by Erich Chacha, a freelance designer.
In the box
- HotWav Cosmos V13
- 5000mah battery
- Wallmount charger
- USB cable
- Smart flip cover
- Hardened screen protector
- Screen wipes
- 6 inch 720p display
- Octacore 1.5 GHz processor
- 2GB RAM and 16GB Internal Storage
- 5000mAh battery
- 5MP back camera (interpolated to 13) with LED flash
- 2MP front camera (interpolated to 5) with LED flash
- Notification LED
- Android 5.1 ( not 6 as listed)
The body is mostly made of budget plastic with some metallic enhancements. A good thing is that even on the inside when you remove the battery you can see that the metal frame runs deep. This makes the frame strong. The overall feel and sturdiness is quite good for the price range though it definitely doesn’t feel premium
The display performance is great. It gets washed off under direct sunlight but not to an extreme extent. The touch panel supports up to 2-point multi touch. This was probably to save cost and it makes sense as very few people ever require more touch points
The interface runs well with the processing power available. However, there seem to be slight modifications on it that causes the system to use up a lot of RAM. This forces one to clear the RAM every few times. The SIM toolkit sometimes disappears but a reboot remedies that. There seems to be available updates as you can see in the screen grab though I haven’t tried them.
Network reception is not as strong as you would expect. Signal gets lost occasionally especially when using 3G. The 2G signal is a bit stronger. Setting it to LTE makes signal reception improve though I don’t think there is support for LTE. I have tried 4G enabled simcards on both slots but it doesn’t yield. WiFi reception is great. Other connectivity options like Bluetooth and Hotspot tethering also work great.
The bundled in-ear headsets surprised me a lot. Their output is pretty high for such a budget device. The phone’s loudspeaker however, does not come through with such high enthusiasm though I cannot say it is bad. With the right ringtone it can be heard even in noisy environments
Camera is where most of the cost cutting happened. The 5MP back camera interpolates images to 13MP but don’t get your hopes too high. Photos are decent in good lighting such as during the day. Still, there is noise. As the lights go down, it might be advisable to expect anything from bad to totally unusable. Even the flash offers very little help in this regard
The front camera interpolates 5MP from a 2MP sensor and, suffice to say, performance is similar to what the back camera does only with even less pleasing results. The front flash is a weakling that you are better off just forgetting it even exists.
The manufacturer however did a splendid job on the camera interface. There are some very important settings you can adjust like manual exposure and ISO. An even better touch is that it saves your last settings so you don’t have to keep fidgeting around every time you launch the camera app.
Videos record at a peak of 720p and here too, performance is similar to that of the still camera. No surprises here.
The battery is listed as a 5000mAh unit but it’s endurance reveals otherwise. Compared to the battery from a Cubot H1 (5200mah) the V13 unit is smaller and also thinner. I’d think it’s more likely a 3000mah unit. Nevertheless, the backup is not that horrible as it makes it through a day. With moderate usage I can eek out almost two days out of a charge which is pretty nice. There is no other battery saving mode other than the default Lollipop one.
Charging is also another issue. The device charges quite fast initially but slows down as it nears full. Basically it takes about two and a half hours to charge from zero to full. A peculiar thing is that once it hits 100% if you take it off the charge immediately you lose about 4% in a matter of seconds so you might want to let it charge for a bit longer after 100%.
On to other issues now. Initially, the battery drainage had very erratic and spiky discharge pattern but somehow that went away. Then there’s the issue of the system using up too much RAM even though there’s 2 gigs of it.
The smart flip case works well. It brings up an app called Zooch, possibly by using a magnet, which displays a round clock that also shows notifications and an option for music controls. I stopped using the flip case altogether since it kept setting off the music player in my pocket
The notification LED is a nice touch but sadly, it is very dim, forcing you to squint during the day. At night its a bit better.
Then there’s the much bigger issue. The phone reboots like every once in two days. Sometimes even when just sitting on the table. After running some diagnostics, it seems the culprit is the firmware. The search app turns out to be a malware which the 360 AntiVirus detected. It causes the reboots and also causes random app downloads. After updating the Google app I deactivated the search app. This, however, only solved the issue of random downloads.
Where to buy:
Overall, this still puts up a good fight as a serious contender for the best budget phone ever. Hotwav is still a very new player in the field and they have a lot of catching up and polishing to do.