Its vacation time again for me! This time I brought Kata’s new phablet offering, the M1 with me while I explore the streets of Iloilo City. Kata recently announced the M1 at an event in SM North Edsa recently. The company is currently accepting pre-orders for the said device for only P9,999 (original price P11,999). The Kata M1 will be officially launched on May 10 at SM City Sta Mesa and we will be covering the events there.
Related article – Kata M1 Hands On and First Impressions
I am currently using the Kata M1 as my main smartphone as I inserted my personal Smart SIM there. But before that let’s start this review/travel feature from the package itself. You know, Kata has always been keeping it simple. The phone comes with a simple rectangular white box. Nothing too fancy here. It reminds us of Apple’s iPhone box though. Inside the box you’ll find the following – unit itself, USB, adapter, headset and manuals. Kata Digital even gave us a flip cover too which will be sold separately when the phone becomes available.
Now let’s get on with the review.
Kata M1 specs:
- 1.5GHz Quad Core Mediatek MT6589 processor
- 2GB RAM
- 16GB internal memory expandable via MicroSD up to 32GB
- 5.7-inch True HD IPS LCD display (1920 x 1080 pixels)
- 13 megapixel rear facing camera with autofocus and LED flash
- 5 megapixel front facing camera
- HSPA+, WiFi, Bluetooth, WiFi hotspot
- Dual SIM, Dual Standby – SIM 1 Regular SIM, SIM 2 Micro SIM
- 4,000 mAh battery
- Android 4.2 Jellybean
- SRP: P11,999
- Status: Available starting May 10, 2014 on Kata stores, kiosks and retailers
DESIGN AND HARDWARE:
Just like what we’ve said on our first impressions article, it is one rock solid device. I admire Kata for making such smartphones with good build quality since this is what many people are looking for these days. As for the button placements, the volume rockers are on the left, power button on the right, 3.5 mm headset jack and the micro USB port at the top. One thing we don’t like on the hardware is the shiny white back plate. It is prone to scratches and fingerprints. Good thing Kata placed some sort of protection at the back plate as well as the screen.
On the upside though, you can use any kind of third party headsets on the Kata M1. I have a Coloud Pop Block headset and it worked fine. Lastly, the phone overall is a little heavy. You will fell the heft when you put it inside your pocket. I felt the heft especially I did a lot walking in Iloilo. For me it is not bothersome but for those who are looking for a lightweight phone, look somewhere else. The added weight is mainly because of the phone’s beefy 4,000 mAh battery.
Kata calls the 5.5-inch screen True HD display. I think that Kata is just being modest but the screen is a kick ass Full HD 1080p display. It has good viewing angles, good color reproduction and more importantly good sunlight legibility. The display, however, has warmer color tone and reddish hue. I wouldn’t say its a plus or minus because the display remains to be stunning.
SOFTWARE AND PERFORMANCE:
I usually spend time sitting down at coffee shops and play around with the Kata M1 during the times that my companions are doing their shopping. It so hot there so I always seek shelter at SM City Iloilo and Robinsons Place Iloilo. Its easy to go around the city especially with the help of Google Maps on the Kata M1. Darn, there’s no Coffee Bean in Iloilo City! (for those who are not aware, I am a loyal Coffee Bean customer). No choice for me, I have to do with Bo’s Coffee in SM and Starbucks in Robinsons. I downloaded two of my favorite games, Asphalt 8 and Dead Trigger 2. Gaming experience is better than expected thanks to its 1.5GHz quad core processor. Hiccups are very rare. Its a joy playing games at the M1 especially with that big battery tucked inside the phone.
Of course it pretty obvious that we also made the Kata M1 our camera companion in Iloilo City. The 13 megapixel rear facing camera and the 5 megapixel camera takes pretty decent photos in good lighting conditions. Although it lacks Back Side Illumination for low light shots, the LED flash give good light on photos but it tends to overexpose photos on some situations.
Here are the photos taken from the Kata M1 during my stay in Iloilo City:
WiFi reception is good as well as the HSPA+ connection. I brought our Smart LTE pocket WiFi in Iloilo and connection is superb! We rarely get below 12Mbps download speed here. Since we use the Kata M1 a lot together with the pocket LTE WiFi, social networking, posting photos on Instagram, email, Viber calls, Skype video calls is uninterrupted.
Before I flew to Iloilo, I inserted my personal Sun postpaid here (I just noticed some my friends and family are switching to Sun. Bakit kaya?) and HSPA+ speeds are good back in Manila.
When I unboxed the Kata M1 and saw the battery for the first time, I was surprised that Kata included a 4,000 mah battery. No wonder why this phone has some heft. The Kata M1 is a perfect travel companion. I am a heavy smartphone user especially when I travel and battery is my number 1 factor to consider when I buy a new phone. That’s the reason why I ditched my iPhone, hehehe. Here are some of the things I do a lot with the Kata M1 during my travel in Iloilo – take pictures, web browsing, video calls via Skype, calls and calls via Viber, play Dead Trigger 2 and Asphalt 8, and listening to music. Battery lasted about 10 hours of heavy use (with 15% power left) which is very impressive. On moderate use, I usually get 14 hours of battery life with 10% remaining power left.
The Kata M1 is a joy to use – good battery life, nice screen, decent camera (front and back) and good build quality. Its shortcomings like the added heft and shiny, scratch prone back cover can be forgotten when you start using it. I would recommend this to those who are looking for an affordable Samsung Galaxy Note 3 alternative and can live without its LTE capabilities.