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Kata L1 Review - Underwhelming Budget Phablet

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In our first impressions, we found the Kata L1's spec sheet to be underwhelming in relation to its price. After extensive testing, here is what we think.
Kata L1 review!
Kata L1 review!

We wanted to give the Kata L1 a fair look even though it wasn't the most attractive spec sheet out there.

If you have yet to read our first impressions, there is a link below.


Display Quality

Large 720p 6-inch display
Large 720p 6-inch display

The Kata L1 carries a 10 point multi-touch, 6-inch FHD 1280 x 720 resolution w/ 2.5D curved glass at 245 ppi. Our unit's touch screen performed with inconsistencies. There were times the taps would register quickly and accurately. Sometimes our taps wouldn't register or would register at the wrong location. This would happen every now and then which caused a bit of frustration.

6-inch, 720p display!

The maximum brightness is more than enough to overpower the sun when used outside. There is no light sensor so there is no auto brightness feature.

Audio Quality

Only one speaker works
Only one speaker works

There is a single speaker at the bottom. The maximum volume has an average maximum volume that it can barely fill a room. It is barely loud enough to be audible when a hand covers the bottom speaker. (Which happens often when hand holding this phablet in landscape orientation) There is minimal distortion at the higher volumes but it is negligible. The sound is clear with passable details. The bass is there along with the trebles and the mids. 

For headphones and earphones, we used the stock earphones and our trusty RHAs and the experience is good. The clarity, the sound stage and the definition is there but just barely.

The microphones are clear and clean enough for calls and recordings. We never had an issue or a caller comment that our voice had concerns during calls.

Battery Life

Long lasting!
Long lasting!

The battery performance is where this phablet shines. It clocks in at longer than 10 hours.  The large 3,500 mAh battery along with that 720p display is the cause. It performed well but it is expected with the specs.

In our daily use of email, texting, calling, social media interactions, YouTube streaming, we were getting 7 to 9 hours of on screen time without LTE. When LTE is active expect it to drop to 5 to 6 hours of on screen time. This is still better than most phones on LTE.

There is a mode called intelligent battery saving mode. It does not mention how it saves battery life though.

Charging time is around 150 minutes from 0 to 100! The 1.5 ampere charger helps but with that huge battery capacity, a 2 ampere charger would have been ideal.

Camera

13MP rear camera
13MP rear camera

The rear camera is a 13MP camera with AF and LED flash. Even when taking pictures and looking at the EXIF data, it does not show the aperture of lens when the shot was taken. It does say that the focal length is 2.8mm. F stop data is not available.

Tap to focus for the rear camera is a chore. This happens because of the inconsistent touch screen registration that we mentioned in the display section. It focuses on the subject but it takes a while to be in focus with the subject. This happens in both daylight and low light.

The camera app is minimal with the UI that looks like it came from Android Eclair. Kata needs to update the aesthetics of their UI in every aspect. 

It has the standard HDR, Face beauty, and Panorama modes. There is no manual mode. 

The auto camera experience is okay. The white balance is accurate 7 out of 10 times. There were a few times where we felt the color was off. The autofocus is limited to the main camera and it is slow.

The flash is there for the rear and selfie camera if you need it. It's powerful enough to illuminate up to 5 feet. The HDR mode is there but the shutter takes too long. If your hands aren't steady you may encounter motion blur or ghosting when shooting HDR.

The images are sharp in daylight but the colors are washed out. The images soften because of noise and noise reduction in low light with slight magenta casting in pitch black environments.

Rear Camera Samples

Daylight 1
Daylight 1
Good lighting
Good lighting
Indoor
Indoor
Lowlight
Lowlight

The selfie camera on the other hand is an 8MP camera with LED flash but without AF.  It performs similar with the rear camera only with less resolution. There is an LED flash if you need it but it doesn't illuminate further than 5 feet. This is sufficient for selfies though.

The images are inconsistent. There are instances where the images are decently sharp and there are instances where the images are soft. The colors are washed out as well. The noise is noticeable in low light and so does the softness that results from noise reduction.

There is no autofocus for the selfie camera.

Selfie Camera Samples

Daylight selfie
Daylight selfie
Indoor selfie
Indoor selfie
Lowlight selfie
Lowlight selfie
Lowlight selfie flash
Lowlight selfie flash

For videos the rear camera can shoot in 1080p at 30 fps with EIS. This is for both selfie and main camera. 

The grain is more pronounced in day light video and is even worse in low light. The resolution in daylight is passable but is noticeably soft in low light. The EIS does introduce a huge crop but is worth it. If you need a wider field of you it would be best to stabilize the phone with a tripod or a gimbal and turn off the EIS.

Performance

Underwhelming scores

The phone packs the 1.3GHz MT6580A quad-core processor and the Mali-400 with 1GB of RAM. Both are underwhelming for the price and for pushing the 6-inch display.

With that said, the phablet is quick and responsive when doing light tasks. IT can stream 720p YouTube videos without problem as well. Heavier tasks like games takes its toll on this thing. We don't recommend heavy gaming on this phablet.

Equipped with the Android 6.0 Marshmallow, it is starting to feel dated as most phones that were released this year was on Nougat or Oreo. It is the same Kata skin of Android with the same dated icons and apps but it is relatively stock with some Kata bloatware like VPNs and preinstalled streaming apps.

Neat stock experience with added features!

Kata added features like gesture controls and shortcuts that add utility to the phone. They work well and is one of the redeeming features of the phone.

The fingerprint scanner is hidden deep in the settings. But, performance is fast, quick, and accurate.

Telephone connectivity is good with strong signal and steady 4G data connectivity. There's the usual WiFi, Bluetooth and GPS as well that never failed us.

Pros - Big 6-inch screen with HD resolution, 2.5D glass, and 10-point multi touch display, long battery life, fingerprint sensor
Cons - Specs are underwhelming for price, 720p resolution, still on Marshmallow OS

Verdict

The Kata L1 is underwhelming in both paper and in real life. With a price of Php 4,999 with 1GM of RAM and 720p display on a 6-inch display won't wow a lot of people even though the battery lasts a long time.

We recommend getting this phablet when it goes on sale if you are happy with the large display for media consumption and telephony.

Build / Design - 3.5
Display - 3.75
Audio - 3.5
Battery - 4.25
Camera - 3.5
Performance - 3.5
Average - 3.67 / 5
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