80 / 100
When your new phone budget is a fraction of the price of an iPhone, you probably expect to make a few sacrifices. Happily the team behind the Boost View 5 doesn’t believe screen size should be on this list.
On the outside
It is remarkable to look at the View 5 with the knowledge that it only costs $99 — it certainly looks like a phone you’d pay twice or three-times as much for. In it’s size, shape and feel, the View 5 reminds us a lot of the Samsung Galaxy S3 — like a giant white Tic Tac with a screen on the front.
The screen itself is big, at 5-inches diagonally, but not particularly sharp. With 480 x 854 pixels on screen, you get about half as many pixels as you’d find on a Samsung Galaxy S5, for example. This might sound like a bad thing, but in truth, you’d need to see this screen next to an S5 to notice the difference. The display is easy to read and exceptionally colourful.
It does have poor viewing angles, though. This means that when you tilt the phone away from your face, the image starts to look weird — as though you were looking at a negative version of whatever is on screen. This is no big deal for when you’re messaging or making a call, but it can be a pain for tasks that take a bit longer, like watching videos, playing games or lining up photos with the camera.
Physically, the shape and feel of the View 5 is solid. It’s not going to win any design awards, but the plastic chassis does the trick. The battery cover comes off, giving you access to the battery, SIM card slot and the micro SD memory card slot. There’s a 3.5mm headphone jack on top of the phone, so you should be able to use most any headphones you have lying around.
Apps and all that
With a phone this cheap, you’d think Boost would do as little work as possible getting the phone from the production line to the store shelf. But instead, Boost has gone the extra mile in making sure its customers get the most out of this budget-priced package by installing a number of super popular apps, ready to use as soon as you switch it on.
The phone runs on Android Jelly Bean (4.2.2), so it already comes with the full suite of Google apps; like Gmail, Maps, Music, Hangouts and a Chrome web browser. On top of this Boost has added:
- Deezer (streaming music, like Spotify)
- Swiftkey keyboard
The only downside to Boost generously pre-packing this phone full of apps is that there is precious little in the way of internal storage to begin with. Out of the box, users get about 2GB for installing new apps, taking photos and loading up music and videos.
In short, you're going to need to buy a micro SD card at some point, we think. Depending on the size and brand of the card, this will probably add about $20 to the price of the phone.
When it comes to photos, you really can’t expect much from any device that costs $99, let alone a smartphone which is capable of some much already. The camera in the Boost View 5 is serviceable, but not extraordinary. It takes photos reasonably quickly, and you can jump straight into the camera from the lock-screen, which is handy, but the photos we’ve ended up with have been pretty uninspiring.
Below are a few examples of these photos, so you can see for yourself.
Performance and battery life
The Boost View 5 is a device which shows what an exciting juncture in smartphone history we’re at. There was a time when a cheap phone equalled a phone with performance so bad that it was a pain to use on a day-to-day basis. This is not the case with the View 5. It’s designers at Alcatel have included a quad-core 1.3GHz processor, which is a lot of power for the price, and backed this up with 1GB RAM.
For everyday use, the View 5 feels like any other phone we’ve tested this year. It’s zippy, it opens and closes apps easily, and it multitasks between complex apps with only a moment’s pause between them.
Battery life is pretty good too, with it delivering a full day’s charge during normal use testing, and up to a day and a half with low use.
The Boost View 5 exceeds our expectations for a phone at this price. You get loads of screen real estate, great performance and tonnes of pre-installed apps for a fraction of the price of other smartphones in the market. The camera could be better, and there is a noticeable lack of internal storage, but these do little to tarnish our opinion of the View 5: a great everyday phone and an awesome first smartphone for younger members of your family.