Another day, another budget Android phone. Google’s operating system seems to have taken off in the Indian region as the market is now flooded with Android devices and it shows no signs of slowing down. Karbonn recently announced its A7 smartphone that aims to pack a whole bunch of goodies in a budget. However, as we’ve seen with previous phones we’ve reviewed, there are certain trade offs that users are forced to live with. Does the A7 follow that norm, or is it an exception to the rule? Let’s find out.
Karbonn A7 video review
Design and Build Quality
The Karbonn A7 looks like a device that was heavily ‘inspired’ by HTC’s One Series. In fact, to say that it was inspired may only be an understatement. For the user, though, this is nothing but good news, as low-end Androids have more often than not been cheap plastic devices and the A7 looks nothing like that. The phone has a nice smooth matte white finish at the back and a silver rim surrounding the screen in the front. The 3.5-inch screen is a fingerprint magnet and has a low resolution of 320 x 480 pixels. Below it are three backlit capacitive buttons and one physical button.
Volume rocker on the left
Button mapping is slightly different as the physical button takes you to the Search feature instead of the expected home screen. There’s a VGA front camera included as well. Moving on, the top has a power button and a 3.5-mm headphone jack while the left has only a volume rocker. On the back, you'll find a 5-megapixel camera and a dual LED flash. The microUSB charging slot is located on the bottom edge.
The device weighs 120g and feels sturdy. The A7 easily beats a lot of the devices in its price range as far as design and build are concerned. In fact, it’s got the looks to take on the likes of Android devices that are priced in higher brackets too, making it a benchmark of sorts for competing devices.
Features and Performance
The A7 is powered by an 800 MHz processor and has 512MB of RAM. It runs on Android Gingerbread 2.3.6. Manouvering through the various home screens and menus is pretty smooth and lag-free. Memory intensive games and apps slow down the overall functionality a little though. The interface isn’t too different from the stock ones we’ve seen in the past, but a few tweaks such as power control options in the notifications dropdown, customizable animations and additional widgets give the A7 that extra bit of functionality.
Sub par display
In our benchmark tests, the phone notched up a Linpack Single Thread score of 20.3 and an AnTuTu score of 2232. This was a tad lower than the Andi 4D that we reviewed earlier, which runs on a 1GHz processor.
The media UI doesn’t offer anything particularly unique in terms of looks and file format support. Video format support is limited to H.263, H.264, AVI, 3GP and MP4.1080p and 720p video didn’t play on the device. Music via the headphones is good and the bass has a nice amount of thump. Also worth mentioning is that the inbuilt FM Radio worked pretty well on our train journeys, and the speaker is loud enough to fill a small room.
Heavily inspired by the One Series
The 3.5-inch screen is large enough for personal viewing but the display quality leaves a lot to be desired. Colours appear faded and the screen isn’t particularly bright or sharp. That’s the kind of price-related trade off you’ll have to live with.
Updated 23 May, 2013, 1:46 pm IST
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