The NOA Vision E1 4.5″ Android 5.1 Smartphone was kindly provided to me by Axceed free of charge in exchange for a fair and unbiased review on Amazon.co.uk. No additional compensation was given in exchange for posting this article on my blog.
The NOA Vision E1 is available in the UK from Axceed Fulfilled by Amazon.co.uk at a cost of £69.90 with free P&P. At the time of writing the NOA Vision E1 is sadly not available on Amazon.com
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A QUICK NOTE.
I somewhat suspect that the majority of people that are reading this review are wondering what the NOA Vision E1 is like in comparison to the Moto E 2nd Gen. Similarities between the two handsets are bountiful with just a £5 difference in price (at the time of writing), both coming with a 4.5″ IPS 540×960 display and both having 1GB ROM, 8GB RAM and 64bit quad core processors (although they are very different processors).
On the surface at least one phone neither stands apart from the other, but once you dig deeper the Moto E 2nd Gen is the clear victor in terms of performance, that said there are reasons to consider the NOA Vision E1 chief among which are its Wi-Fi and battery performance.
The NOA Vision E1 is supplied within a very good quality retail style cardboard packaging constructed from an open ended outer box and an internal cardboard tray.
Inside you will find two separate plastic inserts, one containing the phone and the other containing the following accessories…
- A thin plastic film screen protector.
- A warranty card that is entirely in Croatian.
- An illustrated user manual… again entirely in Croatian.
- A Lithium battery wrapped in clear plastic.
- A 2 pin EU main USB charger.
- A basic flat USB A to Micro B charging cable (with a plastic rather than metal USB A connector) measuring 94.8cm long excluding connectors and 8.5mm wide.
- An equally basic pair of earphones with an inline microphone (hands free). Don’t be unreasonable with your expectations of these, all I’m going to say is they work.
The first observation to make is that this sample was ordered from Amazon.co.uk and it was supplied with an EU charger. The law of the land states such products should come supplied with a UK plug, and if not a suitable adaptor must be supplied pre-fitted (not separate or loose in the box) and there is no such adaptor to be found. While I suspect there are few homes not capable of charging a USB device it is still very naughty.
CPU: MTL6735M 64Bit Quad-Core 1GHz (The Amazon listing claims that it is 1.3GHz, it is not).
SCREEN: 4.5″ capacitive QHD IPS 540×940, full lamination, tempered glass.
STORAGE: 8GB ROM and supports up to 32GB MicroSD card.
CAMERA: 8MP rear camera with LED flash and 5MP front camera without.
WiFi: 802.11 b/g/n.
BATTERY: 3000mAh user replaceable.
NETWORK SUPPORT: 2G GSM 850, 900, 1800, 1900Mhz. 3G WCDMA 900, 2100Mhz. 4G FDD-LTE 800, 1800, 2100, 2600Mhz (Band 1/3/7/20)
ADDITIONAL FEATURES: GPS + AGPS Navigator, FM Radio, Light sensor, G-Sensor, P-Sensor, Gesture sensor, Miracast, Bluetooth 4.0, EDGE, HSPA+, HSUPA, OTG support.
The NOA Vision E1 measures 133mm x 65.4mm excluding the buttons (or 66mm including) x 10.7mm excluding the camera lens (or 11mm including). These measurements have been taken with a digital caliper accurate to within 1% as sadly, such measurements NOA has deemed fit to omit from both their website (the website is shockingly lacking in hard facts about the E1 which is odd) and the manual.
As such, despite still feeling rather chunky by modern standards the Vision E1 is still slimmer and narrower compared to the Moto E 2nd Gen, it is however slightly heavier at 153g. The entire rear of the phone is a single removable thin plastic cover that to the eye at least looks like a metallic mid blue with a brushed metal effect (although my camera definaly shows it as being grey). Curiously the product listing (and the sample I ordered) was supposed to be black and the box says its grey…
This cover has a single recess on the bottom right side to gain purchase to remove it and there is a bit of an art to doing so. Securing it back in place is also a rather time consuming as most of the clips need to be independently pressed down to gain an entirely flush finish.
The edges of the E1 match that of the rear in looks with a 3.5mm port located on the top edge slightly off centre to the right, a USB charging port on the bottom left corner and a pinhole microphone also located on the bottom edge just off centre to the right.
On the right edge of the phone at the top you will find the volume buttons (single button with a contact at the top for volume up and a separate contact at the bottom for volume down) and just below is the power button. I have to confess this configuration took a little getting used to as every other Android phone I have used to date has had the power button at the top.
The screen on the NOA Vision E1 protrudes from the frame by a few millimetres with a chrome plastic bezel fitted between the two. I’m not sure this will do any favours for the phone regarding drop resistance on the corners and in truth it also doesn’t help much with grip either.
At the top centre of the screen is the speaker and off to the left is the front camera (that like the Moto E 2nd Gen does not have a flash). Below the screen there are three capacitive touch buttons with yet another configuration that I have to confess to being slightly unfamiliar with.
In the centre is the home button that when tapped will take you to the home screen and when held brings up the list of running Apps. To the right is the back button and to the left is a button that opens the home screen layout configuration menu (the same settings are available when pressing and holding down on a blank section on the home screen to edit the layout). Even more annoying, however is the fact these buttons are not backlit, which makes finding them in low light problematic.
I’m not sure why the home button has a shared functionality and that a dedicated button has been assigned for layout configuration. An odd decision and one that I am not sure was a wise one as it will likely cause a little frustration at first and perhaps even long in the future as well.
While the Moto E 2nd Gen has to suffice with a 5MP rear camera and VGA front camera the NOA Vision E1 includes an 8MP rear and 5MP front camera. Both the rear and front camera have a digital zoom up to 4x although either the hands of a surgeon or a tripod are required to obtain a decent quality photo when using it.
The rear camera enjoys a flash with settings of on, off or auto although sadly the front does not, that said the Moto E 2nd Gen lacks even one on the rear. Both phones also offer HDR, Geo-tagging, Panorama, face detection, tap to focus, although only the Moto E 2nd Gen offers a burst mode when taking pictures.
Images taken with the rear camera have a resolution of 3264 x 2448 with a size varying between 1.27MB and 2.49MB in size. Sadly, images have a noticeable purple fringing / chromatic aberration with an auto white balance that produces a slight magenta tint over the image requiring manual configuration to obtain the optimal results (which might well put off novice users).
Images taken with the front camera also have a resolution of 3264 x 2448. While the 8MP rear camera manages to produce a better quality picture the colour replication of the front camera is far more accurate than that of the rear producing some decent quality Selfies.
When making movies the Google Camera App (and not the one preinstalled) gave the best results. The rear camera produced 1280×720 footage @ 23FPS with white balance faring better than it did with stills and for the front, 720×480 @ 30FPS.
The NOA Vision E1 comes with just 1GB RAM, this might not sound like much by modern standards and in fairness, if you are a demanding multitasking user it probably isn’t but for a phone in this price range it’s more than acceptable.
With the phone fully updated and with some Apps installed (WordHero, Anagram Hero, AVG Antivirus, AVG Cleaner, Google Camera, Mobizen, MX Player, Google Photos, Pokemon Go, Solitare, Street View) 134MB is taken up by system use, 38MB by Apps running in the background and 733MB is free for use. Loading Solitaire, WordHero, Anagram Hero and Pokemon GO and leaving them running in the background still leaves 615MB free for use.
As long as you are not planning on some intensive photo / video editing or opening some 20 odd tabs in chrome, the 1GB RAM will prove more than sufficient.
The NOA Vision E1 is fitted with 8GB of internal storage and can be expanded via a MicroSD card up to 32GB. This is according to the manufacturer and sadly other than some 16GB and 32GB SanDisk Ultra cards the only other card I currently have access to is a 128GB card which the E1 does not recognize.
The available internal space from factory fresh is 4.11GB with the default installed apps being as follows…
Backup & Restore, Browser, Calculator, Calendar, Camera, Clock, Contacts, Documents To Go (free office suite that can be uninstalled), Downloads, Email, File Manager, FM Radio, Gallery, Gmail, Google, Google Settings, Google+, Hangouts, Maps, Messages, Music, Phone, Photos, Play Music, Play Store, Settings, Sim Tool Kit, Sound Recorder, Voice Search, Wireless Update (Android system update).
Out of the box the NOA E1 is installed with Android 5.1 however, upon running the “Wireless update” App there is a 386MB patch that updates the build number to LMY47D test-keys_20160326, sadly it would seem 5.1 is the highest version of Android supported by the NOA Vision E1. This update installs the following additional Apps on the phone…
Chrome, Google Drive, Google Keep, Google Play Games, Play Newsstand & YouTube.
Unfortunately, these newly installed Apps can not be uninstalled separately only disabled (while you can’t salvage the space they take up you can prevent the Apps from hogging system resources if disabled) and once the update has completed it leaves you with 4.02GB remaining on a factory fresh phone.
Given that this patch does not update Android beyond V5.1 whether you chose to install it is up to you, just be aware that there may well be other system and security updates within the patch so unless your need for space it that dire I would consider as with all such things keeping it as up to date as possible.
With the following additional Apps installed (WordHero, Anagram Hero, AVG Antivirus, AVG Cleaner, Google Camera, Mobizen, MX Player, Google Photos, Pokemon Go, Solitaire, Street View).
The space remaining on the phone is 2.54GB. While you will be able to transfer some App files to a MicroSD card to try and maximise space available for Apps this is perhaps best done with those infrequently used as it will result in longer loading times for Apps installed in such a manner.
The speaker on the NOA Vision E1 has a mono output that is perfectly acceptable for handling calls, but at high volume for playing games and listening to music results can somewhat vary (some notes have been added in the game testing chapter of my review).
The battery within the NOA Vision E1 is perhaps one of its key selling points as its capacity is every bit as bountiful as its sheer size implies. While the Moto E 2nd Gen has to suffice with a non user replaceable 2390mAh battery under the hood the Vision E1 can humiliate even some ultra budget tablets with its 3000mAh capacity user replaceable battery.
Motorola claims that the Moto E 2nd Gen has a battery life of “up to 24 hours of mixed usage” other sources claim the phone has a battery life of 8 hours and 32 minutes of continuous web browsing and 22 hours and 36 minutes of 3G talk time. NOA simply claim the Vision E1 has a battery standby time of 6 to 7 days and a talk time of 5 to 6 hours.
My first outing with the NOA E1 lasted 110 minutes. During this time the phone was updated to the latest software with WiFi enabled (but no sim installed) and volume set to 50%. A Gmail account was then created and some time was spent checking through the various preinstalled Apps and storage settings for my review.
I then proceeded to install and run several WiFi speed tests and during this first 110 minutes use the screen was almost constantly on and at the start the battery was 99% charged and at the end it had dropped to 88%.
The NOA Vision E1 was then fully charged and left on standby with the screen off. The phone was again in a factory fresh state simply having had the system software updated and Wi-Fi enabled. On the first day at 12.48pm the phone was switched on and left alone to drain. (Although occasionally the screen was quickly enabled to take a screenshot for evidence).
Just under 24 hours later at 12.30pm the next day the battery had dropped to just 92% and that was with Wi-Fi enabled and about 1 minutes use to take some screenshots. Granted, this was a factory fresh sample that had only had an OS update and isn’t entirely representative of real world application but it was still way beyond expectation.
For the final drain test the NOA Vision E1 was now setup for real world use with additional Apps installed and fully charged once more. At 3.37pm I started watching The Adams Family on YouTube with the Volume at 50%, during the playback I made a slight error while taking a screenshot so ended up restarting the video at some point so the overall test (and playback) lasted 113 minutes.
At 5.30pm once the film had ended the battery was now showing a capacity of 87% and using a non contact thermometer the warmest part on the front of the phone was 30.4c and on the back 31.9c. This one rather unscientific test implies that the NOA Vision E1 is cable of streaming movies for about 14 and a half hours before running out of juice.
It should be noted that during this test the screen brightness was set to 20% (the room was dark and this was a comfortable brightness for viewing) and as previously noted the volume was set at 50%.
This test was then run a second time, this time with the screen brightness at 100% and volume also at 100%. At the start the battery was fully charged and the film was repeated several times until the battery was entirely drained and this time around the battery lasted a little over 8 hours.
Now, as the battery was completely drained I began to do some charge testing. The NOA Vision E1 was charged using an Anker USB cable, a Samsung 2A wall charger (as supplied with a Note 10.1″ tablet) and the readings were monitored using a Drok multimeter.
- Initial readings at 12.25pm were 4.99v, 0.86A, 4.3w
- At 1.10pm reading were 5.05v, 0.85A, 4.292w with 535mAh showing as charged and the phone displaying a charge of 17%
- At 1.50pm readings were 5.05v, 0.85A, 4.292w with 1064mAh showing as charged and the phone displaying a charge of 34%
- At 2.35pm readings were 5.06v, 0.85A, 4.292w with 1639mAh showing as charged and the phone displaying a charge of 52%
- At 2.58pm readings were 5.01v, 0.86A, 4.292w with 1913mAh showing as charged and the phone displaying a charge of 61%
- At 3.23pm readings were 5.02v, 0.86A, 4.351w with 2241mAh showing as charged and the phone displaying a charge of 71%
- At 4pm readings were 5.03v, 0.71A, 3.621w with 2742mAh showing as charged and the phone displaying a charge of 87%
- At 4.41pm readings were 4.96v, 0.14A, 0.694w with 3134mAh showing as charged and the phone displaying a charge of 100%
I have to confess to not being able to explain why the Drok showed a charge from dead to full of 3134mAh on a 3000mAh battery. All I can say is the multimeter has an accuracy of +/- 3% and while the phone was switched of the screen was occasionally activated (when the phone is switched off and on charge the power button can be tapped to see the battery level without having to switch the phone on).
Both the Moto E 2nd Gen and the NOA Vision E1 come with 540×960 QHD IPS displays. The Moto E 2nd Gen sports a Gorilla Glass 3 covering over the display with an and anti-smudge coating by comparison the Vision E1 simply enters the battlefield with a tempered glass cover without any frills.
The 244PPI IPS display as you would expect offers very good viewing angles and contrast with impressive colour replication. Sadly, however the glass cover over the screen isn’t as smooth as more premium devices and there is a somewhat noticeable resistance when swiping or dragging which on occasion can result is a bit of a stutter.
This can be easily alleviated, however, either by installing the supplied screen protector which makes a vast improvement when using your pinkies otherwise the use of a micro fibre tipped stylus is highly recommended for anything other than simply tapping the screen.
Precision is surprisingly good and I do put an emphasis on how surprised I was. I have quite large hands (4.5″ closed palm) and I do rather struggle to type accurately on a phone orientated in portrait mode on phones that are sub 5″, at least without a stylus. With the Vision E1 I was able to maintain an accuracy while typing out an email of over 90% by hand, which is significantly better than I have managed when using an S2 or S3 mini.
As for swipes and gestures I can only comment having installed the screen protector out of the box and that in the 5 days intensive use I have had from the Vision E1. In this time twice a swipe of a micro fibre tipped stylus failed to recognise and once a finger swipe failed to recognise. Very good results I would say, but the screen is far from the most sensitive that I have ever used and you will find that mild pressure is required.
The NOA Vision E1 features single band 802.11b/g/n WLAN (as does the Moto E 2nd Gen). The following testing was conducted on a factory fresh phone that had simply been updated to the latest build with a newly created Gmail account linked.
The test setup was as follows… Virgin Media 20Mbps connection with a wireless G router (single aerial facing upwards) and the testing was conducted at 5am on a Tuesday morning using the Speedtest.net App.
Test 1 – At a distance of 0.25m with unobstructed line of sight to the router the ping was 10ms, download speed was 17.25Mbps and the upload speed was 3.27Mbps and at a distance of 8m with a clear line of sight the ping was 11ms, the download speed was 16.97Mbps and the upload speed was 3.43Mbps.
Test 2 – At a distance of 10m with the line of sight to the router obstructed by a monitor, curtains, a double glazed window a double thick cavity wooden wall and a solid wooden door the ping was 10ms, download speed was 2.6Mbps and upload was 0.57Mbps.
Test 3 – At an unknown distance (about 3m) in the room above the router, the ping was 10ms, the download speed was 17.77Mbps and the upload was 3.20Mbps.
Test 4 – At a distance of approximately 20m (outdoors) with line of sight to the router obstructed by a monitor, a curtain and double glazed window the ping was 11ms, download speed was 11.80Mbps and upload was 3.30Mbps
By comparison my AC dual band equipped laptop sat next to the router gave a ping of 47ms, a download speed of 19.03Mbps and an upload of 3.02Mbps. While lacking access to the 5GHz band for faster speeds at close range the NOA E1 handles itself well on the 2.4GHz band at any conceivable point in and around our home.
When reviewing any Android device my methodology is simply to see whether the top five games at the time of reviewing are compatible, if they run and how they run.
Pokemon Go – Ignoring the first time it is loaded and an account created the game subsequently loads in 26 seconds. The game itself runs very smooth with no noticeable lag or low frame rates and while the audio is on the annoying side it is of good quality although very clearly only a mono output.
Slither.io – The load time for Slither.io is 11 seconds and this also plays perfectly fine on the Vision E1. For this particular game unless you have the supplied screen protector installed a micro fibre tip stylus is an absolute must otherwise you will struggle.
Farm Heroes Saga – The load time for Farm Heroes is 12 seconds and the game again plays perfectly fine with a stable performance. The audio however is a little on the unpleasant side and a stylus really is a must unless you have dainty fingers (which I do not).
Colour Switch – The load time for Colour Switch is 6 seconds, performance is good and sound quality is acceptable. Given that this game only requires a tap gesture to control the response even using a finger is entirely frustration free.
Mobile Strike – Those with an interest in this game will be disappointed. Load times for Mobile Strike are frankly almost as long as Queens early epic White Queen (As It Began) and performance is at best is poor with even the audio being choppy at times, basically its unplayable.
The following benchmarks were conducted on a factory fresh phone that had simply been updated and nothing additional had been installed (other than the extra Apps that came with the update). The procedure for testing was to download a benchmarking App, charge to full, reboot and run the App. The App was then removed and the next installed and the tablet rebooted and fully charged before the next being run, etc. This was done to ensure constancy with the results.
Single-Core Score (higher is better): 488. Within Geekbench the nearest comparison is that of the Sony Xperia Z which had a score of 487.
Multi-Core Score (higher is better): 1371. According to Tomsguide the Moto E 2nd Gen 3G scored 1282 and according to gsmarena the Moto E 2nd Gen 4G scored 1486 (The 3G only has a Snapdragon 200 SoC while the 4G version has a Snapdragon 410). Within Geekbench 3 itself the nearest comparison is the Sony Xperia Z which scored 1366.
Ice Storm Unlimited (ES2.0, 720p) on a factory fresh phone. At the start of this first test the hottest point on the front of the E1 read 29.9c and on the rear it was 27.9c. After the test had completed the hottest point on the front was 33.2c and on the back 34.6c.
Score: 2566 (Tomshardware claim the Moto E 2nd Gen 4G scored 4492, so this is a poor score).
GFXBENCH GL BENCHMARK 4.0.13
ADDITIONAL PERFORMANCE INFO.
The following timed tests were run three times and each time the results were identical. Boot Time = 32 Seconds & Shutdown Time = 6 Seconds
The final note to make is that during benchmarking the highest CPU frequency achieved was 988Mhz, at no time did it show the 1.3GHz stated on the Amazon product listing. The reason for this is the MTK6735M is a quad core 1Ghz CPU and not a quad core 1.3GHz CPU as claimed.
Thank you for taking the time to read this review, I hope it has been helpful to you. If you have any questions or comments regarding this review, please post a comment below and I will do my best to answer them.
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