THL A1 - budget smartphone with IPS screen

    Today, in a new review from Box Overview, we will get acquainted with the budget smartphone THL A1 with very good characteristics: 3.5 "IPS screen, 2 SIM cards, Android 4.0.4.

    It seems to me lately little attention has been paid to reviews of budget solutions. Everyone writes about Hi-End, or something supernova. But in fact there are people who do not need half of the proposed functions. A budget solution will be quite enough for them. But in order not to go with the Nokia 1100, but to look more modern, we will consider budget Android smartphone called THL A1.

    Technical specifications

    Chip: MTK6515
    Screen: 3.5 ", IPS 320 x 480 pixels
    RAM: 256 MB
    ROM: 256 MB
    MicroSD expansion cards
    OS: Android OS 4.0.4
    SIM cards: 2
    Network: 2G only: GSM 850M / 900M / 1800M / 1900MHZ (MTK6515 chip limitation)
    Cameras: front 0.3MP, rear 3.2MP
    GPS: no
    WiFi, Bluetooth 2.1, USB2.0, 3.5 mm headphone jack
    Battery capacity: 1100mAh
    Size: 116.8 × 61.2 × 10.2mm

    Processor with a frequency 1 GHz, a good GPU, only 256 MB ROM / RAM - these are the characteristics the manufacturer offered for this model.

    Options and appearance

    Standard equipment includes: telephone, charger, USB cable, headset, 2 1100mAh batteries, protective film, various instructions in Chinese:

    Charger 5V / 0.5A:

    Charging indicator, proximity sensor, light sensor, speaker, front 0.3MP Camera: There is no

    light indication of missed calls / SMS.

    Rear 3.2MP camera with flash:

    Hands-free speaker:

    Quite loud, but at a volume closer to 80-100% it starts to wheeze.

    At the front there are 3 touch control buttons: “Menu”, “Home”, “Back”.
    Buttons with white backlight.

    Bottom microUSB input and microphone:

    Volume rocker : Power

    button and 3.5mm headphone input on top:

    The phone is very comfortable in your hand. There is no “shovel” feeling that I experienced while holding Jiayu G3 (4.5 inches) and THL W6 (5.3 inches) smartphones. Feelings of convenience can be attributed closer to the category of "perfect." Although, for a more confident hold, it would be nice to buy a silicone bumper so that the phone does not accidentally slip out of hand.

    Thickness is 10.2 mm:

    With a weight of 112 grams (with battery), there is no discomfort that the phone is too heavy or unusually light. Everything seems very balanced.
    The case is made of ABS plastic. Pleasant to the touch, but rather slippery. The back white cover is matte, prints are almost invisible.

    Under the back cover there are: 2 slots for SIM cards (only 2G networks) that work in “standby” mode, a slot for microSD memory cards, a battery with a capacity of 1100mAh.


    The screen resolution is only 320x480 pixels. The situation is saved by the IPS matrix. The color rendition is hardly ideal, it is just good. Multi-touch for 3 simultaneous touches

    In the upper right corner there is a small light that is visible only on a white background (most likely the corner of the screen is pinched).

    Viewing angles:

    In general, the screen can be characterized as good.

    Sound quality

    In this regard, A1 is very pleased. The interlocutor is perfectly audible, no extraneous noise. The microphone also works fine - on the other side there is no echo effect, or other spurious noises.


    ThL A1 is built on the MT6515 chip, which is a stripped-down version of the MT6575 chip. The differences are the lack of GPS and 3G. The chip consists of a single-core Cortex-A9 processor with a frequency of up to 1 GHz and a PowerVR SGX531 GPU.
    The performance of the CPU + GPU bundle is good, the only thing that spoils the whole picture is only 256 MB of RAM. Too heavy programs / games can simply suddenly unload from memory.

    Let's see what performance the smartphone will show in synthetic tests.


    Although the magnetic sensor is on the list, data is not coming from it.
    Information about the chip is displayed from the "big brother" MT6575.

    PowerVR SGX531 GPU shows good results in Nenamark 2:

    Wifi, Bluetooth

    With direct visibility, the Wifi signal level is very good, through several walls the signal catches worse, but still stable.

    Software, games, web browsing

    The smartphone is installed "bare" Android 4.0.4. Despite only 256MB of RAM, the interface works pretty fast. In the factory firmware, the Russian language was present, but according to the old Russian tradition, updating the firmware to the latest one, it turned out that there are only English and Chinese languages. I had to recover from a dump of one of the users of the china-iphone forum.
    Also, to simplify the backup and recovery process, you can install Clockworkmod Recovery.

    Parameters: There is

    enough memory to run light games like Angry Birds, Fruit Ninja. If the amount of RAM was 512 MB RAM, then for sure it would be possible to run more powerful 3D games.
    Browsing the Internet on a 3.5 "screen can be called a specific pleasure. But checking the mail / looking at the weather is really nothing.

    Despite the fact that the virtual keyboard is small, I have never missed typing, the accuracy of the touch screen is very good.

    Short video (interface + game + web browsing:


    The smartphone has 2 cameras: front with a resolution of 0.3MP and rear with a resolution of 3.2MP.
    Example shot of a 3.2MP rear camera:

    Working hours

    The THL A1 uses a 1100mAh battery. With an average load (half an hour of games, calls, surfing, running various tests), the phone can work on a single charge for about 2 days. If you take into account the presence of 2 batteries in the kit, then with moderate (minimum) use, you can spend a whole working week with the phone.
    With more active use, the battery will last no more than one day.
    Antutu Tester:


    The phone is disassembled by unscrewing 4 screws around the perimeter + 2 screws in the center.

    Separate the back panel:

    Detailed view:

    It was not possible to remove the board carefully, therefore there is only a general plan. Build quality is good.



    + IPS screen
    +2 SIM cards
    + build quality (as for a budget model)
    + Android 4.0.4
    + price

    - only 256 MB RAM / ROM
    - 1100mAh battery

    I didn’t add the lack of GPS and 3G, since this limitation is imposed by the MT6515 chip.
    As a result, we get a good budget smartphone with an IPS screen, which is perfect for a gift to an unhampered teenager, or for a person who does not care about MHz GHz, MB and other details.
    ThL A1 evokes those pleasant feelings when without placing more hopes on such a price, you get very pleasant impressions of using the device.

    useful links

    Discussion on the china-iphone forum


    The price in China for this smartphone is ~ $ 90.

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