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Karbonn S5 Titanium – Aiming for the Stars (Review)

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Karbonn has come a long way in the Indian market to make a mark of their own by introducing smarphones which are good value for money. THe Karbonn S5 Titanium is the successor to the S1.  It combines large 5 inch screen, 8 mega pixel camera and a quad core processor to deliver an affordable device that will suit the needs of many in the Indian mobile ecosphere. Karbonn S5 Titanium has huge aspirations, but does it live up to its aspirations? Let’s dive in and find out.

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Design

The Karbonn S5 Titanium looks a lot like Samsung mobiles. It is a rectangular device with rounded edges and thin form factor. Its almost 9mm thick. On the right side, there is a power / lock switch. The switch is slighly protruding out of the body making it easy to operate. There is nothing in the bottom. The left side has the volume rocker. At the top you will find the 3.5mm audio jack and the micro usb socket for charging and data transfer. The front of the mobile has a 2 mega-pixel camera for video calls. Next to it are the 2 sensor for proximity and ambient light detection. The display is 5 inch IPS LCD capacitive screen with 16 million colors and a resolution of 540 x 960, which means that the pixel density is less than 220 ppi. Its not a great display on the spec sheet. But actually it surprises you. It is bright and rightly saturated. It has good viewing angles and a decent direct-sunlight visibility. Below the display are the 3 back-lit capacitive android buttons. Concealed neatly under them is the mic. At the back you have the 8 Mega pixel camera assisted by LED flash and the speaker grills. The build quality is surprisingly good. Its feels very solid and premium to hold. The plastic used must be of high grade and quality. The device is rimmed by a metal ring all around the body. Its a bit heavy and wide to hold and at 143 x 72, the device is quite big. It is not suited for one hand operation. But going by the standards of mobile sizes these days, I think that this one doesn’t look odd at all. The display and the plastic body are both finger print magnets. The display is not scratch resistant glass.

Score: 2.5/5

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Under the hood

The Karbonn S5 Titanium is a dual sim device. However, it can accomodate one 3G sim and the other can be a 2G sim. It has 4GB of internal storage and 1GB RAM. However the storage can be increased with the microSD card upto 32 GB.  The mobile is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 MSM8625Q chipset with a quad-core CPU clocked to 1.2 GHz. It also has a Adreno 203 GPU. The specs are impressive on the paper and in the real world, I got a quadrant benchmark score of 4578. This is really impressive for a device at this price point. It has a 2000 mAh battery, which lasts for a day of normal usage. The device runs on Android 4.1.2 out of the box. Its feels a lot like pure stock android experience, but with a few customizations and applications added by Karbonn.

Score 3.5/5

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Camera

Karbonn S5 Titanium has a 8 mega pixel auto focusing camera. It is supported by LED flash. Again the device surprises me  as to the quality of the images taken. I would say its not a great camera, but still its a decent camera capable of capturing decent quality images when there is ample light. In low-light the images are grainy and its difficult to focus. The algorithm over-exposes the image and that results in jagged edges. This is also carried forward to some of the daylight photos as well. The color information captured is good enough to carry forward the real color data in the captured images. The camera interface is very basic. It has 4 modes: Portrait, Night, Sport and Auto. Macro is missing. It can also take panaromic shots. I found the front facing camera to be of very mediocre quality. It cannot focus and it suffers from under-exposure. You cannot rely on it for great self portraits. Still I believe that it will be good enough for video calls. The video camera is capable of recording 720p HD videos. The outcome is of decent quality.

Score 3/5

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Verdict

Obviously you cannot compare this mobile with quad core mobiles from HTC, Sony or Samsung. But, if your budget doesn’t allow you to go for the big players, Karbonn S5 is a mobile that will not disappoint you in any way. For a mobile available at little over Rs 11,000, it excels well in design, build-quality, performance and value for money.

Final Score 3/5

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