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Ever wonder why it’s so hard to find a good, reliable smartphone that’s under 5.5 inches in size? We’ve wondered that for quite some time. Fortunately, there now exists a 5.2-inch model with Android that you can confidently carry with you and use every single day. It’s called the Arsenal VR One, the first and only model available from a rather newly-launched smartphone brand that aims to offer flagship features at reasonable prices.

The idea behind the Arsenal smartphone brand, and subsequently, its smartphone products, is a very simple one. If people still aren’t clamoring to get their hands on the latest smartphone models despite their low prices, their eyes must be fixated on the higher-end choices that offer far more value for money. So that market segment was Arsenal’s first target.

Key Specs

  • 5.2-inch Full HD LTPS display
  • 10-point multi-touch support
  • Gorilla Glass 3
  • 1.3GHz quad-core MediaTek MT6753 processor
  • 3GB RAM
  • 32GB internal storage
  • microSD card support up to 128GB
  • Bluetooth 4.0 with A2DP + BLE
  • 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi (Dual-band)
  • HSPA+ and 4G LTE mobile data
  • 3.5mm headphone jack
  • Fingerprint scanner (0.25s unlock)
  • Built-in loudspeaker
  • 8MP front-facing camera with wide-angle lens
  • 13MP rear auto-focus camera with LED flash
  • Android 6.0 Marshmallow
  • 2800mAh battery
  • Colors: Pitch black and Metallic silver

It’s not every day you come across a simple 5.2-inch model that promises to give you everything. Can the Arsenal VR One deliver?

Design and build quality


The Arsenal VR One can be called many things, but most of all, it’s beautiful. It’s eye-catching in its simplicity. On the front of the phone, there’s an intricate pattern embedded right beneath the glass on top of the display. It’s a small detail that you might not be able to see from afar, but up close, you won’t be able to help but smile at that level of attention to detail.

The VR One eschews curves and rounded edges, except for the corners of its casing, and instead opts for a more aggressive look with the use of straight lines and solid shapes. The phone itself looks like a single sleek slab of electronics, like a glass and metal sandwich that showcases one of the most appealing and highly-responsive touchscreen displays.

There are buttons on the side of the VR One for power/lock and volume up and down, and there is also a single hardware button below the screen that functions as the Home key. Actually, the Home key serves more than one function, as it can also be used as a Back button with a simple soft touch, and a Recent apps button with a quick double press.


On the back of the VR One, there’s minimal branding, antenna lines, and the rear camera and flash combo near the top. The battery cover which is the entire back of the phone is non-removable, and is made out of cold, hard metal that feels great to the touch.

The Arsenal logo, which looks like a carved out triangle, can be founded almost dead center on the back, while the model name VR One, is located near the bottom but on the center of the back as well.

Cameras and performance


Though not marketed as a selfie smartphone, or even just having a particularly good rear camera for that matter, the VR One has an impressive set of cameras.

The rear cam on the VR One shoots detailed and relatively noise-free 13MP photos, while the front cam shoots bright 8MP selfies. The front cam also has a wide-angle lens, making it possible to take “groufies” or group selfies with ease.

Also, the VR One comes with a unique VR solution that allows users to have a pair of VR glasses in card form. This makes the VR One the most portable way to experience virtual reality on a smartphone.

Other features


As a smartphone, the VR One is equipped with a number of useful sensors. One sensor that we particularly liked was the built-in LED notification light right above the display, which lights up in blue if there’s a notification like a new SMS, a new email, or push message, and lights up in red if the battery is low or if the phone is charging.

The VR One is actually quite useful in other ways when the screen is turned off, thanks to little niceties like this. If the top is adorned with that multi-color LED light, the bottom is where the fingerprint scanner can be found. It’s an active scanner, which means that it can read fingerprints even when the screen is off. That means you don’t need to push the power button and wake the phone in order to unlock it. You can just do it straight from Sleep.

Using the VR One is easy like that. You can unlock it in less than a second and get straight to using it whenever you like, and its fast octa-core processor and 3GB RAM combo work together to ensure that you have a lag-free experience. That has been our main observation so far, which makes the VR One a winner not only in terms of form but also function. You might think that the old MediaTek chipset powering the phone will buckle under the pressure of its OS and apps, but Android 6.0 Marshmallow is actually quite forgiving.

Battery life


And it’s not so bad on the phone’s battery life, either. From our weeks spent with the VR One, we’ve found that its 2800mAh Li-Po battery lasts anywhere between a day to a day and a half with regular smartphone use. That includes always-on mobile data during the day, when one is at the office, and an always on Wi-Fi connection when at home.

The auto-brightness setting on the screen helps a lot, of course. The fact that the screen uses an LTPS panel made by JDI is the main reason why the battery consumption is so low, not to mention the screen being lit up all the time doesn’t cause the phone to heat up much at all.

For talk time, the VR One can last up to around 12-14 hours. And for standby time, it can stay powered on for around 2 weeks or more depending on the Settings of the wireless antennas.

Verdict


The Arsenal VR One is a one-of-a-kind smartphone in today’s sea of models aspiring to be your daily driver. It isn’t marketed as a good cameraphone, but it has a set of impressive cameras. It’s tagged mainly as a VR-ready handset, and it comes with its own unique VR glasses solution that can’t be found anywhere else. All in all, it’s the phone you’d want to have if you didn’t care about keeping up with the outrageous spec demands of modern developers and their smartphone apps. If you’re the type of person who knows that they want, and knows their way around a phone, while also wanting to have a beautiful piece of tech in their pocket, the VR One is right up your alley.

8.0

Arsenal VR One

Form and function in a compact package
Price Php 11,990

+ Gorgeous all-metal unibody and glass design
+ Right mix of CPU, memory and storage options
+ Unique VR experience at no extra cost

Only single-LED flash
Non-removable battery