The Kenyan smartphone market is not easy to crack. We have seen many manufacturers try to get into this market with some of them succeeding and some failing miserably. Even with this, there are some brands that are betting on the Kenyan market. One such company is Fero Mobiles, the company officially launched its devices in the country in September this year. Fero Mobiles has a number of devices, both smartphones and feature phones. This company is run by the same people behind MidCom, one of the biggest smartphone distributors in the country. I have had the Fero Royale X1, the first flagship device from the company. I have used this device for over a month and this is its full review.
Plastic back cover, bulky
The Fero Royale X1 has a 5-inch display that gives it a small size that is comfortable to carry around. I have a soft spot for smartphones with a 5-inch display and the Royale X1 is just one of them. I had the variant with a Gold colour that looks absolutely beautiful, especially from the front. From the back it looks plain and washed out. Fero could have used the same finish you get on the front to give the phone a premium look.
The phone itself feels bulky and this is a disappointment for me. Given that it has a non-removable battery, Fero could have made the phone slightly thinner as this is its flagship device.
Given that the phone has a 5 inch display, it is easy to hold and operate with one hand. You can easily access the power button, which is located on the right hand side, and the volume keys that are located on the left. I am used to having the volume keys on the right with the power button but I got used to this new setup within a few hours of using the phone.
The Micro USB slot for charging and data transfer is at the bottom with the headphone jack at the top. The back of the Royale X1 has the 13MP camera with a single LED flash and the speaker grille at the bottom. The back cover is made of plastic and is removable giving you access to the two SIM card slots and the MicroSD card slots. Even though the back cover is removable, the battery cannot be removed.
Overall, I really liked the design and look of the Fero Royale X1. I grew into this design with time and I especially like how it look from the front. The gold accents sandwiching the display give it an appealing look.
5.0 inch IPS display, 720p resolution
The Fero Royale X1 has a 5 inch display with a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels. This is an IPS display that the company says is protected with Panda King Glass. I never heard of this company until I got the Royale X1. Even with that said, the display is still as good as new after over a month of using the phone so it is reliable.
The display is quite bright and vibrant both indoors and outdoors. In some situations, especially under direct sunlight, seeing what is on the display was a bit hard even when the brightness was bumped up to the maximum possible level. This happened in isolated cases as most of the times I could use the phone when outdoors without any problems.
Still on the brightness, my one big issues is that there is no automatic brightness setting that changes the level depending on the lighting around you. You are forced to do this manually and this is not something I was expecting, having an automatic setting is the way to go even if it will use more battery power.
The small display size is not the perfect one for media consumption for those coming from smartphones with much biggeR displays. I was coming from the Infinix Hot 4 which has a 5.5 inch display but I got used to this size quite fast. If you watch a lot of videos on your phone, this phone won’t disappoint, it doesn’t have a full HD resolution but colour reproduction is great.
The display is very responsive and does not collect a lot of fingerprints. You don’t have to wipe it every so often. Something worth noting is that the Royale X1 has on screen capacitive keys that eat up some of the screen real estate.
Software and Performance
Android Marshmallow, 1GHz Processor, 3GB RAM
The Fero Royale X1 comes with a near stock Android experience running Android 6.0 Marshmallow out of the box. There is no news if it will get updated to Android 7.0 Nougat but I am fine with Marshmallow at the moment. As I have just mentioned, Fero Mobiles has not tweaked the OS and most people may appreciate this. The OS feels light and I did experience any issues during my review period.
The software aside, the Royale X1 comes with 3GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage space. If this is not enough for you, there is a microSD card slot that can expand the space to 128GB. The 3GB of RAM is paired with the 1GHz MediaTek MTK6735 processor. This is a Quad Core processor and did not present any performance issues during my review period. Multitasking is a breeze and even playing high demanding games did not slow down the phone.
If you are looking for a budget phone that will not let you down in the performance department, the Fero Royale X1 is definitely something you should look into. Daily tasks are handled the way they should, no lags as we are used to seeing with most budget devices.
13MP back, 5MP front
The Fero X1 comes with a 13MP unit at the back and a 5MP front facing one. The 13MP camera at the back has auto focus and next to it is the LED flash to help take better photos in the dark. Speaking of taking photos in the dark, the Fero Royale X1 struggles a lot but this is sort of expected. The phone takes some good shots but I believe it could have been better. If the lighting is good, the photos takes are quite good, detailed and vibrant as they should be.
For the 5MP front facing camera, you need good lighting to take decent photos. There is no front facing flash to help you out here.
The one area the Fero Royale X1 shines is in the battery department. It has a 4,100 mAh battery which easily lasts me the whole day or two. The small 5-inch display helps a bit and is quite commendable. If you are not a heavy user, you will easily get the phone’s battery to last for three or even four days without having to recharge it.
The one thing that disappoints me about the Royale X1 is that it does not support quick charging. I mean, the 4,100 mAh battery takes forever recharge and this could have been corrected if it just supported quick charging. With the next flagship device, I hope Fero Mobiles looks into having a fast charging feature.
That’s all for the Fero Royale X1. The phone is quite impressive for a company that is just getting started in the smartphone manufacturing business. I was not so impressed with the phone the first few days but things changed as I continued using it. The phone has a different and almost business-like design that is appealing to some people.
Besides how it looks, the phone handles everything you throw at it without any problems. During the month I spent with the phone, I did not experience any lags or any performance issues. This is commendable for a phone that costs less than Ksh 15,000.
It supports 4G LTE, an added feature most people will appreciate. Still on the network topic, the phone picks up signals very fast and the network quality is reliable. When on a phone call, you can clearly hear the people on the other side as long as you are in an area with good reception.
In short, the Fero Royale X1 is an impressive device that you can get for Ksh 14,000. If this is your budget, then you know the phone to add to the list of devices you are looking into.
Also Read: Infinix Hot S Review