THL 2015 Android smartphone review

Mar 30, 2015

The THL 2015 is a well-equipped 5.0 inches smartphone built around the latest MTK6752 64bit. 
It deserves a closer look...

My old THL W100 served me well for over 2 years but reached the point where I couldn't stretch the storage any further despite a repartitioning. For a while now there was a crying need for something with more room. After having considered the THL 5000, the Elephone P3000s and P5000, the THL 2015 became my final choice. Here's a short review of it.

MTK6752 Octa Core 64Bit 1.7 GHz  with ARM Mali-T760 GPU
Android 4.4
2GB Ram / 16GB Rom
5.0" 1920 * 1080 Pixel FHD Super Amoled Screen with Corning Gorilla Glass 3(*).
13.0MP Back Camera (Sony IMX135 sensor) / 8.0MP Front Camera
4G LTE, OTG, WIFI, GPS/GLONASS, Bluetooth, Fingerprint ID Function,
Dual SIM and Micro SD card slot
2700mAh Battery
Dimensions: 14.46 x 7.16 x 0.75 cm
Weight: 143 gr
(*) Correction to the specification published by the manufacturer, the screen is IPS. A slight background lighting remains when displaying a plain black bitmap which is just not possible with Super Amoled.

Remark: No NFC,
In several places , the THL 2015 is described as having NFC support. This is not true!... regrettably!

Accessories provided: With the USB cable, the charger, earphones and the screen filter, there are also 2 protections: one flip case and one hard back cover.

First impression: 

Going from 4.5" (W100) to this 5.0" phone has been a big jump for me, but a necessary compromise to have recent components, the phablets are all the rage at the moment.

The THL 2015 (14.46x7.16x0.75cm) is taller but does not feel much more bulky in my pocket.

The phone itself feels well built and solid. Without being too heavy, its weight of 143gr contributes to that feeling.
I started using the flip cover which displays that sooooo gorgeous clock when closed (like the Elephone P3000 in fact...)
Once the Hall window novelty effect had passed, I swapped for the hard case. The Gorilla glass wouldn't be protected but does it really need to?

The phone is neither beautiful or ugly but achieves some elegance and looks professional with its nicely hand-crafted aluminium frame.

Rooting or not rooting?

Like with my previous THL, there is little need to root here, the usual reasons being:
- More customization: not really needed here
- App data backup: Helium does it fine once activated via the PC
- De-bloating: no useless app to get rid off here
- Apply custom firmware/recovery partition: It's still early for that, let's THL provide some more official updates first...

But yes, again, for the fun, I did root it. My only excuse was to get rid of the THL jingle at boot time (removing the bootaudio.mp3 file under /system/media)

Rooting the phone requires the proper ADB drivers on your computer and a rooting application.
I used SRSRoot this time. Others like Kingroot or Kingoapp would work as well.


The terminal has a comfortable reserve of processing power even if currently the 64bit potential remains unused with Android 4.4.4. The benchmark results translate the efficiency of the MTK6752 in particular for Multi-Core and Memory performance.

The processor can get warm at times but I found out that switching the runtime from Dalvik to ART helped a good deal. 
There is a functional OTA, and a small update was release during the preparation of this review. The expectation is that THL may update to Lollipop at some stage.

Fingerprint sensor

I've been trying my best to adopt the fingerprint sensor for unlocking the phone but the rate of failure was just a bit too high compared to the more convenient face-unlock.
This method is particularly inconvenient when using the flip cover.
The AppLock app can restrict the access to specific applications with a finger swipe and this occasional use at least should be fine.

As part of the security features, there is a auto-start management and a App permission control. Device encryption option is not present.  


The THL2015 has a 5.0" - FHD - Super Amoled screen (according to the official web site) with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 delivering a resolution of 1920*1080 px.

MediaTek's MiraVision gives several options to optimize the contrast and color rendering. 
Enabling Dynamic Contrast is worth it, the rest is a question of taste. I found that their Vivid picture mode would in general saturate the colors rather than enhancing them. 

The display is just... beautiful, sharp, bright, colourful ... 


The sound quality is excellent in and out as you would expect nowadays from any phone.
The phone supports the following:
2G: GSM 850/900/1800/1900MHz
3G: WCDMA 900/1900/2100MHz
4G: FDD-LTE B1 / B3 / B7/20
The internal speaker is excellent for hand free communication but just acceptable for playing music. In this case you would naturally prefer the good quality earphones provided or to use Bluetooth speakers/headphones with the Lossless BT mode (Settings > Audio profiles).

Wi-Fi: Good range and speed, slightly better than my old and smaller W100...makes sense.
Bluetooth: Lossless BT mode can be selected in the Audio profile to improve the sound quality to the receiving device. With my BT Auto Radio though, it stopped delivering audio if I used the track navigation.

 OTG is quite standard now on modern phones, so external storage and peripherals can be used, but unlike the THL 5000, using the THL 2015 as a power bank makes very little sense.

Satellite positioning: 
The Mediatek 6752 marks a milestone here with, for the first time a really fast and effective GPS/GLONASS function! 
The very fix fix was obtained indoor in less than 30 seconds...a first for Mediatek!
Turning on the location function generates some heat on the upper part of the device, turning it into a convenient hand-warmer ... (-:


The 13MP back camera is based on the Sony IMX135 sensor (f/2), same as found in Galaxy S4.
The pictures have sharp details even in dark shots and a realistic color rendering. HDR is effective and does not damage the sharpness. There's no noticeable chromatic aberration and the camera behaves quite well with foliage and branches.
The flash does the job without turning the picture blueish.
The 8MP from camera is perfect video chat and face-unlock, but just okay for selfies. 
I feel that a more sophisticated camera app would take more advantage of this sensor. For now I replaced it with "A Better Camera". 
I took the shots below with the stock Android camera app.
Indoor shot w/HDR. Click for full size.

Evening outdoor shot

indoor shot with flash
dark indoor shot

on a bright day

The latest OTA update 
fixed the voice capture, 
now you can say "cheese!" 
or "capture!" 


The THL 2015 is a professional- looking smart phone with a real feel of quality. It even achieves some elegance despite the sober design from THL. 

Every feature works as advertised and the whole system has so far proven very stable.

The price tag of 225€/249$ may be explained by the overall quality of the product but the updated  Elephone P3000s (reviewed here) might be a fierce competitor.

To unleash the potential of the 64bit processor, the phone will need to be on Android 5.0. THL has not yet announced a update to "Candied Fruit" (the google translation of 糖葫芦 /Lollipop), but they'd be crazy not to when all the competitors will.

- The improved GPS, the fastest I've seen from Mediatek to date. 
- The fast processor: The MTK6752 is a big step forward even under Android 4.4.4.
- An above average camera giving good results even in low light.
- Functional OTA

Not so good:
- Failing to include NFC in that product range is a sad decision!
- The standard 2700 mAh battery giving about one day of mixed usage, just okay.
- The fingerprint sensor is only good for occasional use, any other method is faster.


  1. Galaxy S4 GPS lock - 3-4secs indoors. My S3 was about the same. And also uses the GLONASS satellites.

    1. Of course, S4 has the uncomparable broadcom BCM47521. Here we're dealing with a cheaper phone.
      Mediatek came a long way compared to their previous generation of chipsets. This one does Glonass too, I should add it somewhere.

  2. Hi, I have trouble with Airwatch application. It detect my THL 2015 as non-compliant. It is mean AW select the device as rooted. It uses some algoritm and my official ROM does not pass the test. I'm thinking to root the device than unroot it. I have two question regarding that.
    1. Can you confirm that unroot is possible?
    2. Do you think that official updates will work for after this operation?
    Thank you for help.

    1. Hi Tomáš,
      There's been one OTA since I rooted my phone and it worked fine but removed the root, which is normal.
      The OTA remains operational as long as you don;t install a custom recovery partition.
      Tools like SRSroot or KingoRoot have an option to unroot the phone if needed.

  3. Hi Bubbah,
    root of my phone failed both programs says that root was succesfull but it isn't. Can you contact me via email please? I have couple more question regarding THL 2015 (my device has problem with smooth scrolling especially in browser) Contact me on dvorakts google account.

    1. The root program needs your phone to be connected as "USB storage" (not MTp or PTP) to the PC in order to install the SuperSU. The program does not check that and just reports "rooted" even if it could not do the necessary transfer.
      I see no particular issue with the scrolling in Chrome or stock browser. Maybe try disabling the Multitasking Window?

    2. Regarding the scroll issue. I have problems if page contains pictures. Scroll over the images is not smooth. Sometimes I have seen lag on main screen. I will try factory reset. And I will see.

  4. Hi, what about the compass sensor? Thank you!

    1. I tested it shortly only but it works fine on the THL 2015, unlike the Elephone P3000s which acts crazy despite calibration.

  5. Does not have a super Amoled screen, it's IPS LCD, the camera is not very good. Also a different launcher needs to be used or you get the funny random colour squares surrounding many Icons

    1. Unless lies (which is possible, Elephone does that all the time) the screen is claimed to be super amoled: funny squares on mine so far.

    2. My point is, this is a review, if the reviewer is unaware that the phone has an IPS screen and the camera has issues, how accurate is this review. I own a THL 2015 phone and I assure you the screen is NOT Super Amoled.

    3. ok, I've done a black screen test with the THL 2015 and indeed it cannot be an Amoled, so the article is changed to reflect this. It was not so obvious when tested side-by-side with the Elephone P3000S-64 which has a serious light bleeding problem in comparison.

      for the camera, all I found is an obscure petition asking THL to "Fix the problem with noise reduction in Camera". I didn't see any major problem in low light condition with this camera during my tests. The OTA updated released on 2015-03-27 fixed a few camera bugs for me.

    4. Hi, I have been using this phone for about 3 months... Before I had a galaxy s3 and therefore I can compare them.
      1. The main disappointment for me was the camera. It is very good for near distance but bad for long distance. S3 with it's 8 mpxls is definetly better and I think the problem is the software and can be solved with an update.
      The camera here is not Sonny, is Sunny, Chinese company.
      2. I frequently use GPS and is as good as that of s3 but while using it the battery is discharging so surprisingly fast that you can practically use it only plugged for charging.
      3. When I had s3 it was easy for me to unplug usb-flashcard and to do it I simply scroll the upper bar and select the button "umplug" instead of going to settings to do it.
      4. No way to regulate separately the volume of the sound of SMS and system rings from the volume of ring tones.
      5. The volume of speakerphone is low.
      And now advantages in comparison with s3:
      1. 2-sim cards(normal and micro)
      2. Fingerprint security
      3. Automatic switching on and off.
      4. The alarm clock rings out even when the phone is switched off.