Gadgets

Fero Iris: Unboxing and First Impressions

Fero Iris was launched early this week in Kenya by Midcom  targeting to gain market share against players TECNO , Samsung and Infinix.

The device comes with a 5-inch HD display with a 1GB RAM and is powered by a 2500mAh battery. The phone retails at  KES 8,999.

We got a review unit and here is a brief introduction about the device.

Key Specs

Dimensions 1.44729.0mm

Dual sim

5.0 inch HD IPS Display

Android 6.0

Mediatek MTK6737

1.3GHZ Quad Core

1 GB RAM

Internal storage  8GB

External storage upto 32GB

8.0 MP Rear camera

2.0 MP Front camera with Iris Scanner

2500 mAH battery

Price: KES 8,999 Exclusively at Jumia

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In the box

Battery

Screen protector

Clear cover

Earpjones

Quick start guide

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Display and design

The Fero Iris comes with a plastic body which might trick one into thinking it’s of metallic build thanks to the aluminium looking back cover. In fact Fero really wanted people to think it’s metallic that they even added faux brushed surface on the back cover. Fortunately, the ‘brushed’ texture, enhances the grip of the phone.

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On the front we have a 5.0 inch IPS display of 720p, otherwise called HD, resolution. That might not sound much but my goodness that screen is beautiful! The colors are very punchy, at first I even thought that the screen was AMOLED when it was being unveiled on stage. I think the display alone is enough to persuade buyers to settle on this phone it’s not only saturated, but also bright too; you can use it under bright sunlight without legibility issues. The only caveat with the display is that it gets oily smudges really fast.

Performance

Under the hood, Fero Iris comes with a Mediatek 6737, it’s a quad core 64 bit chip that uses four A53 cores coupled with 1 GB RAM.  This setup can easily handle a HD screen with no lag as evidenced from the hands on moment we had, however, people looking for hardcore gaming should look elsewhere. Nonetheless, we are going to try some gaming in preparation for the main review and report the findings.

Software

The OS running things in Fero Iris is the android 6.0. Honestly, no phone being launched at 2017 should come with anything less than android 7.0 nougat, in fact android 7.1 is already running on other phones, it’s a let down from Fero. On a happy note, the OS on the Iris is basically stock with a light launcher skin that does not have an app drawer. Going stock keeps things running lean and smooth, but it also makes you wonder what excuse Fero has for not just booting android 7.0 stock right out of the box, its not like they needed time to tweak the interface.

Camera

The 8MP rear camera has very beautiful photos when in good lighting. The autofocus is fast and accurate and the HDR mode is present too. Low light pictures are a no go zone, they come out grainy and with lots of noise.

The selfie camera is capped at 2MP, as expected with such a low resolution, the pictures are not good, the subjects end up with washed out details.

Battery

Iris comes with a 2500 mAH battery which is small in today’s standards. However, the A53 cores in it have proven to be power efficient in other phones. At the launch event, the battery levels decreased at a low rate so that’s a good sign. We will put the phone under rigorous use and update you on battery matters in the full review.

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The Iris Scanner

This is perhaps the part you have been keenly looking forward to. Well, no disappointments here, the iris scanner truly live up to the phones name.  In the past, only countable phones have offered such a feature, most notable among them is the the Samsung Galaxy Note 7, a phone whose price tag was north of KES 80,000, does a phone that costs a tenth of that deliver? The answer is a resounding yes! At the launch event, the head of Fero demonstrated, multiple times, how to unlock the phone with the eyes. The Fero Iris responded positively every time, it even works with people wearing glasses. During the keynote, a person from  the audience was called to try unlocking with their eyes, the phone rejected them instantly. I personally set up the device with my eyes and after completing the process, the iris unlocking feature worked every time. It’s a remarkable achievement from such an affordable phone.

The Competition

The Fero Iris will have to compete with the likes of Infinix Hot 4 lite, Hot 3 which offer bigger batteries (3000 and 4000m AH respectively) , bigger screens (5.5 inches) and better cameras (8MP with better quality photos) at a slightly cheaper price not to mention a manufacturer that has become a household name in the Kenyan market.

Cubot Note S is also a phone that has been advertised heavily and falls in the same price category. The Cubot however has a bigger battery (4000Mah) , bigger screen (5.5 inches) and much svelte body (8.8mm) than the Fero Iris.

X-Tigi  A10 also brings the heat at this price tag but packs bigger screen (5.5 inch), bigger battery (3800 mAH) and higher resolution camera (13MP )

It will be interesting to see if the beautiful, saturated display and the iris scanner will be enough to sway the customers to the Fero Iris.

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