• Monday, December 11, 2017
HomTom HT37 review - The Chinese $70 offer

Introduction


Chinese manufacturers like HomTom are, for quite some time now, serious players in the smartphone game. Well-known brands, such as Meizu, Xiaomi and Lenovo, have already proven that they can bring excellent quality and performances on the table for only a portion of the price, and that they are more than capable of sparring with the premium manufacturers. Perhaps not that well-known, but still a very good brand in the sea of Chinese brands is, definitely, HomTom. This brand is known for offering plenty of good devices which were on par with the competitors for just a fraction of the price. What HomTom have to offer these days is not naïve at all, to say the least. Their flagship S series offers devices with FullView displays and double camera setups, and they also offer rugged and budget devices which aim for the lowest segments of the market. Today we will review a device from the HT series – the HT37. The HT37 boasts with a 5” HD display with 2.5D glass, stereo speakers accompanied with LED diodes and fast charging. The HT37 comes in several colors: Iron Grey, Silver and Rose Gold.



Inside the factory box, next to the device itself, we can find: HomTom charging adapter, a microUSB cable and user manuals. It lacks the 3.5mm headphones, as well as the film protection, which would definitely be nice additions. What does one of the cheapest devices from the HomTom offer bring us? Let’s check out together.
 

Video review


Unboxing


Display


In the HT37 specifications we can see pretty much the typical setup for budget smartphones. The HD display is pretty spacious with a diagonal of 5”. The aspect ratio is 16:9, and all this results in 294 pixels per inch. The display is spacious enough for browser navigation, and even though the diagonal is not that big, one handed use is not the best of experiences. The main thing to blame is the space around the display, above and below it which accommodates the navigation buttons, the front facing camera and the speaker. The screen to body ratio is 65.5% of the front panel. All this is compensated for by the use of the 2.5D curved glass towards the edges of the display. The matrix used for this display is IPS LCD, which should, as a rule, provide good visibility on the sunlight as well as realistic color reproduction. MiraVision technology, which is built into the chipset of the device, allows you to customize the display parameters such as shading, color saturation and brightness.



Speaking of colors, the panel can show up to 16.7 million colors. But, as usual, not everything in practice works as it should on paper. The brightness of the display is pretty good if manually adjusted to the maximum value, and even better when the Auto mode is employed, which adjusts the brightness in accordance to the environment using the ambience light sensor. On the other side, however, we see a bit washed up colors and poor contrast. The sharpness is decent, because 294 PPI is just slightly below the famous iPhone Retina quality. As usual, you get what you pay for, and with this price, we really don’t have any rights to complain about the just average viewing quality.
 

Hardware and OS

Speaking of the hardware built into the HT37, we have a MediaTek MT6580 chipset, which is an entry MediaTek chipset. We say entry because this chipset is the bottom line below which there is no point in going. This is quadcore CPU with ARM Cortex-A7 cores clocked at 1.3 GHz. This is not a CPU that will amaze or astonish you, but a CPU that will execute your basic and mid-demanding tasks just well. The next component which makes every modern smartphone’s chipset is the GPU (graphics processing unit), and in the HT37 we have the ARM Mali-400 MP2, which is a dual core GPU. It is a decent choice for this device, and it does a good job powering up the HD display of the HT37. Considering the price, the RAM and internal storage memories are also pretty good. We have 2GB of RAM, which is still pretty solid considering the price range, and 16GB of internal storage is expandable via a microSD card up to 64GB. Only 16GB of internal storage might seem little, but the theoretical maximum of 80GB of storage is excellent. User experience with the HT37 is only average – navigating through the menu is pretty fast and with minimal lag, but when executing any somewhat more demanding operations, the HT37 will remind you of its weak chipset. But, the price is the thing that dictates – really, we must not complain about the performances. We’d even say that they are above average for this price. Device scored 24 741 on AnTuTu Benchmark.



The thing that “bought” us are the stereo speakers and the light effects that follow the rhythm of the music! Great! Details all add up, and with this, the HT37 definitely steps out. Another enormous advantage is the fingerprint scanner! Yes, you read this well!



A budget device with a fingerprint scanner and stereo speakers. The scanner is well placed – in the middle of the back of the device, just below the LED flash. It works remarkably well – fast and effective. Next to all this, it is worth to mention the “Smart Motion” menu which lets users use some options of the device by simply moving it.

Options which are available are:
  • Turn to silence (silences the ring tone when you turn the phone)
  • Answer by swing (you answer the call by swinging the hand)
  • Smart answer (you answer the call by placing the phone on your ear)
  • Smart switch (switching from the hands-free mode to the general mode by placing the phone on your ear)
  • Smart call (if you’re reading messages of browsing through a contact, the phone will automatically call that person by placing the phone on your ear)
These are all very nice additions to the functions that the HT37 has, and they employ the implemented sensor at their full. Aside from this, there is the Gesture submenu which hides quick start options. We’d like to point out the Double Click to Wake Up option which is always handy and we find it an excellent addition.

There is also an option to schedule the device to turn off or on. This can be very practical, and we see it more and more often in Chinese smartphones.
Simple yet practical!

When it comes to software side of things, we have the Android v6.0 Marshmallow with security patches for February. The UI (User Interface) is pretty simple, and resembles the stock Android environment quite a lot. All screen transitions are put down to the minimum, probably taking into account the entry MediaTek chipset.

 

Camera


Same as all other modern smartphones, the HomTom HT37 has two cameras. On the back of the device there is the main camera sensor the resolution of which can interpolate up to 13MP. The sensor is backed by the Auto-focus system which does a good job, but unfortunately it doesn’t have the continuous Auto-focus. Below the main camera sensor there is a somewhat weak LED flash which will do its job well only at distances less than 20cm. Basically, this is an 8MP sensor, and the results this camera can provide are only average. A lot of details are lost through the software “upscaling” of the photo, the contrast is poor, while the color reproduction is only average. If the light is plenty, and if you have very calm hands, it is possible to make quite nice photos, but in just a little darker environments the noise levels increase to that point that the photos lose their usefulness. The HDR mode is supported, but we think it is too aggressive, and when this effect is applied, the end results are quite unrealistic. The rear facing camera supports video recording, and videos are recorded in ancient HD 720p resolution, which is still not the worst – videos are stored in .3gp format which has a massive negative impact on video settings which are in and off themselves pretty bad.

Next to the HD 720p video resolution, also available are:
  • 480p HVGA
  • 176p QCIF
The resolution of the front facing camera is 5MP, and it provides quite decent results in this price range. Results are pretty acceptable for, say, social networks, but no miracles are to be expected here. Details are still below average, colors seem quite a bit washed up, but then again – the price dictates the quality. We don’t have any kind of an LED flash, neither software nor hardware. Videos are recorded only in VGA resolution at 30fps, and again they are stored in .3gp format.
 

Connectivity


The HomTom HT37 is a DualSIM device which operates with two microSIM cards. Next to the SIM card slots, there is also a separate microSD card slot that supports expansions up to 64GB. The good old microUSB port is used for charging and data transfer, and it is located on the bottom side of the device, while the top side accommodates the 3.5mm port, which will let you use your favorite headphones.

The list of wireless connections consists of:
  • WiFi 802.11 b/g/n (HotSpot mode) 
  • Bluetooth v4.0
  • A-GPS
  • FM Radio
NFC is, as expected, not supported.
 

Battery


Another thing that we quite like is definitely the battery. We have a Lithium-Polymer battery with the capacity of 3000 mAh which is pretty big. This is a removable battery. HomTom claim that their device supports fast charging, and for us, the full charge took a bit less than 2 hours. The preinstalled Power Saving application will help even further improve the battery life by shutting down some services (WLAN, 3G data transfer, Bluetooth, GPS and background applications), and it also offers the option to control the brightness and the up time of the panel. Speaking of the autonomy with one full charge, factory data provide these results:
  • 15 hours of 3G talking time
  • 250 hours in stand-by mode on the 3G network
 
 

Final words


For a very affordable price, HomTom give us a pretty good product. The display is on par with the competitors from the lower class, while the camera unfortunately failed to provide any decent results. We say this about the main camera, while the front facing camera did provide quite nice results. The chipset and memory combination is pretty good and bring very nice user experience. An enormous advantage is definitely the fingerprint scanner which leaves a great impression – it is very precise and lightning fast. Another advantage is the enormous battery paired with the power saving option, which makes the HT37 an excellent choice for users who value long autonomy, great price and decent performances. Stereo speakers and amazing light effects that accompany the music, alongside good 3D gaming performances can help HomTom reach younger audiences as well.

Do you like the HomTom HT37? We’d like to see your opinion in the comment section below. If you have any ideas or you would like to see a specific device being reviewed soon, feel free to let us know here or on our Facebook page. If you liked this review, subscribe to our Youtube channel, like us on Facebook, and sit back and relax while we make more of the same for you.

HomTom HT37 Full Specifications

Advantages and disadvantages

Reasons for and against it

good display for this price range
enormous battery
fingerprint scanner
stereo speakers
fast charging
motion control
main camera
strength of the LED flash
no announced offical updates of the OS