There has been a lot of competition recently in the smartphone market in India, especially due to the arrival of new brands, promising better hardware specifications compared to their rival devices from well-known brands.
The Pryme is the first smartphone device from an Indian based company Hyve; it promises pure Android experience and a powerful hardware at an affordable price. However, our tests have revealed that not all of it is true.
The Hyve Pryme costs ₹17,999 which makes it a direct competitor to some of the very popular smartphones devices such as Samsung Galaxy J7 Prime, LeEco Le Max2, Lenovo Z2 Plus, and the Moto M. The question is, why should one buy the Hyve Pryme when there are so many devices with almost similar specifications? Let’s find out.
Sturdy metal body, boring design
The Hyve Pryme features a full metal body; it gets an all-gold finish on the back. The device feels heavy, but at the same time, it feels very comfortable. The slightly curved metal on the back is the main reason why the device feels so grippy in hand. However, we found that the device had a few build quality issues such as the edge of the camera hump is very sharp, and it tends to scrape the pocket while removing the device. Also, the cut for the SIM card tray doesn’t feel very well finished.
The design of the Hyve Pryme is, well, boring to be precise. It looks just like an another Chinese smartphone device. The front of the device has white bezels around the display and an earpiece on the upper side, beside the earpiece you can find the Selfie camera, flash module, and a couple of sensors. The rear of the device houses the fingerprint scanner and a camera on the upper side, while there is an Hyve branding on the lower side. The volume and the power buttons are placed on right side of the device while the left side of the device houses a SIM card tray. At the bottom, there is a USB Type-C port that is placed right between the speaker and the microphone grill, while the top of the device has a 3.5mm audio jack and an Infrared emitter.
Large & bright display
The HYVE Pryme has a 5.7-inch IPS LCD display with a Full HD resolution. At this price point, I would expect an AMOLED display. Nonetheless, the display performs amazing well under direct sunlight with its high brightness capabilities, the viewing angles too are great. You won’t find any pixelation either when watched closely. The only issue remains though is that the display does not come with any protection to it, such as Gorilla Glass, or the DragonTrail Glass. Therefore, there are chances that the display will not hold up well against drops. Even the devices costing half of what HYVE Pryme costs, come with Gorilla Glass or some protection to the display. We think that this is not only a let down in the display department but also a major let down on the whole for the device.
The screen surface quickly attracts smudges and fingerprints, most importantly, it is very hard to get those fingerprints and smudges off the display, this is mostly because of the fact that the materials used are not of high quality.
Unsatisfying camera performance
The 13MP primary did not perform well in our day to day usage. The colours were not saturated enough; the white balance too was incorrect most of the time. The focusing, however, was fast and spot on. The most significant downside was the camera UI. The camera user interface looks ugly, and the design looks like that of the Android Kitkat, the menu options too were very confusing. The functionalities in the camera UI are very limited and basic, unlike the camera UI found on the devices from Samsung, Motorola, or Xiaomi that come with various still and video modes. Capturing an HDR image took a decent amount of time. However, the HDR image was surprisingly good; the dynamic range was much better when compared to a non-HDR photo. The video recording has a resolution of 1080p at 30 FPS. Sadly, the camera can capture only 0.9MP (1280×720) stills while recording the video and not a full-resolution image (13MP or 9MP).
Hyve Pryme – Camera Sample – Outdoor Dynamic Range Test
The 8-megapixel secondary camera did not do wonders either, even though it has a LED flash. The sharpness and overall quality were better than the Xiaomi Mi Max, but it was still far away from the image quality of devices like Lenovo Z2 Plus and the Moto G4 Plus.
Performance is not as good as advertised
The company advertises the HYVE Pryme as “India’s Deca-Core Flagship Phone” as it comes with MediaTek Hello X20 processor. After reading it, you may think that this phone is faster than any other octa-core smartphone in the market, but that is not true. First of all, people have to understand that more CPU cores don’t mean more performance. The performance is achieved by optimisation and refinement on the hardware as well as on the software level.
Speaking of which, the HYVE Pryme performs fast in almost every condition. The UI is smooth and fluid; there are no jitters either. But there are some scenarios where the device feels sluggish and unoptimised. Such as when you are installing an application from Play Store, the device starts lagging, and the applications take a very long time to install, this shouldn’t be an issue on a smartphone with a deca-core processor. The multitasking, however, is excellent, not only because of the enormous 4GB of RAM provided but because of an efficient RAM management. Switching between the applications is a breeze, no matter how many applications are running in the background, the device puts out a solid performance. The fingerprint scanner on the back of the device performs exceptionally fast; it feels very accurate too. During our testing period of the Hyve Pryme, we found that the light weight games run just fine on the device, but when it comes to the games with heavy graphics, the device does not hold up well. The GPU isn’t powerful enough to run large games smoothly at the device’s native display resolution.
We feel that the Hyve Pryme in spite of housing a deca-core processor doesn’t feel any different from a smartphone with an octa-core processor. In fact, some other smartphone devices that are cheaper than the Hyve Pryme like the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 and Moto M perform better.
Stock, bloat-free, and unoptimised software
The Hyve Pryme ships with Android 6.0 Marshmallow OS. Unlike other manufacturers, Hyve did not bloat the OS with unwanted applications or features. Also, the UI is stock Android, which is a good thing because few manufacturers customise the UI in a very ugly way. However, the software is not optimised, and we found many bugs in our usage. Such as the battery stats shows wrong details and the Wi-Fi icon overlaps with the VoLTE icon in the status bar. Overall, the software is not polished, and it misses out on some essential features like the Smart T9 Dialler, and ability to select 3G only network.
The only application apart from stock Google applications that the device comes with is the file manager, and its design looks outdated. During our test period, we received a software update weighing around 100MB that included Google’s security patch for the month of January, optimisations to the battery and performance as well as native video call support in the dialler.
Disappointing loudspeaker & call quality
We ran a side by side test with the Hyve Pryme and Xiaomi Mi Max to check the loudspeaker and call quality performance. During the call quality test, the party on the other side of the call found it difficult to hear the voice when compared to the Xiaomi Mi Max. The loudspeaker too was tiny, and it lacked the depth.
Mediocre battery backup
We weren’t expecting the device to deliver excellent battery backup as it is a MediaTek device. However, the device performed well with its 3,500 mAh battery capacity. On a full charge, the device lasted more than 24 hours with four and half hour of screen-on time on an average. Our usage included capturing a couple of photos, calling, texting, checking emails, watching videos on YouTube, and playing a few minutes of games. The device consistently had a 10% to 15% of charge left every morning to spare.
The Hyve Pryme took almost 2 hours to charge fully from a totally drained status; it does not charge up as fast as some of its rivals, mostly because MediaTek does not provide any fast charging technology like the Qualcomm’s chipsets does. On the positive side, it comes with a USB Type-C port, allowing you to insert the charging cable either way.
Should you buy the Hyve Pryme?
The Hyve Pryme seems to lack the finesse that the other smartphones in the same price range provide. There are many areas where the device feels unpolished. We think that the Hyve Pryme should have been priced less because at this price point the device apparently loses its ground.