IRULU3

Pros…

Large screen, low price point, dual SIM is great for travel, expandable memory, unlocked, lots of features for the money

Cons…

plastic back, need an adapter to use nano SIM card,  no protective cases available

Summary

If you are looking for an unlocked phone with a large screen size then the Victory V3 from iRulu has a lot of features for under $200

Our Rating

 

recommended-by-the-imums

If you like the screen size of the iPhone6+, but not the price, one alternative is to look at Android Phablets instead. I recently had the opportunity to test out an Android Smartphone with a large screen but very budget friendly price- the Victory V3 from iRULU. The V3 has a 6.5″ screen, comes unlocked, so no contract is required, and retails for under $200.

The phone runs on Google Android 5.1. It comes in 2 versions a “high” (16GB) and a “low” (8GB) version. I tested the high version which has 16GB ROM, 2GB RAM,  5MP front camera and 13MP rear camera. The memory is expandable using a micro-SD card, I used a SanDisk Ultra 64GB microSDXC UHS-I Card  which added another 64GB of memory for under $25.

The V3 is a GSM phone which comes unlocked, in the USA it works with AT&T, T-Mobile, MetroPCS, Straight Talk and others, and it will work on any GSM network in the world.  A full list of worldwide GSM networks can be found at mobileworldlive.com. Having an unlocked cellphone is useful, as you are not tied into a contract, and it also allows you to purchase and use a local SIM card when traveling abroad avoiding hefty roaming fees.

The phone comes with earbuds, a charging cable and wall charger. Before use you need to install the included 3000mAH battery, and your own SIM card (plus micro-SD card if you wish to expand the memory.) There are 2 SIM card slots and a nice feature for travel is that you can have two SIM cards installed at one time and switch between them in the settings section of the phone. If you wish to use a nano SIM (which is commonly used in iPhones and Android phones) you will need to purchase an adapter, such as this one that I purchased on Amazon for about $7. To get to the SIM card or SD card slots you need to remove the backplate of the phone which is a thin piece of plastic held in place by lots of tiny tabs. The first time I did this I was nervous it would break easily, but I have removed and replaced it many times now without incident.
IRULU2

 

Size

This is a really big phone! It measures approximately 6.93″ x 3.56″ x 0.35″, compared to the iPhone 6S+ at 6.23″ x 3.07 ” x 0.29.” I did find that even with this large size it fit quite comfortably in my hand. I wouldn’t keep a large phone like this or the iPhone 6S+ in my pocket, but if carrying it in a purse or bag it is fine. It’s weight is virtually identical to the iPhone6s+ at 191g (just under 7oz.)

Screen

There are definitely some advantages to having such a large phone as it can have a much larger screen. The V3’s screen size is 6.5″ which is even bigger than the iPhone 6S+ at 5.5″ and makes my iPhone 5’s 4″ screen look tiny. It’s big enough that you may decide to use it instead of a tablet when you are out and about. It makes viewing movies and videos much more enjoyable than watching on a smaller phone and I definitely appreciate the larger screen size for many apps too. I have used it for navigation using Google Maps and it is much easier to see the route than on my iPhone5.

The screen resolution is not as good as the iPhone, which is not surprising due to its much lower price point, however it is still good enough that it didn’t interfere with my enjoyment when watching videos or playing apps. It has a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels compared to the iPhone 5’s 1136 x 640-pixel resolution and the iPhone6s+ 1920 x 1080-pixel resolution.

Apps

The phone runs on Android 5.1 (Lollipop) and has a Qualcomm 1.2 GHz Quad Core Processor. It has the Google Appstore installed by default, but you can also use the Amazon app store (Amazon has directions on how to do this), so I also installed apps using the amazon underground app, which is a great place to get free apps without in-app purchases. I found that the phone worked well for playing apps and noticed no appreciable lag time. My son loves to play action games, especially Stars Wars themed apps such as EA’s Star Wars Galaxy of Heroes. He loves using the V3 to play them on, and reports no problems using it with them.
For my normal everyday use charging the phone once a day was enough, if my son used it to play a lot of graphic intensive apps the battery would drop much faster (as expected.)

Phone Reception

I tested the phone using AT&T and found I actually got a stronger cellphone signal for phone and internet with the V3 than I did with my iPhone 5 (also on AT&T.)

Camera

The V3 has a 5MP front camera and 13MP rear camera. I found it very easy to use and the controls were very intuitive. A right swipe brings up all the camera settings. A moveable focus window appears if you tap the screen and it is easy to zoom in and out. It is one of the easiest to use smartphone cameras I have found.

Travel

Because the phone is unlocked and can have 2 SIMs installed at once this makes it very useful for travel. It allows you to purchase and use a local SIM card to avoid hefty roaming fees and lets you switch back and forth between the SIM cards at the touch of a button.

Overall Impressions

I found the phone to work well for making and receiving calls, internet browsing, playing apps, listening to music, taking pictures and watching videos. I liked the large screen size especially for watching videos and playing apps.

My main concern is that the plastic back feels somewhat flimsy and may not provide a lot of drop protection.The speaker output is also via the plastic back so you need to be careful not to cover this, or the audio is muffled. I would like to see more cases available, especially protective ones, as the only case I have seen for it is this folio style case which will protect the screen from being scratched but I don’t think will add a lot of drop protection.

Pros: Large screen, low price point, dual SIM is great for travel, expandable memory, unlocked, lots of features for the money

Cons: plastic back, need an adapter to use nano SIM card, no protective cases available

Summary:

If you are looking for an unlocked phone with a large screen size then the Victory V3 from iRulu has a lot of features for under $200. It does not have as high a quality materials or as high end specifications as an iPhone6s+ but it works well, is a fraction of the price, and offers good value for money.

Available from iRulu.com or Amazon current price $189.99

iRULU1NOTE: A product was supplied by the company for review purposes, no other form of compensation was received, all opinions stated in the review are those of the author and have been offered honestly.