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Gadget review: Why Karbonn Sparkle V is a great budget phone

If you’re looking for a budget phone with no compromise on performance and one that stays updated with all innovations in the Android OS platform, the Karbonn Sparkle V might be just what the doctor ordered

Most of you would have already seen or heard about the Android One phones. It’s everywhere — on TV, radio and on hoardings across the city as well as on the front pages of popular e-commerce sites. Why shouldn’t it be? That it comes with the latest Android 4.4 KitKat and guarantees updates to all the new Android OS versions for the next two years, makes it a huge draw. But then the questions crop up. Does it live up to its promise? Will the new OS updates make a difference? Which one should we opt for?

We began with the same curiosity when we received the Karbonn’s Sparkle V, one of the three Android Phones available in the market. The other two are Micromax Canvas A1 and Spice Dream Uno.

What we liked
Specs: For those of you who’ve been scouting for a budget phone with decent specs, the Karbonn Sparkle V comes across as a very good choice. It runs on a 1.3 GHz quad core processor, 1GB RAM, 4GB ROM (inbuilt storage for apps only), and offer external storage support up to 32GB. The dual-SIM phone supports 2G and 3G connectivity, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

Karbonn Sparkle V

Camera and screen: It comes with front (2MP) and back (5MP) cameras, which means you don’t have to worry about switching device for video chats or phone calls. The phone sports a 4.5-inch FWVGA IPS display with 480x854 resolution and 240ppi pixel density, which is decent for a comfortable viewing experience.

Power back-up: The power source is a removable 1700 mAh Li-Po battery, giving you nearly full-day runtime on 3G with the phone being connected to Wi-Fi for more than five to six hours on an average.

Miscellaneous: For navigation you can rely on the phone’s GPS, and as for other motion-based apps like games, the in-built sensors work fine. It supports FM Radio as well.

Impressive specs apart, we were surprised to learn that the benchmark results of the phone came very close to the Xaomi Redmi 1S (the Redmi 1S has a better screen) and that too without any heating issue on regular usage, which has been a common complaint with the Redmi 1S.

What we didn’t like
However, this doesn’t mean the Android One is devoid of flaws. Firstly, the 2MP front camera is available only for video chats, and not for photographs. Though the device is 3G-enabled, like the Moto E, you can’t set your mobile network to only 3G (though you get a preferred choice), and is a major drawback (and an irritant) as the phone keeps on switching between Edge or GPRS and 3G.

As looks go, there’s so much more that Karbonn (and Google) could have done while styling the Sparkle (the issues remain with other Android devices too) to make it more appealing aesthetically. Though we liked the feel of it, the phone appears bulky. But then, we feel, it was done purposely to ensure the Sparkle V doesn’t eat up the sales of other phones from the maker(s).

Our verdict
Minus a few niggles, this makes for a great budget phone that stays updated with every change in the Android OS platform, and also offer a batterty back-up that’s sufficient to get you around one full day.

Available at: Snapdeal.com
Price: Rs 5,999

Rating: 8/10

Note: All the Android One devices feature the same hardware and software, and readers must take notice of that before making a buying decision

Specifications
Size:
4.5-inch

Screen: 480x854 (240ppi)
Processor: 1.3 GHz MTK MT6582
MEMORY: 1GB RAM, 4GB ROM, upto 32GB external
CAMERA: 2MP (front); 5MP (rear)
Connectivity: Wi-Fi, 3G
Price: Rs 5,999

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