Chinese player Itel entered the Indian market in April 2016 with focus on feature phones. The company is now gradually shifting focus to budget smartphones that are available starting for as low as Rs 6,000. The company has also tied-up with telecom players like Vodafone to offer cashback on some of its smartphones. Itel also announced a device with Iris scanner at a budget price of Rs 8,500.
Itel S42 comes with a Full View display and a 13MP rear camera at Rs 8,499. The smartphone has a plastic back with a metal finish and prominent antenna lines on the top and bottom. The power button and volume rocker keys are placed on the right. The bottom houses a USB Type 2.0 port along with speaker grille, while a 3.5mm headset jack can be found on the top. In terms of specifications, the budget smartphone does offer an 18:9 aspect ratio display and 13MP primary shooter, which is in line with the current trend. We used the device for nearly a week, and here is our full review.
Itel S42 specifications: 5.65-inch HD+ display | Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 processor | Android 8.0 Oreo | 3,000mAh battery | 13MP rear camera | 13MP front camera | 3GB RAM + 16GB internal memory | expandable memory up to 128GB | 4G LTE
Itel S42 price in India: Rs 8,499
Itel S42 review: What’s good?
Itel S42 looks great in terms of design with a tall display and 2.5D glass on the front. The smartphone sports a plastic back with a metal finish and prominent antenna lines on top and the bottom. It has rounded corners with a textured back cover. Our review unit was in a black colour option, which does look stylish for the price of this phone. The phone feels quite light and is comfortable to use with one hand, which is another good feature.
The display is vivid, sharp and produces good colours. However, I did struggle to use this 5.65-inch HD+ screen in bright sunlight. The viewing angles are decent, and a Full View 18:9 aspect ratio makes playing games and watching movies a better experience with the extra viewing space. It should be noted though that the bezels are the top and bottom are quite broad and to call this is a true full view display is still a stretch.
I quite liked the 13MP rear camera in Itel S42. It has fast auto-focus and reproduces nice colours. In proper daylight, the results are quite impressive and pictures look vivid, which a lot of users will appreciate. Still details are not as sharp in the photos. I was surprised with low-light results as the camera did a pretty good job of filtering out some of the noise, which is quite impressive for a Rs 8,500 phone.
The front camera does a good job in places where there is ample light, but fails to produce good colours in low-light settings. In terms of picture quality, images weren’t quite sharp and there is a lot of noise even in bright light. The front camera comes with beauty mode, which softens up the skin colour. There’s a wideselfie mode as well, that lets you click wide-angle selfies.
The 3,000mAh battery lasts for 11-12 hours with normal usage, which includes binge watching videos for long hours, making calls, browsing social media and messaging. I think the battery is good enough to last a day’s worth of usage unless one plays a lot of graphics-heavy games or watches a lot of videos in a day.
Itel S42 review: What’s not good?
Itel S42 handles most day-to-day tasks with ease but lags when it comes to multitasking or playing graphics-heavy games like Asphalt-8. The phone starts to get warm within 5-10 minutes of playing graphics heavy games. It also slows down while you’re working with multiple tabs open. Switching between tabs or opening a new app would cause the Itel S42 to stutter. I also faced app crash on more than one instance.
Itel S42 is quite slippery so a back cover is recommended. Both front and the back tend to attract fingerprint smudges a lot, so investing in a good cover and a screen guard is a must. Another thing I noticed was that in YouTube, the pinch to zoom feature did not work, which is used to expand videos to fit them for 18:9 displays. I’m not sure what happened in this case..
Itel S42 Verdict
Itel S42 scores low on performance for us, which is a crucial factor to consider while buying a smartphone. Though Itel S42 comes with a good camera and design, there are other phones in the sub-Rs 10,000 price bracket that you need to consider. For instance, those looking for an overall performance, including a good selfie camera can look at Xiaomi Y1. Honor 9 Lite is a great option as well, though it starts at a slightly higher price of Rs 9,999.