Hot Pepper Ghost Review: Large display, all right performance

Get to know about this low-entry phone with an interesting name. Hot Pepper Ghost review discusses the phone’s specs with all the necessary details.

Hot Pepper Ghost Review

The Hot Pepper Ghost smartphone released in 2019. The brand’s name might not sound familiar to you compared to established brands in the market. Hot Pepper Mobile is a subsidiary of XiaoLaJiao, a Chinese company.

The Hot Pepper brand itself has only three phones under its wings and all of them are low-entry phones, including the Hot Pepper Ghost.

This device is clearly marketed at users who do not care about high-end specs. However, Hot Pepper Ghost should make itself stand out in order to compete with other phones at this price range.

This Hot Pepper Ghost review will help you learn about the phone’s selling points and what you should take into consideration before buying this phone.

Hot Pepper Ghost Key Specs

Hot Pepper Ghost specifications:

  • Weight: 160g
  • Dimensions: 163.4 x 77.7 x 9.5mm
  • OS: Android 9 (Pie)
  • Screen size: 6-inch
  • Resolution: 1440 x 720
  • CPU: Mediatek Helio P22
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Storage: 64GB
  • Battery: 3,850 mAh, Non-removable
  • Rear camera: 13MP
  • Front camera: 5MP

Hot Pepper Ghost Design

Hot Pepper Ghost Design

While other manufacturers released phones with trendy designs, the Hot Pepper Ghost returns to mid-2010 design. It is a matter of preference but we find it dull and outdated. The thick bezels definitely do not make it look better.

Furthermore, the body is made of plastic and looks cheap. It is definitely not the kind of phone you want to show off to your friends in 2020.

Hot Pepper Ghost is also a quite large phone. You may find it hard to hold with one hand. The phone probably could weigh a few grams lighter if they could make the bezels thin.

On the back of the phone, you can find a single 13MP camera and an LED flash in the upper left corner. There is also a fingerprint scanner in the center. The plastic back looks glossy but to prevent it from scratches, you can apply a thin case that comes with the phone.

On the right side of the phone, there is a power button and a volume rocker. Meanwhile, you can insert your SIM card to a hybrid sim/microSD slot on the left. The bottom of the phone houses a speaker and USB-C charging port.

A 5MP selfie camera can be found on the front of the phone. Since the chin is large, people with smaller hands may not be able to navigate the phone easily.

Read also:

Hot Pepper Ghost Display

On paper, the Hot Pepper Ghost sounds like a beast with a 6-inch display. However, it uses a TFT LCD panel with 1440 x 720 resolution. It is such a shame that in 2020 a phone at this price range still uses mediocre display while its competitors are way ahead.

Although the display looks spacious, the quality itself is disappointing. The TFT panel does not look sharp, especially in sunlight.

The color reproduction is below average and the blue tint is very dominant. In short, the screen does not present accurate colors and this may affect your experience.

Videos look average on this phone and since the phone does not use an IPS panel, your viewing angle results in image distortion. This issue does not show up in IPS panels.

Furthermore, images and videos may look stretched because the Hot Pepper Ghost has a low pixel density. This device is not perfect for your viewing experience.

Despite the quality, the screen size is decent for watching videos. YouTube videos look proper on this phone. Fonts look bigger too so that you do not have to squint your eyes when looking at texts even when using the smallest font size.

Hot Pepper Ghost Camera

Hot Pepper Ghost Back View

Hot Pepper Ghost is equipped with a 13MP rear-facing camera and a 5MP selfie camera. There is no ultra-wide angle camera or a telephoto camera on this phone.

It makes sense because this is a budget phone. However, other manufacturers have released phones at this price range with multiple cameras in the past regardless of their quality.

Moving on to this phone’s photography performance, it is safe to say that the cameras are not great. Outdoor photos look pleasant on a sunny day but the backgrounds tend to be blurry. The shots look oversaturated, producing colors that are too dramatic and cool (blue-ish).

The selfie camera is a bit better and produces more accurate colors. In a well-lit room, the camera still performs properly. But noises and the lack of clarity are still visible.

The video quality is not that great either. It depends too much on the lighting. If you are recording a video in a dark place, it is best to turn on your LED flash. It is decent for video calls and teleconferences.

From a software perspective, the camera application on this phone does not provide a lot of options. Surprisingly, this phone has a beauty camera mode and a portrait mode.

Read also: Hot Pepper Ghost User Manual / User Guide

Hot Pepper Ghost Storage

Hot Pepper Ghost Side iew

This device has two variants of storage, 32GB and 64GB. The 32GB version comes with 3GB of RAM, while the 64GB with 4GB of RAM.

You can buy one according to your needs although we believe 64GB (Visible version) should be the standard for a phone nowadays.

Since this device runs stock Android 9.0 (Pie), there are no unnecessary apps or bloatware. If you find 32GB is too small or 64GB not enough, you can uninstall some of the pre-installed apps.

You can also insert a microSD since this phone supports up to 2TB of external storage. If you prefer a more advanced method, you can upload your files to cloud storage.

Hot Pepper Ghost Performance

Both variants of Hot Pepper Ghost are powered by a Mediatek Helio P22 chipset. It is obviously not the fastest processor but it performs well. This Hot Pepper Ghost review will take into account its price tag.

The phone is responsive although you may encounter noticeable delays during transitions. This device runs simple apps well and loads new apps quite fast, depending on the availability of your RAM.

The performance is inconsistent, especially when running a demanding task. The phone sometimes froze up and we were forced to hard reboot it. Additionally, scrolling up and down applications are not that smooth.

The multitasking experience on this phone is acceptable although some heavy applications kept closing in the background. We are not sure if it is because of the software. 4GB of RAM on a phone should be more than enough.

Considering its entry-level processor, the gaming experience is abysmal. The phone could barely run games such as Asphalt 8 and PUBG. Both games crashed several times.

Despite its flaws, this phone runs the stock Android Pie quite well. The interface looks clean and neat unlike phones with modified OS. However, the software is outdated as phones nowadays mostly ship with the latest Android 10.

We are also not sure if the manufacturer and carriers plan to provide an update in the future. In short, this phone may not be for those who do not intend to sell it in such a short time.

The Hot Pepper Ghost sports a fingerprint scanner on the back. It works quite fast and accurately. The performance is almost comparable to more expensive phones.

The placement is perfect and you can reach it with one hand, depending on the size of your hand.

Sadly, the phone does not support face unlock. Some people find face unlock very convenient even though it is less secure than pattern and fingerprint unlock.

Luckily, the phone is decent for entertainment purposes. You can play YouTube videos smoothly. The speaker on this phone sounds good for a budget phone although it could do some improvements.

You can choose to plug in your earphone to the 3.5mm jack, which is located on the top. The sound quality depends on your earphone but we were satisfied with it.

Hot Pepper Ghost Connectivity

This phone has 4G connectivity and the speed may vary, depending on your carrier, weather and location. The Hot Pepper Ghost is available unlocked so that means it can work on all US carriers. The phone also supports various LTE bands.

The mic quality on this phone, however, is disappointing. There were a lot of noises during a call and there does not seem to be an active noise cancelling feature.

This phone packs Bluetooth 5.0 and supports WiFi. Similar to other phones at this price range, the Hot Pepper Ghost does not support NFC.

Hot Pepper Ghost Battery

This device has a 3,850 mAh battery, which is normal for an Android phone these days regardless of the price. In theory, this phone could last a day although it all depends on your usage pattern, screen brightness and other variables.

You can save more power by dimming the brightness, force closing unnecessary apps and turning off the mobile data.

The battery is non-removable so you have to use special tools or ask the nearest service center if you run into battery-related problems.

The phone also does not support wireless charging, which is understandable because this feature usually can only be found on higher-end phones.

Is the Hot Pepper Ghost a Good Phone?

We have to be honest, for a $149 phone, this Hot Pepper Ghost review finds that this phone barely manages to impress us. While we understand that this is a budget phone, there are other brands which released better phones.

This phone underperforms and struggles to load apps quickly. It cannot run newer games properly and often lags in between apps.

The cameras produce oversaturated photos and blurry videos. The build quality is disappointing too and the thick bezels look dull as well as outdated. If you do not mind with all the cons, you can probably buy this phone just for the basic features.

Hot Pepper Ghost Pros

  • Cheap
  • Supports all carriers
  • Multiple LTE bands
  • Large display

Hot Pepper Ghost Cons

  • Disappointing cameras
  • Slow processor
  • Dull design and display
  • Poor build quality