With M-Horse Pure 2, we tested a smartphone of a new manufacturer. Actually, M-Horse is not that new, but it is simply not well-known in Europe. M-Horse Pure 2 combines the classic middle-class hardware with a high-quality casing. A slightly weak octa-core processor, “only” an HD display in 18:9 format and an obligatory fake dual-camera are supposed to be the key to success in the lower-middle-class. If M-Horse really succeeds, you’ll find out in the following review.
Design and build quality
The new M-Horse Pure 2 scores with its modern look. It is a bit heavy with 210g. However, the weight is that heavy because of the glass rear. The smartphone is available in black and blue. On the homepage of M-Horse, you also find a white version, which hopefully will be available soon.
The device is a bit thicker than expected. It measures 8.3mm, as promised by M-Horse, but without counting the protruding dual-camera. As already mentioned, Pure 2 scores with its modern, fine and solid design. I like the rectangular device, which resembles a Sony smartphone, very much. I can confirm the dimensions stated by the manufacturer. Pure 2 is 156.5mm long and has a width of 75mm (without counting the buttons, which jut out 0.6mm). The phone is 8.3mm thick and the camera protrudes another 0.9mm. M-Horse’s latest model is not one of the slimmest smartphones in the low-budget segment, but it feels very robust and high-quality. The smartphone cannot be bent on the edges.
Where the front glass merges into the glass of the rear side, you can feel a slightly sharp edge. However, it didn’t stand out negatively in daily use. The frame has a perfect build quality. The device, therefore, makes a high-quality impression!
On the front, you find the “bezel-less” screen, which has a slightly bigger bezel only at the bottom to provide enough space for the selfie camera. At the top, you find a black stripe, which is about twice as big as the stripe on the sides. This is where speaker and sensors are located. On the right, you find all physical buttons: power button and volumes control. The buttons have a solid feedback and the haptic is great. Unfortunately, the buttons wobble a bit when you shake the smartphone.
Dual-camera and fingerprint scanner are placed on the upper rear side. On the left side of the device, you find the SIM slot, which seems to be a bit loose and partly juts out 0.1mm of the edge. When you insert a SIM card, this effect is not as bad. Unfortunately, there is no notification LED.
Unlocking and operation
M-Horse Pure 2 can be unlocked via the fingerprint scanner, which worked perfectly. Unlocking the phone takes about 0.3 seconds and it fast enough. We had significantly worse fingerprint scanners in smartphones of this price segment.
All in all, I was pleasantly surprised about M-Horse Pure 2! In the scope of delivery, you find a transparent silicone protective cover with bumpers at the edges, which is supposed to protect the smartphone from falls. I think the cover works quite well and I will continue using it as the smartphone is better protected against falls and the grip is also better.
The provided screen protector is useless, as it is impossible to attach it without creating bubbles. Even between the plastic film and the protective coat, there were some plastic parts, which already polluted the screen protector in the packaging.
The manufacturer also provides a USB-C to headphone jack adapter, as the smartphone does not offer a headphone connection anymore. You can listen to music via Bluetooth, which works well and the quality was nice, too. There were also no interruptions in the connection when maintaining a normal distance to the smartphone. The provided power plug is in UK format and can therefore only be used in the UK. At least the USB-C cable is useful.
The nice 5.99-inch HD display reacts well to up to 5 points of contact simultaneously. Brightness is sufficient to also read the display well in bright sunlight. Colors look well when looking frontally on the display. Looking on the display from the sides, however, the content looks slightly greenish or reddish. As this change of color is only minor and only occurs with a quite slanted viewing angle, this niggle can be ignored.
The IPS screen as an 18:9 format and an HD+ resolution of 1440 x 720 pixels. If I put M-Horse Pure 2 directly next to my Samsung S8, which has a display with a very high resolution, I can see a notable difference. Texts and edges especially are not as smooth and you can detect small pixels on Pure 2. In daily life, however, this is not a problem and you get used to the “lower” resolution quickly. The advantage of a lower resolution is that the screen consumes less battery. Contrast is also only marginally worse, and the black is not as black as with an AMOLED display. The screen consists of 2.5D glass, which after 2 weeks of use now has one bigger and some smaller scratches. Therefore, the manufacturer did not use scratch-resistant glass. In addition, the display strongly attracts fingerprints, which are difficult to remove. The glass rear side has the same problem.
System and performance
M-Horse Pure 2 houses an MTK6750 1.5GHz octa-core CPU and a Mali-T860 GPU. This combination is used in several other smartphones of the low-budget segment, which is why the type of processor in Pure 2 did not surprise us. Like most other competitors, the smartphone also houses 64GB of internal storage and a hybrid-slot.Antutu Result Geekbench Multi Result Geekbench Single Result 3D Mark Result
The device runs with a slightly modified Android 7.0 (Nougat). Unfortunately, there were several crashes of the system, and during the testing period, I had to reboot and even reset the smartphone. Towards the end of the test, the problems occurred more rarely. However, you have to be prepared for a crash every two days. Maybe there will be an update, but up until now, we haven’t heard anything. You can easily install other launchers on the phone and keyboards by third parties do not pose a problem either. The smartphone is generally quite user-friendly.
The phone provides enough power for gaming, working, multitasking and communication. I never had any restrictions by the system. Of course, hardcore gamers should choose a more powerful device if they want to play the latest games.
The dual rear camera, which is supposed to have a 13MP and a 3MP sensor, takes sharp and natural pictures, which correspond to the price range. The trigger is extremely fast and focusing takes less than half a second. The camera is quite fun to use and I almost tested everything there was to test. I also noticed that the 3MP sensor, which is located below the LED light, has no function at all. There is no difference in the pictures whether the sensor is covered or not. The lens does not create the 2x zoom either, it is created digitally instead. So far, we’ve tested several smartphones with a fake dual-camera, but I think that as long as the pictures still turn out well, it is okay to use a fake lens. The pictures can be interpolated from 13MP to 16MP directly on the smartphone. Look at the difference in the test pictures.
The main camera takes quite dark pictures when using third-party apps, which is a negative point. We know this problem already from the UMI Super series, where it was never solved. After resetting the phone, however, the problem was gone. In terms of quality, just look at the test pictures and decide for yourselves if the quality is enough for you. Of course, you cannot expect DSLR quality from a 120€ smartphone. Considering the price range, M-Horse Pure 2 does a good job.
The selfie cam is also quite good. It takes good, sharp and colorfast selfies. There is a slight grey tinge in the images, but this occurs in almost all pictures taken ab low-budget phones. The position of the camera, however, requires getting used to, as it is located at the bottom of the front side. In order to take a normal selfie, you have to turn around the device. Some third-party apps like Whatsapp, Snapchat etc. may pose a problem here, as not all of them support the function of turning the smartphone around.
The selfie camera has am 8MP sensor, which can be interpolated up to 13MP. Trigger and focus mostly work very well. Only pictures taken in the dark have a tinge of red or blue.
Connectivity and communication
M-Horse Pure 2 is a Dual-SIM phone with a hybrid slot. You can use either 2 Nano-SIMs or 1 Nano-SIM and 1 Micro-SD card (up to 256GB) for storage expansion. All 3G and LTE frequencies are supported. I always had a very good reception outside as well as inside buildings. WiFi works fantastically and supports 2.4GHz as well as 5GHz networks. The only niggle is the missing WiFi-call, which is nowadays considered to be standard. The GPS works perfectly. I also used the device a navigation system in the mountains and had never any problems.
Unfortunately, as already mentioned, there is no headphone jack available. The speakers are quite loud, but have a slightly dull sound. However, the sound does never oversteer. I would say that the sound quality is on average.
The phone provides an acceleration, a brightness and a proximity sensor, which all work flawlessly.
M-Horse Pure 2 houses a 3600mAh battery, which is charged with 1.85A. Charging the phone from 14% to 100% takes about 2 hours and 40 minutes with the provided UK power plug. This is not a top level, but okay. In 1 hour, the device charges from 14% to 73%. With normal use of about 3-4 hours of display-on time, the smartphone easily provides enough power for one day.
Unfortunately, we could not perform our battery benchmark properly, as the PCMark app crashed again and again. When streaming a Full HD YouTube video with medium brightness for 1 hour, Pure 2 consumed 16% of the battery. This value is on average and alright. All in all, M-Horse Pure 2 offers a good battery, which also provides 1 day of runtime for power users.