Note that this review dates back over a month ago, but few people seem to have noticed it, so I thought some extra attention was warranted.
From the review:
Microsoft has retreated into the inner sanctum and vowed to return with reference devices to light the way forward, but for now – and for the future – they have asked OEMs to come back to the Windows fold and bring handsets to the consumer. And we consumers owe it to ourselves and our beloved platform to sweep out the old mindset and usher in a new one. Yearn all you want for a new Lumia, it looks like it just won’t happen. There’s a new era and it’s going to be populated with new players. Some of those players will rise and some will fall. Unless the users of Windows 10 Mobile embrace some of these new players there won’t be much hope for the platform moving forward. If nobody buys the handsets being offered today, then OEMs won’t have incentive to bring forth more tomorrow. It is literally do or die time.
...This time around I wanted to put a new partner on my dance card. Coship Mobile makes the Moly X1 you’ve probably heard about and the upcoming PCPhone with Continuum. They also make white label devices like the Funker W5.5 (a rebadged X1 with a slightly different body). I’ve tried to find out more about them, but it’s a bit elusive. I’ve read from an unsubstantiated source they may have run production for LG among other household names. What can be found is that they have been manufacturing smart devices since 2008 and that they have strong relationships with MediaTek and Qualcomm. In 2015 they became a Microsoft Partner in preparation of launching their own smartphone label: Moly. They may be a new OEM on our platform, but they are an experienced manufacturer of smart devices.
I got my hands on Coship’s lower end offering, the Moly W5 which is a made for Windows 10 Mobile device in the same range as Lumia 550 and 650...
The Moly W5 is a study in black and silver. Like the Lumia 650 it features metal banding around the sides, top and bottom. The Moly W5 has a brushed finish I really like and I think it will hide small scratches well. The W5 is not as tall or wide as the 650 by about 1 mm each way, and is still only 0.4 mm thicker than the 650. The Moly is a very slim phone at just 7.3 mm. Overall the phone manages to feel small in the hand for a 5” display and the grip is excellent. Pocketing the phone is very nice as well. The front is a slab of Gorilla Glass 3 interrupted only by the in-call speaker and the LED light. Yes, the Moly W5 has an LED. Right now, it is only a charge indicator, but theoretically if Microsoft implements LED notification the W5 would be able to take advantage of that feature in future. The front facing camera and the sensors blend in well....
The display looks good as well. It is FHD 720 x 1280 with 295 pixels per inch. For the budget class this is right where you expect to be. Crisp and clear 5” IPS LCD display with, if you look hard enough for the print online, ClearBlack. Formerly reserved for Lumias, apparently Microsoft is now sharing that tech with at least Coship. The W5’s big brother, the X1, also boasts ClearBlack. Side by side with my Lumia 640 I can’t see the difference. The top and bottom bezels are what you would expect, but those side bezels are very slim. The display goes to within about 2 mm from the edge of the glass.
This phone is substantial. I mean it feels solid and rigid. No worries about flexing the phone easily. It weighs in at 156 grams or 5.50 ounces. There is a lot to it. If you want to have confidence in a phone having a solid build, this phone inspires that confidence. I came across a PowerPoint slide show that helps explain why:
The W5 has a CNC cutout metal frame running through the body. That’s where a lot of the weight comes from. Budget minded buyers want a phone that lasts. Only time will tell, but I haven’t held a phone this solid feeling in years and it would appear to promise that it will hold up well over the long haul. Rigid design, Gorilla Glass 3 and attractive metal bumpers all the way around; I like that. Good looks and a thin body without resorting to ultra-thin plastics and shaved down materials. Frankly, I’d rather have the weight if it translates into structural integrity.
In his summary, 'RumoredNow' brings out the bullet points:
Some things to consider:
Where I feel the Moly W5 delivers value with this budget class phone:
- No Lumia firmware means no Glance, Double Tap to Wake or Equalizer. It’s straight Windows 10 Mobile with no Extras.
- There is no Motion Data from the SD 2xx series.
- No NFC and no Qi wireless charging (no surprise on that last one for a budget class phone).
- The battery is not user replaceable.
- The adaptive tray is a neat trick, but it does force you to choose between Dual SIM and SD card slot.
- The front and back are fingerprint magnets.
- The camera requires a bit of patience to get the best from it.
- There are almost no accessories made specifically for this device. Some generic flip cases can be found online and Moly does make the one and only dedicated case I could find (which can be had on Amazon). Other than the screen protector included with the W5, you would have to use a generic cut to fit if you needed a replacement.
What I believe Coship should have improved on the Moly W5:
- Tight and solid construction.
- Very nice size and excellent grip. One of the most pocketable devices I’ve used in some time.
- I dig the styling. It is somewhat understated, but it has a certain charm. This phone can fit in with the button down crowd even with that small bit of flair to the glossy back.
- Dependable performance on a budget.
- I really like the screen on the W5; it doesn’t “wow” you but it performs very well for its class, especially across different ambient light conditions. 720p and 295 ppi makes for comfortable viewing and the ClearBlack tech pushes it up a notch over some other comparable displays I’ve used that didn’t have it. Some might argue for the OLED of the Lumia 650, but if you are an IPS LCD fan like I am you will be pleased with what the Moly W5 brings to the table.
- The controls (Volume, Power) are thoughtfully placed and have a nice action to them.
- UHS-I bus speeds on the microSD slot tested and performed very well for me.
- Kudos for the Dual LED flash and dedicated video recording microphone.
- The bottom mounted speaker is a nice touch that assists with hands free speakerphone and other audio uses.
- Full sensor suite: Accelerometer, Proximity, Ambient Light and Magnetometer all performed excellent for my tests and usage.
- Slimmed down W10M ROM does take up less of the user’s storage.
Again, it goes to having proper expectations. If you want a solid all-around device in this class for a daily driver or a backup, then the Moly W5 delivers. As with any device in this price range, you have compromises and tradeoffs to consider. I think the Moly W5 stands on its own as a great entry level phone that holds up well against the competitors. She does things her way, that Moly, and she has some nice moves that make taking her for a whirl around the dance floor an experience worth having.
- Extra storage is always welcome, even with a microSD slot. Internal flash memory is more convenient, faster and more reliable. 16 GB of internal storage on the W5 would make this device much more livable for dedicated Dual SIM users.
- I’m not a selfie fan by any means, but even I can see that the front LED should be enabled for use as a flash and that even a small boost to 3 MP on the front camera when combined with a front flash would be a big selling point for many buyers.
- Broader cellular radio support would be great for roaming in the US, traveling around the Americas and would also increase the number of markets where the Moly W5 would find a customer base.
I got a little confused by all the 'dancing' references, but otherwise a terrific review of the Coship Moly W5, go check out the full text on WC's forums here.
The biggest issue with Coship, BLU, Funker, and even Acer Windows 10 Mobile phones is not necessarily the build, design or specs, it's distribution - these handsets are quite hard to find for sale. This was an area that Nokia had sewn up and which Microsoft inherited and then has been dismantling...