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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Kata i4 Review


Kata has been on a roll lately with their new products like the Katabox and T4 tablet. The i4 is an oldie but goodie having been announced at the beginning of this year and you can get it for a lot cheaper now. Let’s review the i4 and see if it still has the goods.

Specs:

- 5″ HD IPS display (720 x 1280 resolution, 294ppi)
- 1.7GHz MediaTek MT6592 octa-core processor
- 2GB RAM
- Mali 450 GPU
- 32GB internal storage
- 16mp rear-facing autofocus camera
- 8mp front camera
- 3.75G/HSPA+
- WiFi b/g/n
- Bluetooth 4.0
- GPS with A-GPS
- Yamaha loudspeakers
- 2,300mAh battery
- Android 4.4 KitKat

Price Php 7,499.00 from Lazada.com

Design:

The last Kata phone I reviewed was the i3 and I remember being impressed with it. The i4 is no different.  In fact, it really has a premium look. Its body is metal with only the back being made of plastic. It is quite heavy for a phone but the tradeoff is that it feels very solid in the hand. Unfortunately, with the nice design comes some compromises. There is no expandable Micro SD storage, no removable battery and it only has a single SIM slot with an iPhone like micro SIM tray. To make up for that, Kata included a generous 32GB onboard memory and OTG support.  The screen, while not full HD is still impressive with very good viewing angles.






Performance:

I’m really glad Kata decided to put an Octa-core chip and paired it with 2GB of RAM. The performance of this device is very fast. Navigating is very fluid and handles multi-tasking between apps very well. Needless to say game performance is also very good. I’ll post some benchmarks and screen shots for you to see. The battery performance was a lot better than I expected. I was able to get through a whole day with about 3 hours on 3G and the rest on WiFi with still plenty power to spare. Naturally, your mileage may vary if you play lots of games and keep 3G on. As for the camera, it’s quite good although basing on the specs, I was hoping for better quality and I found the autofocus to be a bit slow. Still, the average person will be happy with it. The software is still on Kitkat with not much alteration from stock Android and just your usual Kata pre-installed apps. As a bonus, the speakers are loud and clear with not much distortion even at high volume.















Verdict:

When this phone was launched it was almost 10T pesos. But now at 7,499 it is still quite a good buy. Do I wish it had a micro SD slot? Yes. But the 32GB should be more than enough for the average person. Do I wish it had LTE? Yes, but to be honest, HSPA+ is still pretty fast and I had no problems doing my work on this phone. Perhaps the next model will have LTE. The draw of this phone is its look and build quality. You won’t be ashamed to show this off and no one will think you have a budget phone.

The Good:

- Looks and build quality
- Speedy performance
- Screen quality

The bad:

- No micro SD

- Single SIM

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Kata T4 Review



The Kata T4 has been finally launched locally and it seems that Kata has decided to make its pricing very aggressive which is very good for us consumers. Like I mentioned in my unboxing and initial review, I was quite impressed with this mini tablet. My only real concern was the price and it I believe that Kata has done their pricing homework. Let’s list down the specs again and see if my final review keeps up to my initial impression.

Kata T4 Specs:

- Resolution: 1024 x 768 IPS
- 1.3 Ghz Quad Core MTK MT8382 CPU
- 1GB RAM
- 8 GB Internal Memory
- Expandable up to 32GB
- Dual Camera
- 8.0 MP Back Camera
- 5.0 MP Front Camera
- Battery: 3000 mAh
- Bluetooth 4.0
- OTG Support

Price: Php 5,999.00 (with free Flip cover case and screen protector for a limited time)

Design

There is really no getting away from it but the design is almost identical to that mini fruity tablet from Cupertino. At least we can all agree that design-wise, it looks pretty nice. In fact, they are so similar that almost any case designed for that mini tablet will fit the T4. With only access to the SIM and Micro SD cards being covered, but since you hardly use those slots, it’s really not a big deal. The build quality is pretty good considering the plastic metallic like body, but at this price you can’t really complain. Check out the photos below for more details on the case and Sim card access slots.



Dual SIM slots and Micro SD

Kata T4 vs iPad Mini

Kata T4 using iPad Mini case

Back of T4 using iPad mini case

Performance

First of all, let’s get realistic for a moment. If you read the specs you will know that is a budget tablet. However, with that said, it does admirably well as an everyday dual-purpose device. The screen is not Full HD but thankfully to make up for that, Kata put a nice and bright IPS screen with good viewing angles. It may also not have the fastest processor but navigating around the device is very fluid and most games I played with worked just fine. Even more demanding games like Dead Trigger, Experiment Z, Zombie Highway (notice the Zombie theme) and Plane Simulator were all very playable. You might have to wait a bit for the games to load but overall, not bad. I’ll post some screen shots of game play and benchmarks below. The T4 is still running Android Kitkat 4.4.2 and while I would have liked to have seen a new version of Android, the OS is pretty stable and with only the app drawer being modified to give you an iOS type of app layout. The camera is pretty average for a tablet. It won’t blow your socks off but it’s not that terrible and as long as you take photos in good lighting conditions, it’s good enough for posting on your favorite social media account. Again, I will post some sample photos below so that you can judge for yourself. The real icing on the cake here is the Dual SIM phone functionality of this tablet. It may seem awkward using it as a phone but in reality you get used to it and it really saves you from buying and carrying two devices. While it may not have LTE, it has 3G and you can choose which SIM slot uses data. The battery is 3000mAh which I thought was pretty small for a tablet but it lasted the whole day with still some juice left. Of course if you use 3G then expect battery life to take a hit.

Main camera


Dog selfie using front camera















Kata also pre-installed some software very similar to the Kata Box like Mega VPN, Netflix, CBS, FOX, Crackle, etc. which adds to the value and usefulness if you love to watch videos. You can check out my Kata Box review to know more about those apps.  

Verdict:

Android tablets maybe a dime a dozen nowadays, but there are only a few that have a nice design with Dual-SIM phone functionality at this price. Kata has done a good job with the T4 providing a good tablet experience without sacrificing too much in terms of specs and performance. Honestly, if you have a budget of Php6000, and you couldn’t decide between getting a phone or tablet, the T4 should be on the top of your list. Just make sure you have big pockets.

The Good:

-         Price
-         Dual-SIM phone functionality
-         Nice IPS screen
-         Free Case and Screen protector (limited offer)
-         Micro SD expansion

The Bad:

-         Higher resolution screen would have been nice
-         Only 8GB memory

-         Still running Android 4.4.2 Kitkat

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Kata T4 Unboxing



The last time I did a review for a Kata tablet was the FishTab 3, and that was more than two years ago. Last week, I was able to get a review unit of Kata's latest tablet, the T4. It looks very similar to the FishTab 3 and in the same way the very popular mini tablet from Cupertino. I remember knocking Kata for not including 3G in the FishTab 3. This time they did. In fact, you can use it as a Dual-SIM phone. So far, I'm pretty impressed with this mini tablet and assuming Kata can sell it at the right price, they just might have a winner on their hands. Keep an eye on Kata's Facebook page for availability and price. Come back in a few weeks for a full review.

Specs:

- Resolution: 1024 * 768 IPS
- 1.3 Ghz Quad Core MTK MT8382 CPU
- 1GB RAM
- 8 GB Internal Memory
- Expandable up to 32GB
- Dual Camera
- 8.0 MP Back Camera
- 5.0 MP Front Camera
- Battery: 3000 mAh
- Bluetooth 4.0
- OTG Support






In the box is the T4, charger, cable & Kata guide



Dual-SIM slots and Micro SD expansion



Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Silicon Power S60 240GB SSD Upgrade Kit Review


Is your old PC slowing down? Do you feel that your laptop is a slow as molasses? Maybe it’s time to upgrade that old spinning hard drive to a newer and faster SSD. If you’re afraid of the upgrade process then perhaps getting an upgrade kit is the way to go. I decided to upgrade my old 128GB SSD on my Asus laptop to the SP S60 240GB SSD. Once again, let’s see if I made the right decision and hopefully I’m able to share some pointers on the whole process.

Specs:

-    Clone, transfer and install. Immediate upgrade your notebook/desktop in 3 simple steps
-       Includes a SATA III Slim S60 SSD, rugged HDD enclosure, cloning software, screws, a screwdriver, 7mm to 9mm adapter
-        Slim type 7mm SSD, ideal for Ultra Slim Notebook Upgrade
-  Armor A30 rugged HDD enclosure for protection against shock, scratches and abrasions
-        3-year warranty
-        US$ 80 from Amazon

Installation

Since this is the second time I replaced the hard drive of my laptop, I had a fairly easy time opening up and replacing it. But before we get into that, the kit comes with an external case so that you can use your old disk as an external USB drive. However, if you want to clone your existing hard drive then you’ll need to install the new SSD in it first, connect it via USB and fire up the cloning software. The cloning software (NTI Echo 3) is part of the package but you’ll need to download and activate it. By the way, the license code for the cloning software is located in the manual, it’s small, hard to read and the codes are confusing (lots of zeros and letter O).

Everything went well up until I started the cloning process. I would always get an error at about 8%. I tried so many times that it took almost the whole day trying to troubleshoot the problem. I contacted Silicon Power’s tech support but by the time they responded to my inquiry, I had already downloaded a different free cloning software (Drive Clone Free) which worked right away. Finally I was able to use my new SSD.

Everything you need is in the box




My error message 


Performance and Conclusion

After going through the frustration of the cloning process, I finally had it installed and working. All my old files were cloned properly. Boot-up was fast. But since I already had an SSD I didn’t really notice much difference. Read/Write speeds were slower than advertised but still fast enough for my needs. There are a lot of comments on Amazon that says Silicon Power switched to a different chip manufacturer to save cost and that’s the reason for the slower speeds. But the average person won’t really notice. I’m still undecided if getting an upgrade is worth it, as I found out the hard way that there are cloning software that you can get for free. It is very easy to buy an external USB drive enclosure and I’m sure you have a screwdriver somewhere in your house.

The Good:

-        Price
-        Complete kit
-        External USB Enclosure
-        Tech support was helpful
-    3-Year warranty

The Bad:

-        Speed is slower than advertised (still fast enough for me)

-        Cloning software didn’t work