Just a couple of days ago we reviewed the Beetel GD530 in its QWERTY candy-bar form factor which wasn’t really up to the mark. Now Karbonn, who's not a new player in the budget-priced market, has also thrown their latest QWERTY-based handset, the K25i into the ring and after putting it through its paces, here's what I have to say about it.
Design and Build Quality
The K25i looks like any other QWERTY mobile phone, although at first glance it might bring the name 'BlackBerry' to mind. The phone has a glossy finish in the front whereas the back panel has a rubberized plastic finish. There’s no wastage of bezel in this one and all the space has been used wisely. The speakerphone at the top has a nice silver colour and the sides of the K25i have a chrome finish.
QWERTY keypad is built well
Just below the 2.4-inch TFT display screen (320 x 240 pixels), lies the navigation panel. Being a dual-SIM handset, there are two call buttons meant to call from either SIM followed by a home button to the left of the optical trackpad. To the right, there’s a compose SMS button followed by a Return and finally the call end button. The trackpad functions quite well most of the time, but while playing one of the pre-loaded games I saw that the trackpad’s movement went haywire. Also the rest of the navigation buttons are placed a little too close with a couple of instances when the wrong key gets pressed.
The QWERTY keypad below the navigation panel looks pretty decent and the buttons are placed well enough to use comfortably. The labeling on the keys is quite legible and is easy to read plus the backlighting of the keys means that it’s convenient to use the keypad in low lit conditions.
Rubberized back panel
On the top right side of the phone there’s a 3.5 mm audio jack, a hot swap MicroSD memory card slot followed by a mini USB port. The memory slot has a flap to protect it from dust. I was a little surprised to see no dedicated keys like a volume rocker or even a camera button. On a whole, the design of the K25i is quite decent. It’s not very attractive, but it’s not too ugly, either. The build quality of the phone is quite sturdy and in no instance will you feel any of the buttons, port or panel as flimsy or loose.
Like all other entry-level mobile phones, the K25i also has a Java-based interface. Unlike the GD530 however, this mobile phone has a very intuitive and attractive looking UI. To add to that, the interface functions smoothly and apart from one instance when the phone hung for a few seconds, it worked flawlessly.
Browsing through menus is fast
The desktop has six shortcut keys that can be customized according to the user. Browsing through menus is easy and fast and navigation between options is quick, as well. On the whole, using the K25i is quite a breeze, even for first time mobile phone users.
The K25i performs averagely when it comes to media. The phone supports MP3, MIDI and AAC formats in the audio department. The bundled earphones are not too bad and the phone’s DAC (Digital to Audio Converter) works decently. While the music is loud enough, there’s quite a bit of noise that can be noticed while listening to songs. The highs are not very audible, but the bass and mids can be heard well enough. The DAC does miss out on quite a bit of details though and listening to songs on the K25i cannot be termed as wholesome. The phone’s FM Radio is quite nice though. Thanks to the antenna at the back, the K25i can pick up signals well enough, even in confined areas.
Media player is quite average
The handset supports 3GP and MP4 video formats, but it doesn’t play them well. I played a 176 x 144 3GP video and a 320 x 240 MP4 video, and while both played smoothly, I could easily notice quite a lot of pixilation. The media playback of the phone on the whole is quite underwhelming.