and social media personalities out there. A host of customization options in the gallery app will also come to the aid of those who wish to edit their photos.The rear camera produced results as expected. Nice images in daylight and decent images in low light. Colours look nice and there is some sharpness in the images.
In the camera department, the front facing camera catches our attention over the rear camera unit and this will be one determining factor for purchase.
At Tk. 15,990 the Primo S4 offers up a good looks with very capable specifications. The design may be the main highlight but the S4 ticks all the right boxes overall. The S4 is yet another testament to how the smartphone market is shifting towards dominance of attractive mid range devices . While this is good for us consumers, I personally would like to see a different approach to design other than the tried and tested glass sandwich sometime in the future. Please check out the video review for additional details.