Karbonn S5 Titanium review

There has been a flood of budget phablets in the Indian market for the last few months. Every mobile phone maker has come out with one or the other phablet to tap this increasingly lucrative smartphone segment. This is not just the case with India, the entire South Asia seems to be hooked to the large-screen smartphones, which solve the problem of keeping two devices at all times.Karbonn S5 Titanium Front

Like other indigenous mobile phone companies, Karbonn Mobiles is also not far behind in this trend. The company launched its first budget phablet in the form of S1 Titanium earlier this year and it followed up with S5 Titanium in March. They have also launched S2 Titanium and S9 Titanium smartphones.

We know we are a bit late in reviewing S5 but as they say, it is better late than never.

We have seen the entry of full HD or HD display sporting budget phablets in the country in the last few weeks, so with its considerably humble specifications but decent pricing; does it make sense to go for S5 Titanium? We will find out in this review.

Hardware

Despite the large 5-inch display on-board, Karbonn S5 Titanium does not feel as heavy as other devices in the same segment. The slim and curvy design ensures that you can comfortably hold the phone.

S5 is fully made of glossy plastic and looks nice in hand but both screen and back of the phone are fingerprint magnets. Within minutes of using the phone, you will see smudges all over the device.  The back cover is also very prone to scratches.Karbonn S5 Titanium

Talking about the specifics, the front of Karbonn S5 Titanium is largely taken by the 5-inch display apart from the ear-piece, capacitive Android buttons, front camera and sensors. The back is pretty much clean apart from the 8-megapixel rear camera, LED flash and loud-speaker. Volume rocker and power button are present on each-sides, while the top houses microUSB port and 3.5mm audio jack. We found the volume rocker to be too thin and gave a lot of problems during the review period.

Overall, the design and build quality of the phone is decent and apart from the slim volume rocker and smudge prone body of the phone, we did not face any functional issues.

Display

Karbonn packs a qHD display on S5 instead of FWGA or WVGA present in similar priced phablets, which is a good thing. It might not have the sharpness of an HD display but it still works quite nicely. The colour reproduction is good; however the viewing angles could have been better.

Although the touch sensitively and multi-touch performance are decent, but we found touch to be overzealous during scrolling and there are quite a few accidental taps, which were not desired.

Performance/ Battery Life

Thanks to the presence of 1.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Play MSM8625Q processor, the overall performance of the phone is quite snappy. We did not find any lag or jitters during the normal usage and the even the casual gaming performance was great. Playing games like Temple Run 2, Angry Birds or even Dead Trigger is not an issue on the phone.

Coming to the multimedia performance, the phone plays 720p HD video clips perfectly but it can’t play 1080p full HD. Speaker is loud enough, however we did find the ear-piece volume slightly low during the calls.

Connectivity options like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth work fine, so does the dual-SIM support.

On the battery front, the phone comes with a 2,000mAh Li-Ion battery, which packs enough juice to keep the phone powered throughout a day on medium usage; heavy users might need to plug-in the phone during the day.

Software

Karbonn S5 Titanium runs on almost stock version of Android 4.1.2 out of the box. Being the vanilla version of the stock, the software feels snappy. Karbonn has made a few tweaks to improve the user experience on the phone including quick settings in notification shade.Karbonn S5 Titanium home-screen

There are some other changes in the UI too, all of them visual but they don’t add any usefulness to the overall experience.

In terms of the pre-loaded apps, Karbonn has included Kingsoft Office, TOI app, Whatsapp, and File Manager etc. All of which can be downloaded for free from Google Play, so pre-loading them does not really add any value apart from the fact that take over some crucial internal storage space and cannot be un-installed.

Camera

The smartphone packs an 8-megapixel rear camera on-board, which gives some good outdoor shots during day-light, however during indoor usage; you will find noise creeping in the images especially when viewed at the full resolution.Karbonn S5 Titanium

The video recording quality is also nice but not earth shattering, however it will work just fine for your normally daily video recording needs.

Front camera works as desired and you will not have issues with video chat or occasional self-portraits.  It is important to note here that there are suddenly a lot of new budget Android smartphones popping in the country with 5MP or 3MP front camera, which I think are just too much and don’t really add any extra value to the device. They will probably make sense in the future when data speeds are great and capable of letting you chat with 5MP resolution video.

The camera app interface is a little different from stock but works nicely and adds a few features. You can adjust settings for white balance, exposure, aspect ratio, face-detection, red eye reduction and more in the app.

Price: INR 11,990

  • Pros: Performance, software
  • Cons: Glossy plastic body

Verdict

So, do I think that Karbonn S5 Titanium is still worth spending INR 11,900? Yes, despite the little quirks that I found as a part of my review, none of them is a real deal-breaker (although I wish that that plastic body was not so fingerprint-friendly). Each of the earlier mentioned issues might be problematic for some consumers but if you can live with them, Karbonn S5 Titanium is surely worth considering for your next budget phablet purchase.

Karbonn S5 Titanium key specifications

  • 5-inch qHD IPS capacitive touchscreen
  • 1.2GHz Qualcomm quad-core Snapdragon S4 Play processor
  • 8-megapixels auto focus rear camera with LED Flash
  • Android 4.1
  • 2-megapixels front camera
  • GPS, 3.5mm audio jack, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi
  • 3G, Dual-SIM support (3G+ 2G)
  • 2000mAh battery
  • 1GB of RAM, 1.4GB of usable internal storage
  • Colours: White, Deep Blue

Karbonn S5 Titanium Gallery

  • Deepak

    pls can someone help me frm this….. in my whats app numbers get shuffle automatically……

  • Ajay

    Most pathetic service centers they have, not bothered at all. Phone with them since 2 months and not yet repaired.

  • Nitin

    Seriously, not a good phone.
    My friend had kept the phone under the scanner at the airport, after getting scanned with his bag, the phone never worked again.

  • Nikhil

    Not a good phone. Viber, Kakao, Fring, Line do not work fully with this phone or with any Karbonn phones. The other person cant hear your voice when using this phone. Had to give this phone during 4th month to the service center, still waiting after 1.5 months, the screen became insensitive. In the service center found many people with same problem.

  • Think

    Does it support stylus? Can you check & tell?

  • Kaivalya

    Best possible configuration at least possible price is a selling point for Karbonn Titanium S5. But [and big but] for me it has been a headache.
    I purchased a Karbonn Titanium S5 phone on 3rd June 2013 in Pune. For no reason it just went dead within a month. I gave it to service station on 24th July 2013. And even today [16th September 2013] I don’t know where my phone is.
    The heights of pathetic service… when I call the service center, they say it is not yet dispatched from head office. When I call the toll free number it is always busy. When I send a mail to customer support, after 10 days I get a reply saying they are looking into it. There is no way to find out what happened to my phone.
    There is no contact options except service center, toll free number and support mail id. And all of them don’t respond. So when I am highly pissed off and want to escalate the issue, I go on the management section on company web site. And “surprise” that section is still “coming soon”. I wonder how this company is still running.
    I have had my share of bad experience, hope this helps you to take an informed decision [and find a better brand].

  • rastogikb

    i will not suggest to anyone to buy s5, very – very poor battery backup. 2.50 hour over but still not charging complete.

  • mihir

    ” successfully registered in karbonn
    server” message it stays on screen until i restart and it comes again
    after a day.. Please help..

  • Ash

    it just 15 days i used the phone but its screen is getting blurr and sometimes it restarts on his own.. :( What to do… any procedure to replace it??

  • sinor

    hey karbomm s5 titanium uses qualumcom processor…& its my favourite precessor i mean to say professor…eh eh ehe ehheehe he heh he h eh he he h eh he hee

    • Aakash

      hahaaaaa ahahaha wehehe w ehehee woooOO hahah

  • Nikhil

    It does not work with Viber, Line, Fing, KakaoTalk as these softwares can detect the phones mic

    • sumit singh

      naach na jaane aangan tedha…..sb support krta hai….

      • kumar

        to bata de bhai kaise karta hai contact ko scan fb k

      • Nikhil

        Cheap guy. Don’t argue unnecessarily. Go try it and come, before being publicly humiliated.

      • Nitin

        Hey dumbo, don’t simply point fingers at others. Go try it out yourself.

      • Akash

        Kutte ki dum tedhi ki tedhi..support nahi karta hai Viber, Line, Fing, KakaoTalk ko..