Kata has been missing in the scene of LTE handsets until they officially announced the M2L last December, their very first handset with that level of internet connectivity. As a result, it was able to create a lot of noise especially with the fans of this brand as they phone is also designed aesthetically pleasing to the eyes.
|The beautiful Kata M2L|
Recently, we were quite fortunate to have some time with it, thanks to Mark Marcelo of Filipino Tech Addict for letting me borrow his unit.
Moving forward with this review, can this phone deliver the performance we were expecting from this new Kata phone? Let's all find out now!
Kata M2L Specs
Display: 5.5 Inch Super HD 1280 x 720 resolution w/ Gorilla Glass protection
CPU: 1.3 GHz 64 Bit MT6735P quad core processor
GPU: Mali T720
RAM: 1 GB
ROM: 16 GB
Back Camera: 13 MP Sony sensor w/ AF and LED flash
Selfie Camera: 5 MP
Battery: 3,000 mAh
OS: Android 5.1 Lollipop
Connectivity: WiFi, 3G, LTE, Bluetooth, dual SIM (regular and micro)
Others: Colors: white, dark grey
Dimensions: 7.9 mm
Price: 6,999 Pesos
Unboxing / Accessories
The Kata M2L comes in clean minimalist looking box that's easy to open and goes with the beautiful image of the phone to excite you further.
Upon opening the package and checking what's inside the package, we found out that it goes with the standard inclusions we normally see. You'll get the wall charger / adapter rated at 1A, a rare flat cable that feels quite durable enough and a decent sounding in ear monitors with flat cables and mic.
Note: I would have liked it better if Kata included even just a silicon protective case to prevent dents and damages when dropped.
Build Quality / Design
|View at the back of the device (there's a small microphone hole near the jack and camera)|
In terms of build quality, there's no question, the Kata M2L is a very well made piece of machine. The materials used were pretty standard, but feels more refined as it looks and feels more premium than the average. It goes with a combination of aluminum frame on the side, glossy with some sort of textured coating at the back and unknown version of Gorilla Glass protection to protected the 2.5D glass screen from small damages.
|3.5 mm jack and USB charging port on top|
|Speakers and the second mic visible below|
|Power button located at the right side|
|The volume rocker on the left part|
Kata keeps their slim Apple inspired design tradition with the M2L and as a result we get a smartphone that's easy on the eyes that looks great as a whole. I personally love the well machined metal frames on the side that's smooth yet can provide good grip, the beautiful 2.5D curved arc screen that makes this handset look like a more expensive phone and the minimalist white that secures cleanliness in the appearance of the device. Aside from that even if the phone is a bit big,
The buttons and ports however, has some hit and miss on its placement. It's good that the 3.5 mm jack is on top together with the first microphone on the upper back side, the speaker grills has a better location below together with the second microphone and the slightly protruding camera with flash is found at the back. However, I find it a bit of an old school odd choice to place the volume rocker on the left side of the phone and separate it with the power button on the right. It would have been ergonomically better (at least for me) if those buttons is just found on one side of the phone, right in particular. LED notification is also nowhere to be found with this phone.
As a whole, the fact remains the same, the M2L is one of the best looking handsets we saw under the 7K range.
|The display of the phone|
The Kata M2L uses a 5.5 inch screen with HD resolution at 1280 x 720 pixels. While it may not be as gorgeous compared with other handsets that rocks that Full HD Panel. Kata managed to make it look better than the usual HD devices we saw, this phone has accurate and well balanced colors with good display angles.
This device would be pleasing to use as well in standard viewing of pictures and videos. The other thing that I like with its display is the adaptive display works perfectly fine and its bright enough to be usable even under direct sunlight.
|Multi touch test and display options screenshot|
The M2L also has 3 points of multi touch which is generally better than 2, but I would have liked it better if its at least at 5. On a more positive tone, its good to see that it has that Miravision tech that provides better viewing experience..
The 2.5D curved arc screen with OGS panel and slim bezels has little help with it that makes us like the display of this phone more in general.
In terms of speaker quality, the Kata M2L delivered better than expected performance. The good placement below instead at the back has something to do with that as it was able to provide non-congested tunes and louder than usual tunes. Normally, even at just 50% the loudness is already decent enough to let me enjoy what I'm watching in a small quiet enclosed room. While there's still some sort of common distortion at above the 80% mark, the Kata M2L has a pretty better than expect clear speaker quality.
Moving to the sound output via headphones, the Kata M2L reminds me of other newer gen MediaTek powered devices. It was able to deliver flat tunes that can satisfy most which is easy to tune as well. The highs might be lacking, but the mids were clear and the can deliver well extended lows when needed. While there's nothing really exceptional with its output, the good thing here is it sounds "okay" compared with bad sounding phones.
Note 1: Driving power is pretty standard, the loudness is satisfying at the 60-80% mark
Note 2: Calls and video recordings were great with this unit as its using a good
|Impressive battery life of Kata M2L|
Based on our test, the Kata M2L fared well in terms of battery life. Passing above the 4 hour mark is impressive as it as able to give me more than 5 hours and 30 minutes of juice under super heavy usage.
Under normal usage, the battery life is capable enough to help last all though out the day on a single charge. That's with occasional calls, social media, LTE, listening to music and taking photos. To be exact, I was able to squeeze 14 hours.
The M2L boast a good 13 MP Sony sensor at the back with LED and 5 MP sensor in front that's pretty standard at this price point.
Moving to the quality of the 13 MP Sony sensor used in this phone is a good one. The photos I took isn't saturated at all with pretty nice white balance. It's also highly detailed that's acceptable enough for a mobile phone. I also liked that it can cope acceptably even with hard to deal with type of lighting and the shutter speed is pretty fast. However, focus time takes me at least 2 seconds which is a bit slower than I'm used to with other devices.
Though usable under good lighting, the 5 MP front camera isn't that good in taking photos. I find it way too grainy, lacking in details and shaky to use especially if you're in challenging light conditions.
Note 1: The rear camera of the M2L is also pretty decent in taking videos as it isn't as shaky as I expected. It also focuses nicely even while moving.
Note 2: The M2L used the stock Android camera app
|Close up shot showing rich colors and great sharpness even the blur at the back|
|Shows impressive details and white balance|
|HDR vs normal shot|
|Another view on how detailed the camera can get (100% cropped image on the right side)|
|The flash tends to be overly bright that ovexpose the subject when taken too near. This is good for shots with more distance in the dark|
|Selfie camera outdoors|
|Antutu and Geekbench result|
The phone is using a familiar setup found with most entry level LTE devices. It houses the efficient 1.3 GHz MT6735P quad core processor at 64 Bit, the midrange Mali T720 GPU that can handle most modern games acceptably and 1 GB RAM.
While the processing speed and GPU is pretty standard, I find the 1 GB RAM lacking nowadays especially with the growing RAM requirements of modern apps. It's still pretty good performing with around 5-7 apps opened at the same time, but you'll feel the struggle a bit in moving from one app to another.
|Kata M2L UI|
The software on the other hand is clean and visually effective. It's also very easy to use and understand that's also loaded with useful apps such as the WipeOut that cleans your processes. It also has the TV folder where you can check out video on demand apps such as Netflix and etc. There are just several app crashes that we noticed even and bugs such as the in accurate viewing of gallery after taking photos.
In general, the phone performs decently, while I would like this one better if the RAM is at least as 2 GB as that's a standard with similarly priced handsets. Hope that Kata can improve on this on their next releases.
Note: As per Mark Marcelo of FTA, Kata will be seeding OTA updates soon to fix the minor bugs and stability issues we encountered.
|Kata M2L Software update for optimization|
Pros - Good looking design, highly detailed rear camera, nice call quality and microphone, beautiful display
Cons - No LED notification, shaky front camera, 1 GB RAM only, 3 points of multi touch only, minor bugs and app crashes
It's great to see that Kata finally has their own LTE capable device. I'll recommend this to those who value style and looks without compromising that much in terms of performance and connectivity. There's still a lot of room for improvement though.
GIZ Rating: 3.75/5 Stars