Editors’ Choice Mobile
ROKiT IO Pro 3D Smartphone
Review by Angie Kibiloski
Today, most of us have smartphones, and most of those smartphones come from 2 giant companies, who keep charging more and more with each new model that comes out. Currently, the newest models of those phones cost more than some people’s monthly mortgage payment. As consumers, if we want to continue to own smartphones, we either sacrifice quality and go for the lower to mid-range phone brands, or we suck it up and pay for those 2 mega brands. Well, that’s where ROKiT steps in, to bridge the gap with their new line of full-featured smartphones, with specs that almost rival the newest models of those other brands, at price points that are much kinder to your wallet. ROKiT proves that you don’t need to break the bank to have a quality, up-to-date, smartphone. Oh yeah, and as a bonus, the screens are 3D too. There are 3 phones in the line, and I’ll touch on all of them in a bit, but I’ll be focusing primarily on the top model, which I was able to take a look at, the ROKiT IO Pro 3D ($299.99).
I was super impressed with the ROKiT IO Pro 3D as soon as I saw it at CES in January, and that impression remains pretty solid after getting a chance to put it through its paces for a couple weeks at home. It does have a few things that I would suggest improvements on with their next models, and I’ll talk about those as I come to them, but for the most part, especially at this price, the specifications are pretty great, and it compares favorably across-the-board with its most well-known competitors. Let’s look at those specs, and then I’ll get into a few in more depth. This model has:
- 5.99″, 18:9 touchscreen display, with Full HD and glasses-free 3D
- Octa-core processor
- Android 8.1 Oreo
- Unlocked for any GSM compatible provider
- 4G, with dual-SIM card slots
- 64 GB disk memory
- MicroSD card slot, expandable up to 128 GB (card not included)
- 4 GB RAM
- Built-in 13 MP + 2 MP rear camera and 8 MP front camera
- Fingerprint sensor
- 3850 mAh li-ion battery
- Includes 12 months of ROK Talk and ROK Health (activated when SIM is installed)
- Includes 3 months of ROKFLiX 3D, and 1 month of ROK TV, ROKiT Games, and Stingray Music (activated when SIM is installed)
First off, let’s tackle the device itself, which is where I found a few of my issues with this product. The plastic handset is light-weight, with smooth edges and rounded corners, and I found it very comfortable to hold. It feels durable, though it’s neither water or drop resistant, which makes me long for a nice, rubber-lined, hard-shelled, protective phone case. Unfortunately, accessories like this are not yet available, with no release date set. The back cover isn’t removable, which means you can’t replace the battery if it goes bad. The power button is in a weird place, almost half-way down the right-hand side, with the volume button where you’d usually find the power. This was a little annoying when I would accidentally turn my screen off with my thumb, while holding the phone normally, and kept pressing the volume button when I wanted to turn the phone on. I’d hope they would adjust these positions on their next model, to make it closer to what most people are accustomed too. You’ll also use these buttons together to take screenshots, which is different from most popular phone models too, and a little tricky since they’re on the same side of the phone body.
The touchscreen worked great, very responsive, no calibration trouble, and it’s scratch resistant. The back, home, and tabs buttons are all digital, and are reversed from where I’m used to finding them, but this shouldn’t be too big of an adjustment with continued use. The screen view is good, with crisp colors in full HD, but there is a drawback which comes with the next feature. The screen is made so you can view 3D content without 3D glasses. This is great if you watch a lot of 3D content on your phone, but not so great when viewing regular 2D content, which is what most people do most often. Due to the way the screen is made, so that you can view stereoscopic images with your naked eyes, you’ll get a sort of undulating shadow, waving across the surface when you tilt the device in any direction, when you are not viewing 3D content. This is distracting and annoying, and also my biggest beef with this device. If not for this, I’d give this phone a much more exuberant recommendation. As it is, this 3D gimmick detracts more than it adds to the phone. I’d love the option, in future models, to choose the same phone with or without the 3D capable screen, for those of us who aren’t enamored with 3D, but who still want the high-end specs, while maintaining a clear field of view.
For security, there’s a fingerprint scanner on the back of the handset, in the perfect position to easily move your 1st finger onto while holding the phone naturally. This adds an extra layer of security to your device, and makes unlocking the screen super convenient. While setting up this feature, you’ll be asked to continuously lift and set down your finger, adjusting to get the full rounded surface of your fingertip, so the scanner can detect all angles of your print, and eliminate any frustration in getting your finger in the right place later on. You can also add a pin, pattern, or password in addition to your print for security. Also on the back of the device is a dual-lens camera, with 13 MP in the main lens, and 2 MP in the supporting lens. Along with the 8 MP front facing camera, you’ll be ready to capture all of life’s moments. I’m more impressed with the high MP front facing camera than I am with the back facing one. The back facing MP are good, but the lenses themselves are mediocre. I couldn’t get as crisp of an image in low light, or without flash, as I get with my competitor phone. I’d also recommend downloading a different camera app than the basic pre-loaded one, if you like a lot of control over your camera settings, like resolution, ISO, filters, etc.
Internally, this device comes with Android 8.1 (Oreo). This is not the most recent Android version, but 9 (Pie) has only just been widely rolled out, so this can be excused. It also has an octa-core processor, with 4 GB of RAM, and 64 GB of device storage memory. If you fill this, you can add up to a 128 GB microSD card, for added storage. You add this extra card in the same compartment on the left side of the handset as the dual-SIM card, which you have to use a special tool to open. This is another benefit to phones where the back panel comes off. As stated, you can add 2 SIM cards, giving you access to 2 phone numbers from the same handset. It’s also totally unlocked to be compatible with all GSM service providers, so you can even have 1 SIM card from 2 different carriers, and choose which to use at what times, or with which contacts, through the Settings. This is helpful if you travel a lot, especially overseas, and you’ll be finding yourself in areas with different coverages, or if you want to have a private and a business number, but not need to carry 2 phones. Rounding out the technical specs, there’s a 3850 mAh li-ion battery, which lasts for days in stand-by, and most of the day with regular internet use.
Now that you know all about the device itself, let’s get into the added bonus features that come with this phone. Since it’s in the name, we’ll start with the 3D elements. I already mentioned the stereoscopic screen, which does make the 3D content pop off the surface when used effectively. You get a 3-month trial subscription to the ROKFLiX 3D app, where you can access their library of exclusive 3D content. You can view a selection of animated and live-action videos, with more content being created for the future. Unfortunately, if you let your subscription lapse, you’ll only have access to a small sample of content, so you’ll have to find your 3D elsewhere, or pay $4.99/mo to maintain access to their library. I found that the glasses-less 3D was more successful with the animated videos, as opposed to the live-action, which was a bit blurry. The dual images didn’t seem to line up completely, unless I held the phone very still at the exact right angle. Most people don’t sit perfectly still when watching a movie, so this isn’t very practical. This was a modestly fun bonus feature, but 3D is the least of my concerns when choosing a phone. I do think they put too much emphasis on this as a feature of the phone, since it’s only going to be a small percentage of your overall phone usage, and as mentioned above, messes with the screen view when in 2D.
Along with ROKFLiX 3D, the ROK Media Bundle also contains ROK TV, ROKiT Games, and Stingray Music, with a free month trial of each. If you want full access after the month, the entire bundle, which includes the 3D app, is $7.99/mo. ROK TV presents you with a selection from your favorite TV networks and streaming services, both live broadcast and previously aired or archived shows, along with some ROK TV original content. It isn’t the most user-friendly app, to be honest, and needs some work before it can compare to something like Hulu. ROKiT Games has a library of over 400 fully-unlocked mobile gaming apps, including some of the most popular titles, without ads or in-app purchases. This is great if you have kids who play on your phone, and you don’t want any surprise in-app charges when you get it back. Stingray Music is a music streaming service, with a wide variety of curated music channels. Choose an in-app radio station, Like your favorite songs so they’ll play more often, and Skip songs you hate. If you want to expand your listening selections, you can get personalized recommendations based on your usage. This is nothing new and different, just their proprietary version of other branded music services.
This phone doesn’t just come with entertainment services, but life services as well. You’ll get 12 free months of ROK Talk, and ROK Health. ROK Talk is a WiFi calling app that let’s you call internationally (60 countries) for free. As long as you’re dialing through the app, you can enjoy talking to your friends, family, or business associates overseas, without worrying about the bill. You can also make domestic calls through the app, if you don’t have unlimited calling through your regular provider. After the free year, you can renew for $4.99/mo, or you can get ROK Talk Plus for $7.99/mo, to add unlimited texting in the US and Canada, as well as a 2nd local number. ROK Health, in my opinion, is the best, most useful added feature included with this device, and should be their advertising lead-in, instead of the 3D. You’ll get access to telemedicine for your whole family, provided by MeMD, which gives you 24/7/365 doctor service for minor ailments, like cough, flu, or advice on treating superficial injuries. We’re all guilty of Googling our medical symptoms, and panicking when the internet tells us the worst. The internet will tell us we have cancer, even if all we have is a muscle cramp. Skip the browser search and talk directly to a doctor, over the phone or via video chat. You’ll be able to get a diagnosis, a treatment plan, and any necessary prescriptions, all from the comfort of your bedroom or sofa. You can even get mental health treatment, for things like anxiety, bipolar disorder, or grief. All of their doctors are US-licensed, board-certified physicians, and the whole service is HIPAA-compliant and confidential. Since this is all included in the ROK Health service, there’s never a copay or fee, and your entire family can use it, up to 9 times every quarter. You’ll also get up to 75% off of prescriptions, generic or name-brand, with the Pharmacy Savings plan, through ScriptSave WellRx. This prescription plan, good at 62,000 pharmacies nationwide, covers you and your whole family.
As I mentioned at the start, there are 2 other models in the ROKiT smartphone line, with lower technical specs, and lower price points. You can take a look at the specs and decide which model works best for your needs. The ROKiT IO 3D ($199.99) is much the same as the ROKiT IO Pro 3D, with many of the same features, including the glasses-less 3D, fingerprint scanner, expandable storage slot, and dual-SIM card slots. It also comes with the same trial subscriptions as the Pro. The differences are as follows: 5.45″ touchscreen, quad-core processor, 16 GB disk memory, 2 GB RAM, 8 MP rear camera and 2 MP front camera, and a 2500 mAh li-ion battery. These specs are a definite step down from the top model, but still a decent mid-range device, for people who want a smartphone, but don’t need all the shiniest bells and whistles. The ROKiT IO LIGHT ($89.99) is their device with the lowest technical specs, and does not come with glasses-less 3D. This device has a 5″ touchscreen, 1.3 GHz processor, 8 GB disk memory, 1 GB RAM, and thankfully still runs Android 8.1 Oreo. You’ll still get a dual-SIM card slot, but only 3G connectivity. The rear camera is 5 MP, and the front facing is 2 MP. You’ll get the year of ROK Talk and ROK Health included, as well as the month of the entertainment bundle trials, though obviously without the ROKFLiX 3D app. This phone is far too basic for my use, but there are consumers who only need the most basic features of a smartphone, and won’t miss the higher-end specifications. If all you need is something to get on the internet with, the LIGHT comes at a nice price for that purpose.
To wrap up, the ROKiT IO Pro 3D is solidly a product that I’d recommend, for anyone who wants a high-spec, full-featured smartphone, that costs about a third of what similar models from the 2 giant competitor brands offer. It isn’t a perfect device, and I’ve mentioned my reasons why I feel this way, but it’s only their 1st foray into this market, and I’ve no doubt that future models will be even better. If they take user feedback into consideration, I look forward to where their phones can go from here. For the moment, with the processor, disk space, RAM, and all the bonus features, you really can’t beat the price point, so even with the several issues it has, this phone is well worth the purchase. I know this has been a long review, but if you want to read even more about this phone, their other models, or the company, or go ahead and buy one for yourself, head on over to https://rokit.com. If you do purchase a phone, though, don’t expect a walkthrough wizard to help you get introduced to all the ins and out of your new device. It doesn’t come with a detailed User Manual, either in the box, on the device, or online, so you may be stumbling around in the dark for a little while, discovering everything on your own. Oh well, I guess that’s what Customer Service and User Forums are for.