MyPhone Agua Infinity Review

Not to be left behind the octa-core releases in the Philippines, local mobile brand MyPhone released the MyPhone Agua Infinity, a premium-looking Android smartphone that boasts among others, a 5-inch FHD display, a metal frame, and a true octa-core processor by budget company Mediatek. Having tried it first-hand, it's almost everything I expected it to be: It's fast, it has a good battery life, has some additional tricks up its sleeves, and it holds its own weight when pitted against both local and international brands, not to mention it's quite the looker.

The smartphone aside, MyPhone didn't spare any expense making sure the Agua Infinity's box and peripherals are premium-looking. It's got one of the nicest stock headphones I ever saw in a local device plus a great-looking packaging to boot, the level of detail of which impressed me, but I digress. Let's move on to our MyPhone Agua Infinity review.

Design

There's no denying that the MyPhone Agua Infinity looks like an iPhone 5S to the uninitiated; the biggest contributing factor to this effect is the Agua Infinity's aluminum frame (this effect is very noticeable with the white Agua Infinity bearing the rose gold aluminum frame). Not to say that the design is uninspired and has no originality, but on the contrary it's quite refreshing to see another Android device that has metal parts - aside from the HTC One series - and isn't all plastic. This is especially true for almost all local brands, wherein they just shop, ship, and rebadge glossy plastic smartphones from China or India.

MyPhone Agua Infinity Review, MyPhone Infinity Octa Core

The front of the MyPhone Agua Infinity features a 5-inch, Gorilla Glass 2-armored, 1080p display, an 8-megapixel front-facing camera, 3 soft touch buttons, a notification LED light, a unique looking earpiece, and a wave gesture sensor (better known as the "air shuffle" gesture) the on top of the usual sensors. The lights of both the 3 soft touch buttons are very feeble; you won't see it under ordinary indoor light, especially so on the outdoors. It's like there's nothing there, and making contact with these soft touch buttons requires some muscle memory and patience. Good thing they vibrate when touched. The notification LED light on the other hand blinks green (for messages) and red (for charging, low battery warning), but is also quite weak. I mentioned the unique earpiece a while ago because unlike others, it's just an oval of gold-colored aluminum without no mesh. For what it's worth the Agua Infinity pulls the look off. The above said. MyPhone missed some major points here by outing a batch of Infinities that have barely detectable soft touch button lights.

MyPhone Agua Infinity Review, MyPhone Infinity Octa Core

The rear of the MyPhone Agua Infinity features the device's 18-megapixel, gold-colored aluminum lined rear camera, with the LED flash directly to its right. Also present are the well-designed MyPhone and Infinity logos; gone is the huge Philippine map at the behinds of this company's phones. But what captivated me the most at this area is the phone's reflective glass back. Similar to the LG Google Nexus 4, the MyPhone Agua Infinity boasts a "Crystal Reflective Process" rear; the back area shines up like glitter on glass when put against light and moved on different angles. It's fantastic that a local smartphone can pull this off, and it definitely adds a lot of elegance to the device. Then again, you can get a Nexus 4 for the same price as the Agua Infinity—that is, if you can still get one.


Regarding the sides, both side areas are where you can find the micro SIM slots, the mechanism of which act like the ones you see in iPhones, right up to the SIM tray and the SIM tray pin (included in the box). There's also the sleep/wake and volume rocker buttons clumped together at the right side. What I find as a minor annoyance though is that these three buttons are unmarked, and they're quite difficult to press. Then again, marking these buttons might ruin the overall look of the device. The top meanwhile has the 3.5mm audio port, and the bottom has the micro USB/charging port and a neatly-drilled external speaker, right in the aluminum frame.


Handling-wise, the MyPhone Agua Infinity is easy to handle, albeit somewhat slippery and scary to hold; one slip will send this glass device shattering into pieces. The device also has some weight to it; not too light, not to heavy, adding more to the premium feel. The MyPhone Agua Infinity is definitely one of the most beautiful smartphones locally.

Display

The MyPhone Agua Infinity boasts a 5-inch Full HD IPS 1080p display and is equipped with Corning's Gorilla Glass 2. At a 1920 x 1080 resolution setting and a 441 ppi pixel density, the device produces a very fine detail of everything that is displayed on the screen, be it text, icons, and animation. The on-screen animation are also very smooth, considering the hardware the Agua Infinity packs. I would be one very sad person if this beautiful beast is to have trouble handling a 1080p display.

MyPhone Agua Infinity Review, MyPhone Infinity Octa Core

The MyPhone Agua Infinity's display is among the finest - if not the best - in the company's product roster. The Full HD display is warm, has great color saturation and accuracy, giving it a very natural look, and is positively vibrant. The brightness-contrast combination is great; as with all good displays, you should be able to see grays even if cast against black sections of a display. Speaking of blacks, the MyPhone Agua Infinity is also able to produce acceptable deep blacks (vs. other lower displays which produces pale blacks with lightbleeds on the side). Viewing angles are of no issue; the display is able to retain all its colors even at the slightest angle. There's also no ghosting visible anywhere in the device UI. Lastly for this paragraph, sunlight legibility. The text on this device are still visible outdoors—with somewhat moderate color degradation—under strong sunlight, even at only a 35% brightness setting. Now that's a feature I haven't seen in a while.

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As unfortunate as it sounds, the MyPhone Agua Infinity, with all its flagship features, runs only on Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean. Now, there's definitely nothing wrong with that because MyPhone isn't the one at fault; Mediatek, the producer of budget chips found on almost all devices here in the Philippines, doesn't want to share the kernel source code of its products. In short, as long as Mediatek doesn't want to share its source code, don't expect any KitKat update anytime soon, except perhaps for minor patches and fixes.

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The MyPhone Agua Infinity offers a 10-point multitouch display, which is to say already suffice in playing touch heavy games. There are no issues meanwhile in typing messages, as the device accurately reproduces all taps made in the display.

Performance

The MyPhone Agua Infinity runs on a 1.7GHz MT6592 octa-core processor, a sizeable 2GB RAM, and a Mali-450 MP GPU, the same setup used by the Xiaomi Redmi Note. This should be the minimum setup in all octa-core devices in my opinion, then again budget limitations are always a key consideration in deciding a smartphone's specs-to-price priority. The Agua Infinity also comes with a built-in 16GB onboard storage. Disappointingly, there's no expandable microSD card slot to be found in the device, possibly leading potential owners to budget storage space very carefully.

We ran the MyPhone Agua Infinity on a number of benchmarks; needless to say we weren't surprised with the results as we were already expecting it. It blew away previous international flagships out of the water such as the Sony Xperia Z and the HTC One. This device gives enough a reliable user experience that most people will find it smooth and great. Here's the results.

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MyPhone Agua Infinity Review, MyPhone Infinity Octa Core

MyPhone Agua Infinity Review, MyPhone Infinity Octa Core

The Agua Infinity is definitely flagship material because not only does it rank up there with international brands, it also runs full speed at a 1080p resolution (plus the fact that it is finely manufactured). The device's octa-core 1.7GHz MT6592 chipset outperforms the Snapdragon 600 and is almost at par with the Exynos 5 Octa of the Samsung Galaxy S4 i9500. This is evident on device usage: Drawer navigation is overall smooth, as is resource-intensive applications such as 3D games and the like (more on this later). There's no observable bogging down of the smartphone in normal to heavy usage.

This new flagship comes with OTG USB functionality, a seeming standard in most smartphones nowadays. This is going to be one of the most-used features of the device, as it is somewhat low on the internal storage, with the latter only amounting to 16GB. It also comes with a dual micro SIM dual standby functionality, with the SIM 1 slot for 3G/2G connections and the SIM 2 for 2G connection. Network signal is very stable; no random signal fluctuations or degradations have been observed. The heat generated by the device due to heavy usage is negligible to tolerable, i.e. it doesn't become too hot.

If you're a frequent Waze or Google Maps user, you'll be happy to find out that the MyPhone Agua Infinity locks onto GPS pretty fast, around 3-7 seconds, depending on the speed of your mobile data and the congestion around your immediate area.

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One novelty feature of the Agua Infinity is its Clever Motion. It has a specialized sensor that will detect gestures and perform an equivalent action. Such features include Wave to Unlock, Flip to Mute, Wave to Capture Image, and Clever Dial. Operating Clever Motion can be annoying at times, mostly because the device reads unintended actions and proceeds to perform them, e.g. small, unintended thumb movements around the gesture sensor tends to trigger Wave to Capture suddenly, capturing an out of focus image, while Wave to Unlock never worked on my trials. Regardless, it's a neat feature that someone in the company's consumerbase may find helpful.

Audio and Video

Boasting a 5-inch 1080p display and a powerful 1.7GHz MT6592 chipset, rendering fantastic looking videos aren't a problem for the Agua Infinity. The viewing experience is overall smooth: Quick transitions don't lag and there's no pixelation. The only issue I experienced while running videos is the observable choking on rewinding or fast-forwarding scenes. It seems that this choke is caused by the device's built-in ClearMotion video fluency enhancer. What this feature does is increase the sharpness clarity of videos being viewed, similar to those magnificent showcase television sets at appliance showrooms. Yes, enabling ClearMotion dramatically increases video quality, provided the video you're playing is 720p or higher, but it takes a small toll on the device performance. If you're not too touchy about video rewind and fast forward time, by all means always enable ClearMotion.

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Great videos should always be paired with a minimum acceptable audio. Unfortunately, sounds aren't one of the strengths of the MyPhone Agua Infinity. Regardless of what you're doing with the device, e.g. playing a game, watching a movie, the device's volume at 50% is barely audible. If you're in a somewhat noisy room, you won't hear the Agua Infinity's loudspeaker. Only at around 80% would you start to hear the device. At 100%, the loudspeaker sounds okay, with acceptable highs and mids, but with the lows barely detectable. This is saddening because the device's speaker grill looks like it has so much potential, but it looks like it isn't the case. Moving on, the MyPhone Agua Infinity's earpiece sounds decent and clear; there's no issue here.

MyPhone Agua Infinity Review, MyPhone Infinity Octa Core

The MyPhone Agua Infinity comes with a no-tangle cord in-ear headphones, among the first I saw bundled with a local smartphone. What MyPhone is doing is painting its brand and products as premium, while at the same time being totally affordable and reachable by the local market. A good example of this is the MyPhone Agua Rio. The Rio is only P4,999 but it looks and handles great. Going back to the stock headphones, it sounds quite acceptable, though it still won't cut third party products (but still, I'm fairly impressed). At least this local company is making an effort to up the image of their products, and I appreciate this very much. What's unfortunate though is that the MyPhone Agua Infinity does not comply with the CTIA standard, which means that international headphone brands such as AKG, Harman Kardon, and JBL won't likely be compatible with it.

Gaming

Having updated hardware and optimized software on a smartphone most of the time means a wonderful experience in mobile gaming. The same is true with the MyPhone Agua Infinity. Its 5-inch, well-saturated Full HD display provides for gaming with no chokes, no matter the intensity. One of our favorite games to date that makes smartphones choke is Edge of Tomorrow—not the movie, but the mobile game. You see, this game has a lot of elements going on both in the foreground and the background and is very resource intensive (if you're using a quad-core from early 2013, it may not even run on your device); it also has an autodetect feature that kicks up or dials down its graphics depending on your smartphone. These said, Edge of Tomorrow ran with medium to high graphics on the Agua Infinity with no observable choking. The finger-to-display touch response is also wonderful as there were no delays in finger movements to controls.

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Aside from Edge of Tomorrow, the MyPhone Agua Infinity also had no problem running N.O.V.A 3 and Asphalt 8. Meanwhile, no ghosting was observed on the device.

MyPhone Agua Infinity Review, MyPhone Infinity Octa Core

With regards to device temperature while gaming continuously, the MyPhone Agua Infinity does get slightly warm, but is very tolerable. If anything, this smartphone looks like it was made for long-lasting gaming.

Camera

The MyPhone Agua Infinity boasts a true 16-megapixel rear shooter with autofocus and LED flash and an 8-megapixel front-facing camera. If you'll notice, MyPhone markets the Infinity as having a true 16-megapixel camera. This is in reference of other local brands selling smartphones with interpolated cameras (18-megapixels, anyone?). The rear camera itself has some protrusion away from the body that—if not for the free hard case included in the packaging—will cause the device to lie in an elevated angle when placed on a flat surface.

MyPhone Agua Infinity Review, MyPhone Infinity Octa Core

The Agua Infinity's main camera captures photos with a great level of detail, even in low light environments. The only thing that comes off as a minus in the photos are the undersaturation, especially under indoor lit environments. Colors under this condition are dull and are inclined to grays. That aside, the 16-megapixel snapper performs wonderfully and—if you're not too touchy about the pixels—even replace your DSLR. Sample raw photos below.

(Click to enlarge)


Under ideal conditions, the MyPhone Agua Infinity produces clear and crisp images. Objects taken look natural and vibrant under the device's camera. Noise levels are tolerable, and are only significantly obvious when the photos are zoomed. The digital zoom feature performs acceptably i.e. significantly better than other smartphone cameras.

MyPhone Agua Infinity Review, MyPhone Infinity Octa Core

The camera's interface is a slightly-modified stock of Android 4.2 Jelly Bean and offers the usual set of filters and detection modes. There's no delay between the screen touch control andt the camera shutter, though the autofocus could use a little more speed. Surprisingly, the MyPhone Agua Infinity's LED flash is bright and strong (as strong as my HTC One's flash on maximum setting) Weak camera flashes usually are the common weaknesses of MyPhone smartphones.

Battery

One of the highlights of the MyPhone Agua Infinity, aside from its being an octa-core, is its longevity. The smartphone comes with only a 2350mAh non-removable Li-ion battery, but has lasted me a solid 10 hours on regular usage (this includes a combination of WiFi and data usage, moderate online gaming and browsing, and use of messaging applications), medium brightness, and with CPU Power Saving mode enabled, before hitting the 10% drain mark. What the CPU Power Saving mode does is limit the device's CPU performance, enabling only hardware when needed, therefore saving battery life.

MyPhone Agua Infinity Review, MyPhone Infinity Octa Core

However, a battery with such a good rating takes an awfully long time to charge. We timed the charging of the device (while powered on, both SIMs active) from 5% to 100%, and it took 4 hour 28 minutes. Of course, the Agua Infinity will definitely charge faster if it was off, but we didn't want to miss any notification, and this is how most people charge their smartphones anyway.

Other Features

The MyPhone Agua Infinity comes with a plethora of value-added features, such as the Pinoy app, which offers local history, songs, prayers, and other favorites in an audio format; and an OTA update feature which gives critical fixes and patches to your device through data or WiFi (we recently received an OTA for the Agua Infinity, though we're unsure of the changelog).

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Verdict

Whether it does or doesn't look like an iPhone 5S, the MyPhone Agua Infinity definitely did its best on delivering a true octa-core experience. It's well-built (up to the box if I'd say so myself), it's equipped with great hardware, and it can take other more expensive previous international flagships on a head-on collision and still win.

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Admittedly, it comes short on some flagship features, such as better image saturation, a brighter LED notification and soft touch button lights, and perhaps NFC connectivity. Then again, these do not significantly affect this smartphone's attractiveness, because at the end of the day, informed consumers are after performance, function, and practicality, and these are criteria the Agua Infinity has met.

While we acknowledge the fact that there are already other local octa-cores in the market—and that some of them could be better than the MyPhone Agua Infinity—we can't say it for certain, because at this point they're sharing the same hardware configuration, save for additional functions and novelty features, and there's not much significant difference between them performance-wise aside from user experience—the most important aspect of all. Something that is inherent with the MyPhone Agua Infinity.

The MyPhone Agua Infinity is now available on MyPhone kiosks and partner retailers nationwide for P12,999.

MyPhone Agua Infinity Specifications

OS: Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean
Processor: 1.7GHz octa-core MediaTek MT6592 processor, Mali-450MP GPU
Memory: 2GB RAM, 16GB internal storage, no microSD card slot
Display: 5-inch Full HD IPS display, 1080 x 1920 resolution, Corning Gorilla Glass 2, 10-point multitouch
Camera: True 16-megapixel rear camera with AF and LED flash, 8-megapixel front-facing camera, video at 1080p@30fps
Connectivity: 3G, HSPA+, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, WiFi hotspot, Bluetooth 4.0 w/ A2DP, GPS w/ A-GPS support and GLONASS, micro USB 2.0, USB OTG
SIM: Dual micro SIM, dual standby
Battery: 2350mAh Li-ion battery, non-removable

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