About a year ago we had the chance to review the Snail MUCH 78P01 Snail field hardware.Tuttavia, already at CES 2015 (well ahead of our review of the 78P01), Snail presented several products that were supposed to make its debut by the end of same 2015. Among them stood out doubtless Snail W3D MUCH, MUCH successor Snail 78P01 and equipped with technical features (then) state of the art, including a screen capable of playing 3D content on a par with Nintendo 3DS.
Removed the dust jacket, you are in his hands the true box itself: totally black, on top of the façade there is the logo Snail MUCH W3D (a ... W) silver color logo that repeats (in black) on the longer edges. The shorter edges, however, is imprinted with the logo Snail (always in black) and the right edge is a label with the IMEI and serial number of the device. Nothing on the underside.
The cardboard box is yes, but the good ones, very thick and durable . What's more, once again raised the "lid" just beneath it lies a layer of foam can absorb the most violent shocks and to prevent the Snail MUCH W3D can be damaged during transport.
The Snail MUCH W3D is in plain sight right out of the box, but unfortunately it is not added to any type of packet (as it was the Snail MUCH 78P01 ), but on the screen there is a sticker to protect the same. On the back cover is applied a second adhesive (obviously to be removed) showing a very quick guide on how to prepare the Snail MUCH W3D for the first start.
Under the device there is a rapid manual and a slip of paper with a few general (all strictly in Chinese). Very nice manual, printed on the form of the Snail MUCH W3D.
Inside the box the bare minimum : USB-microUSB cable, battery, battery charger.
The entire edge of the Snail MUCH W3D is metal with silver color. The device is surprisingly ergonomic if held in orizzantale, thanks to the curved edges that fit the palms of the hands, but also in the vertical has an outlet after all codoma - although the 'use of both hands to interact with the touch screen is almost a requirement given the size of the screen.
on the long edges are positioned, on the one hand, the Volume buttons and Power / screen lock, on the other hand, a standard jack 3.5 mm headphone and two microUSB ports: the lower one is used exclusively for the device charging, the upper one for connecting to your PC and also supports features USB OTG (on-the-Go) and MHL (version 2.0).
What's on the front of the Snail W3D MUCH ? Being the successor of the Snail MUCH 78P01 , the first thing you notice can only be integrated gamepad . The changes are different:
the two analog are no longer aligned, but follow the Xbox gamepad scheme, the left and right analog analogue top to bottom;
therefore changes position the Directional Cross , now down the left side of the device;
Always on two analogue, now their surface is "concave" and no more "convex";
the physical buttons Start and Select are not present (replaced by virtual buttons);
four shoulder buttons, L1 / L2 and R1 / R2 , each of small size.
The Directional Cross and the four action buttons (which Snail indicates with symbols Sun / Moon / Sea / Mountain ) look exactly the same as those seen on Snail MUCH 78P01 : same shape, same sound pressure, the same feeling (good) returned. There is actually something new: these keys (and only these) have a backlight in 6 different colors .
Frontally found space on the left, the capsule headset and the second 5 megapixel camera, on the right, the microphone and the LED battery notification (only and only for the battery, it is spoken in "App and exclusive functions").
Size and weight important for the Snail MUCH W3D: forget to keep it in his pants pocket!
Smartphone Snail MUCH W3D
Undergone major differences compared to the Snail MUCH 78P01 . Remember the "doubt" message that was recited at power at high volume? Disappeared! When you turn the Snail MUCH W3D feels a pretty little tune of a few seconds over medium-low volume (lower than average), completely "be muted" only if at shutdown call volume is set to "Silent" / "vibration".
the launcher has undergone a mild customization compared to the version of Android installed, 4.4.2 (the version 7 is now available ... ... ...). Snail intervened rather about the system functions, leaving the launcher on balance unchanged. For this review applies the basic rule: the launcher in the Google Play Store if they are galore, here we merely describe what the system and any of our opinions will not affect the final judgment. The lock screen has not been modified . The icons are the classic Android , unlike the Snail MUCH 78P01 where the lock had been replaced by a gamepad.
The real launcher is the classic device Mediatek : no menu of the app , which are gradually added in the various home screens . The management of the icons is still good: folders seem to have no limits (in Snail MUCH 78P01 a folder could be up to 12 apps) and also to Home screens if they can add tens. The quick bar of the app, the one located at the bottom and visible in every home screen , is also freely editable, with lots of folders if necessary. Unfortunately note is the second screen Home : contains a number of links to the store Snail (totally unnecessary in the West) and can not be modified in any / eliminated, if not changing launcher.
The keys Android are virtual : Back / Home / Menu appear in a bar that can be hidden and then call back with a swiper upwards. This bar has a flaw, however: in 75% of cases does not overlap with what is present on the screen, but scales the space by moving around 1 cm high. Almost always it is not a problem (just hide the bar), but in rare cases the area of the touch screen is "busted". An example is Miitomo : works perfectly with the bar with a view, but if this is hidden the app does not adapt to the new size and the touch screen is no longer synchronized with the on-screen buttons.
Right next to the soft keys of Android , Snail added a really well thought out customization . By pressing the three dots appears a shortcut menu where you can place a link to any app installed. There are five connections linked to the system and can not be modified: the virtual keys Start and Select / KeyAdapter / Torch / 3D switch . Scrolling left there are the fast link to our app. The addition and removal is very simple, easier to do than to say, you can see the operation in our video review as of 11:50 minutes.
The task manager is achieved by holding down the Home . Simple and straightforward, you can scroll through the app in the background through a list vertically instead, list consists of large screens with the name of its app next to each of them. You can close each app individually or together with a swipe up.
Many system languages (including Italian), but the customizations Snail are in English only. Only an app of the same system Snail is a Chinese / English mixed (see the "Screen" section).
APP AND EXCLUSIVE FEATURES
There are many features that Snail added in the system settings . They recognize the fly as they are translated in English only.
Protected Application Background : You can choose which apps that must never be closed when they are left in the background (typical situation: general cleaning of the app in the background using the task manager).
Application Auto Startup Manager : You can choose which apps with automatic start switch on the device.
Notification Center : You can choose which apps that can send notifications (shortcut in Android you can do the same by selecting a single app in the system settings).
Frozen Application : You can choose which apps to "freeze" to save system resources.
Personalized : typical menu Snail with some settings for the integrated gamepad and the tool for capturing screenshots .
Do not interrupt : is basically the "Plane" typical of any smartphone, but with several more options.
Another customization is in the pull-down notifications and is called App permission management : as you can imagine, this is a feature that allows you to manage system permissions. You can use it in two ways: either you select the single permit (for example access to the Address Book) are set and approved app, or you select the individual app and indicates what action to take for each permit required (allow, ask, deny). This function has a special feature, it is permanently in the pull-down notifications, indicated by a padlock in the upper left of the screen. You can choose to activate it or not, but you can not delete the notifications.
The app exclusive Personalized Definition integrates the two app KeyDIY and BreathingLight present in the Snail MUCH 78P01 . KeyDIY has been slightly modified in graphics, but its function is always the same: to assign functions to the buttons Gamepad built to be used in a particular app. The results are good for normal apps, but it is an almost useless feature when it comes to video games, because of conflicts with any pre-set configurations within the game titles.
BreathingLight has undergone major changes since ... has changed the choice of Snail on the reporting of notifications. In the previous section it said that the Directional Cross and four action buttons of the Snail MUCH W3D have a backlight in 6 different colors. This backlight can not be used to continuously illuminate the buttons, but is exploited for reporting notifications. For each app you can choose a "breath" normal or slow, set the color and since then its notifications will be visible by the flashing buttons. Fun feature, the backlight is strong enough and it is impossible not to notice it ... shame that all hard five minutes! Exactly five measly minutes, after which the keys have stopped flashing (then you must turn on the screen to check for notifications). At this point you may be planning to take advantage of the battery notification LED, led in two very large and bright colors ... no, that it led only and only serves to indicate the battery status. In conclusion: what is the backlight of the buttons?
It remains to discuss KeyAdapter , the app for the virtual mapping of the touch screen with the keys of the integrated gamepad , but this will be discussed later in the analysis of video games, which undoubtedly can give the best of themselves.
TELEPHONE AND MESSAGING
The Snail MUCH W3D is a smartphone -type DSDS Dual sim (Dual sim Dual Standby): by having a single transceiver module, a single antenna and a single processor, with the device in both sim standby are functioning, but if you receive a call on a sim the other is automatically turned off (trying to call will be unreachable). The management of the two sim is still complete (though is not possible to differentiate between tones), with the possibility of hot switch (ie without restarting the device) of the data connection between the two numbers. Messages and Address Book are the classic Android, while in phone added voice Intercept Harassment , which is a convenient and practical blocks calls. For each unwanted number is entered you can choose to block calls and / or text messages, also the options are very comprehensive, allowing you to block private numbers and / or unregistered numbers in Address Book . As the vast majority of third app that offer the same service, you will see those who call rejected the call after the first ring.
Perfect the telephone part : you feel and we feel good, thanks to the two speakers in speakerphone okay and you can also record calls. In addition, the Snail MUCH W3D features a second microphone for noise reduction, which is activated by the settings in Phone.
Recalling that sim1 supports 4G networks and sim2 the most of 3G networks, to note is the lack of the 800 MHz band for LTE, in Italy fully used by Wind and partly by Tim and Vodafone. So no 4G with Wind, with Tim and Vodafone problems should arise only if you do not live in urban areas. I got to try out the 4G network in the city of Tim sim and everything went smoothly.
The module Wi-Fi is of type ac / b / g / n dual-band , again no problem in connecting to wireless networks on both the 2.4 GHz band than on the 5 GHz band.
The conclusion is that Internet browsing is excellent , also using the integrated browser definitely improved in the available options. But the advice is always the same: to use one of the most popular browsers on the Google Play Store , which have always a few more options and better management of web pages.
Thanks to the two speakers , the sound of the Snail MUCH W3D is really good . In the system settings you can activate the surround as well as an option "BesLoudness" call that enhances the speaker volume. The latter option works for real, but it is not recommended: the "normal" maximum volume is perfect, you do not hear any noise and it is strong enough, while "BesLoudness" come the first distortion.
There is unfortunately a (major) flaw : the two speakers are positioned at the rear and, when the Snail MUCH W3D is resting on a flat surface, sound is considerably muffled. No problem, however, when you hold the device horizontally: the ergonomics of the Snail MUCH W3D "guide" your hands in a natural position and no finger accidentally gets on the speakers.
is the prime piece of Snail MUCH W3D . Despite being a regular IPS LCD , looks very good, thanks to the resolution Full HD on a panel diagonal 5.5 " and with a density of 480 ppi. good brightness - indoors at 1/4 of the maximum level can be seen perfectly - a little 'less well the light sensor, unresponsive. the Snail MUCH 78P01 had an option (bad) to cotrastare the brightness according to the content displayed on your screen, eliminated option on Snail MUCH W3D. Present technology Miravision to set the colors of screen, as well as there Miracast wireless display to convey him away to another device. it lacks an HDMI output, but this technology MHL (in version 2.0) using a special cable (to be bought separately, average cost 10 €) top microUSB port on the Snail MUCH W3D transmits audio and video on a compatible display with HDMI port. Caution is also required because the presence of a USB port as a power. I tried connecting on several TVs and a Benq E2220HD monitor (produced several years ago, around 2009 to 2010) and everything worked perfectly. There are two types of MHL cable (in the face of the standard): with 5-pin or 11-pin, I have taken it from one 5-pin (which would be the standard specification) and had no problems.
But they are not these characteristics that make it interesting to the screen, but the presence of 3D technology. Yes, the Snail MUCH W3D (as the name itself) uses the technology that Nintendo had so bet with the 3DS. Among other things, the operating principle is the same as the recent New Nintendo 3DS: the front camera is equipped with IR-LED, an infrared LED that illuminates the user's face and allows the camera to track your eyes to provide the 3D effect even if the screen is tilted a few degrees - to be honest, the viewing angle is reduced compared to how much can make the New Nintendo 3DS.
It works? In no uncertain terms ... yes, the 3D effect is spectacular ! Trying special demo, there are times when the image appears out of the well screen 10 cm. Conversely, being the lot marked effect, it becomes much harder to follow a video by the great playing time, when instead of 3DS after a while 'you are so accustomed that the 3D effect seems to be no more.
To see video 3D, you must use the appropriate app preinstalled by Snail , entirely in Chinese. It is not a big obstacle: after the first start (dwell on the images published here to figure out what to do) the app automatically loads the media present on Snail MUCH W3D and you just have to select the one you want. The 3D effect should and could be used in other compatible apps (Who said video games?), Is a clear signal "3D switch" link in the quick menu on the button bar Android : I unfortunately could not find the app in able to leverage 3D.
It had to be one of the best sections in this review, alas, I have to backtrack. But we proceed in order.
First, the camera combo is the classic of Chinese devices: 13 + 5 megapixel or 13-megapixel rear (with LED flash) and front 5 megapixel. On the fly, the front camera works well in the presence of natural light, while the dark or with artificial light suffers a bit '(forget selfies well made in restaurants ... but in emergencies are more than passable).
In the video review I taking a photo with the promise to publish it here, in order to show the quality of the rear camera . The picture is coming very badly, but at that moment I had the excuse of having a second half device for filming and then I could not understand the actual quality of what is shown on-screen. However, a promise is a promise, that's what had been photographed.
Obviously not happy with the result, I decided to create an entire "photo shoot", or take advantage of the Snail MUCH W3D for photos ... of his own review! Up to a certain point, everything went smoothly, but overnight the ' autofocus rear camera has decided to strike after the overwork. If you do not get the joke ... on the device in my possession the autofocus does not work anymore . I had many things to praise about this camera, not because Snail MUCH W3D is a cameraphone (absolutely not), but rather the move made with respect to the camera Snail MUCH 78P01 is colossal. From what little I could see, the autofocus (yes, the one who left me) was quick and precise, point and shoot discreetly with standard settings and more than good by changing just a couple of values, different effects and different scenes to fit to any type of time (day, night, in movement etc.). Another planet the LED flash : that of Snail MUCH 78P01 was a bright spot, on Snail MUCH W3D is beautiful with a strong light, almost white (finally you can use as a real flashlight).
I repeat my appreciation is for improvements made than competitive cameras Snail MUCH 78P01 , far be it from me to define the cameras of the Snail MUCH W3D like those of an Apple iPhone or Samsung Galaxy S... and now that the autofocus does not work, the rear camera is also useless ...
Thinking for a camera that works (certainly mine is just bad luck), I leave the photos that I managed to do, as well as compare them with those of review and make you an idea of the quality.
VIDEO AND MUSIC
No problem , multimedia is among the highlights of the Snail MUCH W3D . As long as you choose the right app (I used the classic VLC ) plays any format. Also present was the FM radio . And if you have no storage space, via a cable USB OTG can connect a flash drive and play video and music directly from external support.
With a capacity of 4,000 mAh , the battery of the Snail MUCH W3D was excellent in every situation. No problem to arrive at night with heavy usage, quietly 2-3 days of battery life with bland use, several days duration if you leave the device in stand-by maybe using it as a second phone. The charger delivers a current of 2 A and is capable of charging the battery, the Snail MUCH W3D in about three hours, but the device does not support any quick charge function.
Amazing durability even in typical situations: in video playback you can reach the 8h, while with video games and / or retrogaming duration drops to about 5-6h, still great.
Console Snail MUCH W3D
Gamepad integrated means only one thing: video games !!! Premise : for better or for worse (continuing the reading you will understand why) the integrated gamepad of Snail MUCH W3D behaves exactly like that of the Snail MUCH 78P01. For this section, therefore, I confine myself to a general framework talking in detail only the differences between the two devices. If you have any doubt or try reading some detail more for a given function, try to look at the review of the Snail MUCH 78P01. We start from KeyAdapter , the sole function of Snail that allows you to virtually map the touch screen by assigning specific areas keys of the integrated gamepad. On Snail MUCH W3D recalls quickly and easily using the quick menu in the button bar Android. A feature can be activated only if you hold the device horizontally (it is impossible to use the integrated gamepad vertically) and its icon can be hidden without being effectively disabled. The operation is fundamental: KeyAdapter show the icons associated with the buttons integrated gamepad , just drag an icon on an area of the touch screen and from that moment you press the button will match the share obtainable by touching the associated area of the touch screen. There are two configurations, Default and Custom : choosing the first appear of the preset patterns or uploaded by other users, with the second you can create your own configuration. Of note, being the Snail MUCH W3D recently on the market, which in games rarely tested were found patterns ready configuration Default . You can imagine how KeyAdapter 's right to exist only in those games which provide the on-screen controls - otherwise how You could map the touch screen? Also the gesture swipe (typical example of Fruit Ninja ), is recreated in part with analog, but the result is absolutely unmanageable. The main problem, however, remains the odd choice of Snail of not including a mapping for buttons L2 / R2 , a problem that is getting worse by choosing to turn the keys Start / Select in virtual keys (many games do not recognize them) and anch 'they do not come in KeyAdapter. the point is simple: KeyAdapter is a useful function in ideal conditions , but is powerless if there is need for keys as L2 / R2 or there is the possibility to activate the on-screen controls (without which you can not map the touch screen).
I will be brief, everything works as on Snail MUCH 78P01 ... that is, the same selection of test games, same result: where the integrated gamepad worked / did not work on Snail MUCH 78P01 , work / does not work well on Snail MUCH W3D . Emblematic the case of overkill 3 . With the Snail MUCH 78P01 had speculated that it could not proceed due to lack of trigger R2 , on the contrary this button Snail MUCH W3D . And yet ... the integrated gamepad does not work even now, if not with the analog and - the evidence - appear to be the only recognized keys a bit 'universally.
It is repeated, then an already view the situation: the integrated gamepad of the latest products Snail is not properly recognized by many games Android , and KeyAdapter can not always put a piece (eg Overkill 3 there are no buttons on screen). But when you recognized and configured, integrated gamepad is perfect (if only he had a little 'more compatibility...).
with emulators the Gamepad integrated the Snail MUCH W3D manages to give the best: it is compatible with (almost) all app, it is often pre-configured and when it is not just set the keys in the app configuration choice. for this section, in different scenarios the results are the same as obtained with the Snail MUCH 78P01. There are indeed problems with the hardware available, but everything depends on the app in the Google Play Store , and in the past year many emulators simply have not been updated - perhaps because you have reached the top performance or you can not implement other than what has already been done. So what has changed?
Portable console Nintendo: everything perfect until the Nintendo DS , there have been no updates, but in fact it was all very good already.
Home console Nintendo: all right until the Nintendo 64 , and for this console there will be new considerations about choosing the emulator for testing.
Other portable consoles: the reference emulator for Sony PSP has been updated with interesting results.
Other home console: ok up to Sony PS One (with consistently great FPSE already emulated everything perfectly), but there is the emulation surprise... Sega Dreamcast !
We begin precisely with the new Sega Dreamcast, 128-bit consoles emulated by reicast (r6). In fact everything was already possible with the Snail MUCH 78P01 , my mistake in not thinking about it. On the Snail MUCH W3D emulation is good enough . Unfortunately I got to test only a handful of games, but the opinions on the Internet are encouraging and I myself found myself in two symbolic cases: either everything works perfectly (eg Sonic Adventure 2 ) or everything works with some graphical glitches but do not compromise the game experience (example Shenmue). the Achilles heel of the emulator reicast , alas, it is with the integrated gamepad is not fully supported, and you can not map well in settings. Luckily there KeyAdapter : leveraging the on-screen buttons can be virtually map the touch screen and integrated gamepad of Snail MUCH W3D back to work as it should. Or at least, much of it not being in fact natively supported, the virtual keys Start / Select are not recognized and can not be added with KeyAdapter. The Dreamcast is especially abundant use of the button Start and it will unfortunately need to use the virtual button on the touch screen. Another small problem, reicast needs of the bios Dreamcast.
The chosen emulator, the Mupen64 Plus , has not been updated (the latest version is 2.4.4 ). With Snail MUCH W3D were however further testing and combatibilità - already good - has increased by simply changing the type of video plugin using the menu of the app settings. In addition, more importantly, with the Snail MUCH W3D have two new buttons available ( L2 / R2 ) who finally allow you to configure the entire gamepad Nintendo 64.
Here is an updated list of compatibility: in green what works in Orange playable titles with glitch problems more or less serious, in red non-functioning or poorly emulated games.
Improved very emulation PSP emulator thanks PPSSPP now in version 188.8.131.52 . To watch out for is the option Buffered Rendering : disabling, often resolve most problems.
As before: in green what works in Orange playable titles with glitch problems more or less serious, in red games non-functioning or poorly emulated.
Objectively, the Snail MUCH W3D is a worthy successor of the Snail MUCH 78P01. Too bad that there are still problems right there where it should excel, ie the integrated gamepad. The Snail MUCH W3D carries all the problems of the Snail MUCH 78P01 when it comes to use it as a console. In the use smartphone, however, has improved so much that it is almost a pleasure to carry around a fairly high dall'ingombro device. Just the 5.5" screen, however, is a small jewel of technology. Thanks to the 4,000 mAh battery, the Snail MUCH W3D promises several hours of heated screen (especially in video playback) and 3D technology - even if it appears to the day today on the wane - is implemented very well... maybe too much seen the marked effect that could create trouble after only some vision minute. the biggest problem of the Snail MUCH W3D is its hardware. For development standards today, go out with almost two-year delay (from the presentation at CES 2015 ) is like buying a car ten years ago: it works very well with the standard accessories, but when you add something the balance could also break. the price of sale of Snail MUCH W3D is about 350-400 € depending on the offers and where you buy, then remembering that without international firmware is quite impossible to install applications Google ( Play Store in the first place). it is an important price in 2015 it would be justified, perhaps now a bit less. Eventually, though, it works very well and hardly remains disappointed, especially when it is well aware that the integrated Gamepad is great for retrogaming, bad for native games of Android.