What would make a 4-inch, 3G smartphone with a quad-core processor and 1 GB RAM an interesting proposition in 2017? Those are very basic specifications, after all. The fact that it runs Android 7 Nougat is one. The price is another. This Android-powered mobile phone costs just N13,000. That is the configuration that the Freetel ICE 2 brings to the fight in the budget smartphone segment. We got our hands on one and took it for a spin. We are ready with our verdict. When it comes to the decision whether to buy the ICE 2 or not, our detailed Freetel ICE 2 Review is exactly what you need.
Freetel ICE 2 Review: Quick Pros And Cons
Before we dive into the review proper, starting with the major pros and cons of this small, pocket-friendly smartphone.
|Bright 4.0-inch display||Very slow battery charging|
|Stock Android 7 Nougat||Poor cameras|
|Network Mode can be pegged to 3G only|
Freetel ICE 2 Review: Hardware/Design
There isn’t much to the ICE 2’s design and physical build. It is all plastic. There is a 3.5 mm audio jack at the top, alongside a lanyard hole. We miss lanyards. On the right edge are the volume buttons, and right below them is the power button. There is nothing on the left edge.
Below the small display are three buttons – Menu, Home (with the Freetel logo printed on it), and Back. The bottom edge houses the micro-USB port and microphone.
On the back, we have the camera lens and flash at the top, as well as both the Freetel branding and loudspeaker grill at the lower end.
The back cover and battery are removable to give you access to the two SIM slots and a dedicated memory card slot. You will need that memory card, as the ICE 2 has only 4.38 GB of user accessible storage built in. Just get a 32 GB card to save yourself a lot of stress.
Freetel ICE 2 Review: Software
Android 7 Nougat is what we have on the Freetel ICE 2. There is no custom UI here. Some bloatware are pre-installed but are all removable.
Freetel ICE 2 Review: Network, Telephony
Dual SIM: check. GSM/EDGE: check. 3G: check. Every network capability expected of a budget smartphone. Phone calls are not spectacular, but they are okay.
In terms of mobile data, ICE 2 users are able to peg network mode to 2G only, Auto, as well as 3G only mode. This is especially valuable for when you need fairly fast mobile internet.
Freetel ICE 2 Review: Display and Multimedia
We have a 4-inch display here. It is bright and that is it. Viewing angles are poor. Again, no surprise.
Freetel ICE 2 Review: Photography
So how does the Freetel ICE 2 perform in terms of photography? As one would expect an entry-level smartphone to perform.
Can we ask you to forget about using the VGA selfie camera on the front? You will only end up with grainy poor quality photos that won’t get you any Instaglam or Facebook likes. Sometimes, no pictures are better than some pictures. But if you have to absolutely use it, here’s a sample selfie to convince you otherwise:
You will fare better with the 2 megapixel camera at the back, but again, expect no great photos. There is a reason why budget cameraphones have poor cameras. We have a few samples for you as well:
The camera offers a small range of filters – 8 in all – as well as various shooting modes, so you can get creative. You can take panoramas, capture images in bursts, and even scan QR codes. In other words, the camera software is the real deal. It is fully featured. Shame that the image quality is so bad that none of the fancy stuff makes a serious difference. Just forget about taking any serious photos with the Freetel ICE 2.
Freetel ICE 2 Review: Multitasking/Performance
You will be pleasantly surprised to find that the ICE 2 handled nicely for everyday tasks. That is due to the fact that the manufacturer has not imposed a custom . In terms of speed of operation, it is fair game. We ran into trouble with heavier tasks and with multi-tasking though. In addition, downloading apps from Google Play is often tough going. We suspect that is a result of the low processing power.
Clearly, the ICE 2’s hardware is below the requirements of the cutting edge GTWorld mobile app. We would have been surprised if the outcome had been different. The regular GTBank mobile app installs and works without issues though.
If you care for synthetic benchmark scores, the Freetel ICE 2 scored the following in our tests:
- AnTuTu: 20,989
- Geekbench: 396 Single-Core / 1071 Multi-Core
- Quadrant: 5,823
Those figures are not anything fantastic in the grand scheme of smartphones, but at the budget end where the ICE 2 plays, they are very good.
Freetel ICE 2 Review: Battery life
As we expected, battery life isn’t spectacular. It is in the same range as what you will get from most smartphones in this class. To keep up with our usage, we had to top up the phone at least two times each day. Our usage means always-on 3G connection, two email accounts constantly syncing, social media, instant messaging, web browsing and the odd telephone call.
When using it as a hotspot, we had to top up even more often.
After being used to fast charge, plugging in a mobile phone with no fast charge and waiting for it to fill up is extremely painful. Even with its small battery capacity, the ICE 2 takes ages to charge up. Less than 50% in an hour and almost 3 hours to get a full charge from 9%. But hey, fast charging at this price point is still a dream. perhaps in a few years, the situation will change.
Freetel ICE 2 Review: Final Words
The ICE 2 is a really good bargain for its price. There are competing smartphones with lower-spec’d features that cost at least N9,000 more. An example is the TECNO S1. If you need a backup Android smartphone for odd duties or you want to get a smartphone for your child or you want to get a smartphone who has used only feature phones all their lives, the ICE 2 is perfect. If you love taking pictures to share with others, this mobile phone does not have your name written on it.