When you have an Android smartphone with just 512MB RAM in your hands, you must tame your expectations of its performance upfront. Considering its ₦13,000 price tag, you cannot argue with the specs. What this itel A14 review explores is how much compromises the user has to make to use this cheap Android phone on a day-to-day basis.
itel A14 Review: Quick Specs
- Body: Plastic;
- Screen: 4-inch, 480 x 800 pixels, IPS LCD.
- Rear Camera: 2MP, LED flash; video recording,
- Front Camera: VGA fixed focus lens; video recording
- Chipset: MediaTek 6572, quad-core CPU clocked at 1.3 GHz, Adreno 506 GPU
- Memory: 512MB RAM; 8GB storage, plus dedicated microSD slot for up to 32GB expansion
- OS: Android 8.1 Oreo (Go Edition);
- Battery: Removable 1,500mAh.
- Connectivity: Dual SIM (3G), Bluetooth 4.2, GPS, Wi-Fi b/g/n, FM radio, microUSB 2.0
- Colors: Black.
itel A14 Review: Quick Pros And Cons
Before we dive into the review proper, starting with the major pros and cons of this device.
- performance is basic with sluggishness when carrying out many tasks.
- very affordable price tag.
- regular monthly Android security updates OTA.
itel A14 Review: In the box
- itel A14 smartphone
- hard transparent silicon case
- USB cable
itel A14 Review: Hardware And Design
The itel A14 is all plastic everywhere you turn. It has a nice, faux-kevlar back texture, though it is no less plastic than other parts of the phone. But a nice touch it is all the same.
There are no buttons on the right side of the phone. Both the power and volume buttons are on the left edge. The USB and 3.5mm ports are located on the top edge. The bottom edge is clean, as the tiny microphone hole there doesn’t count. You almost do not see it.
itel A14 Review: Software
It runs Android 8.1 Oreo Go Edition. Android Go Edition is the version of Android OS that is optimised for devices with the barest minimum hardware. That makes the A14 highly qualified. It is pretty much pure Android OS. itel slapped a simple launcher on the desktop, and that’s it.
Are there any bloatware on the A14? Yes; a few. They include: Opera News, BoomPlay, FM Radio, and Sound Recorder. The other pre-installed apps are Google Go suite of apps – Google Go, Files Go, Youtube Go, Assistant, Photos, and Duo.
None of the pre-installed apps are removable. There is only 4.9GB of storage space available to the user at first boot. Get a memory card, friends!
One pleasant surprise is that itel has consistently pushed out monthly security updates to it. As at the time of writing this on the 4th of August, it has the July 1, 2019 Android security patch installed. It is absolutely surprising to see itel Mobile committed to keeping a device up-to-date with security patches this way. A basic, barest minimum device for that matter.
itel A14 Review: Network And Telephony
A dual-SIM slot and support for 2G and 3G networks is what the A14 offers. Telephone calls are okay. Internet connectivity is okay as well.
itel A14 Review: Display And Multimedia
This is a very, very small smartphone. The display is only 4 inches in size. Did I mention that it is small? But then, having a small display is one way to cut down on costs and reduce impact on performance and battery life. Screens are the biggest guzzlers of power in smartphones.
The small display notwithstanding, video playback on the itel A14 is good and audio is load. As is common with low-end smartphones, there is a distinct lack of bass in the loudspeaker.
Like the rest of the body of the phone, the display is plastic too, and so not likely to crack or shatter should the phone drop from your hand to the hard floor.
itel A14 Review: Photography
At the front of the phone is a VGA (0.3MP) camera and at the back a 2MP camera with LED flash.
Here are some sample photos taken with both cameras. First up is the selfie camera. Selfies are a hit-and-miss affair with the 0.3MP camera. Details are poor and one shot is overexposed, while the next comes out looking right.
And now to the main camera and its 2MP lens:
Photography is definitely not a strong point of the itel A14.
itel A14 Review: Multitasking And Performance
This is perhaps the most glaring weak point of the itel A14. With a basic processor and only 512MB of RAM, it is safer to use the phone under the assumption that it cannot multitask. Apps open and load a little sluggishly, even when no other app is open. Switching between apps is the same patience-requiring experience.
With the itel A14, you have to take things easy. You cannot be in a hurry. Every app takes its time loading, even Messages, the SMS app.
itel A14 Review: Battery life
Battery life is nothing awful or exceptional. The battery is small and of low resolution, but then so is the display and there is no power-hungry processor putting a huge demand on it either. And since you cannot do a lot of things quickly on the itel A14, you will find that the battery holds out quite a bit each day.
itel A14 Review: Final Words
The itel A14 will give you a basic smart experience – in other words, you can connect and use apps, but at a much slower pace. With entry-level, cheap Android phones, slow and easy wins the race.
June 2020 Update: The itel A14 has been a surprise in the area of software updates. It has consistently received monthly security updates till now.
Other itel A14 Resources
- itel A14 specifications.
- There is a souped up version of the A14 with a toughened shell, bigger storage, bigger battery and torchlight, called itel A14 Max.
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