Karbonn is known to introduce feature rich, affordable handsets and they
have tried to do the same with their latest offering Karbonn KT21.
Karbonn KT21 is a dual-SIM touch and type phone that comes with the
promise of various multimedia and utility features. With an emerging set
of affordable touch and type devices, will this handset be able to
stand out? We figure out in this review.Hardware/ Design
first glance, we found the Karbonn KT21 to be a good-looking handset at
the price it's being offered. It's light and comfortable to hold.
Unlike most touch and type phones, Karbonn KT-21 sports a big 2.8-inch
The back has a 3.2 MP camera and a speaker. In the front
is a physical keypad with a dedicated key for Push Mail/ Smart Mail and
three capacitive touch buttons below the touch screen. The top has a
micro-USB port and a 3.5 mm headphone jack. Overall, the handset
features good finishing and the silver side casing adds to the entire
'look' of the device.
Karbonn KT21 has a 2.8-inch
display, and for a touch and type phone the display seems to be well
sized and is comfortable to use. Brightness levels are decent and work
well for regular use. In sunlight though, it turns out to be a little
dim. When compared to any regular phone with a physical keypad, this
handset's big screen gives it a slight edge in terms of viewing photos
The phone comes with a 3.2 MP camera,
which can also be used for video recording. The best part about the
camera on the device is the interface of the camera app. It comes with
various features including burst shot selection that allows you to pick
the best image out of five captured images.
Other features include
smile detection, panorama, white balance controls and the ability to
add frames. All these features are put together in a very camera like
interface where you have gears that rotate similar to a normal physical
selection dial in a camera. Software aside, the picture quality is about
average and not something to talk much about.
Software/ User Interface
K21 runs on Karbonn's own proprietary software and the company has
tried to customise it rather well. The lock screen has nice animations.
Three options adorn the screen - Call, Unlock and Message. To select one
of these all you need to do is to choose the desired option all the way
up. Also, many animated wallpapers come pre-loaded with the device.
phone comes pre-loaded with social networking and Internet based
applications like Facebook, YouTube, Mobile TV, Newshunt, Yahoo
Messenger, Y! Weather, Y! Finance and Y! News. It also comes with
Karbonn Instant Messenger a.k.a KIM that offers gTalk like
On the games front, it supports Java applications
and had games like Cut The Rope and Fruit Ninja pre-installed. With some
lag in the performance, the gaming experience is not one that you would
like to remember.
For an entry-level device, the phone has decent
utility features like Airplane mode/ Flight mode, scheduled power
on/off and also, auto quick end that ends every call after a desired
duration saved in the settings. That is surely some help to save you
battery power and money, if you don't mind your calls getting
interrupted in the middle!
Utility applications like Calender,
World Clock, Notes, Task Planner and Ebook Reader come installed in the
phone as well. All apps are pretty usable and not just placeholders like
most entry-level phones have.
Performance/ Battery life
major problem with the device was the signal reception. In a room where
we were getting near about full signal strength in other devices,
Karbonn KT21 was showing poor signal strength. Call quality and clarity
was about average. Additionally, due to problems with the signal
reception outgoing messages often failed.
The combination of a
touch-screen and a physical keypad comes with its own functionalities
and limitations. Forsending texts and emails, big touch screens have
always had an edge with the presence of full QWERTY keyboards on the
screen. But for other day to day activities like making calls, a
physical keypad is generally more convenient. But on the KT-21, while
typing on the touch screen keyboard is a bit difficult given the size of
the screen, the keys of the physical keypad are comfortable. The
keyboard on the device feels cramped. Also, the touch is not that
responsive and suffers from lags from time to time.
been marketing the phone for its 'Smart Mail' feature. The phone also
has a dedicated Smart Mail key. We tried setting up an account in Smart
mail via GPRS and due to the poor signal reception had several errors
while doing so. The device gives the option to set up Outlook, Gmail,
Yahoo, Windows Live or custom email accounts.
As far as the
smartness of Smart Mail is concerned, the notifications are quick and
the refresh time is decent. Push mail works as expected. The phone uses
minimal packet data and downloads only part of a long email. The rest of
the email can be downloaded upon request. The 1000 mAh battery gave a
decent battery backup and was able to last one-two days on a single
The strength of the device is the user
interface and the features that it offers for its price. On the
downside, the proprietary OS means a lack of apps. Another major
drawback is that the signal reception in this handset is not very good
and for any user this could be a major deterrent for purchasing this
handset. The UI adds to the whole experience of using the phone. For
someone who has been using a non-touchscreen phone, this device might
help make the shift.
- Big display
- User Interface
- Poor signal reception
- Poor touch response
Ratings (out of 5)
Battery life: 4
Value for Money: 3