It’s impressive how far Starmobile has gotten with its Engage series of tablets. We remember reviewing the original 7-inch Engage back in 2012, which didn’t impress us too much due to its sluggish performance and less-than-stellar build quality. After that, we experienced the Engage 8 Quad and its remarkable handling with a budget-friendly price; and now, we have the latest Starmobile slate in our hands, the Engage 9i.
You can’t truly appreciate how well this Starmobile tablet is built until you play around with it for yourself. The pairing of the glass finish on the back and the aluminum trim on the sides makes the Engage 9i one of the most premium-like local tablets out there. The device does, admittedly, feel a bit heavy in the hands, but if this is what we have to give up to get the first-rate physique, then we’ll gladly carry the extra weight.
Another highlight of the Engage 9i is its 1920 x 1200-pixel display on an almost 9-inch real estate. The screen is amazingly sharp and alive with color – it definitely felt like we were using a much more expensive tablet. Starmobile markets the Engage 9i as the first and only 9-inch tablet from a local brand to have the Intel Atom Z2580 chipset. Considering the recent advances Intel has made with its SoC technology and the occasional letdown from MediaTek’s own processors, this is actually something Starmobile can truly brag about. For the unfamiliar, the Z2580 is a 2.0GHz dual-core chip with Hyper-Threading technology, effectively able to churn out multitasking performance akin to a quad-core processor.
We put the Engage 9i to the test using Quadrant Standard and AnTuTu. For the former, the tablet scored a respectable 7318 points, and for the latter, we got a score of 20517. This places the device well-above the entry-level Androids we’re used to seeing from local brands, and slightly below the flagship smartphones we saw from international models last year – not bad at all. And the good news doesn’t end there; actual usage was really smooth during our time with the tablet. The only knock against the Engage 9i performance-wise would be its battery life. The Full HD display obviously takes a large chunk of the stored energy, giving us a maximum video time of just five hours with Wi-Fi turned on.
The Engage 9i is a stunning piece of technology for its price. For only $225, we have so much praise for the tablet and barely anything to complain about. This is one local tablet we can wholeheartedly recommend, even above some of the foreign brands.
AT A GLANCE
Intel Atom Z2580 (Dual-core, 2GHz)
5MP (Main), 2MP (Front)
8.9” IPS (1920 x 1200)
Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean