Kata V4 Review - The Super Affordable Phone To Beat?

Kata's V4 is a rare handset on a tight budget that was able to impress us in terms of build, style, and ergonomics previously. After testing it for more than 3 weeks, we finally confirmed if its good looks has great performance for the price. Here's our full review.
Kata V4 Review - The Super Affordable Phone To Beat?
Kata V4 review


Display Quality

Kata nice looking screen of V4
Kata nice looking screen of V4

The V4 is equipped with a small 4.5 inch IPS screen with FWVGA resolution of 854 x 480 pixels at 218 ppi. On paper, it isn't that impressive. In real life, the resolution is just fine for the screen size and price.

At 218 ppi, its acceptably sharp, but don't expect it to be crispy compared with most screens with qHD resolution. The color reproduction is also only decent and it doesn't have deep blacks.
Kata V4 uses a decent type of FWVGA screen.
However, Kata made sure that the type of FWVGA panel they placed here is a good one. There's minimal gap between the panel and the 2.5D glass, color reproduction has good warmth / punch, and its viewing angles is far from bad. Plus, it has an above average brightness level that's readable enough even under direct sunlight hit.

Another thing that I like here is it load with Miravision tech with picture color adjustment depending on your preference that includes: standard, vivid, and user mode settings. It also has a dyanmic contrast mode that makes your screen brighter but your blacks will suffer.
Only two points of touch
Only two points of touch
If it has one weakness, it'll be on using just a 2 point multitouch screen. Fortunately, it didn't greatly affected our typing and swiping experience as it's a lot better compared with older types of screens with just 2 points of touch.

Audio Quality

Speaker at the back
Speaker at the back (acceptable placement)

Given that this unit is using a loud type of 6 ohms speaker on paper at the back, I expected it to perform in a decent way. However, it isn't always the case. While it produces nice tunes up to 60% volume with clear mids, it sounded muffled and distorted at 70% and above. Its max volume is usable for alarms and phone notification though, but avoid using it for sound tripping.

Moving to its audio headphone out, it's expected that this handset won't perform in HiFi level and I'm correct. Expect to hear tinny lows with light punch that doesn't have enough sub-bass extension. Fortunately, it still produces clean mids and decent highs to my liking. Then its soundstage has above average airy feel that most will appreciate.

It also has aggressive driving power that makes my Flash Sound Pro IEM and Ekobuds Lifetones sound very loud. However, I suggest to use this for playing 16 bit FLAC files, MP3, and Spotify as it cant run huge 24 bit and above lossless files.

In terms of microphone quality, its single mic below is average for calls. Just expect noise as it doesn't have an extra noise cancelling mic. It's also not great to use for recordings.

Battery Life

Average score for phones with this setup
Average score for phones with this setup

The V4 uses 1,800 mAh of battery which is okay considering its small screen size of 4.5 inch with FWVGA resolution and just chipset. Based on our PC Mark battery test, it recorded 4 hours and 32 mins of screen time which is on the average on a phone with this type of specs.

On real life usage as a secondary phone for calls, SMS, occasional internet, and playing games, it can last for a whole day of work. When abused for gaming, social media, and multimedia it lasted a little under 4 hours of straight usage.

Overall, the battery life is far from stellar, but it would suffice normal users. We would like it to be better though.

Charging time is roughly around 2 hours or slightly more.

Camera

Main camera at the back
Main camera at the back

At just 2,699, its laudable to see a higher MP count on the Kata V4 compared to its competitors in the past. At the back, there's an 8 MP sensor with AF and LED at f/2.4 aperture. In front, it uses a 5 MP wide angle lens with fixed focus at f/2.4 aperture.

The camera software is plain and simple to understand as it uses a stock Android camera. It has HDR, panorama, live photo, beautify, and can shoot in either FHD or 4:3 ratios. In front There's also HDR, and beautify mode.

It might be just too plain compared to other cameras with loads of options as it doesn't have other special effects and manual controls.
It shoots decently in daylight, but don't expect too much for the price.
As expected, the main camera performed acceptably for the price in well lit places. It produces photos with slightly washed violetish colors. On the other hand, its details and sharpness is acceptable even if there's noticeable grains.

It can also do macros from at least 3 inches afar, has decent focus speed and shutter speed. However, it shoots slowly in HDR mode which requires you steady hands for at least 3-4 seconds to take nice photos.

In lowlight, forget using it without flash as it'll make your subjects look bad. Gladly, it has a dual LED flash at the back with great quality to help you salvage your photos in the dark.

Note: Aside from being a power key, the rounded button at the back at the phone can be used to open the camera app and as a shutter key.

Rear Camera Samples

Daylight test
Daylight test
Normal vs HDR
Normal vs HDR
Indoor shot featuring
Indoor shot featuring Juan Manila Express and TechPatrl
Macro with background blur
Macro with background blur
6 PM shot
6pm shot
8pm night shot
8pm night shot
Lowlight out flash and lowlight with flash
Lowlight out flash and lowlight with flash

In front its 5 MP selfie camera is also pretty capable for a budget phone. It can take photos with good color tones as long as you're in a well lit condition. It also has HDR mode that can make you look brighter and beautify mode that blurs your skin blemishesHowever, just like its main camera, its shots are grainy and not advisable to use in lowlight.

Selfie Camera Samples

Normal vs beautify
Normal vs beautify
Selfie indoor with Angel
Selfie indoor with Angel
Selfie against the light
Selfie against the light
At night
At night

In terms of videos, I was surprised that it record 1080p on both back and front cameras. It is also isn't as shaky as expected and can adjust decently in several lighting conditions. Just don't expect it do be sharp and it'll be a decent video shooter for emergencies.

Video Samples


Performance

Antutu and geekbench score
Antutu and geekbench score

Compared with most Spreadtrum powered 2,999 Pesos phones, Kata decided to step up its game by putting a pricier, more reliable, and newer 1.3 GHz MT6580 quad core chip paired with Mali 400 GPU with the Kata V4. Not only that, it also has 1 GB of RAM instead of just using 512 MB and 8 GB of expandable internal storage.

On paper, this should perform well for its class. In real life, its more than better than what we expected. Due to its not that high resolution, the MT6580 chip paired with 1 GB RAM did wonders to the snappiness of this handset.

It's arguably the smoothest sub-3K phone we tested that's speedy most of the time as long as you're not opening many apps at the same time. It can also do quick app switching and speedy opening of apps.


In terms of gaming, it runs all light and casual games smoothly. To our surprise, it was even able to load the heavy Asphalt 8 with great play-ability and few frame drops in low settings. Just don't expect this to run other heavy 3D games such as NBA 2K16, but for the price its a decent phone. There's just slight warmth when doing heavy stuffs, but the type of heat that's nothing to worry about.
It runs Asphalt 8 in low settings smoothly, that's nice!
Kata UI
Kata UI

Going to the UI, Kata uses an intuitive skin that doesn't use an old style with app drawer anymore. As a result, for me, its easier to find the apps that you want as you'll just swipe left and right to look for it.

It features an easy clean-up when you hold the home button to keep your phone in top notch condition, has several smart wake quick gesture options, and only few bloats to ensure that the phone is smooth.

We also noticed that it doesn't suffer from the previous Kata UI problems where there are some app crashes and duplicate image bug in the gallery. That's a nice thing as we saw great improvement from the previous versions of their skin.

Connectivity-wise all works well from WiFi with nice range, 3G Data, and Bluetooth. GPS also works fine that locates us easily and its loads with basic sensors such as: Gravity, proximity, ambient light.

Pros - Solid chamfered metal frame and beautiful 2.5D curved glass that's rare for the price, speedy performance for a budget device, usable back button
Cons - 2 points of multitouch touch only, speakers is loud but distorted at max volume, capacitive keys aren't backlit, no OTG

Verdict

Kata's V4 ranks among the nicest sub-3K phone we tested this year in terms of overall performance and the best in aesthetics / build / ergonomics. It has speedy performance, easy to use UI, and loads with a bright type screen.

While I recognize the existence of other handsets with identical specs and price with newer OS, it'll be tough finding a phone with better caliber than this via way of build and style for the price.

Given all those traits, the Kata V4 is undeniably one of the super affordable phones to beat today.

GIZ Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
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