Haier, the leading Chinese multinational consumer electronics company is in Pakistan for quite a time now. Since the introduction of its mobile phones in 2014, it has been working on a range of models to attract various market segments.

Primarily, it has three mobile series: Esteem, Pursuit, and Klassic. The first two contain smartphones while the Klassic series is comprised of feature phones. The difference between the first two series is price range; Pursuit Series mobiles are low-budget phones, mostly under PKR 10,000. Conversely, the Esteem Series contains premium devices and flagships by the company. You may visit their website to check the collection in each category.

Recently, Haier has announced Esteem i95; it’s the latest offering. We are bringing you the exclusive first review of the mobile, which is currently unavailable for sale. It should guide about the features set and also provide a good understanding of the device.

Design and Display

The phone comes with a 5.0″ HD IPS display which gives an amazing display result to the eyes. Though the screen size is the same as Haier Esteem i90, the screen quality has been enhanced with 1280 x720 IPS display. The sides have little edges that look good but may require you to hold the device firmly, particularly during one-hand operation. Since it’s a very slim device, it allows easy taking and photography on the go. However, one has to ensure a firm grip of the device since it feels slippery.

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Performance

The phone has a powerful 1.3 GHz Quad-core processor which leads to smooth multitasking and gaming experience. It has 3GB RAM and offers 32GB internal storage which can be enhanced via micro SD card. This is very cool for the folks who look for a device with greater internal storage allowing more app installs and data storage.

With this much power and storage, the device performed quite well in our multi-tasking and gaming experience. To test multi-tasking, we opened around 15 tabs in Chrome, a word document, and music in the background; the device performed quite OK. Usually, smartphones start heating up in multi-tasking, but we didn’t feel this on Haier Esteem i95.

Also Read: Samsung Galaxy Note 7 vs. Galaxy Note 5: Should You Upgrade?

Gaming Experience

A very important element to mention is the gaming experience. We played Subway Surfers, Moto Loko, Drift Car City, No Limits, Color Switch, Candy Crush, and Spider-Man Ultimate Power to test the experience. The device was good enough in rest of the games, but it hangs a little bit while playing Subway Surf and heated a little while playing Spider-man the Ultimate Power.

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In this regards, we would advise you to close all other apps while playing the game. Since the device is powered with 3GB RAM, it should provide a seamless experience.

Connectivity

As far as connectivity is concerned, it gives you flexibility and unlimited freedom. It is a dual-SIM device that offers all basic connectivity features like Bluetooth, USB, and Wi-Fi. In addition to this, i95 is compatible with all possible data networks in the country, allowing you to use GPRS, EDGE, 3G, HSPA, and 4G. It is pertinent to note that Haier Esteem i95 is one of the most affordable 4G devices in the country.

Sound

The sound quality of the device good as it is not noisy; however, it doesn’t offer different modes and features like stereo. While playing music, we didn’t find any settings to customize the sound, but overall sound (with and without handsfree) was quite adept. The only sound enhancement settings you have is in the general settings menu, which offers audio enhancement and volume boosters for earphones and speakers. This may sound like another area where Haier needs to work on since all big brands offer stereo and other sound customization facilities in a similar range of devices.

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Also, the device has an FM radio too, but it requires headphones for turning on. You can switch on the speaker as well as record your favorite music from the radio.

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Battery Life

Since a powerful device requires more power to consume, Haier Esteem i95 comes with a more powerful battery as compared to the previous version. Though the company has upgraded the battery from 2050mAh to 2200mAh, it still may sound disappointing for many folks. Market analysis suggests that other manufacturers are shipping similar phones with around 3000mAh battery, giving more power and time to users.

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In our experience of usage, the phone lost around 15% of the battery in roughly 2 hours of light usage. However, the battery drains quite fast during multi-tasking and gaming. While playing the game with 70% brightness and WiFi on, the device lost 10% battery in a mere 25 minutes.

To avoid any disappointment, users can change their device settings to enjoy more battery life. It is advised to customize the display and animation settings to enjoy longer battery life. When you are on a low-battery, simply turn on the “battery saver.” It reduces the device performance but saves the battery for a longer standby.

We also notice that Haier has changed the traditional charging port with a USB port. However, the phone takes quite a while (around 2 hours) in getting fully charged, which may sound disappointing for users looking for fast-charging options.

Camera

Haier Esteem i95 comes with a significant upgrade to its camera. It comes with a 13MP rear camera and 5MP (fixed focus) front camera and offers HDR experience.

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It allows you to capture your moments with beautiful clicks and save your memories. Though it does a very good job when it comes to capturing HD photographs; however, we noticed that a bit too much zoom blurs the image.

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This is something you won’t experience in Samsung devices of the same range. Also, when you take constant shots for a while, the screen starts heating up. However, in good light conditions (indoor and outdoor), the camera doesn’t disappoint you.

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Moreover, it has certain filters that you can apply while capturing the image and give the output a different result. You can also record a high definition video using the same. It offers key features like noise reduction, HD recording, EIS, Microphone, and multiple audio settings.

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Captured with Sepia filter on
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This pic was taken with posterize filter on

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Other Cool Features

Haier must be praised for some really cool features that you might not have seen in the similar devices before.

Haier Esteem i95 comes with touch-sensitive controls. You can activate gesture sensing and apply them to the gallery, camera or music apps.

Similarly, it has a “smart awake” feature allowing you to awake your phone in a range of methods. “Double click to awake screen” was something that we first noticed in LG G3; now get the same feature in Haier Esteem i95. Also, you can awake certain features by drawing a particular alphabet.

Whenever we have to share larger files or apps; we download apps like Zapya. However, Haier has introduced a built-in app to share larger files or apps. Named as Haier Xender, the application allows sending/receiving data from other mobile phones and PCs.

The device is powered with OTG and multi-function sensors. It has proximity sensors, light sensors, G-sensors, e-compass and GPS/AGPS that give it a bit of distinction. You can use your voice to unlock the phone and customize security/accessibility settings in the device’s admin panel.

Conclusion

Haier must be credited for working on some cool feature-set and bring in a device that offers some of the most sought-after features in any modern smartphones.

Haier Esteem i95 does offer a good user experience.  If you are looking for a device that could process the basic tasks, offer wider network compatibility, and multi-tasking facility, this is the right device for you. However, as we noted earlier that it also has some weak areas, if you are looking for a device with a larger battery, this is not for you. Also, its camera and screen shape might not suit everyone’s taste and desired standards.