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Kata M4 Review - Flagship Like Aesthetics

From our initial impressions of the Kata M4, we liked how solid and heavy it felt but found that there were corners that were cut. The chamfered edges and some materials could use some refinements. After extensive use of this phone, its time to tell you guys what we thought of it.
Kata M4 Review - Flagship Aesthetics
Kata M4 review

Display Quality

5 points of touch!
5 points of touch!

The five point multi-touch 5.5 Inch FHD 1920 x 1080 resolution with 401 ppi display is bright (good enough for daylight use) with sharp details and vibrant colors but has a low dynamic range. We saw rough gradient out of the box from the Kata fish wallpaper. The whites did not fade into blue smoothly. The refresh rate however is great. It is a decent screen as a whole.

Audio Quality

Dual speaker below
Dual speaker below

The dual speaker produces decent bass without distortion even at maximum volume. The range and the maximum volume is rather low though so it's not for those who love to use their phone's speakers for media consumption.

The headphone output is decent with acceptable bass and decent volumes all around. We have nothing to complain about it. What surprised us was the clarity of each tones. It is a good one!

The built-in microphone on the phone works well for calls and other audio recordings. We never had a complaint from callers. 

Battery Life

Respectable battery performance
Respectable battery performance

The M4 is packing an underwhelming 2800mAh battery capacity which in today's standard is lacking for a 5.5 inch phone. We ran the PC mark Battery test twice and we got similar results of at least 6 hours of battery run time. This is respectable for a 2800 mAh with a 5.5 inch display.
Battery life is average
The phone also has a standby intelligent power saving functionality that limits the internal performance of the phone while it is on standby which helps prolong the lifespan of the battery.

Camera

The main camera of M4
The main camera of M4

The Kata M4 sports an 18 MP f/2.2 main camera. Photos can be taken using the usual on screen button, the volume up button, the camera button under the rear camera and the fingerprint sensor. This button can also be used for increasing the volume and waking up the phone.

The camera phone software is identical to the Kata i5 and has the basic features like the HDR and panorama modes but with added camera filters for those who want more unique picture renderings. The Tap to focus is okay. It's not that fast and it sometimes hesitates which isn't really a problem for most day to day picture taking. It's not like you're taking pictures of race cars blazing with this phone.

The M4 surprised us with its decent performance at bright lighting and low lighting situations. Images are sharper than the i5 with good color and depth rendition especially at brightly lit situations. In low light, grain / noise kicks in but the images are detailed enough to not suffer too much from it. It's a good camera over all.

Rear Camera Samples

Outdoor HDR (slightly exposed background)
Outdoor HDR (slightly exposed background)
Indoor test
Indoor test
Indoor close-up w/ background blur
Indoor close-up w/ background blur
Normal vs w/ flash
Normal vs w/ flash

The 13 MP f/2.4 selfie cam on the front is one of the sharper selfie cameras we've encountered from Kata. Although we found that some pictures end up washed out and the images a little flatter than we would like.

Selfie Camera Samples

Fine details for outdoor selfies
Fine details for outdoor selfies
Indoor selfie is still good
Indoor selfie is still good
Selfie flash needs improvement
Selfie flash needs improvement

For videos, the auto focus tracking feels like it doesn't exist. Tap to focus is okay but it appears jumpy and hesitant after rewatching the footage. There is Electronic Image Stabilization but it doesn't really help that much. OIS would be great next time Kata.

Performance

The benchmark scores
The benchmark scores

The M4 is powered by a 1.3 GHz 64 Bit MT6753 octa core processor which makes this phone is capable of running heavy games like asphalt 8 at HIGH graphic settings at at least 30 frames per second. It is however underwhelming compared to the other flagship phones in the market and for its price point.
Decent performance, but should be better considering its formidable competitions
The phone utilizes 3 GB of RAM which made this an easy daily driver! It fits for a normal day to day activities like calling, texting, browsing, and heavy multitasking. Especially when browsing with multiple Chrome tabs. I never had a problem going through all the apps I ran after a whole day without clearing the apps running in the background.
All high settings is possible with Asphalt 8
All high settings is possible with Asphalt 8

Having only 32 GB of internal storage is good enough for most users but with the high megapixel count of the cameras, if you are planning to take a lot of media with you, then it is best to get an micro SD card.
Kata's drawer-less UI
Kata's drawer-less UI

The M4 runs the Android 6.0 Marshmallow OS and includes a number of standard android applications. The phone runs the Kata Skin on top of Android as the launcher but without the app drawer. The icons, the wallpapers and the Kata software UI may feel dated for most people.
Gesture options
Gesture options

The OS is mostly stock except for the proprietary Kata apps and the bloatware. The bloatware is not that offensive though. It's bearable but I wish we could uninstall them. They did add some useful UI features like gestures and smart wake. In smart wake you can personalize and assign specific gestures for specific actions you want the phone to run when waking up the phone from a screen off state. This is abundantly useful when you are always in a hurry and have to use an app that you use a lot daily anyway.

Sale Alert: Kata M4 Is Down To PHP 9499!

Pros - Solid and heavy build, 2.5D glass is so smooth, camera is sharp, smart wake gesture makes life easier!
Cons - Priced high for the specs, chamfered edges could be refined, dual speakers could be louder, selfie flash badly needs improvement

Verdict

For a flagship phone with PHP 14K price tag, we expected a little more and we would wait for a sale before buying this. The product felt like it may have rushed the refining of the design of this phone because there were areas that could have been polished given a little more time

Otherwise, if you are looking for a phone with good looks, solid camera, and can pay PHP 14K even if the speakers has low volume, then this phone might be for you.

Build / Design - 4
Display - 4
Audio - 3.25
Battery - 3.25
Camera - 3.75
Performance - 3.75
Average - 3.66
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