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Google’s most ambitious bet with the lightweight Android Go is a welcome move on improving the user experience of budget smartphone users itel doesn’t want to be left behind. The company just launched the itel A32F that comes bundled with Android Oreo(Go Edition) and a fingerprint sensor, a first for phones in this range.

Specifications in brief:

  • 5″ Display
  • 1GB RAM
  • 8GB Internal Storage
  • 2MP selfie camera
  • 5MP main camera
  • 2050mAh battery

We got to play around with this phone and here’s our full review.

Android Go Performance

itel A2F

Android Go is similar to the normal Android we know of, with performance tweaks embedded in it. The suite of Go apps that came preinstalled with the phone made the phone function smoothly for a phone with 1GB of RAM. The likes of Google Go, Mail Go, Google Assistant Go, Maps Go and Youtube Go(my favourite) met my expectations by giving me an Android experience similar to the full Google apps without cramming up my storage. Also when I needed to download other apps, Google’s Play Store even suggested other lightweight apps such as Facebook’s Messenger Lite.

Android Go experience on this phone has been seamless with its clean software and speedy performance that if a phone with similar specs came with the regular Android version you’d be so frustrated while using it. So this is a huge plus for itel.

Connectivity

itel A2F_topfront

The phone comes with 3G connectivity that works perfectly well especially since 4G isn’t that widespread apart from Nairobi and other major towns. It gets in handy especially when you’re upcountry and still want to know the latest trending memes. Browsing is smoothly handled and you get to save data since the phone has been optimized for this purpose.

Design

itel A2F_back

The phone comes with a quality finish and the curved edges offer great grip. For the cautious, a plastic back cover comes in the box to give you assurance and protect your phone from the occasional scratches and falls. There are capacitive navigation buttons on the bottom bezel. A plastic protector covers the screen and prevents accidental scratches that happen when your phone is in your pocket.

The Fingerprint Scanner

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This sensor used to be a feature only found in the midrange, high-end and premium phones but itel wants everyone to experience this functionality, and guess what? The sensor not only unlocks your phone at a surprisingly fast speed but also does other tasks such as launching apps directly when you unlock the phone with a certain preset finger – for instance, I had my middle finger set up to launch Instagram.

You can register up to 8 fingers and give them shortcuts according to your apps of interest. This is brilliant since you now don’t have to unlock your phone, go to the app drawer and then launch the app you want to use, you simply swipe the respective finger and you’re in.

Media Consumption

The itel A32F comes in the traditional 16:9 aspect ratio and at its small size will make it comfortable to use in the age of taller devices. itel made a compromise with the 5″ screen that comes at 480p resolution which will discourage lots of you but once you remember the price you paid, you get a consolation.

itel A2F_earpiece

Interestingly, the audio is solely delivered through the earpiece speaker, there’s no dedicated loudspeaker. This is a brilliant idea as the audio is served front-facing and not bottom-firing like the majority of phones out there. The quality of the audio is decent but loud volumes distort it a bit, this has come to be expected of most phones.

The phone packs a headphone jack and there is a pair of basic earphones bundled in the box. BoomPlay music app also comes preinstalled, replacing Google’s Play Music app. You get 8GB of internal memory with 5GB left for you to use and if that isn’t enough, there’s a slot for expandable storage, up to 32GB.

Cameras

itel A2F_cameraui

The back camera packs a 5MP shooter and the front one comes with a 2MP for taking selfies. Both have LED flashes, however, they aren’t that exciting but they do the job – They take decent pictures but struggle with saturation. There are filters on the camera to enhance the pictures you take before sharing them on social media.

Battery

You get a removable 2050mAh battery that will power all the internals. The battery life, in general, is satisfactory, the phone doesn’t have a lot of pixels to push and with most of your radios off, you will get through the day and only recharge at night. However, heavy usage will have you topping it up by the end of the day.

Final Thoughts

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At this price point, the specs of the phone are quite modest and mostly check the boxes of what a basic low-cost smartphone should have. This phone can be recommended to those making the switch from feature phones to smartphones or are on a tight budget. It’s competitor right now is the Nokia 1. The device retails on Kilimall for Ksh 6,499.

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