The Starmobile Up Groove is your every typical budget phone, offering basic specs and features at an affordable price. Starmobile, however, makes the Up Groove stand out by equipping it with PocketPunch loudspeakers, targeting music lovers among the budget smartphone-seeking crowd.
Android 7.0 Nougat
5” 720 x 1880 294ppi HD LCD
1.3GHz quad-core Arm Cortex-A7 MediaTek MT6580; Mali-400MP GPU
16GB internal storage, microSD up to 32GB
8MP rear with AutoFocus, BSI, and LED flash; 8MP front; 720p @ 30fps video recording
Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth, USB OTG, microUSB 2.0, A-GPS
143.75 x 71.5 x 9.1mm, 163g
The Up Groove sports a design and built typical of budget mobile devices in the market. Up front is the screen—the front camera at the top and the non-illuminating capacitive keys at the bottom. At the right side are the volume rockers, the power button, and a small groove where you can open the rear cover safely. The 3.5mm audio and microUSB ports can be found at the top part of the device.
The rear features a removable back shell, which has two textures—the smooth upper half flaunts the Starmobile logo, rear camera, and LED flash, while the ridged bottom part sports the speaker grille. Prying it open reveals the battery, which you have to remove every time you want to access the SIM card and microSD slots.
This device is bulky and hefty, but it’s not uncomfortable to hold for long periods of time. In fact, the weight adds to the overall solid feel of the Up Groove.
Speed’s review unit comes in Champagne Gold (it is also available in Jazz Blue), which gives the device a bit of premium look, especially with the addition of the metallic gold trimming on the sides. The unit comes with a removable battery, microUSB cord, wall charger, earphones, warranty papers, quick start guide, and a Smart LTE SIM card out of the box.
The Up Groove’s display is bright enough for daily use. It has good viewing angles, the colors are on the average, but the texts are not that crisp. If you’re used to phones with IPS or OLED screen, the one on the Up Groove can be underwhelming. But it does its job, especially if you are simply using it as a secondary device.
With its RAM and processor, there’s not much to expect from the Starmobile Up Groove when it comes to performance. Still, it allows you do basic tasks such as messaging, taking and making calls, writing notes, taking pictures, and some light social media browsing. You start encountering lags when several apps are already open and you’re trying to switch in between them. Graphics-heavy games are also a no-go zone for this smartphone if you want to avoid any hitches.
Surprisingly, the Up Groove already runs on stock Android Nougat out of the box. There are no UI overlays, but Starmobile added a few apps such as System Guard, Elsa Speak, and TappyToon. You may delete these apps if you want to maximize the device’s limited internal storage (and limited memory expansion).
Another built-in app available on the Up Groove is the Loudspeaker, which highlights the phone’s powerful audio. Using this app, you can turn on and off the loudspeaker fitted at the bottom rear part of the smartphone; it also lets you select music and play/pause the song. With the loudspeaker turned off, the phone already delivers clear and crisp audio. But when turned on, the Up groove produces the same audio quality at a very much louder volume with very minimal distortion.
The cameras are okay—there’s nothing exceptional with the shooters fitted on the Up Groove. On bright settings, the rear and front cameras capture photos that are average on quality. Low light photos are problematic as they come out grainy and blurred. Using the LED flash greatly helps when taking pictures at night or in dark situations using the rear shooter.
Charging the battery requires two hours tops. On full charge, it will last you up to six hours of constant use and ten to twelve hours on standby.
If you’re looking for a secondary phone for your work or business, or an entry-level device you can give your kids, the Starmobile Up Groove is an option you may consider. It is reliable for basic tasks such as calls, text messages, and light social media use. Plus, it comes with a loud and clear speaker that caters to those who want to have their music booming wherever they go.