We recently got our hands on the Starmobile Engage Aura, a lightweight, 14-inch Windows 10 laptop, which only costs P6,699 on Lazada (previously P7,990). The price may more or less give you an idea of how far you can push the Engage Aura, but it’s a pretty good offering to a market looking for reasonably-priced alternative that works.
|Operating System||Microsoft Windows 10|
|Display||14-inch WXGA Screen, 1366 x 768 pixels|
|Chipset||Intel Atom Z8350|
|Memory||32GB ROM + 2GB DDR3L RAM, 64GB Micro SD Max Expansion|
|Processor (CPU)||1.9GHz Quad-Core Cherry Trail Z8350|
|Video Card (GPU)||Intel HD Graphics Gen8-LP 12EU|
|Connectivity||Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, 3.5mm Headphone Port with built-in speakers, Mini HDMI, USB 2.0, USB 3.0|
Video Capture: 720p
You may liken the way the Engage Aura looks to a Macbook with its matte finish in either gold and silver, but of course, the former goes with a cheaper, plastic build, which predictably gives you a few squeaks when you flip it open. (Be careful when opening it on your bare lap – the hinge may pinch you and it hurts like hell.)
What may take getting used to is the keyboard. Yes, it may look like an Apple keyboard, but you still need to adjust to the size, the spacing, and the hard feel of the keys. Another issue for me is the track pad, which you’ll need to consciously avoid if you don’t want your cursor to go flying all over the place. It can be annoying at the beginning, but once you manage to get used to that quirk, working on the Engage Aura pretty much becomes easier.
DISPLAY AND SOUND
The Starmobile Engage Aura has a 14-inch HD display with a 1366×768 resolution, which isn’t so bad for its price at all. Streaming “Santa Clarita Diet” on it was good visually, but the sound came out a bit thin for my liking. Better if you can plug in a good pair of earphones for a better experience.
This is a laptop for light users who usually utilize Microsoft Word or Excel while playing a few tunes in the background, or watching movies and streaming during breaks. Yes, you can do basic presentation decks on it, but graphic-heavy ones may run slow. You can’t really do heavy design work on the Engage Aura, much less install huge games in it.
We ran a Novabench test, and performance-wise, it wasn’t surprising that it was a bit below average. But hey, don’t get discouraged, because this budget baby still can do multi-tasking. Our tip is to kill of unnecessary programs in the background and stop opening too many tabs on your browser that you don’t need. Be kind to the Engage Aura, and it’ll stay efficient.
Here’s the thing: the first few times I hooked the Engage Aura to my home Wi-Fi, I found that the connection kept on terminating. I thought that it was only my internet provider, but then I ran my personal laptop simultaneously with it. While my unit managed to quickly get signal, the Engage Aura took a while, and it still got cut off often. I can’t be sure if I’m the only one who experienced it or if it’s a quirk, but if you need to go online with this laptop, you may want to do it in a place where you’re sure that your Wi-Fi signal is strong and stable.
You can save your some of your light files in it, but anything more than a gig can easily eat up your space, as you only have around half of its 32gb storage to play with due to your OS. If you do need to store huge files, put them in an external hard drive or better yet, in the cloud.
The Engage Aura may take long to fully charge, but it takes longer to completely drain. This is probably one of the nicest things about it: It can last you a good five to seven hours light work before you need to plug it in.
For the P6,699, I think that the Starmobile Engage Aura is a pretty solid buy for users who need a laptop for relatively light work. It’s something you can lug around when you need to make reports on the fly, for checking email, or even for streaming a few episodes of your favorite show. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, but rather puts itself out there as a really cheap alternative, and believe it or not, it works.