What’s In a Brand Anyways?…

You may have heard the old saying “You are only paying for the name…” well this is something that has crossed my mind a lot lately.  Those who read this blog and those that know me, know my devotion to Apple products is a strong one, and despite being a contradiction in terms to what I am about to write about, I will most probably continue to support Apple by purchasing their products in the years to come.

For a number of years, rather than attempting to stick with New Years Resolutions which we all have every intention to comply with and then say when the year ends, well I never did what I set out to do.  I set myself a challenge to learn a new skill for the year, either by attending a class or signing up to college.  This year I decided to return to college and take up a Vehicle Maintenance Course in an attempt to learn how to repair my own vehicle and save myself money on the parts and labor.


A recent tutorial at college, my lecturer showed each of us how an OBDII Reader worked by plugging it in to each of our vehicles to identify any issues the cars computer may have recorded.  It gave me an idea, as my vehicle has had a faulty speed sensor for some time now and all attempts to repair it have failed.  Until I have the knowledge of my vehicles mechanical and electrical system, I decided in the mean time I would create a digital dashboard from a cheap tablet device and a Bluetooth OBDII reader/transmitter.

My first attempt was a spectacular failure.  I had purchased a generic Bluetooth OBDII Reader off eBay and while I was waiting for it to arrive, I proceeded to purchase a 6″ Tablet under the impression that it contained a GPS System and Bluetooth, besides the issues of the device not connecting correctly with my Wifi network at home, it lacked both of these chips which were critical to my situation.

So… While I was waiting to return the tablet to the company I had purchased it from, I returned to eBay in an attempt to purchase something of similar size and with the all important Bluetooth… I had heard many great things about a particular mobile telephone called the Star N8000 which is made by DracoTek in China and when I did my research into this particular phone, something hit me, it looks very much like the Samsung Galaxy Note (Do not hold me to this – I did read that DracoTek is actually responsible for making the Samsung Galaxy Note).

Despite the great reviews that this particular device had received, I had two particular reservations about purchasing it.

  1. I personally and many of my friends have purchased items from China based companies through both Amazon and eBay and have been hit by Customs Charges at a later date, so I was concerned about this.  Which brings me on to my next reason…
  2. Although the price was considerably lower than the Samsung Galaxy Note at 1/4 of the price, the original tablet I had purchased was only £35.99 and the Star N8000 being at £112.99 it was a little more than I wanted to pay for such a device.  Plus with the risk of custom charges being applied.

It is the price issue which has prompted me to write this particular review of the Star N8000.  So let us take a look at the specifications of both the Star N8000 and Samsung Galaxy Note to compare:

Star N8000 Samsung Galaxy Note
Processor 1.0GHz Dual Core 1.4GHz Dual Core
Operating System Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean)
Stand-by Time Up to 200 Hours Up to 390 Hours
Talk Time Up to 4 Hours Up to 5 Hours
Memory 4GB Internal Memory
MicroSD (up to 32GB)
16GB Internal Memory
MicroSD (up to 32GB)
Camera 5MP with LED Flash (Rear)
0.3MP Front Facing
8MP with LED Flash (Rear)
2MP Front Facing
Network GSM / WCDMA / 3G
Dual-SIM Support with Dual Stand-by
Fully Unlocked
Connectivity GPS
Bluetooth v2.0
USB 2.0 Host
Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g
Bluetooth v3.0
USB 2.0 Host
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n
Sensors Accelerometer, Gyro Accelerometer, Digital Compass,
Proximity, Barometer, Light, Gyro
Screen Size
5.0″ (800 x 480)
5-Point Capacitive Touch
5.3″ WXGA (1280 x 800)
5-Point Capacitive Touch
Battery Type 2 x Li-on 2,500 mAh Standard Battery – Li-on 2,500 mAh
Other Functions/Accessories Analogue TV Ariel
MP3 Support
MPEG4 Support
FM Radio
Vibration Alert2 Sets of Earphones
Leather Case
MP3 Support
Vibration Alert
FM Radio
Price £112.99
DracoTek (China)
UK On Sale via Argos UK – Pay Extra for Case.

Right, lets take a look.  Your immediate thought would be to take a look at the differences in the following items on the table above:

  • Processor
  • Operating System
  • Stand-by and Talk Times
  • Internal Memory
  • Camera
  • Network

Initially it looks like a long list of differences, but let us take each one in turn and I will let you read my thoughts on them…


They are both Dual Core processors, and although I have not used the Samsung Galaxy Note, I have been using my Star N8000 for almost a week now and it is quick, moving between screens smoothly, running programs and I have not experienced any issues with slowness, or crashing.

Besides, unless you are doing some really time critical or speed activities with your phone, most of us will not notice a difference in the 400MHz.

Operating System

I have been a fan of iOS for some years now, and found using Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich a drag to use on my mothers tablet because of my unfamiliarity with it.  After using it for almost a week, I am finding it an alright operating system to use, I am able to perform the same functions I would with an iOS Device and can get most of the same everyday apps I use.

I very much doubt there is much difference between Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean (maybe a little faster) but I am sure those of you who use Android on a daily basis will disagree with me on that point.

Stand-by and Talk Times

There does appear to be a significant difference in the Stand-by times, and this may have something to do with the way the operating system is configured to take advantage of the battery.  You do need to take into account that the Star N8000 comes with 2 – 2,500 mAh batteries as standard, not because they are rubbish and think they will not last as long as other batteries, it is a benefit of buying this phone.

I only intend to use my Star N8000 as a data device and a Digital Dashboard and not as a phone, so I cannot really comment on the phones Talk Times, but I can tell you I have used the phone normally and found the battery power to be enough for normal web-browsing and general activities.  I have used it today with the Bluetooth and Torque Application Running (I will do a review of this application another day) all day today and it has lasted all day, with 09% of the Battery left when I put it on charge, but I had the option of changing it over to the spare (fully-charged) battery.

The Star N8000 comes with a charger that allows you to charge a Battery in its holder and a USB Device at the same time, so you will always have a battery to use.


I think most of us, do not really think too much about the amount of internal memory storage unless we are thinking about buying an Apple iOS Device, because unlike these devices where the memory is fixed and priced accordingly to the size you want, devices like the Galaxy Note and Star N8000 it is possible to upgrade the memory by adding a MicroSD Card up to 32 Gigabytes, which is more than enough for most people.

Actually, I have had a 16 Gigabyte iPhone 4, for approximately 2-Years and is now only getting full, so I will be considering either a 16 or 32 Gigabyte card to go with mine (although it did came with an 8 Gigabyte Card already in via eBay).


I am sorry, this comes down to being a professional photographer and think that, if you are going to be taking photographs properly, you should be buying a camera specifically for the job, and a phone for the phone part.  I know most smartphones are able to play games, music, videos and take photographs, I have specific devices for doing these things.

The camera is unfortunately one of the things that people will complain about in their reviews of the Star N8000 when you do your research, but my experience has taught me that cameras and LED Flash are never the best on phones anyways.  So I am not bothered about the size of MegaPixels provided.

Being from the UK, I have never known anyone, let alone myself to use the camera facing the user to perform a video call.  I know many people with an iPhone 4/4s with FaceTime cameras and have never used them.


The 4G Network is relatively new in the United Kingdom, so really all we need to worry about is whether it will work on the 3G Network without any problems, and the current use of just under a week, it is working great.

The benefit of the Star N8000 is that it has Dual-SIM and Dual Stand-By Support which are fully unlocked to any network provider you choose.  Ideal for those of us who want to use one SIM for Personal Calls and the other for Business Calls, without needing to carry two phones.

img-thingThe only other things I can point out are the difference in Bluetooth Support, version 2.0 is more than ample for my needs, and most devices are backward compatible if they are version 3.0 compliant.  Unless you intend to use Bluetooth headsets and microphones, you might benefit from the sound quality of version 3.0 but for what I am using it for it is perfectly fine.

The Star N8000 doesn’t have Wi-Fi (n) support but (g) is fast enough for a phone of this size.

The differences in the size of the screen is not really worth talking about, but unless you intend to use this phone for watching HD Quality Video, then you will probably want the Samsung Galaxy Note for its 720P Screen.

The biggest difference to point out is the price!

The Samsung Galaxy Note – £419.95 Unlocked
The Star N8000 – £112.99 Unlocked

For the faults you might think of the Star N8000 in its quality of Camera, Screen, Features, Etc.  You cannot argue on Price.  I think if I had been looking to buy a Star N8000 as my main phone, I would have been happy to purchase it from China and take the risk of a Customs Charge, but many say if you buy from DracoTek directly via Amazon.co.uk, you don’t get charged.

I did actually get a second-hand Star N8000 off eBay for £70.00.  Apart from it needing a new screen protector, a single scratch on the bottom of the phone, I am very happy with it so far.  If I have anything more to say about it after I have used it for some time I will add it here.

The content shown on the screen is in Chinese, which you might expect, but it gives an indication to what the phone is like and is fully compatible with English (UK) and English (United States).

Take a look at the images below and you will see there is very little differences between the two phones.

The logos and images remain the property of the corresponding manufactures and are for illustrative purposes only.


img_img03   img_img07  img_spec05

Star N8000

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