Kata i3L Review - Refinement Is Here!
Kata i3L Specs
Build Quality / Design
|A view at the back showing the camera, single LED flash and speakers below|
Kata gave me an impression that this i3L still a sturdy product even on a budget. The metallic like frame feels like it won't bend that easily unless you force it, the plastic back cover has good enough thickness that doesn't feel brittle at all and the glass panel isn't prone to scratches even if I'm not using a screen protector.
|The battery is removable|
In terms of design, the Kata i3L looks unique compared to other smartphones. It has that good looking metallic arc on the upper back of the phone and has an ergonomic semi-rounded corners with no sharp edges at all with sexy looking enough slimness.
|Top view showing the 3.5 mm jack and micro USB charging port|
|There's a single microphone for calls and recording below|
|Power button and volume rocker could be located at right|
We also noticed that it looks smaller compared with other 5 inch phone of the past due to its slimmer screen bezels. It makes one handed operation more attainable compared with bigger phones. Another thing that I like here is it doesn't carry much heft adding comfort to its hold.
We also noticed that there's some sort of texture in the power button for you to differentiate it easily with the volume rocker on top of it. To nitpick, what I didn't like here is its "at the back" placement of the speakers that often lessens clarity of the sound when placed on a flat surface.
Anyway, while Kata's M2L is still the better built product, it's great that they didn't cut a lot corners with the i3L.
|The bezels looks a lot slimmer compared to the older Kata phones of the past like the F1s|
One of the strongest points of this device is it's beautiful 5 inch HD screen. Even without using a full HD type of display, Kata managed to impress us with the way they presented the screen of this handset.
It has non-saturated colors, pretty nice details and great viewing angles. Kata also managed to ensure that the display of this can go really bright that makes sit readable even under direct sunlight. If they can improve on one thing here, I would have liked it better the brightness level can go lower than its lowest point right now to make it more pleasant to the eyes at night.
|5 points of multitouch|
Lastly, it has a 5 points of multitouch to give you the basic and good touch experience, has pretty accurate adaptive brightness options and Miravision tech that optimized picture quality.
Audio QualityI never expected a lot from the speaker quality of this device, fortunately, it did an okay job mostly. It was somehow acceptably loud and hearable from 10 meters away. It could be better in terms of clarity, separation of details and have less distortion, but this should be good enough for most casual users.
Moving forward with its audio output though headphones, it was a better experience. It sounds very well balanced and has great clarity especially in the mids (vocals) region. There's also some surprising extension in the highs that will let you enjoy treble happy tracks better. The bass region is also well covered, but there are times that it isn't cable in making the sub-bass parts shine.
It's just a little quieter than higher end devices with better DACs, but it's decent enough to drive low impedance headphones and earphones properly. Just don't put a sensitive type of headphone here and you're good to go.
Lastly, even by just using a singe microphone, we noticed that our audio recording were actually very decent. Of course there will be noise and distortion, but at least it was clear enough not to be annoying to the ears.
In terms of battery, the Kata i3L uses a 2,100 mAh of capacity. It's good enough for casual usage that can give you almost 7 hours of daily work battery life. Under heavy usage while using LTE connectivity, playing games and opening a lot of apps drains the battery at a much faster rate with an average of 3 - 4 hours of usage.
Charging time is a bit inconsistent too as there are times that I was able to charge it from 0 to 100% in 2 hours time, but there are occasions that it took me as long as 2 hours and 30 mins time. That's when I was using the stock 1A charger and cables.
Anyway, the battery life of this is pretty acceptable, but should be better especially in this age that we use data a lot that drains battery fast.
Note: Do not install an FB app as it eats up you battery very fast. Also close the apps that you're not using from time to time to maximize it better.
CameraThe other highlight of the Kata i3L is its 13 MP rear camera made by Sony. In front there's also a 5 MP camera for your selfies and video calls. It comes with a stock Android looking camera app with basic functions such as HDR, panorama and etc. It's fairly easy to use that should make you familiar with it in an instant.
While we don't know the specific Sony sensor model that Kata used here, the results were very acceptable and even greatly performed for a budget device at times. It presents a well balanced tone that's very easy on the eyes, has acceptable sharpness and doesn't look dull at all. Grains aren't that visible as well unless you zoom it by at least 200% which is a good sign. There are just some times where you'll get a shot with washed out colors, but it's nothing that serious.
Going to the weaknesses of its rear camera, the camera software lags in lowlight, struggles at 1 inch close macro shots and has very slow HDR capture speed. Focus speed is also a bit slow at times.
In front, the selfie camera takes acceptable well colored photos in good lighting even if it has visible grains. In low light and other challenging conditions it struggles a lot. It takes view-able photos at best.
There rear camera can also record 1080p videos in wide angle form, but expect it to be a little shaky. Fortunately, it focuses nicely on moving objects that made videos taken from it still acceptable. In front I was quite disappointed with the quality as it simply struggles in lighting, colors and performance most of the time.
Rear camera samples
|Close to the actual colors that time, it's just a little duller, but very good in details|
This was also taken while we are moving, pretty impressive
|Check out the details here|
Captured in normal mode
|Macro sample farther than 1 inch range|
|Normal photo on the left and HDR at right|
It brings more details and makes the colors pop out a little
|Still acceptable photos even with dim lighting|
|I actually thought that this is on a night mode shot at first|
(Even if it doesn't have that function)
|Here's a sample shot of using flash from afar|
Actually, I'm impressed with the quality of the flash as it doesn't overexpose or change the color of your subject
Selfie camera samples
|Antutu and geekbench scores|
In terms of performance, it was a decent Android experience. It uses the newer 64 Bit MT6735 quad core processor by MediaTek clocked at 1.3 GHz, Mali T720 GPU and has 1 GB of RAM.
As a result, running basic Android task is flawlessly smooth most of the time. Some graphics intensive games are also playable as long as it doesn't need 2 GB of RAM and you're not on max settings mostly.
If I have any issue here, it's the RAM. Having 1 GB of RAM nowadays will make you somewhat limited. Back in 2014, it's the standard, but now more and more apps are getting heavier and heavier in resources. At best I can only open 5 - 7 apps all the the same time, but you'll feel that it isn't as snappy as before.
|Kata's own skin with now app drawer|
Fortunately, Kata improved on the i3L coming from the higher end Kata M2L. Gone are the random app crashes that we experienced and it feels much smoother / refined as a whole. Anyway, just like most Kata devices, it's pre-loaded with few bloats and some important apps such as the WipeOut and multimedia utilities for your personal entertainment.
In totality, the experience was still a step-up coming from the M2L. There's still room for improvement, but at least they're heading the right track.
Note: I missed some smart gestures like double tap to wake and etc. here.
Pros - Stylish design, easy on the hands, good display, lte capable, good GPU, improved UI stability
Cons - Still at 1 GB RAM, battery life could be better, selfie doesn't have wide angle lens
VerdictThe Kata i3L boast better experience against most of the older Kata phones. The screen looks great, the camera is good in decent lighting and there has LTE connectivity. On top of it, Kata also did a good job in refining the UI of this phone to contemplate its overall performance.
GIZ Rating: 3.5/5 Stars (Regular SRP) 4.25/5 Stars (Sale Price)