I was recently fortunate enough to attend MyPhone’s official launch of their latest and greatest flagship Android device, the MyPhone Agua Iceberg. The MyPhone Iceberg is an intriguing Android handset because it sports one of the largest displays in the local phone market and an aluminum body that gives it an extra-premium feel. There was obviously a lot of interest in it considering the large crowd that had already gathered prior to the official launch. Thankfully, I was able to get some hands on time with it to see what all the fuss was about.
Build Quality and Design
The MyPhone Iceberg is large, but it’s by no means heavy or bulky. In fact, it’s quite light and thin at 220g and 8.9mm. The lightness is largely thanks to the curved aluminum back that also happens to be very comfortable in the hand despite its size. The design is reminiscent of the HTC One and looks very premium.
MyPhone has really gone the extra mile to promote the aluminum finish of the Agua Iceberg. It certainly does have an advantage over plastic as it isn’t as prone to breaking or scratching. However, it is more susceptible to denting, so you still won’t want to drop it.
The MyPhone Iceberg features a gargantuan 5.7 inch HD IPS screen protected by Gorilla Glass 2 with a resolution of 720 x 1280 and a resulting pixel density of 258ppi. The pixel density might not be the best out there, but keep in mind that you won’t be holding the MyPhone Iceberg as close to your face as you would with a smaller phone. In fact, you won’t even have to hold the phone all that close to your eyes since everything will be blown up on a larger screen. That’s not to say that the screen isn’t great, because it is. The IPS panel also exhibits some vivid yet natural-looking colors that are consistent even when you look at it from an angle.
Aboard the MyPhone Iceberg is a quad core MediaTek MT6589 processor clocked at 1.2GHz. It’s also coupled with a PowerVR SGX544 GPU, which gives the Iceberg its snappiness when navigating through the UI or playing games. Thanks to members of the MyPhone Android dev group, I was able to install Antutu on the MyPhone Iceberg during the event to get an idea of the performance that it was capable of. It scored a 12,771 after one run, which is about on par with other locally-branded phones that have the same SoC and screen resolution.
Software and UI
The MyPhone Agua Iceberg runs Android 4.2 Jelly Bean out of the box. Outside of the MyPhone-flavored icons, the UI looks mostly stock. However, MyPhone has gone out of the way to give people a lot of value for money with their phones by including a lot of software features that are supposed to improve the user experience.
The first such software feature is called Clever Motion, and it basically allows the phone to respond more intelligently to a your actions during certain situations. For example, if you’re in a meeting and can’t answer a call, you can flip the phone over on its screen to instantly mute it. Of course, if it’s a call that you do want to answer, just place it to your ear to automatically answer it. You can even take pictures just by waving your hand in front of the camera and triggering the shutter. That’s all without touching the screen.
Then there’s the Active Lockscreen, which gives you a lot of access to your phone’s functionality right from the lockscreen itself. You can even customize what you have access to so that you don’t have to unlock the screen every time and fish through the app drawer to get to the application you want. It’s a neat app, although I should mention that it’s freely available on Google Play.
However, the most interesting software feature of the bunch is the TARA anti-theft application. It does a variety of things to help secure your phone, such as track the number of unsuccessful screen unlock attempts, set an expiration for your passwords and encrypts your files. But the most impressive feature is that it can remotely kill your phone and render it useless in case it gets lost or stolen. I’m told this is the first pre-installed anti-theft application on any smartphone in the world that has this kill-switch functionality.
Telephony and Wireless Connectivity
Being powered by the MediaTek MT6589, the MyPhone Iceberg already has support for 3G/HSPA+ built-in. This grants the phone faux 4G speeds for fast downloads/uploads and convenient browsing on the go. It also has the usual wireless connectivity options, such as WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS with A-GPS and dual SIM functionality.
The MyPhone Agua Iceberg features a 12Mp BSI autofocus rear-facing camera with LED flash and a 5Mp front-facing camera for those Facebook selfies and video chat sessions. The 12Mp camera should have awesome low-light performance due to its BSI sensor and be able to record Full HD video, although I wasn’t able to test this aspect of the phone while I had it. However, there were a bunch of dealers and VIPs at the event who already had the phone and were enjoying using it to take pictures and record the event.
Gaming and Entertainment
The huge 5.7 inch HD IPS screen instantly lends itself well to things like playing games and watching movies. Thanks to the aforementioned MyPhone Android dev group, I was able to see the Iceberg in action with Temple Run Oz, a game that is deceptively heavy when it comes to graphics. The phone performed admirably well, with minimal lag while playing the game. The MyPhone Iceberg will keep you entertained for hours if you so wish, whether you want to play games, watch movies, listen to music and the like.
This is perhaps one of the biggest questions anyone interested in buying the phone would ask. Will it last the day? The MyPhone Agua Iceberg is equipped with a 2,600mAh battery, which is pretty sizable when compared to other phones, but seems a bit lacking considering the sheer size of the phone. This is probably a good thing it doesn’t have a Full HD screen because the extra pixels would result in a much bigger battery drain. At most, it should last just shy of a day, so my advice is to bring an extra power bank just in case. The MT6589 is pretty power-efficient though so you might not need that power bank too often.
My Impressions After My Time with the MyPhone Iceberg
It might be argued that there isn’t as much appeal for phones with screens that are larger than 5 inches compared to those with screens that are 5 inches and below. But if the crowd at the launch event is any indicator, that might not matter. However, the sheer size of phones like the MyPhone Agua Iceberg can affect their pocketability and the way you use the phones overall. You might end up putting the phone in your bag a lot, rather than your pocket, which is fine, but you might not be able to hear incoming text messages or calls as they come in if you forget to turn the ringtone volume up.
However, there are a lot of benefits to having a screen of that size too. Browsing the internet, watching movies and playing games is so much better on a large screen, and the experience on a mobile phone can’t get that much better than on the 5.7 inch HD IPS screen of the MyPhone Iceberg. If you feel that you can work around the phone’s sheer size, then the MyPhone Iceberg is one of the best Android phablets you can get.
MyPhone Agua Iceberg Specs
- 5.7 inch HD (720 x 1280, 258ppi) IPS display with Gorilla Glass 2
- 1.2GHz quad core MediaTek MT6589 processor
- PowerVR SGX544
- Android 4.2.1 Jelly Bean
- 1Gb RAM
- 16Gb internal storage, non-expandable
- 12mp autofocus rear-facing camera with LED flash, support for 1080p video recording
- 5mp front-facing camera
- WiFi b/g/n
- Bluetooth 4.0
- GPS with A-GPS
- FM Radio
- 2,600mAh non-removable battery
- Clever Motion
- TARA anti-theft software
- Price: Php11,988