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Kata Selfie Review - Worth Flipping Camera Hype?

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The Kata Selfie is the company's most unique offering with decent specs on paper recently. It has their highest specs yet paired with an interesting 18 MP f/2.0 Sony flipping camera for mobile photography and good selfies.
Kata Selfie Review - Worth Flipping Camera Hype?
Kata Selfie review!

However, we also mentioned in our unboxing and first impressions article that this handset might have a hard time competing in the hotly contested PHP 12K range. Why? It doesn't have the highest specs on paper in that price range.

Sale Alert: Kata Selfie Is Down To PHP 8499!

So, let's all find out if its promise of good images or selfies taken using its 18 MP flipping camera is enough to sway potential buyers from the likes of Oppo F1s and Vivo V5.


Display Quality

The big enough 5.5 inch screen with FHD resolution
The big enough 5.5 inch screen with FHD resolution

Donning a 5.5 inch FHD IPS (1920 x 1080) screen, this handset has a pretty sharp resolution at 401 pixels per inch. Quality is more on the good side as well due to its proper balance and good color pop. Blacks are on the acceptable side as well.
The screen is sharp and can go bright!
Viewing angles are also fine, though the thick black border bezels aren't that nice in the eyes at times. Sunlight legibility is very good as it can go bright enough to make images visible even under the sun.
The "Live display" mode is very useful for your optimized and safe viewing experience.
Live display options
Live display options

What we enjoyed the mode in its screen is its intelligent "Live display" mode. It'll optimize your screen automatically based on the time of the day and ambient conditions to improve legibility and reduce eye strain. The handset also has MiraVision tech, accurate adaptive display sensor, and 5 points of multitouch.

Audio Quality

Speaker located at the back
Speaker located at the back

The Kata Selfie banners an 8 Ohms loudspeaker. It has average midrange smartphone grade of details and clarity on normal loudness. It can also go loud enough to fill your small room with music on max volume. However, hiss and distortion would be audible on that setting.
Headphone audio output is enjoyable!
What we find enjoyable in its audio quality is the headphone-out, it is very decent sounding for a smartphone with an easy to love warm audio signature. Its clean sounding in general with good bass response that can go deep, clear mids w/ nice layering, and sparkling highs with minimal hiss. Soundstage is also has a close to concert hall like semi-3D presentation.

Microphone is good, not the loudest, but could be good enough for audio recording as it doesn't sound that noisy. For calls, the earspeaker of this phone is average and voice loudness is fine.

Battery Life

Slightly better than average battery benchmark score
Slightly better than average battery benchmark score

The device is loaded with a 3,000 mAh of battery capacity. Paired with a 5.5 inch screen and 64 bit MT6753 octa core chip, it performed fine in our test. It clocked an hours and 34 mins score using PC Mark's work battery life test.

In real life, we recorded an average screen on time of 6 hours and 15 mins. That's good enough to last an entire day of work on light to average phone use. For gaming and watching videos with max speaker volume mode, expect less screen time. Charging time with its 2A wall charger is around 2 hours and 10 mins.

Camera

The 18 MP camera module!
The 18 MP camera module!

The main highlight of this device is its 18 MP f/2.0 Sony camera that flips. However, we suspect that it is an interpolated as we can't find any Sony sensor with 18 megapixels in this list.

Anyway, the Kata Selfie has basic camera interface with the usual HDR, panorama, and face beautify modes. Then there's a special beautify mode with a different camera interface. It has age detection and robust beautify filters after taking the photo. You can even decorate your face and add make-up via software.

Autofocus is slower than our liking (even on daylight) and can't focus on subjects closer than 4 inches. Shutter speed is fast on auto mode and takes HDR shots in decent speed at around 2 seconds.

For the picture quality, most of the shots we got are respectable and acceptable for the price. Color balance and accuracy are good, vibrant enough, and fairly detailed. There are just times where shots will have that slightly violetish tint and overexposure on very bright conditions. Using the HDR mode might help in those scenarios at times.

In lowlight, expect the the quality to falter. As expected there's a lot of grains without the use of flash. Its lack of manual mode is also a factor as you can't adjust exposure and shutter to correct the image.

Compared with other popular selfie phones such as the Oppo F1s and Vivo V5, the general photo output of this handset lags behind by at least a notch in terms of camera software and refinement.

Camera Samples

Daylight test 1
Daylight test 1
Dawn in HDR mode
Dawn in HDR mode
Outdoor lowlight
Outdoor lowlight
Outdoor flash

Outdoor flash
Indoor selfie mode w/ beautify

Indoor selfie mode w/ beautify
Beautify selfie with face decorations
Beautify selfie with face decorations
In dim-light situation
In dim-light situation
Selfie flash test
Selfie flash test

For videos, the Kata Selfie can record up to 1080p in acceptable quality. It even has an EIS for stabilization, but don't expect it to be super stabilized. Expect jello in hand-held recordings and fast moving subjects.


Performance

Benchmark scores
Benchmark scores

The Selfie boast a 1.3 GHz 64 Bit MT6753 octa core processor w/ Mali T720 GPU, 3 GB RAM, and large enough 32 GB of expandable internal storage. Our main concern here is its use of the ageing chip that's now normally found in most sub PHP 7K devices in average.

Anyway, the good thing here is the Kata Selfie still performed decently for its purpose. As a handset designed for social media and taking photos, the quality is close to flawless with almost no lag. Its 3 GB of RAM also helped a lot in switching from an app to another easily.
Performance is good for social media, but lags on graphics intensive games due to its ageing chip and GPU.
However, when running heavy videos and intensive gaming, stutters of the device would be noticeable. It never had problems on light and basic games, but on the like of Asphalt 8 and NBA 2K17, expect lag on very high settings. For optimal use, run NBA 2K17 on low and medium settings combination.
The drawerless Kata UI
The drawerless Kata UI

In terms of software, the Kata Selfie runs on Android 6.0 Marshmallow OS out of the box. It has few uninstallable Kata bloats that's forgiveable. We liked that it has numerous of gestures for security and shortcuts. 

It's fingerprint sensor is also quite accurate, however, it is a tad slower in response compared to other similarly priced handsets we tested. Fortunately, it has several interesting gesture controls like: photo control (shutter), gallery control (swipe for next only, but not back), launcher control (tap for easy navigation), and answering calls.

Checking its main telephony functions, we barely had problems with GSM signal reception, WiFi connectivity, Bluetooth, and OTG. It just don't have gyroscope sensor for AR and VR which is rarity at this price point.

Pros - Excellent display w/ intelligent eye protection mode, good performance, accurate fingeprint reader w/ gesture controls, good signal reception, same photo quality for back and front photos
Cons - Priced higher than usual for the specs, protruding camera, chunky body

Verdict

Don't get us wrong, the Kata Selfie is a good performing smartphone as a whole with few weaknesses. However, it is not properly priced for the specs. The company may argue that they have an 18 MP flipping camera to back its pricing, but when compared with current competition from the local and international brands, it is clear that this handset lags behind in nearly every category. We're expecting a price cut soon.

Build / Design - 3.75
Display - 4.25
Audio - 3.75
Battery - 3.5
Camera - 3.75
Performance - 3.75
Average - 3.8
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