ROKiT, the UK’s newest smartphone vendor, recently extended their partnership with Williams Racing from 3 to 5 years. To celebrate, ROKiT ran a competiton on Twitter to give away 5 ROKiT IO Pro 3D phones.
For a chance to win, entrants had to say who they would watching the F1 with this summer. I replied with the photo below saying that I would be watching Williams Racing with my cat Bella.
Something obviously resonated with ROKiT becuase they selected it as a winning entry. My cat Bella is over the moon as she can now watch all those fish videos on YouTube in 3D!
So, how does the ROKiT IO Pro 3D compare with my usual Apple iPhone XR, and will I be pursaded to make the switch. Let’s find out…
What’s in the box?
The ROKiT IO Pro 3D comes neatly packaged inside a black and red plastic padded zip box and handily has a screen protector already applied.
Inside the zip box you will also find a micro USB charging cable but no mains adaptor.
Also included is a clear plastic phone protector which is useful because I’ve yet to find one to fit this phone in the shops.
Well here it is…
The first thing you need to do is apply the updates. This is where I noticed a big difference between this Android device and my usual Apple iPhone.
Rather than the single combined IOS update, I had to go through the update/reboot cycle multiple times, as the phone downloaded and applied several updates to bring itself up to the latest Android Oreo 8.1 release.
Design & Build
The design is similar to a thousand other Android powered devices which is not necessarilly a bad thing. There’s a fingerprint reader located on the rear in a convienient spot as well as a pair of 3D cameras.
Slightly larger then my iPhone XR, the phone feels solid to hold and at just over 170g, it doesn’t feel like you are lugging a house brick around.
Annoyingly, ROKiT decided to place a sticker on the rear of the phone with the IMEI and serial numbers printed on, this proved exceeding difficult to remove and left a nasty sticky mark.
One of the best features of the IO Pro is it’s dual SIM capability, making it possible to have both work and personal connections on a single device – although I have yet to try this out.
The performance of the phone is pretty responsive thanks to the MediaTek octa-core processor.
With only 4GB RAM is falls a little behind some of today’s market leaders that tend to have double that capacity.
As normal on an Android device, the 64GB on board memory can be expanded via an optional SD card.
Well this is the unique selling point of the ROKiT.
The 2160 x 1080 pixel screen is nice and bright however, due to the 3D technology used, reminiscent of the old lenticular 3D plastic bookmarks you may have had as a kid, the display can appear hazy at times, especially if not looking perpendicular into the screen.
The question is: Are you prepared to compromise on image quality for the sake on 3D?
If you’ve opted for the ROKiT, then I guess the answer is yes.
Obviously it’s not possible for me to reproduce the 3D capability of the display in this review, but hopefully the short video below, filmed by panning left and right across a still on the ROKiT, will give you some idea.
Keep an eye on the Randstat logo on the air box of the car just above Claire’s shoulder.
In order to capture photos and videos in 3D, the phone has dual 13MP+2MP rear facing cameras. There is also an 8MP forward facing selfie camera.
Apart from the ability to shoot stills and videos in 3D, there are remarkably few other photographic features that ‘stand out’ (Sorry, I couldn’t resist!)
Below are a handful of stills (2D obviously) that I’ve taken in a variety of different conditions.
The twin stereo speakers located at the base of the phone are particularly poor.
When listening to Liam Gallagher’s ‘Wall of Glass’, the sound is very tinny and distorts quite badly at higher volume.
The ROKiT comes with the usual 3.5mm headphone port which is strangely located at the top of the handset.
Interestingly the SD card slot is shared with the second SIM card, so if you do wish to take advantage of dual SIM running, you would be unable to expand the memory.
The choice of shipping the device with a micro USB connector rather than the more modern USB-C seen on most new Android phones seems like a backwards move.
I haven’t fully tested the 3850mAh battery but ROKiT claim it should provide up to 200 hours standby and 7 hours talk time.
Software and Apps (Updated)
Out of the box it comes with Android 8.1 Oreo but ROKiT have promised that Android 9 Pie is coming soon.
Pre-installed are two ROKiT utilities, 3D Camera and 3D Gallery, and two ROKiT apps, ROK Launch Control and ROKFLiX 3D.
The 3D Camera and Gallery utilities allow you to record and view your very own 3D stills and videos. The results can be a bit hit and miss, but given some time to experiment with the device can lead to some impressive results.
After some initial problems with the ROKiT apps requiring updates, I was able to see what delights awaited me there.
ROKFLiX 3D allows you to download and view some professionally created 3D content. Unfortunately there are no Hollywood blockbusters here or anything to worry Netflix, but the multitude of short videos do show off the 3D capability of the phone very well. Access to this content is free of charge for 1-month and I’m not sure there is anything here to make me consider about extending it.
ROK Launch Control provides access to ROKiT’s other unique selling point, it’s bundled ROK Life Services. As part of my Ultimate Package, I have 3-months vehicle breakdown cover and £50k personal accident cover. There is no indication of how much it costs to extend the initial 3-month period. Also available to download via the Launch Control app we’re ROKtalk and ROKradio.
ROKtalk is an app that lets you make outgoing calls via the internet (SIP) and send out your usual mobile number as the calling line identity. Again my packaged included 3-months of unlimited calls to UK mobiles and landlines as well as to 60 other countries. These calls are entirely separate from your airtime provider (in my case EE) and are routed via WiFi through ROK’s own telephony gateway. It’s a nice feature but as my EE contract already includes unlimited UK calls, it’s not much use to me.
ROKradio provides access to vintage radio shows (Navy Lark, Ella Fitzgerald etc) but rather bizarrely the shows are streamed in real-time like conventional radio rather than available to play on demand like podcasts. In any event, there’s not much to interest you on the schedules unless you are over the age of 70!
I also downloaded the Williams Virtual Tour app which on the ROKiT had access to additional 3D content. The handful of short videos of the Formula One cars in the Williams Museum and the talking heads segments with Dickie Stanford, Claire and Jonathan Williams were fun to watch in 3D but the novelty soon wore off.
Amazon.co.uk are currently selling the ROKiT IO Pro 3D for £249.99 (Price correct as of August 2019). As a comparison, you can pick up a 5.9″ Samsung Galaxy A40 for £219.99
Just like 3D TVs of a few years ago, is there a demand for 3D displays? To anyone wandering around Curry’s these days, the answer seems to be a resounding no.
Ignoring the 3D capability, the ROKiT IO Pro is a well built, mid range Android phone which is more than capable for most people’s needs but compared with the opposition is a little pricey.
The dual SIM and promised Android 9.0 support are definite plus points, but ultimately the ROKiT’s headlining 3D capability is likely to attract only niche gimmick buyers rather than spark a revolution.
What is interesting is ROKiT’s novel idea of bundling other value added services in as part of the package. In today’s market there is no profit in box shifting, the money is in the service subscription. Time will tell if ROKiT can build a business out of this…