itel S13 review: a solid budget smartphone for selfie lovers

The itel S13 builds on iTel Mobile’s push for advanced features on budget phones. We got our hands on one and now have our itel S13 review ready for your consumption.

itel Mobile pulled off a ground-breaking feat earlier this year when they launched the A32F, a budget smartphone with a fingerprint scanner. The company has been building on that, first with the itel P32, and now with the S13.

A fingerprint scanner at the cost of N21,500 was unheard of until then. As a matter of fact, most N30,000 smartphones still do not have one. Remember that itel Mobile’s target market is the bottom of the pyramid. We will probably never see a mid-range or high-end smartphone from itel, and that is fine. It is great to have a brand dedicated to that market segment and driving innovation there.

So, here we are with the itel S13, offering that combined with a FullView display, a 13 megapixel selfie camera, and a rear dual camera. It is quite a package for the price.

itel s13 review phone in hand

itel S13 Review: Quick Specs

  • Display: 5.5-inch, 18:9 ratio FullView display
  • Selfie camera: 13 megapixel with LED flash
  • Rear camera: dual 5 megapixels with LED flash
  • Software: Android 8.1 Go Edition
  • Processor: Mediatek MT6580M
  • RAM: 1 GB of RAM
  • Memory: 8 GB storage; microSD slot up 32GB
  • Battery: 2,400 mAh, regular charging
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itel S13 Review: Quick Pros And Cons

Before we dive into the review proper, starting with the major pros and cons of this device. The outstanding features are:

  • 13 megapixel selfie camera with LED flash
  • Android Oreo Go Edition, which is optimised for entry-level devices
  • FullView Display
  • Fingerprint scanner that works well
  • Slightly washed out display with not so deep blacks

itel S13 Review: Hardware/Design

itel s13 review side profile

itel S13 Review: Fingerprint Scanner

We set up fingerprints without issues and have used the fingerprint scanner without issues. It works fine unlocking the phone. You can also enable it to take photos, answer and record calls, as well as stop the alarm clock.

itel S13 Review: Software

Out of the box, the itel S13 runs Android 8.1 Go Edition. Android Go Edition is an optimised version of Android OS for low-end devices. It uses up less space and is easier on the low-end resources of the phone. The goal is to produce a better user experience.

Being Android Go also means that lite versions of Google apps are pre-installed – Maps Go, Gmail Go, Google Go, Assistant Go, and YouTube Go.

In use, the itel S13 performs very good – as good as the itel P32, which we have had nothing but praise for. That is no surprise actually as they share the same software, chipset, RAM and internal storage.

The internal storage is 8GB and you have access to less than 5GB of that. This is an improvement over earlier versions of Android Go which left the user with less than 4GB of storage. Of course, you have to get a memory card if you want to save lots of pictures and videos.

Also read:  Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus Android Oreo review

itel S13 Review: Network, Telephony

The S13 is a 3G smartphone with support for two SIM cards. Telephone calls are okay – nothing horrible and nothing spectacular. All that you need are in there.

itel S13 Review: Display and Multimedia

As with entry-level smartphones, the display is not exceptional. It looks slightly washed out and does not have great viewing angles, but it is not reasonable to expect a brilliant display at this price point. It works mostly well, and that is all that matters.

You will enjoy music and video on the phone, even if you do not get outstanding performances.

itel S13 Review: Photography

itel s13 photo dual camera fingerprint scanner

The S13 shoots fairly good pictures in very good lighting. In poorly-lit environments, you end up with not-so-good pictures. They are both standard fare for a low-end smartphone. We have some sample photos for you below.

itel S13 Main Camera

Indoors, morning, natural lighting through windows only:

itel s13 review: main camera indoors natural lighting

Natural lighting outdoors, morning:

itel s13 review: main camera outdoors daylight

itel S13 Selfie Camera

As far as selfie cameras go, the front-facing camera of the S13 takes good pictures. Your Insta-glam will thrive with this if you are on a budget. Here is an early morning shot, no flash:

itel s13 selfie review: camera outdoors

itel S13 Review: Battery life

itel s13 review back cover open

With a 2400 mAh battery, the S13 is no battery champ, but then, battery life is not poor either. With moderate use, you will get through a day. If you push harder, you need to top up the battery before your work day is over.

itel S13 Review: Final Words

itel s13 review back of the phone
The itel S13 sits between the itel A32F and the itel P32 in terms of price positioning. It is our opinion that this position is apt, considering the build quality and design especially.

Also read:  Xiaomi Redmi Note 2 Prime Review: Performance on a budget

Everything else is a bit of give and take. Like, exchanging a better selfie camera for a smaller battery. At the budget level, that is reasonable, or else the devices would be out of reach of their target audiences.

The S13 is an entry-level smartphone for selfie lovers and beauty queens. And the packaging confirms that. None of us expected to see a mirror built into the sexy sales packaging. At the cost of N23,800, this is bang for the money and we are unable to fault it in any way.

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Mister Mobility

I started blogging about mobile in 2004 as a fun way to share my passion for gadgets and mobile services. My other interests include digital media, speaking and teaching, photography, travelling, and dancing.

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