Best Budget Device? – Elephone Trunk – First Impressions

Recently I just got my Elephone Trunk, Elephone’s first ever Qualcomm Snapdragon device. This proved to be a huge break for me, as all the while I had been using MediaTek devices.

Specifications

First of all, before we start, let’s take a look at the specifications. There was no specification sticker on the box, so everything has been taken from Elephone’s website.

CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 410
GPU: Adreno 306
RAM: 2GB
ROM: 16GB
Screen size: 1280×720, 5 inch
OS: Android 5.1
Battery: 2100mAh
Camera: 13MP/2MP
LTE: Bands 1, 3, 7, 20

Unboxing

The Elephone Trunk came in a white box with a unique design different from all other Elephone devices. For one, it was pretty colourful, and is a relatively large box, unlike the flat boxes on their other devices.

Elephone Trunk box

Elephone Trunk box

Upon unboxing the device, we’ll also find that inside the box also contains a normal wall charger, USB cable, and an instruction manual (which we all know no one reads).

Contents of the Elephone Trunk box

Contents of the Elephone Trunk box

It is not known whether the Trunk supports quick charging, as the Snapdragon 410 does support Quick Charge 2.0, while the charger provided did not support quick charging. The charger is a 5V 1A charger, just like any normal charger would be.

Elephone Trunk charger

Elephone Trunk charger

Upon taking out the phone, we’ll find that the battery contacts have been blocked off by some tape, after removing it we’ll be able to turn on the phone. The battery is also worth mentioning too, as this time instead of the typical opaque plastic sticker, the battery seems a little glossy and shiny, giving it a premium feel. The battery is a 2100mAh battery.

Insides of the Elephone Trunk

Insides of the Elephone Trunk

2100mAh Elephone Trunk battery

2100mAh Elephone Trunk battery

After turning on the device, we’ll see the all too familiar Elephone boot logo (which they apparently changed on the newer devices). There is a boot sound, which in my opinion was really unnecessary. However, it did confirm that the phone’s speakers were really loud, which later was confirmed again through my tests.

ELE UI on the Trunk

ELE UI

After the device boots to Android, again we see something different, this time it’s Elephone’s ELE UI launcher, which they only recently released. This launcher has no app drawer, and is similar to MIUI’s MI Lanucher. It also supports various themes and value-added features, although I wouldn’t use it, as there are complaints that the launcher serves up pop-up ads and push ads. It is though worth mentioning that at least this time it seems Elephone has tried putting some effort into ROM development.

Once the phone boots, we can then also confirm that the phone is indeed running Android 5.1.

 

The ROM unfortunately seems to be about 2 months old. There were no OTA updates. After looking through the ROM, it seems there are a few UI kinks that Elephone hasn’t sorted out (me being very conscious of interface design). You can view them below.

Other than that, the only other interesting thing would be that CyanogenMod’s File Manager was included in the ROM.

After a few days

I used the device for 2 days now, and it seems the Elephone Trunk has got a lot worth mentioning. For one, the battery life seems to be a lot better than any of my other MediaTek devices (except the Bluboo X550, but that’s with a big battery). On light usage on the first day, it got through the entire day with only about 20% battery drain. On the second day with heavy usage, it got through about 12 hours, then dropped to about 10%, and still managed to survive about 2 hours of music playback. That is impressive.

The GPS is also worth mentioning. While being a lot faster and more accurate than my Bluboo X550 and Ulefone Be Touch 2, it apparently also picks up satellites in the subway tunnels, which I myself was a little surprised about. The time to first fix was significantly slower though. Qualcomm’s IZat technology is also built in to improve GPS usage.

With that said, there are a few problems I’ve noticed. Occasionally, the touchscreen would have a higher latency than other times. Swiping down from the top of the phone  (outside the touchscreen) to get the notification panel is also a bit of a problem, as sometimes the touch only reads when my finger is about 1/4 of the way down. As a 5.5 inch screen user too, the 5 inch screen takes a little bit more time to get used to. However, these problems are not as serious as on the Ulefone Be Touch 2, where rapid taps could not even be registered correctly.

Another thing worth mentioning is that since it runs a Snapdragon chipset, there is potential for further development. The phone already has a ported ROM on its XDA Developers thread. It has also received root with TWRP.

First Conclusion

The Elephone Trunk seems to have a lot more potential, and could very well be one of the best budget devices out there. More to come in the full review about 2 weeks from now; I will be using the device as my daily driver until then.