Technology

We tested six five-year-old phones and found some patterns

[[Preface: We're back to do the old model test, this time with 6 units in one breath]]

Some time ago, we tested the Redmi Note 8 Pro and Vivo Xshot, two older models, and compared them to the new one in terms of experience. On the one hand, we saw how much technology and performance has improved over the years, and on the other hand, we were pleased with the fact that these older models are still functional today.

We tested six five-year-old phones and found some patterns

But as we all know, the competition in the smartphone market has become more and more fierce in recent years, and the reason why old models like Redmi and Vivo still work is largely related to the strength of the brand itself, the workmanship of the product, and the continuous system and software update services. So if you have the misfortune to turn up an old phone that happens to be a brand that has long since faded from the market, what will happen?

We tested six five-year-old phones and found some patterns

In order to clarify this issue, our three easy life also found six old cell phones in one go, ready to carry out an unprecedented "old model cross-evaluation".

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【[[Participant phone debut: regardless of high-end low-end, clear small memory]]

First, let's bring out the lineup of older models tested this time.

The first is the HTC One E9+, which was released in February 2015 and was at the time a "sub-top large-screen model". As a derivative of the HTC One M9, the E9+ used a plastic rather than metal body, but still retained the rare front-facing stereo speakers and 2K screen at the time.

We tested six five-year-old phones and found some patterns

In the performance part, E9+ is equipped with MediaTek Helio X10 main control, with octa-core 2GHz A53 core, while providing 3GB + 32GB storage combination, and this is also considered the next flagship configuration at the time.

The second is the 360 Qiku Flagship Edition, which was released in August 2015 and was the representative work of 360's official entry into the cell phone industry at that time. It has a large 6-inch screen and dual rear camera design, which was rare at the time, and was also one of the first models with built-in heat pipes.

We tested six five-year-old phones and found some patterns

In the performance part, 360 Qiku Flagship Edition uses Qualcomm Snapdragon 808, but it only comes with 3GB+16GB storage combination by default, which is one of the smallest storage combinations in our old phones in this test. So does the 16GB storage capacity cause some problems? This part will be revealed later in the article.

The third model, on the other hand, is the nut phone released by Hammer Technology in August 2015. Please note that it is not the same thing as the familiar "nut phone", but a separate product launched by Hammer Technology in the early days to explore the entry-level market.

We tested six five-year-old phones and found some patterns

Because of this, the whole body of the nut phone using plastic, while the main control scheme is at that time have been considered very low-end Snapdragon 615, with 2GB + 16GB storage. Overall, it is the most entry in this batch of old phones, whether it is arithmetic, memory or storage - now take it back out and use it, will it be particularly laggy?

The fourth is the IUNI N1, which many of you may not know much about. in fact, IUNI is the Internet brand launched by Golden earlier, when the main focus was on a completely ad-free system experience, as well as a good body design and workmanship.

We tested six five-year-old phones and found some patterns

The N1 was released in September 2015 as a late entry model for the IUNI brand. It is equipped with MediaTek MT6753 main control, as well as 2GB + 16GB memory. This is also a very entry-level configuration, you may look forward to it and the nut phone between, who will actually perform better.

The fifth model is LeTV's Le1S. As an extremely popular mainstream model, the Le1S, released in October 2015, undoubtedly represents the era of Mr. Jia's ambition. The "ID bezel-less" design and the metal body are actually quite distinctive to this day.

We tested six five-year-old phones and found some patterns

In terms of hardware configuration, the Le 1S uses the MediaTek Helio X10 overclocked version of the main control, with a 2.2GHz octa-core A53 CPU, along with a 3GB+16/32GB storage configuration. The 32GB version is the one we tested, which seems relatively more reassuring.

The sixth phone we chose was the Coolpad Frontier MAX, which is famous for having been advertised as the iPhone 6 and Huawei Mate7, and also for having a well-made integrated metal body and 2.5D glass front panel.

We tested six five-year-old phones and found some patterns

But as a high-end business model, released in November 2015, the Coolpad Frontier MAX hardware configuration is not really high. The Snapdragon 615 and the 3GB+32GB storage combination were not very attractive at the time.

It is easy to see that all these old models we tested have a small storage combination, the largest is only 3GB + 32GB, the smallest is even only 2 + 16GB, but their main performance contains a variety of programs from entry to high-end at the time.

So this begs the question, is it more important for older models to have high performance, or is it more important to have more memory?

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[[System examination: all need to be manually tossed, but the difficulty varies greatly]]

After the introduction of the review lineup, let's officially enter their "tossing" and inspection process. As you can see, we chose all the models released in 2015, as they have been lying in the warehouse of our three easy life review room for several years, so the first test, is that these old models can still be charged and turned on properly?

We tested six five-year-old phones and found some patterns

It is gratifying to see that all six participating models passed this first round of testing. None of them had problems such as bulging batteries and broken screens because they had been stored for too long. In fact, this is not our blind worry, because in the past, some newer phones may suddenly become unusable after being stored for a while. In contrast, this batch of six years old phones in the basic quality, but rather perform a little better.

After charging and verifying that they all turned on properly, it was time for the second part of the test. For this batch of 6-year-old phones, is there still a way to upgrade them to the latest system version in their respective lifecycles?

We tested six five-year-old phones and found some patterns

Needless to say, it was a very challenging, but also very rewarding test project. As we said in the previous article, the brands corresponding to these six models have basically long since left the cell phone market, or at least had discontinued the business.

This means that all six models tested this time with their own networking system update function are no longer working properly. We need to install the new version of the system through various manual means. And in this process, interesting differences emerged.

We tested six five-year-old phones and found some patterns

First of all, the best performing model in this link is the 360 Qiku Signature Edition. The reason for this is also simple, as its official forum is still functioning today and many of the links to the system upgrade packages provided in the forum are still valid. So it is simply a matter of downloading the upgrade package and manually upgrading it in the machine in order of version.

We tested six five-year-old phones and found some patterns

Of course, we also found some problems in this process. For example, the 360 Qiku Flagship had a serious lag after the system upgrade, so we had to perform another reset operation on it to alleviate the problem. In addition, it originally had a theoretically more convenient official wire brush upgrade tool, but this tool is no longer available.

We tested six five-year-old phones and found some patterns

Next, the INUI N1 ranks second in this segment along with the LeEco Le 1S. Their official forums are no longer accessible, but probably because of the large number of former purchasers and the relatively open attitude of these two models towards brushing, they both have relatively good private resources. We were able to find the new official upgrade package easily from the postings of these two models, and we were able to update the system.

In contrast, the process of brushing the nut phone "luck" is a bit higher. Its official forum is currently inaccessible, but also the lack of postings, user groups and other private resources. In the end, we searched the Internet to find the official update package server direct download address, the good news is that this address is not yet invalid, through the phone's built-in version of the original Recovery to complete the card brush system update.

We tested six five-year-old phones and found some patterns

From the in-camera version number, the country's HTC One E9+ may have never updated the system

Finally, the most disappointing performance in this segment is the Coolpad Frontier MAX and HTC One E9+. I don't know if it was the lack of official attention or the fact that these two old phones were not selling well, but we were either unable to search for an available system update package, or we were able to download the update package but found that the official wire brush software was not working properly. In the end, both phones failed to complete the system update and remained at the software version we had when we stocked them 6 years ago.

Software testing: most of the application stores fail, and some models have poor compatibility

Why do we need to update the system of these older models to the latest version as much as possible? Besides examining the after-sales service of the brand in question for older products, it is also because for models that are too old, the compatibility of the old version of the system and the availability of its built-in components can be problematic in many cases.

In the case of the six models tested, HTC, Coolpad, iuni, and LeEco's built-in application store and built-in video client were all rendered unusable because the official servers had been closed.

We tested six five-year-old phones and found some patterns

In contrast, the 360 Qiku Flagship Edition and the Nut phone are the only surprises. As two models listed in 2015, and their respective parent brands have withdrawn from the cell phone market, their built-in application stores are still fully functional today, and there are no problems downloading and updating applications.

Of course, it's not hard to solve the problem of unavailable app store, just install a third-party app store. But the problem lies in the fact that for these old phones in 2015, their system versions are generally still stuck in Android 5.0~Android 6.0, and this leads to some new problems.

We tested six five-year-old phones and found some patterns

For example, the HTC One E9+ is the oldest system version among the older models we tested this time. Due to the lack of updates, its system version is still stuck on Android 5.0. This has caused it to be incompatible with some of the latest versions of popular apps, not even running, but not even installing them.

Another example is that although we just praised the 360 Qiku flagship for its system update and built-in app store, it actually has compatibility issues with Android 6.0 as well. When we tried to update the built-in app store (360 Mobile Assistant), it successively failed to install several times, and then somehow succeeded in the end.

We tested six five-year-old phones and found some patterns

The good thing is, except for these two models, the other four (Nut, IUNI N1, LeEco Le1S and Coolpad Frontier MAX) did not have any disturbing problems in our commonly used software (including QQ, Weibo, WeChat, Tencent Video, Akiyay, Beili Beili, Alipay, Taobao, Jingdong, Jitterbug, and Gaode Map) installation and update tests. Finally, all of them were installed smoothly with the latest version of these applications in March 2022, and can be opened and used normally.

Final experience and summary: in the face of age, optimization is more meaningful than configuration

Finally, let's briefly talk about the feeling of using these 6 old phones after tossing the system and installing the latest common software, as well as some of our feelings.

First of all, although the 360 Qiku Flagship Edition is the most atmospheric looking and theoretically the most arithmetically powerful of the 6 phones. But in reality, when we installed a series of common software for it in 2022, it was instead the worst and not one of the worst experience in use. The obvious lag and heat created a very bad experience, making this older model almost useless.

We tested six five-year-old phones and found some patterns

A lot of "black technology", the use of experience is very card

Why is that? We guess that the overly redundant system and the small storage space are probably the two biggest factors. On the one hand, the 360's system comes with too many functional components, plus various "security functions" and "cleanup functions" often run automatically in the background, so the system resources are heavily occupied. On the other hand, the redundant system makes the 16GB storage space of the Qiku flagship edition not much left at all, and the storage capacity will be alarmed when a few common software are installed.

We tested six five-year-old phones and found some patterns

In contrast, IUNI N1, Hammer Nut, and Coolpad Frontier MAX, although the hardware computing power and storage space are also considered strong, but their systems are much more simple, so instead of making them relatively low configuration, but both the smoothness, or the remaining space after the installation of common applications are much better. Among them, IUNI N1 and nut phone experience is particularly good, one has to sigh their demise for consumers, may indeed be a loss.

We tested six five-year-old phones and found some patterns

Le 1S released in 2015, the system update has continued until 2017, or very rare

Finally, the HTC One E9+ and LeEco Le 1S have similar configurations, and both are considered high-end products in these six old phones. But in practice, the Le 1S overwhelmed the E9+, which should have been positioned higher, both in terms of the smoothness of the system interface and the speed of opening various video software and loading the video playback interface. From this point on, it is easy to see how much significance good system optimization and relatively more diligent system updates have for the phone.

To be honest, today's "review" is not very formal, because for these 6 years old models, to compete with the battery, score, games and other items have been completely meaningless. The reason we came to do this test and write this article is more out of a curious, inquisitive mind, want to try these brands that have almost no presence now, how much "residual heat" their old models still have.

But in such a test, driven by curiosity and tossing and turning, we got some interesting conclusions that are impossible to get in a regular review.

We tested six five-year-old phones and found some patterns

For older phones, "hardware performance" is no longer the most important determinant of experience

First of all, because the cell phone industry's technology is developing very quickly, so for older models that are already a certain age, "card" and "not card" may not be linked to the performance level of the main control. After all, even if it was once the top SoC, five or six years later, it will certainly not be able to beat the lowest entry-level products. In contrast, whether the system is simple enough, whether the underlying Android version of the system is as new as possible, but the impact may be greater.

Second, what kind of old models can have more residual heat? The conclusion we got from this test is that "the models that used to sell better are more worth tossing". After all, selling better means more people playing with the machine, which means that even after many years, you may find the system, software and other resources. In contrast, the colder the brand or model, the less residual value it tends to have.

Finally, if you also want to turn the old phone out of the house to pick up and reuse it as an alarm clock, video player or something, then our advice to everyone is to first pay attention to safety. After all, as long as the electronic products with batteries, after a long period of time may produce the risk of battery damage. And we were able to do such an issue review, in large part because it was clear how much battery depletion these older models actually have. But if you don't know how hard the old equipment you happened to turn over had been "made", we still don't recommend tossing it, because the fun is small, safety is big.