The Droidz Swivel is one of the 4 smartphones from Torque Mobile with rotating camera. Yes you got me there right, it has a rotatable camera which was an innovative trend undeniably started by Oppo. Amusingly, the Droidz Swivel doesn't cost an arm and leg to have this feature.

Torque Droidz Swivel Review! A Budget Rotating Camera Handset!
Meet Torque Droidz Swivel
We were able to play around with it and test it for some weeks that leads us to this review. We'll find out if it's plain gimmickry or a very useful feature. Let's start!

Unboxing / Accessories

Torque Droidz Swivel Review! A Budget Rotating Camera Handset!
The box
The Torque Droidz Swivel comes in a small simple box showing the photo of this interesting handset. Upon inspection, the specs isn't written on the box. Maybe that's something that they should add in the near future.

Torque Droidz Swivel Review! A Budget Rotating Camera Handset!
Inside the box
The Droidz Swivel comes in a standard usual packaging. It includes a 1 A USB wall charger adapter, micro USB cable and an earphones with flat cables. I would have loved it better if even just a screen protector was added here though, but for the price I cannot complain.

Build Quality / Design

Torque Droidz Swivel Review! A Budget Rotating Camera Handset!
Look at the back of Droidz Swivel
At first glance, anybody would think that this look like an Oppo phone due to the rotating camera feature, but when you take a closer look at it its design looks very different. It's a rectangular shaped smartphone that was made out of an all plastic material with a back cover with stitches pattern and a texture that looks like leather.


Torque Droidz Swivel Review! A Budget Rotating Camera Handset!
A clearer view of the rotating camera on top and the stitch like design
It feels like a well made product and the plastic doesn't feel cheap to hold. I also tried pressing the plastic a bit hard and I felt that this was a tough kind of plastic. The screen however might be prone to scratches as it's not protected by glass protection. Some of us might fear that the rotating camera might be the weak point of this phone build-wise, but fortunately it's not. If feels durable and won't break anytime soon unless you use force.

Torque Droidz Swivel Review! A Budget Rotating Camera Handset!
The chrome painted volume rocker and power button on the right side of the phone
Torque Droidz Swivel Review! A Budget Rotating Camera Handset!
The volume rocker, mic and micro USB port shown below
By the way this also has a red light indicator on top of the screen that can show if you're battery is low or if you received a text message. Overall I think that the Droidz Swivel is a fairly durable product that looks good design-wise if taken and used properly.

Display

Torque Droidz Swivel Review! A Budget Rotating Camera Handset!
The display of the Droidz Swivel
Using a qHD display with a resolution of 540 x 960 on a 4.7 inches screen phone isn't bad and feels just right. It looks good and has that very bright output when you turn it to the max setting. To my surprise it just struggle a little under the sun and has decent viewing angles. It also has that 5 point multi touch technology where-in it can give you decent screen navigation and typing speed. Maybe the only thing missing here is the colors feels a bit wash-out and doesn't look as vivid as some HD screens. Fortunately, only the nitpicky people will notice that at first glance.

Battery

Torque Droidz Swivel Review! A Budget Rotating Camera Handset!
The battery life on heavy usage
Here's an aspect of the handset that clearly needs improvement. Rated at 1700 mAh and by just using a qHD screen. Even if it uses a quad core processor, battery consumption should not be like this. I just had 3 hours of battery life when my screen brightness was turned to max setting, WiFi is on and browsing the net. That leads me to the guess that the battery of my review unit could be defective as this should last at least 5 hours with that type of load. Hopefully, it's just a battery defect. Fortunately, it charges very quick with me getting it full in less than 2 hours using the charger included. On light usage, just texting and occasional calls it can give you a modest 6 - 7 hours.

Sound

It's fairly average here, you get the usual sound output from a phone with this MediaTek setup. It's quite balanced sounding with a little peak on the highs and a bit less slam on the bass part with very clear vocals. The speaker was also loud enough for most as I was able to hear it even from the 2nd floor of our home. The microphone part was also decently clear even if it just using a single mic setup.

Note: Avoid using the stock earphones as it doesn't sound good. Hopefully, Torque can include a decent sounding one like what MyPhone did with the Rio 2 in the future.

Camera

Torque Droidz Swivel Review! A Budget Rotating Camera Handset!
The rotating camera, you can use it as a spy cam too :)
Here's the highlight of this phone! The 8 MP sensor that Torque was using here has good quality when used outdoors! It was able to capture images with great details, good color accuracy and has nice dynamic range. You can also capture images with "bokeh" easily once you focus closely to the subject and your background was a bit far. We were able to enjoy using it while taking garden shots, pictures of houses and selfies!

Torque Droidz Swivel Review! A Budget Rotating Camera Handset!
Here's an outdoor auto shot taken on a sunny afternoon
What's great here is it has that rotating camera that gives you the same level of photo quality when taking pictures.

Torque Droidz Swivel Review! A Budget Rotating Camera Handset!
A shot of fruity plant (HDR)
Torque Droidz Swivel Review! A Budget Rotating Camera Handset!
Bokeh shot
However, it has one weakness it doesn't do too well when taking pictures in the night and dark places. The flash is also not too strong as it uses just a single LED setting.

Torque Droidz Swivel Review! A Budget Rotating Camera Handset!
Evening shot
Torque Droidz Swivel Review! A Budget Rotating Camera Handset!
A selfie shot w/ flash in total darkness!
Fortunately, even by just using a single LED flash, that can give you enough light to be visible in total darkness just like the selfie I took above. The shutter speed and focus was also a bit slow so patience is needed if you want to take good photos. Photo quality wise, I'll give this Torque Droidz swivel a passing mark due to the prowess it shown when used outdoors with good lighting.

Performance

Torque Droidz Swivel Review! A Budget Rotating Camera Handset!
Tested UFC and it worked nicely
What I loved about the Droidz Swivel is the smooth performance. It has that ample 1 GB of RAM and a decently performing quad core processor that can get all the basic task like Social media, emails, taking photos and casual to moderate gaming run properly. I also liked that there are virtually no heating issues as it just get warm when playing games and mobile data turned on. The use of that lower resolution screen worked did wonders to the smoothness of this phone. In general the Torque Droidz swivel performs nicely unless you use high settings on games and opened too many apps. Connectivity-wise I never had an issue with its 3G and Bluetooth.

Benchmarks

Torque Droidz Swivel Review! A Budget Rotating Camera Handset!
The benchmarks
Antutu  benchmark 19545
Quadrant 7181
Geek bench : single core 352, multicore 1186
Nenamark 51.1

The benchmark scores was a bit high compared to other phones that uses this setup. That could be due to the almost stock Android type of OS Torque used here.

Specifications

  • Display: 4.7 Inches qHD IPS, 540 x 960 pixels (234 ppi)
  • Processor: 1.2 GHz Quad Core
  • GPU: Mali 400
  • RAM: 1 GB
  • ROM: 8 GB expandable via microSD card
  • Camera: 8 MP with LED flash (Rotatable up to 180 degrees)
  • Battery: 1700 mAh capacity
  • OS: Android 4.4. Kitkat
  • Connectivity: WiFi / Bluetooth / GPS / 3G
  • Sensors:
  • Price: PHP 4,599

Pros - rotating camera that can give you selfie flash, decent speed and performance, nice build quality

Cons - battery life, display may not be for everyone, slow camera shutter speed and focus, free earphones

Verdict

The Torque Droidz Swivel is a good attempt to bring a very affordable rotating camera phone to the masses with decent overall performance. Remember, there are not so many handsets with this type of feature and you'll surely appreciate it once you have it. There are a lot of things to improve that I stated above which I know Torque can definitely refine in the very near future. I can recommend this to anyone who want a good front and back camera with limited budget.

Note: This was a great buy by the time it was launched, but today with all the competition we have it might have a tough time. I'm expecting to see a price cut soon as this is still a solid device.
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