Kata F1s Review - Plenty Of Fish In The Sea!

Currently, there is a myriad of offerings presently available in the crowded Android space that it gets more difficult to choose what to buy as time progresses. And with that said, manufacturers would more than likely equip their smartphones with unique feature sets to edge out the competition, and sometimes it has something to do with huge price drops so to speak.
Kata F1s Review - Plenty Of Fish In The Sea!
Kata F1s review

Kata, a United States brand that has been steadily working its way in the local scene, believes that there is more room for an entry-level smartphone even in this day and age. Don't get us wrong, even in these parts, competition is still as cutthroat as it gets even without the lofty price tags. This is where their F1s comes in - a budget quad-core smartphone that comes with an edgy design, a handy form factor, and the company's own cloud service to set itself apart from other local manufacturers.

Kata F1s Specs

Display: 4.5 Inch qHD 960 x 540 resolution
CPU: 1.3 GHz MT6582M quad core processor
GPU: Mali 400
RAM: 1 GB
ROM: 8 GB ROM expandable via micro SD card slot
Back Camera: 8 MP w/ LED flash
Selfie Camera: 5 MP
Battery: 1,550 mAh Li Pol
OS: Android 4.4 Kitkat
Connectivity: WiFi, 3G, Bluetooth, GPS, dual SIM
Price: 3,699 Pesos

Unboxing / Accessories

The Kata F1s arrives in quite a compact box - its packaging is basically straightforward from its design to presentation of details. The F1s that’s printed upfront is actually the same size of the handset itself, giving you at least an idea of its footprint.
Kata F1s Review - Plenty Of Fish In The Sea!
Kata F1s inclusions

Once you cut open the hard hard plastic wrapping and take out the cover, you’ll be greeted with the Kata F1 itself. Take it out and the standard inclusions such as a wall charger, a microUSB cable, headset, as well as a manual are in place.
Kata F1s Review - Plenty Of Fish In The Sea!
Kata F1s bundle

Both the standard accessories however would raise a couple of eyebrows with their cheaply made plastic material. Both just feel flimsy that you’ll feel cautious of using it - it looks like it won’t survive the arduous stress of your travels inside your bag or pockets. Furthermore, the bundled cable is only for charging; we had to use another microUSB cable to transfer our files. Although, the headset, despite its build quality, can produce at least standard music quality.

Build Quality / Design

Kata F1s Review - Plenty Of Fish In The Sea!
Kata F1s build quality

The Kata F1s is a solidly built smartphone through and through. Its back cover comes with a textured pattern, giving you a firm grip so it wouldn’t slip so easy from your hand. Furthermore, it’s quite compact that it provides a nice feel when you hold it. To put it simply, build quality is one the most prominent features of the F1s.

The design language of the F1s follows its form factor and build quality - its back panel is shaped with a slight curve, and the pattern of the textured surface also graced its presence underneath the layer of the front glass. We’re digging its design here - it’s really a pleasure to hold.

Display Quality

Kata F1s Review - Plenty Of Fish In The Sea!
The display of Kata F1s

The F1s features a 4.5 inch qHD display. Despite its resolution, images appear sharp all thanks to its smaller panel. Also, colors appear rich and viewing angles are definitely up to par. However, It’s somewhat a tad narrow that it’s difficult to type with it - you’ll get typos more often than not (so go Swype or install Google’s Keyboard). A 4.5 incher really isn’t the way to go nowadays, especially if you have bigger hands.


Audio Quality

Audio performance isn't too shabby as well. It's 8 ohm speakers aren't as loud as Lenovo's smartphones with speakers powered by Dolby Atmos, but it gets the job done whenever you're watching YouTube videos or listening to your playlists at home. You won't achieve grander results on an open space however, and it's best you settle with another headset if possible. You can call it useable, but its build quality suggests that it's not going to last you a mile. Call quality bodes the same - it's adequate at best, but you don't have to crank out the volume or shout so the other party can hear you.

Battery

Kata F1s Review - Plenty Of Fish In The Sea!
Kata F1s battery test

1,550mAh battery on a smartphone today would seem inadequate, especially for one with a quad-core chipset. However, the F1s was able to pull off at least a day of mixed to regular usage, and about 3.5 hours of extensive use. We're pleased by the results, taking the battery rating in consideration of course. Browsing the web, a little bit of gaming, and making some calls can be all done within a day, but you'll have to be careful when running some performance-heavy apps. Geekbench's battery test also yielded a close 3:53-hour endurance rating, and we have no reason to go against that.

Camera

The Kata F1s' primary 8MP camera is, to say the least, mediocre. Images look somewhat dull, color balance is thrown off, and it's difficult to grasp details. Honestly, you'll get better results with the 5MP front-facing shooter. It captures details at the same quality, if not better, than its primary camera that you just want to resort to selfies whenever you want to capture the scenery. This is an area that Kata should be working on.


Samples shots

Kata F1s Review - Plenty Of Fish In The Sea!
Environmental daylight shot
Kata F1s Review - Plenty Of Fish In The Sea!
Focus test
Kata F1s Review - Plenty Of Fish In The Sea!
Dim light photo
Kata F1s Review - Plenty Of Fish In The Sea!
Selfie sample

Performance

Let’s get this out of the way first - the Kata F1s came out about a year ago, and back then it belonged to the entry-level spectrum. What can you expect from it? Well, the F1s is powered by MediaTek’s MT6582M chipset with a 1.3GHz quad-core Cortex-A7 CPU and Mali-400 GPU. It's a familiar setup shared by the likes of other smartphones in the same price-range.
Kata F1s Review - Plenty Of Fish In The Sea!
Kata F1s UI

Software and User Interface - Kata didn't do much tweaking over the stock Android OS save for the boot animation and a couple of additional apps such as Facebook, Fish Market, KataCloud, Evernote, WPS Office, Owtel 3G, WipeOut and MX Player. Oh, and hotspot also has its separate app for your convenience.
Kata F1s Review - Plenty Of Fish In The Sea!
Kata apps

Fish Market, Kata’s storefront of apps, isn’t exactly what you’d call well-stocked, and installing from it would get you a parse error message. Owtel 3G, according to my research, is an American telecom company, so it leaves us the question of what it is doing here.

KataCloud however is a different story - it gives you 10GB of free cloud storage, and you can stream directly from it. Just upload your music tracks, video clips, photos and other files, and they will be centralized in one place. WipeOut, on the other hand is a one-click memory cleaner app.

Since we’re still talking about KitKat, the F1s still uses the dated onboard apps for music and calendar. You can just download the new ones from the Play Store, but then again, that would take time and bandwidth.

As far as gaming goes - crowd favorites Candy Crush, Clash of Clans, Plants VS Zombies and other games that fall into the category run without a hitch, and some graphic-intense games such as Gameloft's Modern Combat: Blackout and Square Enix's Chaos Rings III were also playable. However, we did encounter a roadblock with NBA 2k16 - it just wouldn't work.

Benchmarks

Kata F1s Review - Plenty Of Fish In The Sea!
Antutu score and multi touch test
Kata F1s Review - Plenty Of Fish In The Sea!
Geek bench and quadrant score
Kata F1s Review - Plenty Of Fish In The Sea!
GPU Bench score

Pros: Edgy, beautiful form factor and build, compact design, bundled software (only for Evernote, KataCloud and WipeOut), sharp display despite its qHD resolution

Cons: Underperformer primary camera, both the headset and microUSB cable feel cheap and flimsy, lack of Google apps

Verdict

As mentioned, the Kata F1s has been around for over a year now. This could be a double-edged sword to put it into perspective - you'll be left behind by the competition as most handsets today go with octa-core chipsets and bigger display, but in light of this you'll be able to get it at a much cheaper price, 3,699 Pesos to be exact. Can it warrant a purchase? If you're looking for a capable smartphone for social media, internet and gaming, as well as a neat package of software and superb form factor without breaking the bank, the Kata F1 can give you your money's worth. Otherwise, there's just plenty of fish in the sea if you prefer bigger screens, better cameras and more extensive batteries.

GIZ Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

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