Review of Vernee Apollo Lite Smartphone with Mediatek Helio X20 SoC – Part1: Unboxing, First Boot and Benchmarks

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Vernee Apollo Lite is the little brother of Vernee Apollo, both based on Mediatek Helio X20 deca-core Cortex A72/A53 SoC, but with the Lite version having lower hardware specs otherwise, and being one of the few ARM Cortex A72 smartphones selling for less than $200 (at least in China). Tomtop, a Chinese online store, sent me a sample for review, and today, I’ll start by going through the tech specs, then check out the phone design and its accessories, and finally run a few benchmark, before posting a more detailed review in one or two weeks, where I’ll have more experience and feel about the phone.

Vernee Apollo Lite Specifications

I had posted some specs about the phone when it was first released, but they were incomplete at the time, and Vernee now released the full specs for their Apollo Lite:

  • SoC – Meaitek Helio X20 (MT6797) deca-core processor with 2x Cortex A72 cores, 4x Cortex A53 cores, and 4x low power Cortex A53 cores, as well as ARM Mali-T880MP4 GPU
  • System Memory – 4GB LPDDR3 RAM
  • Storage – 32GB eMMC flash  + micro SD card slot (up to 128GB) share with one nano SIM card slot
  • Display – 5.5″ full HD (1920×1080) 2.5D display with Gorilla Corning 3 glass; 5-point touch
  • Camera – 16.0MP rear camera with dual LED flash, 5.0MP wide angle front-facing camera. Video up to 4K2K @ 30fps; 1080p @ 60fps
  • Cellular Network
    • 2G – GSM 900/1900/2100MHz
    • 3G – WCDMA 900/2100MHz
    • 4G – FDD-LTE 800/1800/2100/2600MHz
    • Dual SIM dual standby (DSDS): 1. Micro SIM + Nano SIM; 2. Micro SIM + micro SD card
  • Wireless Connectivity – Dual band 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS, A-GPS
  • USB – USB Type-C OTG port
  • Misc – Pressure type fingerprint scanner, gyro, compass, hall effect, gravity sensor, ambient light sensor, touch sensor, LED notification light
  • Power Supply – 5V/7V/9V @ 2.0A/12V @ 1.5A power supply compatible with Pump Express 3.0
  • Battery – 3,180 mAh LiPo battery
  • Dimensions – 152 x 76.2 x 9.2 mm
  • Weight – 175 grams

The phone runs Android 6.0.

Vernee Apollo Lite Unboxing

The device comes in a black retail package with “Vernee Apollo Lite” text on the top, and some specifications on the bottom of the package.

Vernee_Apollo_Package

The phone ships with a 5 to 12V fast charger, a USB-C to USB cable, a user manual, a card with a QR code linking to www.vernee.cc, and a “SIM needle”.

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Apollo Lite smartphone build quality feels good and sturdy. The screen is slightly curved on the edges (hence the “2.5D display” I suppose), with the front having the usual camera and light sensor, and the back a camera with dual color LED flash, and the finger print sensor right under it.

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Click to Enlarge

The bottom of the phone include two speakers and the USB type C port used for charging, and since its a USB OTG port according to the specs, you should also be able to connect other USB devices with the right adapter.

Vernee_Apollo_Lite_Speakers_USB-C

The 3.5mm audio jack is not dead yet after all, and you can find one on the top of the device.

Vernee_Apollo_Lite_Headphone_Jack

One of the side features the power and volume buttons….Vernee_Apollo_Lite_Buttons…while the other side has two slots for your Micro/Nano SIM card(s) and/or micro SD card. This is where you need the “SIM needle” to pull out the two slots where you can place your cards. The top one supports SIM and SD cards, the bottom one only SIM cards.

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Click to Enlarge

The enclosure does not seem designed to be easily opened, so I’m unsure whether the battery is replaceable.

You can also watch the unboxing video if you please.

Vernee Apollo Lite First Boot and OTA Update

The phone is little slow to boot, as it typically does so in about one minute, but hopefully, it’s not something you’ll often have to do. The device is using stock Android Launcher, and you have all basic apps (I installed Antutu and CPU-Z myself) you’d expect including Google Play Store.

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The About section reports the phone is named “Apollo Lite” and runs Android 6.0 on top of Linux 3.18.22. The source code has not been released yet, but people have been asking in the Forums in the last week or so, as Vernee has done so for some other of their phones.

After I installed a 32GB micro SD card in phone, I was asked whether to use it as Internal storage or Portable storage, and I went for the former. After micro SD card format completed, I had about 54 GB device storage. After connecting to WiFi, I also went to check for firmware update, and one released two days ago (29/08/2016).

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Click to Enlarge

I could download it, but sadly it failed to apply showing the Android logo with Error string. I also noticed many apps, including Firefox and QR Droid, are crashing when I attempt to start them. So that’s not really the best of start. I’ll check out the forums to see if I can get some help, and solve my issues.

Vernee Apollo Lite System Info and Antutu Benchmark

Luckily both CPU-Z and Antutu 6.0 are running just fine. The first properly detect Mediatek Helio X20 deca-core processor, and an ARM Mali-T880MP GPU.

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Click to Enlarge

The reported CPU frequencies are likely wrong however, as all cores should not be able to reached 1.85 GHz. Vernee is the new brand of NewBund, so that’s why the company is listed as the manufacturer. The screen resolution is 1080×1920 with 400 dpi, there’s 3842MB RAM in total, and 25.16GB available from the internal eMMC flash.

Antutu 6.x score is the fastest of all devices I own with 81,623 points, helped with Cortex A72 cores, and a fast ARM Mali-T880MP GPU.

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Click to Enlarge

That’s all for today. Tomtop kindly provided the sample for review, and if you’d like to purchase one you can do so on their website for $225.99 including shipping, and even bring that down to $218.99 with APOLLO7 coupon ($7 discount). The phone can also be purchased on a variety of other online shops including GearBest, GeekBuying, eBay, and Aliexpress for $227.99 and up.

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ovi
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ovi

Vernee …. sounds so french JL :)) :)) … almost as Jules Vernes.
In the next couple of years we will see Aufranc brand name smartphones for sure,
Excellent review anyway.

Abdulbasit
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Abdulbasit

I’m wondering if it has support for video over usb c (usb c hdmi cable)? Are all devices with usb type C support that(like Xiaomi mipad2) as I have it and planning to buy one adapter to use it with my tv.

Demetris
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Demetris

@Abdulbasit I really doubt mediatek implemented that feature, cost savings as always

rcezar
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rcezar

@Abdulbasit
Did you buy it? Does it work with hdmi adapter?

Abdullbasit
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Abdullbasit

Yes,I bought this adapter:
https://m.aliexpress.com/s/item/32709625807.html#autostay
But it’s not working with mipad 2, neither with Xiaomi Mi5 ?