While most of the competition are going all out in the mid-range segment, there are still companies like Starmobile that continue to look on the more budget oriented end of the spectrum.

To be specific, smartphones which cater to people who don’t need anything fancy, but instead, something that just works, a phone that can do calls, text messages, a bit of media consumption, and can snap photos quickly, and of course, an extremely pocket-friendly price.

The Starmobile Play Five is an example of such a device. At only PhP1,790, you’re getting an extremely compact device with a quad-core processor, a 5MP camera, and runs Android Marshmallow. But are you actually getting good value for your money? Or is it better to just save up for something else? Let’s find out in this full review.


Looks More Expensive Than It Is

With a 4-inch display, the Play 5 is probably one of the most compact smartphones around. And although primarily made of plastic, it suprisingly feels solid in the hand, as if it costs double its actual price.


The overall look is decent, but If only they slashed a few millimeters from the top and bottom bezels, It would’ve been even better.


The back houses Camera, LED Flash, the usual Starmobile branding, and again, an awkwardly placed speaker. It’s also removable, and gives you access to the SIM Card and Micro SD card slots, as well as the removable battery.


The volume rocker and power button can be found on the right side of the device, while the headphone jack and MicroUSB port are located at the top.

Performs as Priced

  • 2GHz Spreadtrum 7731c Quad-Core Processor
  • 512MB of RAM, 4 GB of Internal Storage Expandable up to 32GB via MicroSD Card
  • 0-inch WVGA Display
  • 5MP Rear Camera, LED Flash
  • 2MP Front Camera
  • 3G, HSPA+, Dual SIM
  • Android 6.0 Marshmallow
  • 1500mAh Removable Battery

The Play Five was able to handle basic tasks such as web browsing, social media, watching YouTube videos, and playing music with relatively minor issues.

Installing and opening some apps took time, and it was evident that this device wasn’t made for multi-tasking due to the low RAM. I also suggest immediately investing in a MicroSD card.


The Play Five’s 5MP rear shooter surprisingly does a decent job. Stills came out detailed, and colors are quite accurate.

Don’t expect anything from the 2MP front camera though. Selfies came out as if they were overly processed and filtered, and the overall quality is just horrible.

p5ci1 p5ci2

Installing a 3rd party camera app would be of use here, as the default app only offers minimal options for your shots.

At Least It Runs on Marshmallow  

The Play 5 runs on Android Marshmallow out of the box. And since most of the elements are stock, the performance is barely hampered and UI navigation was generally smooth. It does come with some Starmobile apps that you can’t uninstall, but only disable.

Horrible Battery Life


The battery of the Play 5 is too small to yield even a decent number. What makes it more disappointing is that phones like this are actually expected to last longer (since they can’t really do much of anything else), and even in that part, it struggles.

Charging time is even worse, as it took around 3 hours to go from zero to full using the supplied charger. For a phone with a battery this small? That is almost unacceptable.


The Starmobile Play Five is a good basic smartphone. It’s very compact, has a decent rear camera, and can handle day to day tasks with minimal issues, so long as you don’t do heavy multi-tasking that is. I really wish they’d put in at least 1GB of RAM.

On the flipside, the speaker placement is awkward, battery life is awful, and the front camera is practically useless, unless you’re joining a “worst selfie” contest.

Would I recommend it? No. The battery life just isn’t a worthy trade for the performance. But if you’re willing to carry a powerbank with you, then why not?

The Good

  • General Performance
  • Rear Camera
  • Price
  • Stock Android

The Not So Good

  • Design
  • Multi-tasking performance
  • Front Camera
  • Battery Life
  • Bloatware
  • Speaker Placement
  • Charging Time








Emman has been writing technical and feature articles since 2010. Prior to this, he became one of the instructors at Asia Pacific College in 2008, and eventually landed a job as Business Analyst and Technical Writer at Integrated Open Source Solutions for almost 3 years.