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Karbonn K9 Smart Selfie

Colours:
default
Features:
  • Supports Indian bands
  • VoLTE
  • 8 GB + 32 GB Expandable
  • Dual SIM: Micro + Micro
  • No Fingerprint sensor
  • FM Radio

Highlights from Expert Review

Pros
  • Decent Build quality
  • Front 8MP Camera is good
  • 4G VoLTE support
Cons
  • Poor battery
  • Average performance

Specifications

General
Launch DateOctober 30, 2017 (Official)
BrandKarbonn
ModelK9 Smart Selfie
Operating SystemAndroid v7.0 (Nougat)
SIM Slot(s)Dual SIM, GSM+GSM
SIM SizeSIM1: Micro
Network4G: Available (supports Indian bands)
Fingerprint Sensor
Quick Charging
Design
Weight172 grams
ColoursBlack, Blue
Display
Screen Size5 inches (12.7 cm)
Screen Resolution480 x 854 pixels
Pixel Density196 ppi
Display TypeTFT
Touch Screenyes
Performance
ChipsetMediaTek MT6737M
ProcessorQuad core, 1.1 GHz, Cortex A53
Architecture64 bit
RAM1 GB
Storage
Internal Memory8 GB
Expandable Memoryyes
Camera
Resolution8 MP Front Camera
Autofocusyes
Optical Image Stabilisation
Flashyes
Image Resolution2592 x 1944 Pixels
SettingsExposure compensation, ISO control
Shooting ModesContinuos Shooting, High Dynamic Range mode (HDR)
Camera FeaturesDigital Zoom, Auto Flash, Face detection
Battery
Capacity2300 mAh
TypeLi-ion
User Replaceableyes
Network & Connectivity
SIM SizeSIM1: Micro, SIM2: Micro
Network Support4G (supports Indian bands), 3G, 2G
VoLTEyes
SIM 1
SIM 2
Wi-Fiyes
Wi-Fi FeaturesMobile Hotspot
Bluetoothyes
GPSyes
NFC
USB ConnectivitymicroUSB 2.0
Multimedia
FM Radioyes
Loudspeakeryes
Audio Jack3.5 mm
Special Features
Fingerprint Sensor
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Expert Review

Conclusion:

The Karbonn K9 Smart Selfie is a decent selfie-centric smartphone at a price that is affordable. The design and build are good, the front camera is also fair, and it also comes with latest Android OS. On the downside, the K9 smart selfie lacks in performance and battery departments. We were never able to achieve single day of battery life during our testing period, nor the performance was smooth with slight heavy usage. So, if a selfie camera at an entry-level segment is your requirement, then the Karbonn K9 smart selfie is perfect for you, if not there are other options like the Reliance Lyf Wind 7, Lyf C459, and the Xiaomi Redmi 4A that offer better value for money.

Introduction:

Thanks to Vivo and Oppo, Selfie revolution in India has started taking a drastic turn with features mainly focused on the front camera. Brands like Samsung, Lenovo, Huawei, Asus and even the current No.1 brand in India; Xiaomi is also following the bandwagon. The selfie feature is mainly limited to mid-range and few budget segment phones, but with the Karbonn K9 Smart Selfie, the selfie trend has finally reached to the entry-level segment as well. One must appreciate Karbonn for bringing out phones in the affordable section with the feature that is currently trending all over India. While the selfie department of the K9 Smart Selfie is a welcome addition, the rest of the hardware seems pretty basic. Either way, in our today’s review we shall find out if the new selfie phone from Karbonn is a worthy option to consider or not. Let’s get started.

The handset sports a 5-inches FWVGA (854 x 480 pixels) 2.5D curved glass display and is powered by the 1.1 GHz quad-core processor. There is 1GB RAM and 8GB internal memory that is further expandable up to 32GB via microSD. It runs on Android 7.0 Nougat right out of the box. In the camera department, the device features a 5-megapixel rear camera with LED Flash and an 8-megapixel front camera. Connectivity features include 4G VoLTE, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, and GPS. A 2300mAh battery for all your battery requirements.

Design & Display:

The Karbonn K9 Smart Selfie has a plastic body that sits comfortably in hands and also feels quite premium. The 2.5D curved glass gives good grip when holding the phone in landscape mode while watching a video or playing games. The design, however, is a regular affair. It has a rectangular candy bar design with rounded edges and slightly curved back panel. The rear panel is a smooth matte finish that slips quite easily from hands, so you need to have grip all the time when the using the phone.

Moving to placements, the front of the device houses an 8MP selfie camera, the usual set of sensors, main earpiece, and down below, you find the three capacitive keys which aren’t backlit. The volume rockers and the power button is present on the right, and the 3.5mm headphone jack along with the microUSB port is situated on the top. At the bottom, you have the primary microphone. Flipping the device to the rear is where the 5MP camera, LED flash, Karbonn logo, main speaker grill is present. Strip opening the back panel gives you access to the sim card and microSD card slot and 2300mAh battery. Overall, the Karbonn A9 smart selfie has a typical no-nonsense design that gets the basics right for the price of the device.

The device sports a 5-inches FWVGA (854 x 480 pixels) 2.5D curved glass display. The 2.5D curved Glass is a welcome addition as it brings an excellent grip and comfort when holding the phone in landscape. Though being an FWVGA resolution, the colour reproduction is good, and the viewing angles are also fine. We didn’t notice any color shift while tilting or viewing the display from extreme angles. However, it lacks sharpness when reading text or viewing images because of the low-resolution screen. The pixilation of the content is noticeable around the edges of the text and pictures.

Brightness levels are decent; we had no issues accessing the content under direct sunlight despite being the lowest resolution. Touch response is fine, and there was no delay in response as well. Also, the screen is not meant for HD content consumption; you can stream or play 480p SD quality video at best and nothing beyond it. Just as you would expect, there is no protected glass on top, but the quality of the screen itself feels quite rigid so that it might withhold a couple of sudden drops. Overall, though being compact at 5-inches, the display quality is strictly average because of the low-resolution panel.

Performance:

1.1GHz Quad-Core processor powers the Karbonn K9 Smart Selfie, the company hasn’t revealed the chipset. General day-to-day tasks like taking calls, sending messing, browsing with 1-2 tabs, watching videos was smooth. We didn’t face any lag or stutters while using the device as we always cleared the background running apps when not using. Though there are no significant freezing issues, the phone does slow down on putting little pressure on it. The chipset used is unknown, and the clock speed is also very less for the phone to put up with current apps that need more power and resources to run smoothly.

Don’t get us wrong; the device still can function your daily commutes with ease, but nothing beyond it. We tried games like Subway Surfers, Temple Run 2, Asphalt Nitro and more. For the most part, the games were playable with occasional frame drops and stutters, but they come as a package with the phone at this price segment.

Overall, the Karbonn K9 Selfie Smart is a decent offering, but the performance is too basic.

Cameras:

The Karbonn K9 Smart Selfie features a 5MP rear camera with LED flash and an 8MP front camera. The company is targeting the phone as selfie centric phone, so, let’s start with the front camera. The selfies clicked in daylight and outdoors are great with decent details and colours. There are no dedicated selfie features as such, but there is a beauty mode for skin enhancements before clicking the selfie. The front camera is superior regarding specifications as well as performance. The low-light snaps were also good as well. Though there is no flash, it did manage to click acceptable selfies that are even social shareable. Karbonn should have included a front flash as well which would have helped in low-light.

Moving to the rear camera, there is a 5-megapixel sensor that too, for the most part, does a fine job with landscape and macro clicks. The colours and details produced in well-lit conditions are great. There is autofocus support. Hence you can manually adjust the focus before clicking the images. The focusing is also fast; we didn’t notice any significant delay in focus. When you bring in the price of the device, the photos clicked via the rear camera are acceptable, but in general, the images are noisy and dull for our liking. Moving to low-light, the rear camera clicks images which are washed out and noisy and entirely unusable.

The rear camera can record 720p HD video, and the quality of the video is fine, but it is shaky if you are not holding the phone tightly. Overall, the camera performance of the K9 Smart Selfie is decent, the front camera especially does a good job and justifies the name.

Battery:

The Karbonn K9 Smart Selfie rocks a 2300mAh battery with no support for fast charge. It is a generic offering at this price, and the battery can last till the afternoon even with mixed to moderate usage. It is mainly because of the Nougat operating system and apps like Facebook, WhatsApp; Google Maps which drain more power to keep them running in the background. The idle battery drain is definitely on the higher side, as we noticed almost 10-15% of discharge even when the device is left untouched with 4G turned on.

This might be an issue of poor battery calibration or improper optimization, but the issue end of the day exists. If you were to pick the K9 smart selfie, we suggest you carry the bundled charger or a power bank with you all the time to constantly charge it up when needed. During our time with the device, we got a screen-on-time of around 2 hours at best which is literally poor performance in today's terms. You can still squeeze in more out of the battery, if you turn off mobile data or WiFi when not in use and clear or force stop apps especially those which send push notifications. Though these tips might save battery to some extent, it is not how you would want to use your smartphone by restricting.

Overall, the battery performance of the K9 Smart selfie is very poor even with very casual usage.

Audio & Video:

The Karbonn K9 Selfie Smart comes with a headset within the box, and the speaker grill is present on the rear side. The audio via the speaker grill is loud and clear with no hint of crackling or distortion with high-volume as well. The basic earphones were not much of use, so we had to use the ones we have with us which then was good with an excellent balance of bass and Mids. The default music player was able to play wide-range of audio formats despite the lack of equalizer.

In the video department, as we mentioned in the display section, the K9 Smart Selfie couldn’t play 1080p or 720p videos, so we had to restrict to regular 480p for media consumption. We installed MX Player which supports most video formats, as the default video player was not capable enough and lacks features.

Software & Ui:

The Karbonn K9 Smart Selfie runs on Android 7.0 Nougat right out of the box. It is good to see brands like Karbonn offering better user experience with latest OS. Though there is no hope for future updates as most entry-level phones usually don’t get OS updates, for now, it is running somewhat latest operating system. The interface is close to stock with native vanilla icons. The stock Android helps in smooth functioning of the interface, and there are no frame drops in our day-to-day usage.

Apart from Google native apps, there are a bunch of applications that come pre-installed, and they can’t be uninstalled unless you are rooted. The device comes with 1GB of RAM out which around 400MB is free when just the default apps are running in the background. With the available free RAM, you can multitask and run most of the essential apps as well. For the most part, the interface and the U.I navigations are smooth unless you are running resource-intensive applications. With 3-4 apps running in the background, the Karbonn K9 Smart Selfie can do multitasking smoothly with no issues or lag. But, anything beyond that level results in delay and sluggishness. Overall, the interface and the OS part of the K9 selfie is decent, but don’t expect smooth U.I performance even with slight heavy usage.

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