The Itel S42 is priced at Rs8,499.
The Itel S42 is priced at Rs8,499.

Itel S42 Review: A smartphone that Xiaomi Redmi 5 can’t completely overshadow

Itel S42 has a lot going for it, even though it is not the most powerful smartphone at this price point

Chinese company Transsion Holdings has launched a new smartphone under its sub brand, Itel. Priced at Rs8,499, the Itel S42 is a new-age budget smartphone with a tall form factor, thin-bezel design and a big screen. At the given price point, it is likely to be pitted against the recently launched Xiaomi’s Redmi 5, which starts at Rs7,999. Here is what we think of the S42.

■ Smartphones with a metal back are no big deal these days, even in the budget segment. Itel has given the back panel a slightly different spiral design pattern. It gives the back a shiny appearance and a little bit of style quotient to the S42.

■Like most new phones, the Itel S42 has a thin-bezel design, which offers slightly wider screen with an aspect ratio of 18:9 and a narrow (73.5mm) form factor. This makes handling the smartphone a lot easier with one hand, despite the big screen. At 153mm, it looks slightly taller than the Redmi 5 (151.8mm).

■ The smartphone’s fingerprint sensor is easily accessible at the back and it unlocks the phone without any delay.

The Itel S42 has a thin-bezel design, which offers slightly wider screen with an aspect ratio of 18:9 and a narrow (73.5mm) form factor.
The Itel S42 has a thin-bezel design, which offers slightly wider screen with an aspect ratio of 18:9 and a narrow (73.5mm) form factor.

■ The 5.65-inch display has a resolution of just 1,440x720p and the now-expected 18:9 aspect ratio. Though viewing angles are good, games and videos look a bit washed out. The rival Redmi 5 has a 5.7-inch screen with similar resolution and it doesn’t look any better either.

■The Itel S42 runs on Qualcomm’s entry-level Snapdragon 425 quad-core processor, which also drives the likes of Micromax Canvas Infinity (Rs8,999) . Paired with 3GB RAM, this processor was able to process most of the basic tasks without any visible issues. However, it doesn’t feel as snappy as the Redmi 5, which runs on a slightly more powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 450 octa-core processor.

■The smartphone offers only 16GB internal storage, but one can expand it to up to 128GB. What we like is the fact that it has a separate microSD card slot for it, unlike the Redmi 5, which clubs the microSD slot on one of the SIM trays. So a user can’t access all three simultaneously on the latter.

■The 3,000mAh battery is not much on paper, but it can eke out a full day’s backup on modest use.

Itel has its own custom UI which runs on top of Android 8.0, making it one of the few smartphones which offer the new Android out of the box.
Itel has its own custom UI which runs on top of Android 8.0, making it one of the few smartphones which offer the new Android out of the box.

■ Itel has its own custom UI which runs on top of Android 8.0, making it one of the few smartphones which offer the new Android out of the box. Even the Redmi 5 runs Android 7.1 with a layer of Xiaomi’s MIUI 9 over it. In terms of design, the Itel’s UI looks neat and well-designed. There is an app drawer and the settings page looks much smaller like in plain Android. However, when it comes to features, the MIUI 9 is way ahead of it.

■The 13-megapixel camera struggles even in daytime. While colours look accurate, detailing is poor and the background in daytime shots looks washed out. Low-light shots look noisy even with the low light mode on.

Itel S42 comes with all the bells and whistles of the next generation budget smartphone such as thin-bezel design, premium metal body and narrow form factor. The new Android version and a dedicated microSD card slot gives it an edge over the likes of Redmi 5. The only advantage the Redmi 5 has over it is the slightly superior hardware

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