iFive Mini 3GS: Second Review, First Impressions

cngadget has a brief first impressions report of the iFive Mini 3GS.

cngadgetiFiveMini3GSAnTuTu

The AnTuTu 4.x score is no surprise.

What’s surprising is this:

The iFive mini 3GS is running on Android 4.4.2 KitKat with a custom launcher, and despite the Octa Core CPU you will notice a slight lag in the UI transitions as the retina display needs extra CPU to power the extra pixels.

Boldfaced emphasis added by me.

And:

Overall the iFive mini 3GS is a well built, light and slim tablet with 3G support and good retina screen, where it falls short is its MTK6592 CPU which is not optimal for such high screen resolution specially for heavy 3D gaming, but its more then enough for regular browsing, online steaming and HD video playback when on the go.

Boldfaced emphasis added by me.

No users have ever reported that at the 5Fans forum. In fact, one of the first user reports said this:

the system interface is running smoothly, no Caton phenomenon

“Caton” is stuttering or lag. Something the iFive Skin 2.5 was noted for in prior Mini 3 models.

But this is the second time I’ve read about some lag. The first time it cropped up is in the new review by ZOL [Google Translate].

iFiveMini3GSZOLR001

Five claims a thickness of 6.5mm. The reality is:

iFiveMini3GSZOLR002

ZOL points out the unique light on the top face …

iFiveMini3GSZOLR002b

… which indicates:

1 red light: charging;

2 Green light: charging is full;

3 blue flashes: Short message alert or missed call alerts.

I haven’t seen any other 3G-enabled Chinese tablet with this. It gets rid of the ambiguity regarding charging.

There’s no way to get around looking like an idiot if you use it as a phone:

iFiveMini3GSZOLR003

But I’m not sure many people will use it like that. The 3G will mainly be for accessing the Net on the go.

Personally, I like the way Five crams all the app icons together:

iFiveMini3GSZOLR004

The fewer page swipes to reach an app, the better.

The AnTuTu 4.x score is again unsurprising:

iFiveMini3GSZOLR005

Other benchmarks are available at their review.

And now the mention of lag:

First, the video shows the effect of light is flashing message alert, and then slide into the system interface fluency tests. MTK Fengyun can feel when the eight-core SoC retina indeed difficult to achieve perfect control, there will be a little sluggish feeling. Web page by sliding effects and plug-ins can also be felt. But overall, MT6592 While running the retina screen is not perfect and smooth, but not so difficult, you can still have a relatively good experience. Many may be considered to reflect the eight nuclear power problems in the system battery settings, each boot will be checked by default CPU power saving mode, select this mode will experience a slight decline.

Boldfaced emphasis added by me.

There’s mention of a video, which I can’t embed here. See it at the review. Honestly, I could not see any lag or stuttering in the video. The tablet seemed snappy to me.

ZOL also runs the new AnTuTu video test. I have no experience with this so cannot comment on it. As for video overall:

4K video output only sound, no picture. 1080P playback time, the overall effect is pretty good, just fast forward when there will be a little Caton. The effect of the outside, ifive mini 3GS sounds more crisp and transparent, although the bass performance in general, but at least I believe that we will not miss a call.

Don’t count on it for 4K video playback. As for the delay they mention when sliding the scrubber to a new place in the video, that’s true and even users have commented on it. However, users have recently said that the new 1.0.9 update has gotten rid of that. ZOL doesn’t mention if they applied that update before the review.

ZOL publishes several samples from the back camera which I’m not including here. We already know the camera isn’t the best and is even barely “good enough” for publishing on the Net. The one new thing they mention is a gesture to remotely activate the camera — but their tests have shown it doesn’t work reliably.

The review goes into testing some games and the GPS. They are not satisfied with the GPS performance.

In conclusion they make a suggestion I don’t favor:

ifive mini 3GS is a five-element array of eight as the head of the nuclear family, there are many places to try, including system upgrade UI will also be a lot of places. Through practical experience point of view, 2048×1536 retina screen for MT6592, is indeed not a very good choice, to reduce the resolution of a grade level increase in the experience of other parameters may reach a completely different feeling effects. Or the screen resolution can be adjusted in software, limiting its level in 1920, before the manufacturers here have been adjusted, the effect is obvious.

Boldfaced emphasis added by me.

They want an option to lower the screen resolution to improve performance. If that’s a user option, I’d have no complaint. But to include that without informing users is fraud. And that kind of fraud is what Rockchip pulled to improve performance of 3188-based Retina-class tablets:

In addition, the testing brings up something I meant to post about earlier. When Rockchip delivered its SDK 2.0 to improve Retina-class tablets, they actually downgraded the resolution from Retina-class to 1600 x 1200! This wasn’t discovered until later. In China, there are many ways to skin a cat and make a fraudulent dollar.

I don’t want to see that become part of the iFive Mini 3GS!

The main issue that ZOL overlooked is the ongoing one about app storage. This is why reviews should never be taken as a sole guide to buying. What users – who have spent money — have to say matters more.

Previously here:

iFive Mini 3GS Storage Issue
iFive Mini 3GS Notes
iFive Mini 3GS Gets A Review
Five Technology Teases A White iFive Mini 3GS
Video: iFive Mini 3GS User Demo
iFive Mini 3GS: More User Reports
iFive Mini 3GS: First User Report
iFive Mini 3GS In Hands Of Users
iFive Mini 3GS To Use MIUI
iFive Mini 3GS Promo Video
iFive Mini 3GS: Sales Date, Photos
iFive Mini 3GS On Sale At Tmall
3G-Enabled Retina-Class iFive Mini 3GS
Retina-Class iFive Mini 3 With Octa-Core MediaTek 6592
MediaTek iFive Mini 3?

18 Comments

Filed under iPad Mini Clones

18 responses to “iFive Mini 3GS: Second Review, First Impressions

  1. Doing the math it says it all – Bottleneck effect: “The MT6592 bandwidth is about 5.3GB/s, to support 720P is not a problem; but to support 1080P, each 1,000,000 pixels only gets 2.56GB/s. No matter how optimized the starter is, it will be hard to be smooth, that is why eight-core is still slow.”

    • mikecane

      Do many people carry around 1080p video? They’re quite large! I’m still not used to the rare 720p I get which are much larger than past video files that weren’t HD (but still good enough to watch).

  2. Jonathan

    OK guys, my 3gs has arrived. Typing this post now on this device.
    What was included in the preorder package:

    -Ifive mini 3gs box (included tablet stand, 4GB microsd, booklet, some QC card, small tablet stand, wallcharger, usbcable)
    – Official leather cover with stand.
    – Pleather cover with microusb keyboard
    – Extra screen protector (there is one preapplied)

    The ifive launcher was not really laggy, but not totally smooth either. So I downloaded Apex launcher which solved that for the greatest part. Also I untagged the power safe function for max performance. Might be placebo, but seems that help make the tablet a bit smoother.
    Actually I am impressed by the smoothness and speed so far. The two PDF files I have (100 – 200 pages) loaded fine in adobe PDF reader. Smooth scrolling and no stuttering.

    I tried realracing3, fifa2014 and wind up knight2. Also flipboard, chrome, netflix all seems fine. Antutu score confirmed here with my tablet.

    It does have the occasional stutter onsome webpages (during loading or when onscreen keyboard is shown and scrolling this page), but actually I recall my xperia z not to be completely stutter free either. Mind you I only have the tablet it for a few hours yet so I might stumble across issues later.

    BTW, I do find the plastic trim a bit sharp. Built quality seems good though. It feels solid and the screen is great! Maximum brightness could be higher when outdoors in the sun. Camera seems adequate.
    Sound quality when connecting my Sennheiser hd25-2 is reasonable (but then I am comparing the headphone on tablet with headphone on proper HiFi player with 18v headphone amp).

    Anything in particular to test?

    • mikecane

      >>>BTW, I do find the plastic trim a bit sharp.

      Yes, someone complained about that at the 5Fans forum but I didn’t know if it was just unit or by design. Seems it’s by design.

      You could always do the Google Books PDF test if you really want to push the unit.
      https://mikecanex.wordpress.com/2013/09/01/third-samsung-galaxy-s-iii-test/

      • Jonathan

        Sadly I can’t seem to download the PDF. If you know how I would try it :)

      • mikecane

        OK, that was the GBooks link. Here’s the one for Google Docs where everyone can grab it outside the U.S.:
        https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B1iPXL-KMPTnQlNPSWNaNVF4UUE/edit?usp=sharing

        EDITED to add: Don’t worry. It’s virus-free! I see GDocs says it can’t be scanned for viruses.

      • Jonathan

        Ok; I got around to test it with that 290MB pdf badboy.
        With foxitpdf the indivual pages render quick; ranging from instant to 1 or 2 seconds. But scrolling to other pages is choppy (although that also happens with a small pdf). Zooming in and out and scrolling around is not smooth; while the test with the same file and foxit on ifive mini3 retina was smooth (https://mikecanex.wordpress.com/2014/03/28/google-books-pdf-death-match-retina-class-ifive-mini-3/).

        So I decided to try adobe pdf and again; some pages are rendered almost instantly and you can see 5 pages at once and other pages can take up 3 seconds before they appear. However scrolling and zooming in or out is always smooth.

        I think both pdf readers tries to cache the following pages and yes; if you take the time to read a page or wait a while before you flip a page/scroll down the next one is loaded already and opens instantly.

        In both cases no render issues.

      • mikecane

        Hm. I would have thought the 3GS would have been a better experience than the Retina 3. I guess I should wait for the Mini 4 then. Thanks for testing!

      • Jonathan

        Btw; there is only 2GB room on phone memory for apps.
        I have an 8GB microsd and moved all games to sdcard.

        Unified storage would be nice :)

  3. Jonathan

    Actually uc browser seems smooth with keyboard on screen scrolling a webpage opposed to chrome.
    Also I forgot to add that earbuds are all included in ifive box.

  4. Rob

    @Jonathan
    Thanks for the great review. What about Root access and battery life?
    Possible to test the “dot” display on time and root access :)?
    Thanks
    Rob

    • mikecane

      FYI: A root method was shown from Taiwan but as far as I know hasn’t yet been released.

    • Jonathan

      Batterylife; 1st day was about 11 or 12 houres. Playing around with it most of the time (tested some games; did a benchmark and webbrowsing).

      At the moment I have 75% battery left and is running for about 7.5 houres. But thats at work where I don’t have much time to play around with it.
      So seems solid; but I think I could empty it far quicker by doing extensive gaming.

      @Rob; can you explain “dot” test? Did you mean reactionspeed of the panel or such? Let me know how to run that test.
      About root; didn’t find anything about it.

  5. Dun

    Hi,
    I just uploaded a small video of the Google PDF test on the 3gs. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_smFjyX1_Nc
    Let me know if you want more details.
    Dun

    • Thanks. Someone else also did one with the 3GS months ago. That performance is now surpassed.

      • Dun

        Ok didn’t saw it.. “That performance is now surpassed..” by a retina class mini ipad clone ?

      • I think it will be proven with the Teclast X89HD — ~30K AnTuTu on Intel vs ~27K 3GS MediaTek, plus there’s the RK3288-based Mini 4 and Pipo P8 coming. And with Windows, the Dell Venue 8 Pro is already faster, so the Teclast X89HD Windows Edition should be similar.

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