ZTE Kis Plus: Test of Low-cost Entry-level Smartphones

ZTE Kis Plus: Test of Low-cost Entry-level Smartphones

When it comes to decide which smartphone is best, we often tend to take the strongest, newest and best equipment under the microscope to full-fill your wants. Many users need good phones, but they are able to purchase it at hundreds of dollors. Even in the middle and lower class, there are interesting devices. An absolute low cost device we button before us today: the ZTE Kis Plus also costs less than 96$ without contract. In our review you will find out whether the device is good despite the price a little fight.

KIS_PLUS_black

Look, feel and processing

Earlier ZTE devices like the Blade  or the Skate weren’t bring any  revelation in terms of feel : In particular, the smooth plastic surface leaving the machines like slipping out of his hand and gave them the ” whiff of cheap “. When Kis Plus ZTE has worked on this criticism – with success: The smartphone with dimensions of 6.2 x 11.4 x 1.2 cm and weighs 130 grams not only feels surprisingly good in the hand, but works also optically clear  than the price would suggest.

Let’s go into the details: The front is designed very elegantly. The display glass rests on a slightly rubberized plastic surface inward. This is matte gray, flatters easier thanks to the rubber hand and is visually almost like aluminum – very appealing! In the glass above a cutout for the earpiece grill is milled, who seemingly a bit like the iPhone. Below the display, at the bottom of the glass are the capacities buttons – from left: Menu, Home, Back and Search. The buttons are lit, but obviously only if the light sensor detects an insufficient brightness. A setting that allows the buttons are always lit, even if the display is on, would have been desirable. Speaking of lights: Remarkably, the ZTE Kis Plus has an LED on the top right of the front panel, which provides information about missed calls, new messages, and so on. Lacks a front camera, the light sensor is not visible.

The back of the Kis Plus is designed fairly factual. Glossy plastic is just at the bottom, similar to the Samsung Galaxy S2 as an enclosure for the battery cover. Here the speaker positioned without function that at first glance seem a bit like a tucked stylus on Galaxy Note.The back cover is made of matte plastic, which makes the device less slippery in sweaty hands and sufficiently repels fingerprints. Apart from the top left of the camera lens and the ZTE logo on the back, there is nothing to see. The battery cover is easy to remove, but it does not lock when user is too “tired” one. – The design still seems to be rather stable, it rattles and nothing wobbles, the gaps are small, the lid is on schedule and it seems no voids between battery and provide cover.

Side, we are dealing with a narrow strip of smooth plastic to also, the front and back cover separates. Here are to the right of the micro-USB port for charging and connecting your smartphone to your PC and – viewed from the front – top left of the output jack for headsets. Also hardware buttons may not be missed, we are dealing with the well-to-use volume rocker on the left and also the smooth power button to do on the top.

The price of ZTE Kis Plus can expect no aluminum uni-body enclosure is likely, are obvious. Still makes the ZTE Kis Plus in this category the most of its resources. Thus, the processing would be even with a twice as expensive equipment nor justifiable.

Display

Now we come to one of the two major Achilles heel of ZTE Kis Plus, the screen. The same is problematic in several respects: First, there is the low brightness in the “normal” state. A user of the ZTE Kis Plus should not even try, if he is happy with automatic brightness adjustment, or other manual brightness setting than the highest – anything but the maximum brightness is unfortunately barely usable.

Then, since the resolution is to call: 480 x 320 might not sound so bad when you still relatively low in relation to the screen size is, after all, meet the resulting approximately 165 ppi pixel density of the iPad Mini. Nevertheless, they are anything but contemporary.

The third and biggest stumbling block is the lack of color fidelity at acute angles. Which is “pointed” at the top – we’d better say, in non-frontal view. For tilts to the ZTE Kis Plus even slightly to the right, almost nothing can be seen because the image is basically just black nor white. Ironically, the picture when tilting to the left is much more visible, here it is just too bright, this asymmetry is sometimes a disturbing picture as the effect already at the frontal view of the display due to the different viewing angles of both eyes produced an “unruly” image. In landscape mode, the image is quiet and pleasant overall – questionable why ZTE has not installed display panels that are rotated 90 degrees.

Viewed front and at full brightness, the display can reproduce colors well at least, though the white has a slight blue tint and the black is dark gray rather than black enough. Holds but within. Outdoors Plus the Kis on full brightness is clearly visible. Not available (but not expected) is a coating of grease to display rejection, occasional wiping over required for a streak-free view of the screen.

The bottom line of the display ZTE Kis Plus is indeed usable, but not the eyes.Given the device price, the decision to install a below-average panels provided by the manufacturer is understandable – but considering that the same expensive ZTE Blade was built two years ago, a better display, one can not find the bad.

Camera

The ZTE Kis Plus has no front camera, rear camera without LED flash dissolves with 3.2 MP. In low light conditions you can see nothing, with good a bit. The photo app is partly incomprehensible (adjustable video resolutions are referred to as a VGA, QVGA, CIF and QCIF – even many professionals whose meaning must look up on the net). She also reacts rather slowly: After tapping on the shutter needs an eternity to wait until the photo is taken. When you walk in the finished photos zooms in, then you can see little details and a lot of mud pixels.

Videos produced in resolutions up to 480p. To make it short: Yes, you can with the photos and videos ZTE Kis shoot Plus, no, they are not good and not even in the approach with the results about the HTC One X or Samsung Galaxy S3 to compare, but possibly useful. In relation to the price of the device is nevertheless absolutely fine.

Software

In ZTE  Kis Plus, Android 2.3.6 Gingerbread is  used. This is regrettable, that Gingerbread was already introduced in late 2010 and we have it here, so do not be too far from an updated software version. Android 4.x is also certainly not appear for the Plus Kis. Although the hardware would presumably join yet, but it makes the tight ceiling internal memory – more on that later – all hopes of a newer dessert of Android portfolio can thwart. This means, unfortunately, that included standard apps such as browsers, e-mail and Co. are still at the old stand. Sure, they can be used, but Android has with version 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich made a giant leap forward. Once one gets used to it would, reluctantly come back.

ZTE has provided the Kis Plus with a slightly adapted user interface: The default lock screen requires the prolonged pressure on a circle in the middle.The rest of the software looks like a hybrid of Samsung’s TouchWiz and Sony Ericsson’s Xperia UI, respectively from the Gingerbread era. These are not bad role models: The user receives quick access to settings can be deactivated via a separate panel above the notifications, home screen App-drawer can be surprisingly without scroll up and down. The presented here, certainly has to be referred to as soft as butter home-screen performance surprised us in a positive test.

A “over-steering” wobble effect when changing the screen orientation of home screen in landscape in the browser so much space. The App Drawer also has the properties that new apps will be added back on the list in alphabetical order and not be displayed.

The company delivers more with some applications that are unfortunately in the system memory and are not uninstallable. This is the office suite “Documents to Go”, a backup tool and a notes app. In addition, Google Apps and Google+ playbooks and the software keyboard TouchPal is pre-installed. This is useful and in addition to an intelligent word completion one Swype similar wiper option.

Performance

As already mentioned, the UI of the ZTE Kis Plus runs surprisingly smoothly, although the integrated Qualcomm Snapdragon SoC clocked MSM7227T only at 800 MHz – this SoC was, for example, already in the ZTE Blade, skate and the Samsung Galaxy Ace installed. One reason for the good performance is probably that is ZTE when memory is not stingy shows: 512 MB is for a device of this class unusual amount and, together with the obvious optimized software, and the reduced and thus less power demanding resolution for a relatively good ” perceived “performance. Even in games, the ZTE Kis Plus points – at least if you can get it installed on the scarce internal memory: Even Madfingers 3D zombie shoot- Dead Trigger ran without restrictions with acceptable frame rates, what did astonish us in the editorial well.

In the benchmarks, the Kis Plus is positioned on a solid basis for a single-core machine, and significantly higher than other devices in the same price range as the Huawei Ideos X3 and the ZTE Skate / Base Lutea 2 .

  • CF-Bench: Overall 2520 (Native 4415, Java 1258)
  • AnTuTu: 2830

GLBenchmark could not install due to lack of space.

Connectivity and storage

The minimum standards in terms of connectivity meets the Kis Plus: Bluetooth is on board, as up to the n-standard Wi-Fi. Heading the unit comes with HSDPA into the net, which worked reliably in our test. A compass and GPS are integrated, even here, there was no reason to complain.

We come to the second major sticking point on ZTE Kis Plus, the internal memory: With 512 MB, of which approximately 130 MB of them occupied by the system, you can even regularly make large leaps. When using the smartphone you will find yourself again in long-forgotten patterns of behavior: the permanent deletion of unneeded apps, the constant questioning of whether you are not a newly installed app  takes too much space and the concomitant waiver of such some applications.

Part of the problem may be here again explained by the economic constraints that make the memory failure in the design of such an inexpensive device just more unüppig. Another part is homemade and from the user’s perspective doubly frustrating: For ZTE has several non-essential apps in the system memory. This allows about Documents to Go, the Google+ App, Google Play Books and TouchPal not remove (or not non-root), even if you do not need this. Even more explosive: If updates are available for these apps in the Channel Store, they are even installed again (in/ data / app / ) and eat twice memory.

The decision to so many, and some pre-install enormously memory-hungry apps, is little more user friendly – would have been better, the people are asking for after initial splash screen by which he wants to install these apps and reload them on-demand from the network. So you have to either live with the bad scarce memory and / or as an experienced Android users hoping that soon a root method is developed for the Kis Plus. Then one is namely also can remove unused system apps.

An external slot for micro SD card is integrated, this can be the storage for music, photos, videos and more to increase up to 32 GB.

Multimedia

The video playback in HD brings the ZTE Kis Plus because of the low screen resolution nothing for the occasional YouTube video but it’s enough (Tip: Switching to the YouTube app still at HQ, the video quality is noticeably better then). With HDMI output, the ZTE Kis Plus waits on course just as with sound enhancement techniques in the style of Sony xLoud or HTC’s beats – we expected but not by a 96$ smartphone. When playing videos and audio we noticed, however, that the sound of the mono speaker was perfectly clear and full. A radio is integrated into the course only receives when headphones are plugged.

Telephony

On the phone function of the ZTE Kis Plus nothing goes wrong – on the contrary, calls sounded clear.  The reception sound quality was above average.

Practicality

The problems with internal memory and display have already been addressed. If one is willing to tolerate this, you get a very solid smartphone that meets basic tasks and in everyday life proves to be compact, robust and reliable. The 1400 mAh battery takes the user through the day, if it does not use any services that require extensive background synchronization or perform many games.

Conclusion

Many users of high-end smartphones may be considered a smartphone, ZTE Kis Plus class have no right to exist. That is, upon closer inspection, however, not the case. Because there are still enough owners of feature phones who want to find a low-risk, whether a smartphone is something for them. For this group, the Kis Plus suitable, just as pocket money-friendly smartphone for students, as a replacement device for emergency use, as a second phone for the special night, for the gazebo, as tethering hotspot for WiFi Tablet-only, as a mobile music station while jogging and so on …

Almost each of the previous sections can be summed up “okay for the price” with the words, and so is the price-performance ratio, the outstanding feature of ZTE Kis Plus. We already had several smartphones of 100-euro class in the test, and this is the best ever – even if our vote that is always based on the current market leader, the not suggest at first glance. The ZTE Plus Kis could surprise us in the test period, with its relatively good quality and very solid performance, as I said always in relation to the price. In short: Who is ready to deal with the two major concessions of the device – the parlous state of the display and the scarce internal memory – to arrange, while users wants to spend no more than 96$ for his smartphone strike should. The ZTE Kis Plus is based functions broken down, but useful for smartphone … damn little money.

Rating

  • Display: 1/5
  • Processing and haptics: 3/5
  • Software: 2/5
  • Performance: 2/5
  • Telephony: 4/5
  • Camera: 1/5
  • Connectivity and Memory: 2/5
  • Everyday suitability: 3/5

Overall: 2.3 / 5 
Value for money: 4/5

Pros

  • Good workmanship
  • Liquid interface
  • Best smartphone under 100 euros

Cons

  • Poor display
  • Insufficient internal memory
  • Outdated Android

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