Can the basic NOA device, the NOA Core Next, justify the market price? Let’s find out together.
Noa emerged on the market as a brand that has serious business in mind, and today we’re testring their Core Next. This is an entry level device with a 5” display and a double SIM card slot. NOA got certified for their seriousness and quality by the EISA award they got on IFA summit in Berlin in 2017 – Best Buy Smartphone 2017-2018. They got this award for their H10le (Limited Edition).
As we’ve said, we’re not testing a flagship today, but instead an entry level device with a very affordable price. The device that we have here is in Grey color, which is the only color available. Inside the factory box you can find: NOA charging adapter, microUSB cable, 3.5mm in-ear headphones, screen protector and user manuals together with a warranty card. Let’s now take a look together how NOA Core Next managed on our test.
NOA Core Next has a 5” display. This diagonal in 2018 represents the smaller possible display that is still enjoyable to use. What we certainly don’t like in the Core Next is the resolution of the panel itself, since it could be seen on some devices as far back as in 2009 or 2010 (for example Xperia X10), and this is FWVGA resolution (854 x 480 pixels). This resolution on a 5” display results in 195 pixels per inch (PPI). The aspect ratio is standard: 16:9.
As this is an IPS LCD display, the colors are pretty nicely reproduced, and this panel can show up to 16 million different shades. The brightness, however, is not a strong point of this device, and neither is the sharpness! Simply put, 195 PPI in 2018 is unacceptable! Let’s go back to brightness: this can be manually adjusted, and a nice addition is the ambience light sensor that will adjust the brightness according to the environment. Web surfing and video viewing are both pretty pleasant experiences thanks to a rather large display for this class, and one-handed use is also perfectly practical.
NOA failed to implement any sort of display enhancement technology, so you are “stuck” with the display as it is. Also, no protection is available (Corning Gorilla Glass or Asahi Dragontrail). Only option that we could find apart from the basic ones is the option to changed the size of font on the display. However, considering the price, which is more than affordable, we’ll say that this display performed quite well.
Hardware and OS
We come to one of the most important points which is definitely the hardware. As always, we’ll start with the chipset. Here we have a relatively rare chipset, and we could see it in lowest segments of the market – it is the SpreadTrum SC7731 chipset. This is a quad core CPU clocked at 1GHz. Next to the CPU, we have an ARM Mali-400 GPU. There is 1GB of DDR2 RAM in the Core Next, while the storage memory has the capacity of 8GB. The best thing about this chipset is the CPU, while the GPU, despite the display having such a low resolution, is just not suitable for a 2018 device. Simply, nothing even a bit more demanding won’t show any decent results.
A good proof of the Core Next’s capabilities is the AnTuTu benchmark test, that showed the result of 20448.
Only 1GB of RAM limits your multitasking allowing you to have up to two applications running at the same time, while 8GB of storage might be too little. Luckily, there is the microSD card that is located beneath the battery cover! Although it is here, the microSD is not hot-swappable (removable without shutting the device down). The maximum capacity of the microSD card is 32GB.
Sensors built into the Noa Core Next are: ambience light sensor, gravity sensor and proximity sensor. The class definitely does dictate the performances, so the Core Next does not have a fingerprint scanner. Sound reproduction speaker is located near the bottom of the rear side of the device, and it offers only average sound quality.
Navigating through the menu is pretty fluent, but as we have said earlier, any more demanding application will put the weak hardware of the Core Next to torture. OS found on this device is Android 6.0 Marshmallow and not loaded with unnecessary application, which makes it quite clean. Security patches are dated to November 2017.
The main camera of the Core Next is equipped with an 8MP sensor that is supported by a dual LED flash. The maximum resolution is 3264 x 2448. Camera interface itself is quite simple, and we really enjoyed it since it resembles the environment of stock Android. Also, we like the number of different setting despite this being a weak and slow sensor. Auto-focus takes time, and so does saving the photo. Inside the interface itself, there is an option to change camera orientation, turn on HDR, set guideline on the screens as well as to turn of the timer. Swiping from bottom up (while in horizontal position) an option menu is revealed that lets you choose modes of taking spherical photos, recording videos or recording GIFs. Also, by swiping in the upper right corner, there are other settings: photo resolution, photo saving directories and detailed photo parameters (a kind of PRO mode).
Available resolutions are:
- 8MP (4:3)
- 5MP (4:3)
- 3.1MP (4:3)
- 7.2MP (16:9)
- 2.1MP (16:9)
- 0.9MP (16:9)
However, as we’ve said, this is a basic sensor. Photos taken by the Core Next look washed up, with low details and high levels of noise, but to be frank, you get what you pay for! Of course, this device supports video recording. Video resolution is 720p HD, and videos have terrible quality, with a lot of duplicated frames and very washed up colors. Next to HD 720p videos, also available are:
- SD 480p (640 x 480 pixels)
- CIF (352 x 288 pixels)
The front facing camera has the resolution of 2MP, and things here are a little bit better, but nothing too much. Details are ok, but lots of noise and washed up colors ruin the general impression. The front facing camera doesn’t support HDR. Videos taken by the front facing camera are also very dark and with lots of noise, we don’t recommend taking videos with this camera! It is recording only in VGA resolution.
NOA Core Next is a DualSIM device which makes it very practical. Next to the DualSIM tray there is, as we’ve already set, a microSD card slot. MicroUSB v2.0 cable is used to charging and data transfer. The 3.5mm headphone port is located on the top of the device. The Core Next does not support 4G networks.
The list of wireless connections containts:
- Bluetooth v3.0
Supported 2G and 3G frequencies are:
- 2G: 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 MHz
- 3G: 900 / 2100 MHz
Maximum download speeds in 3G networks, in maximum, go up to 21Mbps, while the maximum upload speeds go up to 5.76Mbps.
This device is powered by a removable Lithium-Ion with the capacity of 2300 mAh. This device charges through a microSD port, and of course – it doesn’t have fast charging. A full charge will take around 2 hours and 30 minutes. One full charge will bring you about 300 hours of stand-by time.
After several days spent with the NOA Core Next, it left us with a lot of different impressions. We won’t give it the best budge device award, and most definitely we won’t say it is a good buy for the money. We liked the pretty spacious display which had a potential to turn the Core Next into an interesting device if it only had a bit better GP, so this device is only remain a good option for business users (DualSIM) which don’t expect too much out of a phone – just a couple of emails here, and checking social networks.
Advantages and disadvantages
Reasons for and against it
DualSIM + microSD card slot
Pretty clean software
Too little internal storage memory
Weak chipset although on par with the price