- Decent battery life
- Low internal storage
Ker-phone! Kazam! And just like that here’s our review of the Trooper X3.5 – an affordable, well-specced dual-sim phone that’s a decent all-rounder.
The Kazam Trooper X3.5 pings onto the Recombu review radar as an Android option for those with smaller hands, even smaller budgets, and dual personalities — courtesy of a company whose name sounds more like a camp 70s Batman beat ’em up effect than a tech firm.
You generally don’t expect too much from a sub-£100 smartphone when it comes to build-quality, or design for that matter. Indeed, standard operating procedure in these areas for phones under a ton tends to be a body that’s big on plastic and a structural feel that suggests it was put together by an amateur Airfix enthusiast.
However, whilst Kazam’s Trooper X3.5 certainly hasn’t skimped on the plastic round the back, the overall construction of the handset is surprisingly solid. It measures just 113mm tall and 63mm wide, so the tiny Trooper sits snugly and securely in your palm, saving owners from the butter-fingered screen breakages associated with much larger smartphone models. However, this means that – as the name might have suggested – screen-size is a mere 3.5 inches. Which leads to the next issue; that diddy display’s resolution is a disappointing 320×480, but then this is bane of the budget phone.
At 12.mm thick, the X3.5 is also a little on the chunky side when compared to its middle-to-top-end contemporaries, but that just adds to its reassuringly sturdy physique.
Available in black, white and dark blue finishes, the Trooper X3.5 is not going to win any beauty pageants, but beauty is only skin deep, so let’s peel it.
As mentioned earlier, the Kazam Trooper X3.5 comes armed with Google’s open source Android OS, in this instance the now 4.4 KitKat-eclipsed but still tasty 4.2 Jelly Bean flavour, un-tweaked in any way to keep it pure and instantly accessible to all interested Android-experienced would-be owners. As a result of its Jelly Bean diet the device responds rapidly enough as though in the throes of a minor sugar rush, and free from any unexpected interface features or surprise special gesture controls, this Kaza is obviously aimed at those who wish to keep it simple.
Deliberately unremarkable in its software then, you may be wondering how the Trooper X3.5 differentiates itself from the ever increasing array of cheap-and-often-not-so-cheerful also-rans that are dished out from all sides on a daily basis. Well, by appealing to business people and serial philanderers… or so we suspect.
Double the Pleasure
Qualifying that last statement as best we can, the Kazam Trooper X3.5 not only has a dual core processor that clocks in at a manageable 1GHz, it also offers owners something few others in this price bracket can: dual SIM slots. Letting users switch between SIMs willy and, indeed, nilly, those previously forced to carry two phones due to work and personal lives being forcibly separated can now pair down to a single smartphone – at a cost that’s also guaranteed to keep the company bean counters happy; that and assisting those indulging in infidelity to keep partner and lover apart, obviously.
On the graphics front, the Kaza comes with a Mali-400 MP from ARM, and seeing to storage it features 4GB of internal memory, backed up by an SD card slot that expands said storage to a far more suitable 32GB.
So a spec list you’d probably expect for a phone costing under a Long ’un – as Cockney types would call it – but the X3.5 certainly doesn’t seem to suffer any issues, handling multi-tasking with efficient aplomb and competently coping with video without leaving you stuttering and stammering on a stubbornly stuck screen. Therefore as a case of ‘it’s not what you’ve got, it’s how you use it’, the Kazam works hard to please.
Okay, helping Trooper-scoopers capture enormo-images is clearly not the raison d’etre of the X3.5. Whilst the front features a perfectly Skype-adequate 0.3-megapixel affair, the main snapper round the rear only manages 3 megapixels. However, in an attempt to compensate for its camera’s short-comings, it does feature smile-detecting autocapture, a panorama mode, GPS location info, flash, self-timer, continuous shot mode, plus basic colour effects and the ability to alter both exposure and white balance. That’s enough to keep most image-capturers entertained, but probably not a viable option for snap-happy photo-fanatics who favour a smartphone over an actual camera.
And you might need all of that, as with no image stabiliser and a shutter lag that’s just a picosecond too long, unless you’ve ideal lighting conditions and hands steadier than a bomb disposal expert, you may find effects the only way to distract from fuzzy photos.
On the video side, the Kaza is capable of shooting 720p HD resolution at a rate of 30fps, which should be more than ample for most.
Solid, compact and kept to the basics, the Trooper X3.5 has been exceptionally well named: it’s a bit of a trooper. It’s dependable and, at its price-point, pretty much expendable. A smartphone for those who seek firm functionality over elaborate bells and whistles, the smallest of the Kazam family still packs a performance punch.