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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Kata i3L Review


After using the i3L for a little over a week, I can finally write my full review. I also have the M2L with me so I can’t help but compare the two. As I mentioned in the preview, I’m partial to the i3L because of its size. Anyway, let’s list down the specs one more time and proceed with the full review.

Specs:

- MT6735 1.3Ghz Quad-Core processor

- Mali-T720 GPU

- 1GB RAM

- 16GB Internal storage with Micro SD slot

- 5 inch HD IPS 1280x720 display

- 13MP + 8MP camera

- Dual SIM and LTE

- 2100mAh removable battery

- Andoid 5.1

- Pre-order price of Php 6,599 which includes a screen 

protector, flip case and 16GB OTG drive

Design and features

As you can already tell I really like the design of the i3L. It’s very simple but the size and minimal weight make it really nice to hold and use with one hand. Everything is within thumb’s reach which is just the way I like it. Personally, the sweet spot for me are phones with a really thin bezel and a screen size of 5-5.2 inches. The screen was a nice surprise despite having a resolution of just 1280x720, it was very bright with good viewing angles. Kudos to Kata for spending a little more on a nice screen. The only buttons you have are for the volume and power. Although I found them too close to each other. As a result, I would accidentally press the power/lock when I wanted to use the volume and vice versa. Kata decided to put their own Android skin which removes the app drawer so everything is on the home screen, very similar to iOS. Of course, the beauty of Android is that you can always just install a different launcher if you want. It’s also pre-loaded with the usual suite of Kata apps like KataCloud, WipeOut, Mega VPN, Netflix, FOX, PBS, Discovery, etc. Just like their T4, you can use the VPN to access US only content. The plastic back can be removed which gives you access to the 2 SIM slots both capable of LTE, a Micro SD slot and a removable battery (Yay!). 








 Performance

Navigating around the device was very fluid. At first, I was worried that the 1GB of RAM would hamper the device but in actual use everything was nice and smooth. I guess the combination of the MT6735 processor and Android 5.1 Lollipop seems to work well for this device. Games like Traffic Rider, Shadow Strike took some time to load but once loaded were very playable. Less demanding games like Swing and Grabtron had no problems at all. The camera was also better than I expected. In fact, photo quality seems better than the more expensive i4. Focusing was pretty fast with outdoor and macro shots producing very sharp and clear photos. Low light was a bit grainy but that’s to be expected at this price range. But overall more than you’ll need for those Facebook or Instragram posts. One of the main selling point for this phone is that it supports LTE. I was able to test it using Globe and so far 4G signal was pretty good. Unfortunately, my Smart SIM only supports 3G but I was able to get good 3G signal as well. Battery life was also pretty good. It lasted the whole day for basic calls and text and WiFi but once I used mobile data the battery really dropped. But that’s pretty common even on the high end phones. I have to mention that my unit was a demo and it had a “low capacity” sticker (not sure what that means) on the battery so your performance may vary. As usual I will post some sample photos and benchmarks so you can judge for yourself.




















Verdict

There were a lot of pleasant surprises with the i3L. Despite having only a Quad-Core processor and 1GB of RAM, the user experience was still very good. I can’t help but imagine how much better it would have been if Kata installed 2GB of RAM. Then again, I guess more power hungry users will spend the extra money to get an Octa-Core processor and 2GB of RAM. With that said, most users will find the i3L quite capable, with the nice screen and LTE. You would be just as pleasantly surprised as I was.

The Good:

Screen Quality
Android 5.1
LTE
Removable Battery
Size 

The Bad:

1GB RAM

Volume and power button placement

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Kata i3L Preview


Kata recently launched their M2L last month and when I went to their office to pick-up my review unit I was lucky enough that they had an extra i3L demo unit, so I used my Jedi mind trick to snag one. Since I'm partial to smaller phones, I decided to review the i3L first. Here are the specs.

Specs:

- MT6735 1.3Ghz Quad-Core processor
- Mali-T720 GPU
- 1GB RAM
- 16GB Internal storage with Micro SD slot
- 5 inch HD IPS 1280x720 display
- 13MP + 8MP camera
- Dual SIM and LTE
- 2100mAh removable battery
- Andoid 5.1

- Pre-order price of Php 6,599 which includes a screen protector, flip case and 16GB OTG drive

Initial impressions of the phone is pretty good. I like the size as it feels really nice using it with just one hand. It is suprisingly very thin and light. Navigating around the device was very fluid. The screen is nice and bright with good viewing angles even in bright sunlight. The usual Kata pre- loaded apps are included but the real bonus here are the Dual-SIM slots with LTE and the removable battery. I'll try to post a full review by next week. In the meantime, here are some product photos.

Check out https://www.facebook.com/katadigitalcom/






Dual SIM slots with LTE, Micro SD and removable battery...Yey!









Thursday, January 7, 2016

Sony SRS X-11 Review



Not again! But I bought another Bluetooth speaker! Okay, I know I have reviewed a lot of Bluetooth speakers in the past and I have more than enough for my needs. So why did I buy another one? Well, simply because it looked and sounded nice, plus it was on sale for a very good price. Let’s see if this was a good buy.

Specs:

Speaker size - Approx. 45 mm diameter x 1OUTPUT 
Power 10W
Battery life 12 hours
Micro USB terminal, Stereo mini-jack input
NFC
Speakerphone
Dual passive radiators
Ability to pair with another X-11
Price: Php 4,999 at Sony Philippines
Bought it on sale in Sydney for equivalent Php 1,700.00
Amazon: USD $ 68 or about Php 3,200.00

Design and Features

Sony has gone with a very simplistic cube design and personally I really like it. It’s all plastic but the build quality is very good. It is also very small and portable so if your priority is size, this one should definitely be on your short list. Despite its small size, they managed to cram almost all the important features in a modern Bluetooth speaker. That includes NFC, Speaker phone, the ability to pair to X-11s, and a pretty long 12-hour battery life. I’ve seen Php 10,000.00 speakers that don’t even have NFC and speakerphone functions.



Size comparison with my other Bluetooth speakers


Performance and Verdict

First of all, before we talk about sound quality, I have to mention that this is very subjective so what may sound good to me, may not to be the same to you. With that said, the X-11 plays very loud for its size, probably the loudest in its size class. However, I did find the sound a bit flat. While it does put out some amount of base, the mids and highs are a bit lacking. Using the equalizer setting on your phone helps improve the sound quality a lot. I really like that you can use NFC to easily pair your phone. The speaker phone functionality is also a nice bonus. While I was not able to test the claimed 12-hour battery life, I did get about 8 hours use with no signs of the battery giving a low power warning. 

While there are certainly better sounding Bluetooth speakers, I don’t think you’ll find something as loud with a 12-hour battery life for the size. In other words, if your priority is getting the smallest, loudest and longest battery Bluetooth speaker, the X-11 is probably at the top of its class. Just try to get it at a good price.

The Good:

Price (when on sale)
Size
NFC
Speaker phone function
Loud 10W speaker
Long battery life

The Bad:

Sound is a bit flat

No Included case