Since the original Samsung Galaxy Tab started it all, I’ve always been a fan of compact call and text Android tablets. These days, they’re a dime a dozen, but can still be a little pricey because of the extra cost of their radios. The Torque Ego Phab is one example of a super affordable call and text tablet that lets you do the basics, but cuts some corners to keep the cost down. Is it worth losing a few features so you can save a few bucks on this kind of tablet? Find out in my full review!
What’s in the Box?
The Torque Ego Phab comes with the bare minimum standard accessories.
- Micro USB to USB cable
- 2A output wall charger
- User manual
- Screen protector
You’re getting all the basics and the screen protector is much appreciated. You’ll need to install it yourself though.
Build Quality and Design
The Torque Ego Phab’s design is just as nondescript as the Ego Phab S. The earpiece and front camera are located above the Ego Phab’s 7 inch screen, with the earpiece in a silver finish to help determine its orientation. The power/lock button and volume rocker can be found on the right side, while the micro USB and 3.5mm headset ports can be found on top.
On the back, you’ll find the 5mp camera, Torque and Ego Phab branding, and a tiny loudspeaker to the bottom on the right. The back cover isn’t removable so the battery can’t be replaced, but there’s a strip that you can remove to access the dual SIM slots and the microSD slot.
While it’s still a generic design, I do appreciate the compact body and slimmer bezels compared to the Ego Tab S. While not ideal, you could realistically hold it in one hand and take calls without a headset. You’d still look like a dork, but there are times when you need to answer a call quickly and don’t have enough time to fish for a headset inside your bag.
The Torque Ego Phab is equipped with a 7 inch WSVGA TN (twisted nematic) display. The resolution itself isn’t bad for a budget tablet, but color shift occurs even at moderate viewing angles. The screen isn’t lacking for brightness though, but there’s no ambient light sensor so you’ll need to adjust it manually yourself.
Software and UI
The Ego Phab runs Android 4.4 KitKat, which is beginning to get behind in the times. Upcoming smartphones are coming out with Marshmallow 6.0 and let’s not forget there’s also Lollipop 5.0 and 5.1. Still, the UI is largely unmodified, giving it a stock look and feel.
Benchmarks and Performance
Given its budget pricing, don’t expect jaw-dropping performance. Instead, you get a 1.3GHz MediaTek MT8312 dual core processor with a Mali 400 GPU. Despite being just a dual core SoC, the MT8312 is able to facilitate quick UI navigation. You’ll start to notice the modest SoC’s limitations though once you start launching and playing around in apps.
Although the Ego Phab is a call and text tablet, you’re not likely to use it a lot with mobile data. This is because it only supports up to 2G connectivity, which essentially means you’ll need to be tethered to a WiFi hotspot if you want to surf the internet with it. Other connectivity options include Bluetooth
You’re only getting a 5mp fixed focus rear camera without its own flash, so don’t expect the Ego Phab to capture a lot of great shots. It’s still handy for the occasional social media share and performs well enough in good lighting. Expect a lot of noise once you go indoors though. This applies to the 3mp front camera as well.
Entertainment and Gaming
Being equipped with a 7 inch WSVGA screen, browsing through your gallery or watching movies should be a reasonably good experience. However, the color shift being exhibited at modest viewing angles means it isn’t ideal for sharing.
As for gaming, the Ego Phab can surprisingly handle a few of the more graphically intensive games. I tested it with Unkilled, which is the spiritual successor to Dead Trigger 2 and found it to be playable on low graphics settings.
With a lot of smartphones coming with batteries in excess of 3,000mAh, it’s surprising to see the Torque Ego Phab with only 2,500mAh. Of course, its components aren’t exactly power-hungry, but a higher capacity battery would have been appreciated.
If you use it exclusively as a tablet, you can still get pretty decent battery life. However, the Ego Phab is meant to replace your phone as well, so expect to have to plug it in at least once a day for a little pick-me-up.
So Should You Buy the Torque Ego Phab?
The idea of a do-it-all tablet should appeal to many, and for the most part, the Torque Ego Phab does most things adequately. Of course, corners had to be cut to keep the price as low as it is. No 3G, and entry-level specs are just a couple of things you’ll have to stomach. Still, there’s a certain convenience to being able to call and text on the same tablet you consume your media from.
Torque Ego Phab Specs
- 7″ WSVGA display (600 x 1024 resolution, 170ppi)
- 1.3GHz MediaTek MT8312 dual core processor
- Mali 400 GPU
- Android 4.4 KitKat
- 512MB RAM
- 8GB internal storage, expandable via microSD
- 5mp fixed focus rear-facing camera
- 3mp front camera
- 2G/dual SIM
- WiFi, Bluetooth
- 2,500mAh battery
- Php: PricePhp2,199