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The homegrown Indian smartphone manufacturer Karbonn had recently launched an entry-level Android smartphone for selfie enthusiasts. Priced at Rs. 6,790, Karbonn Frames S9 sports a dual-lens front-facing camera accompanied with a LED flashlight. The budget smartphone is backed by 2GB RAM and runs on the older Android Nougat 7.0 operating system.
The Frames S9 will have to compete directly with the recently introduced Xiaomi Redmi Y2 and Honor 7A; which are currently the top-selling sub Rs. 10k handsets. Having said that, let's get to the review and see what Karbonn has in store for tech-savvy Indian users.
Display and Design
The Karbonn Frames S9 features a 5.20-inch HD IPS display that has a screen resolution of 720 pixels x 1280 pixels. Sadly, the screen does not follows the latest trend and only offers a 16:9 aspect ratio, which could prove as a deal-breaker for most of the users. The reason is that the edge-to-edge display format has become an industry standard nowadays and can be spotted on most of the devices that are available today every prce-segment.
The quality of the panel and the color production is pretty average. Considering the fact that this is a low-end device it should not come as a surprise for the users. The sunlight visibility is also average and the screen is not as bright as the other smartphones which are available in this range.
In terms of design, the Frames S9 is a regular looking Android handset with a dual-front facing camera along with a front LED flashlight. The microSD card slot is placed on the right panel of the device along with the volume rockers and power key, whereas the left panel houses the SIM card tray. The rear panel of the device has the camera along with a LED flash and it also has the fingerprint scanner mounted at the rear of the device.
The speaker grills are placed at the bottom of the device along with the microUSB charging port. The 3.5 mm audio jack is placed at the top of the device.
Overall the design of the smartphone is pretty decent and old school; however. it is comfortable to operate the device single-handedly which adds to the positive aspects of the smartphone.
Camera: Dual-front cameras with Wide angle lens
The Karbon Frames S9 features an 8MP+ 8MP dual-front camera with wide angle support for selfies. The image quality captured by the front camera is decent and took me by surprise in the beginning. The front camera also comes with various modes like beauty mode, FaceCute mode, and portrait mode. The wide-lens front camera can surely click some impressive shots and will not let the users down.
The rear camera in the Karbon Frames S9 is also an 8MP shooter which comes along with a LED flash. The camera captures decent images in well-lit conditions; however, it's not a good performer in a low-light situation. The modes that are available for the rear camera includes beauty mode, FaceCute mode along with bokeh mode. The bokeh mode is not very natural looking and might not please some serious shutterbugs.
Hardware and Software Performance
The Karbon Frame S9 is powered by a 1.25 GHz Quad-core processor and comes along with 2GB RAM variant. The smartphone comes with an internal storage of 16GB which is expandable up to 64GB via microSD card. The phone can handle basic tasks like calling, messaging and internet surfing, etc. quite well, however, when it comes to power-intensive tasks and gaming, the device is not a very good performer.
On the software end, the smartphone ships with Android Nougat 7.0 which again could be a bummer for some users as some other devices in the same price range comes with Android 8.0 Oreo out of the box. It would have been highly appreciated if the company used the Android 8.0 Oreo instead of the Android Nougat 7.0.
With the recent launches in sub Rs. 10k segment like the Xiaomi Redmi Y2 and Honor 7A, the Karbon Frames S9 finds itself in a tough spot. The dated design of the smartphone might not grab much attention and the 16:9 aspect ratio display can be a huge turn off for the users. However, the device somehow makes up for the disappointments by featuring a decent dual-lens front camera with a wide angle lens and an LED flashlight.
Overall, it is tough to recommend Karbonn S9 as Honor and Xiaomi are simply better overall handsets at somewhat same price-point. However, if you just cannot extend the price-point and strictly looking for a low-end budget handset in the offline market, you can give Karbonn Frames S9 a try.