If you’ve been watching the IPL, and perhaps that’s a silly statement, anyway, you’ll have noticed the ads for Karbonn one of those many many budget mobile companies sprouting up all over. So this, their K560 Dual SIM mobile is one of those touchscreen devices that also comes with a standard keypad. Here’s a closer look.
The K560 is a sleek looking handset. It’s slim and designed well enough to be comfortable to use. The volume and camera key are unusually on the ‘wrong’ side. The 3.5mm handsfree port is on the other side just above the digicam sized USB/charging port. I did try using a digicam’s USB cable but the handset kept giving me a message that the earphones were plugged in. Only the actual USB provided with the handset worked. Spooky! The earphone socket was also an issue. I wasn’t able to hear anything if the handsfree or my own earphones were plugged in until I jiggled the plug and removed it almost a quarter of the way out.
Designed to be a multimedia handset there’s a shortcut key to the music player on one side of the five-way nav-pad. The Dual SIM answer/call keys could have been color coded or numbered as the little dashes can sometimes be confusing. But on the whole the keypad is very comfortable to use even for long periods. As usual, the microSD card slot is located under the battery. That’s a universal trait with these Java mobiles.
It’s a good looking handset but the internal design schematics when it comes to connectivity ports were a big issue here. Like they say it’s what’s ‘inside’ that counts.
Features and Performance
This handset’s manufacturers have gone with an HTC-like WinMob desktop customization. By swiping your finger across the screen or clicking the side scrolling key on the nav-pad you can have a large clock or Calendar placed on the desktop. The main menu system comes with 3D animations just to add a little more than color to the overall look of the handset. The UI is smooth without any sort of lag or deal in response time. Touch sensitivity is average. It’s finger friendly to a small extent. The UI also supports handwriting recognition, that’s also where the stylus comes in handy.
The problem with most of these budget dual input handsets is that the touchscreen is actually quite redundant. It’s just a gimmick to impress potential customers – a touchscreen device in an affordable low price range. Me thinks if that function were removed it would knock off at least Rs. 800 – Rs. 1000 off the overall price.
The music player is loud and quite clear. The EQ presets help quite a bit and I was particularly happy with the customizable option of a five-band graphic EQ setting especially the interface for the same. The bundled handsfree served their purpose but using a better set of earphones made a considerable difference to the total output. The music player also comes with plenty of options and categories like Genre, Artist etc. and even allows you to create playlists. The K560’s FM radio also worked out quite well. It even has a schedule record function.
For videos you’ll have to drop the resolution during conversion. Files in a 320 x 240 pixel 3GP or MPEG4 format will be read but will frame quite a bit. Sadly, lowering the resolution the quality you’ll end up with is not too good. A couple of games have been tossed in too.
The connectivity options are strictly basic. The K560 offers nothing out of the ordinary. It offers GPRS/WAP for net access, Bluetooth with A2DP for media, calls and file transfers and USB for PC to phone data transfer. When hooked up to a PC a Web Cam option is also available. You can receive MMS messages but no emails. Instead of the touchscreen Karbonn should have focused on having usable features like preloading social networking apps.
All standard mobile features like a Calendar, calculator, alarm, stopwatch, convertors are all available. The few extras thrown in include a BMI calculator, an eBook reader that’s also becoming quite a regular with these handsets and security functions. The security functions include a VIP option that lets you password protect certain aspects of the handset like the phone book, messages etc. There’s also a mobile tracker option as well as a feature to bar specific numbers and a Fixed Dial option, which can work as a sort of parental lock system.
The audio clarity for this handset when it came to calls was a major cause of concern. I also heard a few complaints from those on the other end about distortion in my voice. Signals were clear and irrespective of where I was, indoors or out I was unable to clearly hear what was being said.
The 2 megapixel camera worked well indoors under bright light. Images weren’t as crisp as those from higher end models but they were quite decent. In sunlight conditions, even though images did appear quite clear, they always seemed a bit dull for some reason. Even after adjusting the contrast and brightness. Features are quite standard.
The K560 has an 850mAh battery. That’s not as good as some of the other in its price range. On a single charge the handset averaged at about 2 hours and 15 minutes of talk time. You’ll get about a day and half of usage.
The Bottom Line
The price tag on the K560 is Rs. 5000. While that may seem reasonable for a handset that looks as good as this, the overall functioning of the handset doesn’t quite justify it. There are too many kinks with the connectivity ports, the poor audio quality for calls which is vital for any mobile handset and the low battery life. If a dual input phone is what you’re looking for in this budgeted range the Intex IN4495 is a better choice by comparison.
Published Date: Mar 27, 2010 01:39 pm | Updated Date: Mar 27, 2010 01:39 pm