Value for money is where it is at.
Choice is great, but with such choice comes problems. Quite simply where do you start, who do you consider and is that phone the right one for you?
If you are happy to settle for someones recommendations then great, it is often the easiest way.
However, peace of mind often wants us to make our own decision. If one of your primary factors of consideration is price and value for money then you should start by considering KAZAM smartphones.
You maybe wondering who KAZAM are. I would not be surprised if you were. They are a new company that have been formed to serve a particular sector of the market and are headed up by a strong team. You can read more about who they are HERE.
I have spent a few weeks with the Trooper X4.5, the first handset to arrive in the UK. Before I go into detail on this device, I need to make something quite clear that exists on ALL KAZAM handsets.
- All come with Dual SIM capability, meaning 2 SIM card’s in one phone. Perfect for business and personal SIMS.
- All come with a FREE screen replacement. If you drop it, smash it or it breaks for no reason, you will get 1 FREE screen replacement within the 1st year of ownership.
- All have KAZAM rescue to make support and assistance simple.
- All handsets are produced with performance and value for money in mind.
- All handsets will be repaired in the quickest possible time should something go wrong.
Before I even delve into the review of the Trooper, you can see the additional value that is built into the handsets even before you open the box.
Many would say before using the phones that they are ‘cheap’ and the specs are not very good so they are not worth considering. To a point they are right. They are never going to compete with the best smartphones, but that was never the intention.
It is like buying a Honda Civic or a Ferrari Enzo. Both get you from A to B but they do it in different ways and the Civic provides better value for money.
So if a good value, sturdy performing device is what you are after, then read on.
As the intro outlined, being wowed at the spec isn’t what goes here, but the specifications are strong none the less.
- Google Android 4.2 operating system
- 1.2GHz dual core processor
- MicroSD memory card slot
- 4GB internal storage
- 4.5” touchscreen with 480 x 854 resolution
- 5 megapixel camera
- 1750mAh removable battery
- 24 month warranty
The device also charges via microUSB, no proprietary connections here.
If you compare the specs to other comparable handsets you will generally see it is similar.
The biggest disappointment here, if you analyse the specs is the screen resolution, but truth be told, for a phone with smart features this can easily be classed as sufficient. Browsing a news page or Facebook does not need a higher resolution, it might just be more desirable.
If you want to see an unboxing of the Trooper, watch the following video:
The Trooper X4.5 will not be winning any design awards, but it does not really fail and is very standard in its layout.
Looking at the device head on the, 4.5” touchscreen dominates the front, with touch sensitive buttons built into the front panel under the screen. These are a back, home and menu button running from left to right.
Above the screen in the centre is the earpiece with the front facing camera and sensors to the right hand side of this.
On the upper right hand side edge is the power button with the volume up and down keys located in the same place on the left hand side.
On the top edge is the headphone jack to the left hand side which blends into the upper edge of the back cover.
On the bottom, is the microUSB port, microphone and recess for removing the back cover. These are all located on the right hand side of the edge.
The back cover is soft, but smooth to the touch with the camera located at the top, but in the centre. The flash is located just under this.
The lower third of the back cover has the KAZAM logo and loudspeaker centrally placed. The speaker grill gives the impression that the speaker stretches across the back but removing the back cover reveals the speaker is placed to the left of the device so the sound may not be as balanced as one may have first thought.
With the back cover removed, you see the battery compartment and directly above this, the 2 SIM slots and MicroSD memory card slot running from right to left.
What is slightly odd here is that SIM slot number one on the right side accommodates a standard sized SIM, with SIM slot two being a micro SIM card slot.
The device feels solid in the hand and the materials used do not have the really cheap feel you would expect. There is a nice curvature to the corners, and not the squarer corners found on the likes of the Sony products.
The bezel around the screen is a bit bigger than I would like to see but I have seen worse.
I personally use a Samsung Galaxy S4 as my daily phone and that has a much higher resolution display, so coming to the KAZAM it is quite apparent in the differences.
That said for the vast majority of what I do, there isn’t a need for a higher resolution screen, it is more of a need. That need can often impact battery life.
Unlike some of the more cost effective devices, the Trooper X4.5 does have a light sensor so manual or automatic control of the screen brightness is an option.
A built in g-sensor also means use of the device in either portrait or landscape mode is possible (subject to app support).
The viewing angles on the screen are ok to, so if there are a few of you huddling around the device to watch something then all should be able to see what’s on screen fairly well.
KAZAM use a toughened glass on the phone, but as stated earlier, crack or damage your screen in the 1st year of use and get 1 screen replacement for free.
This is a bonus if you are prone to dropping your device or being a bit too heavy handed with it.
Such a service can easily save you money on phone insurance and the cost of screen repair which is normally a minimum of £50 if not much more.
Out of the box Android 4.2.2 is installed on the device. Therefore the device is pretty up to date. OK it is not Android 4.4 but very few devices have this and for the vast majority it is not necessary.
KAZAM are of course committed to keeping their devices up to date and stable, but like all manufacturers they need time to bring updates to the device.
Do not expect updates the moment Google announce them, they will come but it may be slow. With a KAZAM handset, you do not pay the same premium as is found on higher end handsets, so the speed of updates etc will inevitably be affected.
That said, if you are worried about the very latest updates, you are likely concerned about the very latest hardware which the Trooper X4.5 is not.
Please do not let the above put you off. In the time I have been using it, the handset has performed well and has not crashed or shown significant (open to interpretation) lag.
It is stock Android on the device, with the smallest of tweaks, which include a flash light and a few wallpapers not to mention the SIM Management for the dual SIMS.
This therefore gives all the standard Google services out of the box. Gmail, YouTube, Maps, Navigation, Calendar and more. Just input your existing Google account details if you have one and within minutes you can be up and running.
With access to Google Play Store you can download all of you favourite apps from Twitter to Facebook to Angry Birds.
For a first experience of Android, it is as near stock as possible and potentially could be a little daunting as to where to start. You do not get the same level of guidance as you do with a Samsung or Sony, but then there is considerably less in the terms of often unnecessary content, often known as ‘bloat-ware’ on the device to distract you.
Some would argue that the lack of additional apps and content reduces the features of the device, but unless you desire or need them, then you are saving money and space on the internal memory.
The Trooper has 4GB on board, of which approx 2.5GB of which is available to you.
For many this will be sufficient for storing apps and some content, but for additional content such as music and video there is the microSD memory card slot.
As with many smartphones on the market today, out of the box you can expect, WiFi, Bluetooth & GPS which are essentially now standard features.
The Trooper does not have facilities like MHL/Video out, Miracast, DLNA or USB host support.
Where the Trooper comes into its own is its dual SIM capabilities.
Dual SIM means that at any one time, two SIM cards can be inserted into the relevant slots and have active connections on the phone. For example, you may have a personal and business SIM card/telephone number.
Whereas before you may have had two separate phones, with the KAZAM Trooper X4.5 you can have just one phone with the two SIM cards in it. From with the settings you can choose how the SIM cards are used and managed.
You could have one SIM for voice calls and text messages and another for mobile data. It all depends on your circumstances as to how you choose to use it.
Another popular scenario is for regular travellers. You may have a local SIM for each country you visit.
You have full control over how it is configured, so you do not have to keep the settings the same, you can change them as you like. You can even have the phone ask you as you make a call for example which SIM you would like to use.r popular scenario is for regular travellers. You may have a local SIM for each country you visit.
Mentioned earlier, the slightly odd thing with the SIM cards, is that the slots under the back cover are different. SIM 1 accepts a standard full sized SIM, whilst SIM slot 2 accepts a micro SIM.
The experience is pretty average which is not a bad thing, but by the same token you are not going to get the deeper bass and richness of sound found on the HTC One Series of phones. If you want that you will have to pay a lot more.
There is an FM radio, so audio on the move is nice and straight forward. With the memory card slot and various connectivity services be it played directly from the phone or streamed, you should be ok.
The rear speaker whilst deceptive in its positioning actually sounds ok. The grill allows the sound to travel further rather than being forced through a smaller speaker grill. As much as I tried, unless you hold the phone with a particularly tight or odd grip the sound is unlikely to become muffled.
Volume was also reasonable too. This is a bit of a preference thing, but I would certainly say it was comparable to most other phones with the exception of the One Series which is known for its louder speakers.
Call quality was average. No surprises or disappointments here.
The Trooper does not boast any special camera technology or features which is a shame when cameras are becoming more important on phones for many people.
That said no fancy features means a basic, easy to use camera application that takes reasonable shots. Absolutely fine for sharing on social networks and the odd one you may want to print out.
The camera application is fairly basic and easy to get to grips with.
When in the app, there are two main icons, the shutter for the camera and a video camera icon for recording video.
Switch between the front and rear camera, manage the flash settings (Auto, On and Off), access previous shots, the main settings menu and a few other shortcuts.
For those that do not want to stick with the standard ‘auto’ mode, you can manage exposure, colour effects, scene mode, white balance and more.
There is a burst mode with the option of taking 40 or 99 shots in quick succession. There is no dedicated camera key so this is all managed and controlled through the on screen camera shutter button.
There is less control over the video settings. You can turn the microphone on and off and then control the Audio mode. The video quality can be set but there are only 4 options from Low to Fine, which doesn’t help identify exactly what resolution the finished product will come out at.
Set it to fine for the best results, the only sacrifice being the memory it consumes.
The results from the camera were mixed. In the right conditions you can get an ok image.
I found the colours a little washed out and the focus wasn’t very good not to mention the contrast between colours.
Take a look at a few sample images below:
Sony or Samsung handsets do surpass the KAZAM’s camera. I would put the X4.5 on par with ZTE devices.
You need not run two SIMS at a time.
During the testing phase for about a week I had just one SIM in it and with light usage I was getting 2 days out of it.
That said if running two SIMS you may be on the phone more and battery life may be tested as a result.
It is here that the lower resolution actually comes as a benefit because the lower power draw means the 1750mAh battery can last longer.
It is a small battery in comparison to flagship devices which now boast 3000mAh+ batteries. Even the Moto G has a 2070mAh battery.
Of course so much is determined by your usage. Daily charge is to be expected. Heavier users will likely find a mid afternoon charge is necessary.
The good news, is many of the ‘cheaper’ phones often suffer from really bad battery drain. I have seen phones run out of power in 4 -5 hours of moderate use, but this is the case here.
This isn’t usually something I focus on in a review normally because it changes often between devices and I often place suitability over price.
That said, this device aims to be cheap, its one of its selling points.
At less than £125 including VAT you are certainly not being robbed. This product runs away with the value for money crown, if your need a dual SIM device.
But, should having dual SIM capability be a bit of a nice to have for you and you only really need 1 SIM then the Motorola Moto G at just shy of £150 with double on board memory, RAM & processor speed it is the one to go for.
For an extra £25 the differences speak for themselves and you will be thankful for spending that bit more.
The smartphone market is ultra competitive and it is only increasing in competitiveness in relation to low prices.
Google with the Nexus programme and now Motorola with the Moto G have set a standard, that is not always achievable for the vast majority of manufacturers without compromise.
Whilst cheaper phones save us money, they do not always bring us what we need, so paying more in the long run can be advantageous.
KAZAM have a very tough uphill challenge to compete, but bringing phones to market that serve a need for a particular audience gives them a differentiator, all be it a small one.
Their honest approach is admirable and one that we should credit them for.
The added value they bring to their products through service and repair is again commendable and replacement shouldn’t be forgotten. But it is hard to put a price on this and appreciate the value until you have broken a screen.
All told the KAZAM Trooper X4.5 is a solid lower end handset that has a lot to offer to a particular user, a user who want an excellent value dual SIM smartphone.
The problem is, the Trooper is not that inspiring. It doesn’t really wow you. Motorola’s recently launched Motorola Moto G is quite a bit better for not a lot more money.
It is the first handset for KAZAM. The general product and approach is good, they just need to perform some magic to inspire a demanding user group.
Fore more information or to order a KAZAM Trooper X4.5, CLICK HERE.