KAZAM Trooper X3.5 Review
A while back, we covered an intriguing story, a story of two ex HTC-UK execs deciding to move off from the Taiwanese manufacturer and venture into the world of smartphones themselves. The result of that idea is Kazam, a British company which is beginning to make an impact in an industry dominated by big names.
Kazam already have an impressive portfolio of devices behind them, I’ve been spending some time with the smallest of the family the Trooper X3.5, but smallest as I have learned definitely isn’t a bad thing.
Starting with the screen and as you may or may not have gathered the 3.5 in the phone’s title refers to the screen’s dimensions.
Now, if you’re going from using a more high end device to using the x3.5 you will notice a drop in screen clarity, the screen’s 3.5 inches pack in a resolution of 320 x 480, which is quite a way down from the likes of the Galaxy S4 or HTC One but, this phone wasn’t designed to take on the likes of Samsung and HTC. This device is designed for users on a budget and retails for under £100, and for that the screen is more than capable.
Day to day phone activities such as; calling, texting, reading news apps or just browsing the web work perfectly on the 3.5 inch screen, you might run into a bit of difficulty watching a HD film or playing a high resolution game, but I sincerely doubt the majority of people purchasing this phone have bought it to do that.
The screen itself is made of a toughened glass, ideal if you’re prone to dropping your phone, also Kazam will replace your screen completely free if you do manage to break it.
Design (Phone build)
The trooper definitely isn’t in the running for design of the year, the phone is a simple shape, with rounded edges. The simple design definitely isn’t a negative aspect though, it ensures that the phone fits very comfortably in one hand, there’s three physical buttons at the bottom, one for going back, another for bringing up the home screen and third which brings up options to; change your wallpaper, manage your apps or go into the system settings.
The majority of the front of the device is taken up the phone’s screen, although the bezel could definitely be thinner, it’s far from the worst I’ve ever seen and doesn’t negatively affect the phone’s look and feel .
The back and sides of the device are just as simple, a volume rocker on the left hand side and a power button on the right. Round the back is the Kazam logo at the bottom and at the top is the phone’s 3 megapixel camera as well as a flash.
The device comes pre-installed with the reasonably new Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean, it isn’t the latest 4.4 KitKat, but a very small percentage of devices are and an even smaller amount of devices in the Trooper x3.5’s price range are even as up to date as 4.2.2.
The good news about the troopers software is that it doesn’t come preloaded with any bloatware or a skin like Samsung’s Touchwiz or HTC’s Sense UI, this is pure, unadulterated stock Android, there’s a couple of Kazam designed wallpapers and also some settings for the phone’s dual SIM but, that’s the only meddling Kazam have done.
It runs surprisingly well on the device too, I downloaded a couple of pretty fast moving games as well as trying out Angry Birds Space which was pre-installed on my handset and they all ran incredibly well, I was expecting a few dropped frames or some freezing, but there was none, you’d struggle to find a device in the same price range which performed as well.
The Trooper comes with a pretty small 4GB of on-board storage, but if you’re only planning on installing the essential apps, that’ll be plenty it also comes with a microSD slot, so you can expand the memory and add up to 32GB of photo, music etc.
Like the phone’s screen, the camera is great as a basic function, want to quickly take a snap of something to send to a friend? Or want to take a picture of something so you remember it at a later date than this will work fine.
The Trooper’s snapper is by no means an SLR and if you’re wanting to take artistic snaps or pictures of your breakfast and put it on Instagram, chances are you’re going to be disappointed with the end result.
The trooper has a 3 megapixel shooter, but the more technical of those among us know that it’s not just about the megapixels, the lens and various other factors come into play, so don’t let the low number put you off as this is a decent camera and is also capable of shooting 720p video.
The camera app itself is a very nice, simple design, it’s easy to switch between shooting video to capturing an image. There’s also a function to switch from front facing to rear facing camera and also a flash on/off function, it runs very smoothly and is easy to use.
It takes a little while to focus and the colours don’t really jump out the picture, but it produces images which you can easily share to social media and I’m guessing that’s what Kazam had in mind when designing it.
Battery life is coming more and more under scrutiny, as smartphones become an integral part of modern life, the more we need them to be able to last a full day at least.
The trooper is a dual SIM phone, if you’re using the phone every day with 2 SIMS concurrently working, it’s inevitably going to drain more battery than with just one, that being said you can run the trooper with just 1 sim.
I used the device will just one SIM in and it was lasting on average a day and a half with moderate use, I made phone calls, played some games, sent messages, checked apps and took photos and videos all pretty standard smartphone use.
This is an area where the lower resolution screen becomes an advantage, the fact screen isn’t as bright as most and also doesn’t run in 720p and above definitely positively impacted on the phone’s battery life.
The trooper has a 1300 MAh removable battery, so if you are going to be using this phone a lot you could always get a spare battery and keep that on you, although; this phone is aimed at the low end market, so it’s not really intended for people who heavily use their phone. That being said for a phone in this price bracket, it handles itself very well.
Last but not least is the price of the device; the price makes the difference between a device being worth it or a rip off.
the Trooper x3.5 is a bargain to say the least, there is no other phone on the market which will offer these specs for below £70.
if you have an old Nokia 3310 or something else and want to join the digital age this is the phone for you, or if you need a second device for work, this is ideal especially when considering the two SIMS, perfect if you travel a lot and install a foreign SIM.
Choosing the right smartphone is all about finding out what you’re going to be using it for, it’s pointless buying the latest flagship if you just want to text and occasionally check Facebook, equally it’s pointless buying the cheapest phone available if you’re want to be able to shoot 1080p video.
The most important factor in the Trooper is it’s price, because it then justifies all the other elements of the phone, you’ll be hard pressed to find a device which plays video, smoothly runs a game, shoots 720p video and takes pretty sharp looking pictures for around the £50 mark.
Considering this is part of Kazam’s first wave of devices they launched, they’ve done remarkably well and have pretty much pressed all the right buttons, they haven’t wowed anybody yet, they’ve kept their designs and features pretty simple.
However, having announced a new group of smartphones at this year’s MWC who knows what’s around the corner.
If you’re interested in purchasing a Kazam device, they can be found here and here