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Kata V5 Review - A Reskin At A Higher Price Point

Kata's V4 is a showstopper at its price point last year. But the V5 that was released this year looks very much the same as the V4 at a higher price point.
Kata V5 review
Kata V5 review

Is it still relevant today even with the price increase? Let's see.

Kata V5 Specs

Display: 4.5 Inch FWVGA IPS 854 x 480 resolution w/ 2.5D curved glass at 218 ppi
CPU: 1.3 GHz MT6580 quad core processor
GPU: Mali 400
RAM: 1 GB
ROM: 8 GB expandable via micro SD card slot
Back Camera: 8 MP w/ AF and LED flash
Selfie Camera: 5 MP
Battery: 1,800 mAh
OS: Android 5.1 Lollipop
Connectivity: WiFi, 3G, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS, A GPS, dual SIM
Sensors: Gravity, proximity, ambient light
Others: Special back button, 6 ohms loud speaker, Colors: white gold, black
Dimensions: 135 x 67.5 x 8.9 mm
Weight: 149 g
Price: PHP 3,299

Disclaimer: Kata Philippines sent the Kata V5 to us for a constructive review.

Unboxing / Accessories

What's inside?
What's inside?

Inside the new bright colored Kata box are the phone, documentation, microUSB to USB cord and two batteries. Two batteries is unprecedented in the industry today and could possibly help in the increased price tag value. 

Build Quality / Design

Two batteries
Two batteries

The V5's build is what you would expect from a PHP 3K phone. If it ain't broke don't fix it, right? Well It would have justified the price increase if they had refined the design. 
3.5 mm headphone jack and micro USB slots on top
Power button behind, volume rocker at left

Otherwise, it works well. What we found different was that both the headphone jack and the micro USB port are at the top which could pose problems if you like placing your phone on your pocket and plug in earphones. 

The metal frame looks good even to this day, it is textured and adds that solid feeling to it. You will find that the backplate to be plastic but it doesn't feel like it will break due to unforeseen circumstances. 

The volume buttons are on the left side while the power button is on the right. They have this spongy feedback that lets you know you pressed it right away. It's quite satisfying.

Display Quality

Thick bezels
Thick bezels

The V5 is equipped with a small 4.5 Inch FWVGA IPS 854 x 480 resolution w/ 2.5D curved glass at 218 ppi which is a slight improvement on last years V4. On paper, it isn't that impressive. In real life, the resolution is outdated for 2017 and is overpriced for Php 3,200 price tag.

The 218 ppi was okay for 2016 now it feels dated and may need an upgrade. The colors improved slightly but most people won't notice the difference unless you put the V4 and V5 side by side.

It is the nearly the same with the V4 with terrible viewing angles but decent color reproduction and punch that makes it somehow passable but dated.

The other upgrade it got is a 5 point multi-touch from the 2 point multi-touch of the V4! This makes it acceptable for most tasks but may be a problem for gaming and touch intensive interactions.

Audio Quality

The V4 had decenti n paper spec for Ohms speaker but it faltered in our tests and unfortunately they still used the same speakers and therefore the same quality where the tones are decent up until 60% while 70 to maximum is distorted. This makes the higher volumes only useful for notifications and alarms.

In paper it is scene as a non-HiFi device and the headphone jack produces decent sound quality and decent sound stage. We tried it with our RHA S500i in-ear monitors and it can get loud without distortion. It still cannot run 24 bit and higher lossless format files though.

We've never had a problem with the microphone quality. We have never had dropped calls. What we did notice is that it doesn't support ambient noise cancellation which was noticed by our callers. This will also be a problem for people who want to use it for recording.

Battery Life

A tad better battery performance than V4
A tad better battery performance than V4

The V5 comes with two 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 atleast 6 hours on both batteries which is an improvement from last year's 4 hours!

In real life use 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 non-stop use.

Overall, the battery life is okay, but it would suffice normal users who use it as a secondary phone. We would like it to be better though.

Charging time is roughly around two hours.

Camera

At its price, its MP count is on par with most of phones right now. The 8 MP sensor with AF and LED at f/2.4 aperture at back is complemented with a 5 MP at f2.4 max aperture lens with fixed focus.

The camera software is plain and simple to understand as it uses a stock Android camera from last year. It even has the same HDR, panorama, live photo, beautify that can be shot at FHD or 4:3 aspect ratio. There are 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 is capable of shooting up close with a minimum focusing distance of 3 inches with acceptable focusing and shutter speed. It is noticeably slow when shooting HDR mode which requires you to be extra steady when holding the phone because it takes 2 to 3 seconds to take the HDR shot.

Compared to the standards of 2017, the daylight pictures are okay but don't expect too much even at the increased price.

The colors are washed out with violet color casting. The resolution and the details are okay, but noise and grains are very visible. 

Under low light conditions, shooting without flash is terrible; however, using the camera with the dual LED flash helps improve the photos immensely!

You may also use the back button to take photos.

Rear Camera Samples

Daylight sample
Daylight sample
Indoor close-up
Indoor close-up
Night sample
Night sample

The front facing 5 MP selfie camera has acceptable performance for the rice. It has HDR and beautify mode that reduces blemishes in an instant! Like the main camera shots are very grainy. The camera of the old V4 is simply better.

Selfie Camera Samples

Even in daylight it is super grainy
Even in daylight it is super grainy
Very grainy beautified selfie
Very grainy beautified selfie
Night selfie, very grainy
Night selfie, very grainy

In terms of videos, it record 1080p on both back and front cameras. But, don't expect it to perform well.

Performance

Add caption

Using the 1.3 GHz MT6580, Mali 400 GPU and 1 GB RAM from the V4 for 2017 may be a questionable move because yes it will still allow for decent performance on paper and in real life, we have never felt it lagged on us and it is snappy. We only noticed problems when we have a lot of apps in the background where the 1 GB RAM is no longer able to keep up.

It did perform better than we expected even though it is 2017 but the increased price really bothered us as last year's model was priced more affordably! This would have been fine if they kept the price or at least lowered it!

It performed the same way the V4 did. Casual games ran smoothly but heavy games like Asphalt 8 should be at low settings to run without frame rate drops! Don't expect it to run NBA 2K17 though. It also gets warm after a while.
Icons are outdated
Icons are outdated

The Kata UI is using their classic Android Icons without the App drawer and this is a personal preference but I am not a fan of it. The icons look dated and without the drawer it feels disorganized for me. You may feel differently. The easy clean up is good but I still prefer an app drawer.

Connectivity-wise, WiFi, 3G Data, Bluetooth, and GPS all work well. The proximity and ambient sensors work accurately and we never had a problem with getting dropped calls.

Pros - Good build, decent screen, back button, decent battery life
Cons - It's the V4 re-skinned at a higher price, camera performance is terrible (The old V4 has better camera performance)

Verdict

We loved the V4 for 2016, but Kata decided to reskin it and call it the V5 with very little improvements while also kicking the price up. They may have added an extra battery but it isn't enough to justify the increased price tag.

If you are okay with buying a reskin at PHP 3200 by all means go! But we just find it underwhelming for 2017. We are not sure whether we like this or not but we hope Kata improves or risk losing favor of their fans.

Get the old V4 instead.

Build / Design - 3
Display - 3
Audio - 3
Battery - 3
Camera - 3
Performance - 3
Average - 3 / 5
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