Vernee Apollo Lite 4G: Deca-Core Performance at Quad-core Price

Top notch internals, a 2K display and premium build-quality may not be something we usually find in a sub $300 phone, but Vernee Apollo 4G is here to surprise us all. It’s also the first MediaTek VR phone and isn’t afraid to challenge key players of the industry. With VR becoming increasingly popular and prices of VR gears coming down, Vernee introduced its flagship on just the right time. A high-resolution display plays a pivotal role if you really want to enjoy VR as each eye gets half the resolution. That’s why Apollo 4G features a 2K display, which offers stunning clarity and vivid colors to make the VR tech work like it should.

Vernee’s elegant phablet meets all the requirements for qualifying as a true flagship, including a premium design, gorgeous display and deca-core performance. Apollo boldly challenges OnePlus 3 and 3T without costing the same and delivers pleasing aesthetics and snappy performance. Gone are the days when users were limited to spending a ton of money on newest flagships, thanks to Chinese manufacturers who try to squeeze in every possible feature at super-affordable prices.

Specifications

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Part Specs
CPU Helio X20 (MT6797) Deca-core
Primary Camera 16MP Samsung ISOCELL PDAF, Dual color temperature flash
Front Camera 5 MP
Video 4K/2K recording at 30fps, 1080p recording @60fps
Dimensions 152 x 76.2 x 9.2mm
Weight 175 grams with battery
OS Android Marshmallow 6.0
RAM/ROM 4GB LPDDR3/32GB + 128GB TF Expansion
Battery 3180mAh with Pump Express Plus 3.0 Charger
GPU ARM Mali-T880 MP4
Display 5.5-inch FHD 1920 x 1080 pixels 401ppi SHARP IGZO IPS, Corning Gorilla 3 2.5D Touch Panel
Network Support GSM 900/1900/2100MHz, WCDMA 900/2100MHz, FDD-LTE 800/1800/2100/2600MHz
SIM Micro SIM + Nano SIM / Micro SIM + TF Card, Dual-SIM Dual-Standby
Connectivity 4Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS, A-GPS, Type-C reversible connector
Sensors Gyro, Hall, Compass, Gravity, Ambient light, Fingerprint
Design and construction Metal Unibody (CNC Technology)

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Features

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  • Offers best value for the money
  • Excellent handling experience
  • Powerful processor
  • Dual ISP Samsung Camera, 4K Recording
  • Lighter, thinner and more power efficient SHARP OGZO FHD display
  • 3rd Gen Pressure-type fingerprint sensor, takes just 0.1 seconds to unlock
  • Fast charging

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 Pros and Cons

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  • Flagship performance and display
  • Durable metal design
  • Wide-angle front and 4K capable rear camera
  • Works great for VR

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  • 2K displays takes its toll on the batter life and gaming performance
  • A bit heavier and big

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Design and Build Quality

Carved out of 6000 series aluminum, Apollo feels like a premium phone with slightly curved sides and clean lines. Considering the big 5.5-inch 2K display and weight, the phone is still manageable by one hand. The curved glass at the front flows smoothly into the metal body, resulting in pleasing aesthetics and better handling. Although the phone is neither the slimmest not the lightest, it feels solid in hands and the weight is a good tradeoff for quality and the metal body. The top-end build quality of the phone is something not so common in sub $300 phones and makes Apollo quite a looker. The camera protrudes out of the body a bit, but there is a metal ring to protect it from scratches.

Display

The stunning 2K IPS (2560×1440 pixels) SHARP IGZO display goes far beyond the Retina-standard. It helps the phone stand out of the crowd and offers vivid colors, extraordinary viewing angles and excellent brightness levels (500 nits). The display is built using the LTPS technology and covers 95% of the NTSC gamut. The display is as good as it gets in the price range and takes the VR experience to another level. Although the VR headset bundled with the phone is just average at best, the phone itself is very capable of handling the technology well. If you are really serious about VR, it’s better to buy another, more capable VR headset.

Performance

Apollo is powered by MediaTek Helio X25, which is one of company’s most powerful processors with an Antutu score hovering around 100,000. Coupled with 4 gigs of RAM and Mali T880 GPU, the CPU offers snappy performance and great multitasking. The 2K display does take a toll on the performance, especially when gaming, but there is nothing to complain about the overall performance. Apps open and load quickly, multitasking works great and switching between apps works flawlessly.

Cameras

The f/2.2 21MP Sony IMX230 rear camera offers fast shutter speed and captures a great amount of detail with accurate colors in almost any lighting condition. The 21MP camera is one of the best if not the best on a Chinese phone and features HDR mode, which helps take stunning photos.  It’s also capable of shooting 4K videos at 30 fps, but 1080p shooting mode also works great. The 8MP front-facing camera works well for video chats, selfies and Skype. The front camera also features the same real-time filterx the rear camera does, including the beauty and HDR mode.

Battery life

Equipped with a 3180 mAh battery, Apollo delivers very decent battery runtimes. Combine that with fast charging and Android Marshmallow’s battery saving features and you get a phone that can last for days. The actual runtime depends on the usage, but even demanding users should easily be able to get a full day out of the phone. For most people, the phone should be able to last up to two days on a single charge, while the bundled charger takes around 1.5 hours to fully charge the battery.

Conclusion

If you don’t mind buying another VR headset, Vernee Apollo 4G is one of the best smartphones money can buy. The powerful internals compliment the elegant exterior and while the phone may be a bit heavy and big, its solid feel in hand and durability is worth the tradeoff. The 2K SHARP IGZO display is on par with the current flagships from Samsung and other key industry players, while the Helio X25 delivers a smooth user experience and better gaming. The close-to-vanilla Android experience is another plus for the phone and offers a more fluid and responsive UI. The 64GB internal storage is also more than enough for most users, but the expandable storage does help when you need more space. Overall, the phone provides excellent value for the money and leaves very little to be desired.

How to buy?

Vernee Apollo 4G is available at a special discount at Gearbest for a limited time period. The following link takes to the product page that provides more information about shipping and compatible network frequencies.

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