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There seems to be a big push for local phones to have premium looks lately. So, not to be outdone by the competition, Kata recently launched the Kata i4 smartphone. If you haven’t heard of it yet, now is the perfect time to get acquainted with it. Read on for our full review of the Kata i4.

In case you need to brush up on your Kata i4 specs knowledge, here’s what you need to know. It sports a 5-inch HD touchscreen display, 16MP rear camera and 8MP front cam combo, and it runs on a 1.7GHz octa-core processor. Storage is inbuilt, as is the battery, but it appears to be an all-around interesting phone.

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Let’s start by examining the design. The Kata i4 caught us by surprise when we took it out of its box. And the reason why is because it may actually be the very first phone we’ve seen from any local company that looked almost exactly like the phone depicted on the front of the retail box.

Just look at that photo on the box, and check out our hands-on photo here. The retail box photo is true-to-life, and we were delighted to discover it when we got the Kata i4 in our possession.

The retail box, of course, holds more than just the Kata i4. It also has separate boxes for the wall charger, USB cable, bundled earphones, and user documents. There’s also a bundled SIM tray ejector tool conveniently located in its own section inside the Kata i4 retail packaging.

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When we finally held the Kata i4 in our hands, there was no denying it. It actually stands true to what is depicted in all the press materials. It’s made with metal where you’re supposed to grip it, and it feels reassuring. The cool, solid metal is a great contrast to the finnicky plastic build materials found in most local phones and tablets.

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There’s a power button on the right side of the Kata i4, and a volume rocker is found on the left side. The front of the phone contains only the display, front camera, and capacitive menu buttons. Meanwhile, the back is where you’ll find the main camera, built-in speaker, and familiar Kata branding.

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The overall look and feel of the Kata i4v is definitely premium, and even luxurious. Again, this is a sight to behold especially if you’re fed up with seeing seemingly low-quality plastic-built alternatives from other smartphone companies.

Display and cameras

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We’ve gone over how the physical attributes of the Kata i4 can be worthy of note, but what about its other components? Well, the 5-inch HD display is not a major disappointment. First off, the HD resolution is acceptable on a 5-inch device, and from our testing we see no real problems with it when it comes to viewing angles.

We’ve been able to use it for Web browsing, reading text, watching movies, and mobile games. Suffice it to say that the Kata i4 offers satisfactory display performance for most Android users, and will not disappoint.

The cameras on the Kata i4, meanwhile, are a bit of a mixed bag. As we’ve said near the beginning of this review, the rear camera packs a 16MP sensor, while the front cam relies on an 8MP sensor. The actual performance of either camera depends heavily on the amount of ambient light available.

Using the front camera indoors is almost impossible. Meanwhile, the rear cam only really works to its full potential outdoors, or wherever there’s loads of available lighting on subjects for photos.

The long and short of it is, the Kata i4 works as a cameraphone, but don’t expect it to deliver stellar results, much less replace any dedicated point and shoot camera any time soon. The camera app might have something to do with it. In which case, you will be free to replace it with whichever camera app that you want, if you can download and install it.

Audio and connectivity
Audio performance on the Kata i4 is unsurprisingly satisfactory. We weren’t expecting mind-blowing sounds, but the Kata i4 did manage to serve us well both as a music player as well as a video playback device. Audio for games works well, too.

There’s a built-in 3.5mm headphone jack at the top of the Kata i4 and we’re happy to report that it didn’t give us any compatibility problems no mattery what type of headphones we used with it. And of course, you can also just use Bluetooth if you’d rather connect to a wireless speaker you might have.

Speaking of connectivity, the only other port on the Kata i4 is the micro USB 2.0 port located at the bottom, near the pinhole mic for phone calls. This USB port can be used for both charging as well as data transfer.

Software and performance

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Although we’ve said plenty about the Kata i4 so far, since we’re talking mostly about its hardware, we’re afraid that we wouldn’t be able to talk as much about it when it comes to software. The reason for this is because the Kata i4 is stuck on Android 4.4 KitKat as its default OS. Now that the latest version of Android is literally two whole numbers ahead, that’s more than a little disappointing.

With that said, the Kata i4 still makes everything work well despite the dated OS. It has an app drawer, so all of the installed apps are organized alphabetically, and the Home screen can be customized to your liking by changing the wallpaper or adding your own favorite widgets.

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With its speedy octa-core processor, the Kata i4 has no problem running Android 4.4 KitKat. This is to be expected out of any octa-core phone, really. So there’s nothing surprising here.

What’s surprising is that the Kata i4 only has a little over 22GB of space available for user storage, even though it comes with 32GB of internal storage. The Kata i4 doesn’t have room for a bundled microSD card, so that much internal storage should be a good thing. However, almost 6 gigs of it goes to “internal storage” where all the phone’s apps are. Only the 22GB or so left can be used for actual storage on the phone itself.

None of this affects the overall performance, of course. But it’s something that needs to be noted, especially for those people who buy phones primarily for their mass storage functions. Speaking of overall performance, the Kata i4 works wonderfully well as a phone, as a mobile entertainment and gaming device, and an Internet device. There is no lag when it comes to navigating the apps and menu screens, and it doesn’t freeze even with heavy multi-tasking.

Battery life

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All of that is well and good, but how is the battery life on the Kata i4? Thankfully, it’s not disappointing unlike the storage situation. The built-in battery on the Kata i4 easily managed to last for an entire day as a main phone, running all our favorite apps and connected to Wi-Fi for pretty much the entier day.

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When used with mobile data, battery life drops a bit, but not too much. This is a phone you can rely on to get you through your daily commute. With light normal use, it should last about 2 days before getting run down to less than 15%.

Conclusion

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The Kata i4 is about the closest thing to a “diamond in the rough” that you will be able to find in the local smartphone market — assuming we’re not using that old expression wrong. It looks absolutely stunning. The build quality is perfect in all the right places. The battery life is dependable and the overall performance makes this a phone for your daily grind.

It’s a shame that some parts of the other features a bit disappointing, like the dated software and limited storage space. If you can somehow overlook these minor flaws, the Kata i4 could easily be one of your top phone choices this year, and serve you well for the next one.

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David Gonzales is a geek, writer, and athlete all rolled into one. He specializes in articulating about novel and often shiny things that tend to make whirring noises. He also writes at SemiCurrent.com.

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