With a lot of focus on the flagship smartphones of the world, as well as the ever-growing mid-range market, there isn’t all that much attention when it comes to entry-level smartphones. This is understandable, with many of those devices not doing much to catch the attention of pundits, techies and the likes. That said, it doesn’t mean they don’t exist.
A few weeks ago, Mobicel, a local manufacturer, launched their latest entry-level smartphone, the Trendy 2. And while it may seem your run-of-the-mill smartphone, there are some nifty surprises in the diminutive package.
Mobicel Trendy 2 Build and Design
There’s no getting away from it, the Mobicel Trendy 2 packs in a lot of plastic. At its price point, it was always to be expected. At the same time, it didn’t feel as if it would fall apart on a whim one day and felt fairly sturdy. Unlike many higher-end smartphones, the Trendy 2 still features a removable cover, with the battery included in the package contents. But the cover blends well-enough to the rest of the chassis, which initially made it a bit tricky for me to open and insert the battery to power the phone for the first time.
The Trendy 2 still features many of the design elements from smartphones of yesteryear, notwithstanding the plastic rear cover. It uses the not-so-standard microUSB port for charging, front-facing camera on the top centre with no cut-out and ear in full view, as well as a single-lens rear-facing camera coupled with a flash below. It’s not going to be featured on any of the design awards magazines and the likes. It does what it has to, without any noticeable weak points or design flaws.
Mobicel Trendy 2 Screen and Display
The Trendy 2 has a reasonably-sized 5.45” screen, which has a 960×480px resolution display. The size of the screen and the lack of resolution makes pixelation somewhat obvious when viewing certain lighter images. That said, the touchscreen interface was easy enough to use, especially for gesture-based tasks, which I initially thought would be a lot more hit and miss. Colours and brightness are good too, all things considered. Overall, then, the screen won’t be a turn-off, even for an entry-level smartphone.
Mobicel Trendy 2 Performance and Battery Life
In terms of its internals, the Mobicel Trendy 2 has a Mediatek MT6739WA chipset, with a 1.3GHz Quad-Core CPU, including 8GB storage and 1GB RAM. The device runs Google’s Android 9 Pie Go platform, making the Trendy 2 the most affordable smartphone running the operating system in South Africa. The Go edition is tailored to lower-powered units, refining the user experience and learning your preferences to keep both data and battery consumption to a minimum, shaping the interface accordingly. The OS monitors specific apps and builds a footprint on which features you use most. When it comes to data usage, PGo allows users to set daily, weekly and monthly thresholds on each app for better data management, notifying the user when certain thresholds have been reached.
As a daily driver, the Trendy 2 performed well, with smooth operation of tasks. While certain apps do take a little longer to load, there weren’t any glitches or lag to speak of. One of the great aspects of the device is its efficient use of its resources, allowing you to run the same apps you would on a mid-range and flagship smartphone. In fact, I tested a few resource-intensive games, such as Real Racing 3 and the likes, all of which ran without issue. The graphics were turned down, but being able to play your favourite games on the Trendy 2 is still a huge plus.
As stated, even with its limited resources, the unit still uses these quite efficiently. As such, battery consumption is at a minimum for most of the day, only using additional CPU power when required. On average days, the 2500mAh battery was able to power the device throughout the day without too much concern. If need be, users could eke out a few extra hours of use into day two.
For most users on a budget, having a powerful camera isn’t their first priority, even if it’s something they would surely love to have. With a 2MP front-facing camera and 5MP rear-facing camera, the Trendy 2 does just enough to make photos reasonably well received. In good lighting conditions, the image quality is good and crisp. The same cannot be said in lower-lit environments, with graininess being more of an issue. The front-facing camera does include a flash on the other side of the ear speaker, allowing for better lighting conditions for selfies.
At first glance, the Mobicel Trendy 2 looks like your average budget smartphone. But, under the hood, there’s a different story to tell. The device operates with limited resources to provide an all-round experience. Apart from the lacklustre camera, the rest of the device is well-received. Running on the Android PGo software, the Trendy 2 can easily power through an entire day on a single charge, while delivering great performances across the board, allowing you to play almost all games from the Play Store. At a retail price of R899, the unit is quite a steal, the most affordable smartphone running the PGo software. The Trendy 2 is a really good smartphone at an even better price, and definitely worth your consideration.
Mobicel Trendy 2
The Mobicel Trendy 2 is the most affordable Android PGo-powered smartphone, delivering great performance on a budget.