|Kata Digital M2 Review: M for Mammoth|
The M2 is the latest smartphone from Kata Digital, it is the second device in their M-series wherein the M1 which we reviewed last May was the first one.
Many have thought that the M2 would be the first octa core phone by Kata, however, it turns out to be another quad core phablet like the M1. Unlike most successors, the M2 is actually a toned down version of its predecessor. The screen size is smaller at 5.5-inch compared to 5.7-inch found at M1, the display resolution is also cut down from Full HD (1920x1080) to HD (1280x720). Even though it is using a newer MT6582 chipset, it is clocked at a lower frequency (1.3GHz versus 1.5GHz). The RAM size is now 1GB from 2GB and the battery is almost reduced to half at 2300mAh compared to 4000mAh.
The main advantage of the M2 is that it is made more affordable at Php6,999 or 3000 pesos cheaper than the M1. It also comes with FREE 25GB of Kata Cloud storage on top of the usual 5GB for a total of 30GB.
The front is largely covered by the M2's display, above it you will find the camera, earpiece grill and hidden sensors while below the screen you have the usual three capacitive keys.
The back has a unique textured design similar or comparable to a carbon fiber sticker, it really looks nice and gives you additional grip. Here you can find the 13MP main camera accompanied by an LED flash directly below. The Fish logo is placed near the center while the Kata branding is at the lower part slightly above right of the loudspeaker grill.
|Back without the cover|
Removing the back plate will reveal the 2300mAh battery, the micro SIM slot, the micro SD slot and the regular SIM slot. Both the micro SIM and micro SD slots are placed on top of the regular SIM slot. The battery is blocking their way, which means that you need to turn off first your device and remove the battery before you can access the slots.
The left side has nothing on it while the right side has the both the volume rocker and the power lock button.
The top houses the 3.5mm audio jack and the micro USB port while there is nothing at the bottom.
The M2 is sexier than the M1 in all aspects, it is shorter, narrower and thinner, however, it is heavier by 10 grams (215g versus 205g). The left and right sides are made of metallic material (probably aluminum) that adds to a more striking and elegant look. In terms of build quality, every inch translates to a premium standard.
The Kata M2 has a 5.5-inch capacitive touchscreen display having 720p resolution and an IPS technology for a wide viewing angles of vibrant, sharp and crisp pictures.
The M2 is equipped with the basic sensors namely accelerometer, proximity and ambient light. All are working well during test and in actual use.
|Antutu - 17494|
|Quadrant - 7123|
|NenaMark2 - 52.5fps|
|Vellamo, Browser - 1852, Multicore - 1169 & Metal - 801|
The benchmark results are typical for a device with 1.3GHz quad core MT6582 processor and Android KitKat OS.
The M2 runs on Android 4.4.2 KitKat out of the box without proprietary skin or customized UI, all you got is the same stock Android interface that we are all familiar with. The lockscreen with padlock icon which you can drag anywhere to unlock the device, a homescreen with 5 shortcuts docked at the bottom, a notification area and quick setting that are accessible with a flick of a finger or two from the top edge of the screen.
The M2 has dual SIM dual standby capability, you can set which SIM to use for a specific function by going to Settings>SIM Management. The telephony support smart dialing, just key-in numbers or name and it will automatically look for matching contacts. The call quality is loud and clear, both parties can hear and understand each other plus the screen automatically turns off while you are on call. Other basic functions like phonebook, messaging and email are all working as they should.
The gallery will display all supported photos and videos on your device, you can filter them by albums, locations or times and you can view them in groups (grid) or one by one (filmstrip). Any item under the gallery can be shared locally or online via email or through social accounts. There is also a photo editor app and video trimming app available, plus the Adobe PDF converter (but it requires you to subscribe for a hefty price of USD9.99 per month).
Video Player, Music Player & FM Radio:
|Video Player, MX Player, Music Player and FM Radio|
The stock video player can play every file I threw at it (.mkv, .mp4, .avi, .flv, .3gp) up to 1080p resolution, watching on its big and vibrant screen is really pleasurable and enjoyable. If you need a more functional video player, there is also MX Player installed by default. The FM radio and music player are both stock Android and working properly.
Camera & Video:
|Camera and Video|
The camera and video share the same interface, their buttons are placed side by side at the bottom part in between the settings icon and the thumbnail of the last item taken. The camera modes are normal, live photo, face beauty and panorama. In video recording, you can capture photos and videos simultaneously.
|Low light without flash|
|Low light with flash|
The Kata M2 is equipped with 13MP main camera, it can capture decent images both when there is a good lighting and in low-light condition. The LED flash is also quite powerful and can really light up the subject or the environment. There is also no problem with close-up photography, it can focus on a subject at about 3 inches plus it creates good bokeh.
A single photo has an average size of 3MB, however, its quality is just similar or almost the same with other 13MP camera phones that produces photos with a file size of 1.5MB to 2MB like the Oplus + Air and SKK Mobile Marian S.
The M2 is equipped with a stock Android browser, it loads web pages fast enough, even those with heavy scripting and lots of images. If you need more powerful browser, you can always download one in the Play Store.
|Dungeon Hunter 4|
|Heroes of Order & Chaos|
|Dead Trigger 2|
The games like Dungeon Hunter 4, Heroes of Order & Chaos and Dead Trigger 2 are generally smooth, although you will experience lag when the screen is full of zombies/enemies. The Asphalt 7 is playable, however, there is about 1/4 to 1/2 second delay when you tilt the phone and before it reacts. I also installed Despicable Me, but you will experience hiccups every now and then.
The device has 16GB of internal storage wherein 13.41GB is accessible to the user (2.95GB internal storage + 10.46GB phone storage). If you think it is a bit small, you can always insert an SD card and move your applications to it.
The M2 has a dual SIM slot wherein both SIM cards are capable of 3G connectivity (one at a time), you can then share this high speed internet connection via WiFi hotspot, Bluetooth or USB tethering. You can also monitor/manage your data consumption by going to Settings>Data Usage. The Bluetooth and WiFi are both working fine, using Cast Screen (Miracast) is also OK. It also comes with wireless printing option, but I never tried if it is working or not.
On top of the usual Android productivity and tools (calculator, calendar, file manager, sound recorder, clock and to do), it also comes with pre-installed EverNote, Adobe Reader and WPS (KingSoft) Office.
For some reason, my unit can detect GPS satellites, but unable to get a lock. I do not know if this is a defect in my unit or a software glitch in general.
I left my unit in standby mode with two SIM cards active for more than 4.5 days and surprisingly, it still have 100% charge. I even restart the phone to check if the reading is correct and it is (99% after restart). In terms of video playback, it lasts for almost 5 hours before the battery warning showed up. Meanwhile, playing HD (Asphalt 7) continuously only lasted for more about 2 hours.
|Fish Market, KataCloud & WipeOut|
|Smart Wake, Hotspot & Owtel 3G|
The Fish Market is Kata's own application store while the KataCloud is their own cloud storage service and as I mentioned earlier, it comes with a total of 30GB FREE online storage. The WipeOut allows you to close applications running in the background either one by one or all at the same time.
There is also a Smart Wake features that you can activate and configure under the system settings. You can double tap on the screen to wake it up or draw letters to go directly to a specific application, e.g. letter C to awake the Camera.
The Hotspot is self-explanatory, however, for me it is a redundancy since you can find the same function under the settings. On the other hand, Owtel 3G is an app dedicated for Owtel subscribers, but obviously we do not have that kind of network in the country.
The M2 is the best looking smartphone Kata Digital has produced so far, it has the right amount of bezels, metallic frame, carbon fiber-like back cover and a slim waistline. Aside from its appealing physique, it also packs a pretty decent specs, a vibrant 5.5-inch HD display, 1.3GHz quad core processor, 1GB RAM, 16GB of ROM and 13MP main camera.
5.5-inch HD display
1.3GHz quad core processor
1GB of RAM
16GB of ROM
Above average camera performance
A bit heavy
No scratch resistant glass
Lags in some games
GPS not working
- Dual SIM (regular+micro) dual standby,
- Quad band GSM/GPRS/EDGE, triple band HSPA+
- 5.5-inch IPS capacitive HD (1280x720) touchscreen display
- Dimensions: 157mm x 77mm x 7.98mm
- Weight: 215g
- Android 4.4.2 KitKat
- 1.3GHz Quad Core Cortex-A7 CPU, Mali-400MP2 GPU, MediaTek MT6582 chipset
- 1GB of RAM
- 16GB internal storage, expandable up to 32GB via a micro SD slot
- 13MP auto focus main camera with LED flash,
- 5MP secondary camera
- 1080p video recording
- Multimedia player
- FM Radio
- 3.5mm Audio Jack
- GPS with A-GPS support
- WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, WiFi Direct, Wi-Fi Hotspot
- Micro USB 2.0
- Bluetooth v4.0
- Sensors: accelerometer, proximity, light
- 2300mAh Li-Po battery
- Price: Php6,990