Today we are taking a look at one of the many clone devices available in the markets and distribution channels of China. The No.1 S7 smartphone is a clone of the Samsung Galaxy S5 and is available for less than a third of the S5’s asking price. Today we assess the No.1 S7 and compare it directly to the original which inspired it.
Being a clone device, basically the No.1 S7 attempts to imitate the Samsung Galaxy S5 at every turn, but it does so using what are essentially cheaper and inferior components. The screen is lower resolution, the processor is probably half as powerful, the battery life is not even close and the cameras are of a very different caliber. This all sounds quite negative, but in fact the real beauty of this device is that it retails for a fraction of the price that the S5 commands.
Let’s also make one thing clear in terms of context; the Samsung Galaxy S5 can be regarded as the pinnacle of smartphone manufacturing right now in the world. It’s designed and built by the world’s bestselling and arguably most powerful Android phone vendor – how could a much smaller manufacturer in China possibly create a competing device? Then sell it for a third of the price? It would be impossible of course.
Don’t forget to check out this video review of the device where you can see the No.1 S7 side-by-side with the Samsung Galaxy S5:
So if the No.1 S7 is an attempt at the impossible, how far away is the end result? First let’s check out the raw specifications:
No.1 S7 (Samsung Galaxy S5 Clone):Specifications
• 5” 960 x 540 IPS LCD
• Mediatek MT6582 @1.3GHz Quad Core
• Mali 400 MP2 500GHz GPU
• 1GB LPDDR2
• GSM, 3G/WCDMA
• 13MP Rear Camera
• 5MP Front Camera
• WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
• GPS, Bluetooth 4.0
• 142 x 72.5 x 8.1mm
• 125 grams
• Android 4.2
In general design and build terms the hardware on the No.1 S7 is making every effort to be as similar to the Galaxy S5 as possible, and that means they have paid plenty of attention to detail. The device feels very similar to the Galaxy S5 in the hand, with almost identical weight and dimensions. The chassis appears to be made of very similar materials with the exception of the back panel which follows the S5 with a faux leather finish that doesn’t quite feel the same as the original – if anything it feels more like plastic, and slightly more slippery than Samsung’s slightly controversial and opinion dividing finish.
Opening up the device, we see near identical layouts in terms of positioning of the microSIM card slot, battery and microSD slot. The only real discernible difference is the total absence of water proofing on the No.1. If we turn our attention to the USB port on the bottom of the device we have the same flap with what appears to be a USB 3.0 slot (it isn’t, it’s USB 2.0), but in comparison to the Samsung it feels quite clumsy and even a little frail. Samsung clearly made the flap as robust as possible to ensure its capacity to repel water and dust. No such concerns from No.1 however which is in no way remotely IP67 certified.
The headphone jack, power button, volume rocker camera positioning and all other cosmetic details are identical to the Galaxy S5, although the home button does not support a fingerprint reader (but you knew that anyway, right?). It is actually credit to No.1 they have managed to really create something that looks and feels this close to the original in almost all respects.
The display on the Samsung Galaxy S5 is one of the best on the market. It’s colors are bright and vibrant and the viewing angles on the Full HD AMOLED panel are exceptional. We really like the Samsung Galaxy S5 display, in fact you could say its one of its best features.
The No.1 S7 does not reach the dizzy heights of 1080p, instead you are getting a 960 x 540 resolution IPS LED screen that actually does a good job. At first glance there is not too much to complain about, only when you place it side by side with S5 do you see that it does not have anywhere near the brightness and pixel detail that the Samsung Galaxy S5 offers.
However, the screen for this price range is totally acceptable and performs reasonably well outdoors with decent color reproduction and viewing angles. One minor issue that we noticed is that the touch-screen was not quite as responsive as we would have liked, especially in multi-touch tasks like gaming (check the video for more on that). It just seemed inconsistent compared to high-end devices such as the Samsung Galaxy S5.
The Samsung Galaxy S5 packs the most powerful mobile processor on the market at the moment with its Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 SoC. The No1. S7 is kitted out with a MediaTek Quad-core MT6582, an ARM Cortex-A7 chip clocked at 1.3GHz integrating the Mali-400 MP2 graphics processor.
The MediaTek processor is adequate enough to keep the Android 4.2 OS running smoothly, and we noticed no issues at all with device navigation. Apps launched quickly and multi-tasking from app to app proved to be no problem at all. Benchmarks tell a different story however, with MediaTek proving to be way behind the Qualcomm offering. In AnTuTu we see scores of 17,123 points for the No.1 S7, while the Samsung Galaxy S5 weighs in with 35,144 points, more than doubling the score reached by its clone. This kind of scoring is consistent throughout our benchmark suite as you can see in the table below.
Samsung Galaxy S5 Clone: Benchmark Comparison
|No.1 S7 (Galaxy S5 Clone)||Samsung Galaxy S5|
|GFX Bench T-Rex||3.5fps||27.1fps|
|3DMark - Ice Storm||2870||18373|
|Sunspider (lower is better)||762.4||665.2|
In terms of gaming, the No1. S7 proved that it could in fact handle the games we installed including titles like Dead Trigger 2 and Front-line Commando D-Day. The Samsung Galaxy S5 however in a side by side test proved to offer a much better gaming experience, with smoother game-play, much better and more vibrant 1080p visuals and a clearer, louder speaker. Gaming is one area where the extra cost and quality of the Galaxy S5 really shines.
The specifications of the S7 indicate that you are getting a pair of decent camera sensors with a 13MP rear camera and 5MP on the front. On paper this would not seem to be too far away from the 16MP/2MP pairing on the Galaxy S5, in reality however, Samsung has a pretty considerable edge. Generally speaking the sensor on the Galaxy S5 shows some of the best low light capabilities we have ever seen on a smartphone, taking visually stunning shoot-and-click shots, largely regardless of light conditions.
Using the 13MP camera on the No.1 S7 however, takes a bit of work and there were other issues too. The automatic white balance seemed a little off in many of the shots we took, there was very little sharpening of images which tended to look a little pixilated, especially after you zoom in. The HDR function tended to make some shots a little over-exposed and the LED flash is nowhere near as strong and bright as the equivalent on the Galaxy S.
In general the No.1 S7 can take decent shots in the right conditions. You only get a choice basic modes and functions, but to be fair, the sensor used here is indicative of the price paid for the device. You are getting an entry-mid level camera, something that probably would have been pretty decent a few generations ago.
Check out the No.1 S7 Photo Gallery below:
It was really during game-play that we noticed a real difference between the two devices speaker systems. The Galaxy S5 does not have anything as good HTC’s recent One series offerings and their BoomSound stereo speakers, but it is certainly louder and clearer than than the speaker system on the No.1 S7 which sounded very average to be honest. It is too tinny and lacking any bass frequencies to really make handheld gaming the pleasure it can be on better quality devices. Overall, the internal speaker did not impress us at all.
The levels to which No.1 have really attempted to mimic the galaxy S5 default aesthetics is actually very impressive. From the unlock screen, the home screen, the phone call app, calendar and other built in Samsung apps have been copied almost exactly. There are slight color variations in the default S5 theme, but how much is poor reproduction and how much is the display not quite reproducing the accurate colors is open to debate. Some of the icons used also don’t quite look the same as those on the Samsung, which opts for a very flat, contour-less design.
Samsung’s TouchWiz UI gives us more expanded drop down menus and navigation that offer easy access to their own special features where are the S7 tends to reflect a much more vanilla Android 4.2 experience. A great deal has been done to make the No.1 S7 as similar as possible but plenty of subtle differences remain. The upshot is that the Samsung UI experience is touch more professional and attractive, with a slew of additional unique features.
Overall the battery life of the No. 1 S7 is a disappointment. Like many cheaper smartphones it uses a cheaper lithium polymer solution that peforms somewhat less well than we would have hoped. Advertised as being the same capacity as the Samsung Galaxy S5’s 2,800mAh battery, we are strongly inclined to conclude that it is in fact substantially smaller. There is a chance that the MediaTek processor is simply not configured well enough regarding power saving when idle, but overall heavy users will struggle to get a full day.
The Samsung Galaxy S5 is one of the best smartphones on the market, even to a HTC fanboy like myself (there you are Sascha, I have admitted it… haha), so for the No.1 S7 to try and be its equal in any sense would be a huge and inevitably impossible ask.
But in many ways No.1 as a company know that trying to create an equivalent device at a much, much lower price point is impossible, so what we essentially have is a far cheaper device that apes Samsung Galaxy S5 as far as it can with the resources at its disposal. This means that the camera is inferior, the processor is far slower, the display is lower resolution and the software is less well refined and more basic, and the battery life is far from great – in comparison to the Galaxy S5. Compared to other devices in its class, it fares much better.
The point I am making is that we have to look at the No.1 S7 in the correct context. CECT-SHOP retail the No.1 S7 device for €129, where as the Galaxy S5 retails for closer to €600. I would argue that for a third of the price, you getting around two thirds the smartphone. Some would call that a little generous, but the fact is the S7 is a reasonably well built, decent performing 5 inch smartphone with Samsung styling. Whether or not it is the right choice for you, depends on what you want from a sub €200 device.
Note: I would not consider the No.1 S7 to be a counterfeit device, more a copy or clone device. The key difference is that the it carries no Samsung logos or branding, and the retail chain that supplied the device is in no way hiding the fact that it is a Galaxy S5 clone from by a company called No. 1. i.e. there is no deception taking place, customers know what they are getting. Whether or not the device would be deemed illegal in most countries, would be something for lawyers and judges to decide.
Our aim today was to simply assess the device and compare it to the original which inspired it. Hope you all enjoyed it.
Thanks to CECT-SHOP.com who gave us the No.1 S7 for this review. Check them out CECT-SHOP here.