In today’s mobile world the sizes of screen vary considerably. From 2.8″ right through to 6.4″ on smartphones, you can get a device with just about any sized screen.
Everyone will inevitably have their preferences, so should your preference be a screen of around 5.5″ then many would point you in the direction of the Samsung Galaxy Note series. In all honesty this would be a very valid suggestion, but one issue for some is the cost of these and similar sized devices. Quite often big screen phones come with high end features meaning a high end price tag. The KAZAM Trooper X5.5 could be a possible alternative. It offers the big screen, mid range specs with what can be considered a low end price point. I would not normally start a review focusing on price, but the Trooper X5.5 is £150 including VAT. Included in this £150 is the FREE screen replacement and dual SIM functionality. Form your own opinion, but this is a good start for the 5.5 no matter what your experience is of smartphones. Competition is out there but the closest competitor is the Samsung Galaxy Note 2. There is approximately £200 between the two at the time of recording. The Note 2 is single SIM and does not come with a screen replacement included. The Note has a quad core processor, 3 times more RAM and internal memory as well as a higher resolution display. It does too have an 8 megapixel camera compared to the Troopers X5.5’s 5 megapixel and a 3100mAh battery compared to the 2500mAh. There is some clear advantage to the Note 2, it is the hands down winner in the spec race, and that is without mentioning the software. You can expect faster and more useful updates to the software than you can with the Trooper. the 5.5 will not be for everyone, but if you need something with a big screen simply for completing your reports on for work or for a navigation solution when out walking, then the KAZAM starts to be a compelling option over the more expensive Note. So we know that we will not be blown away if you are used to high end spec phones, but if you are upgrading or going for your first phone then there isn’t a great deal to dislike. Google Android 4.2 operating system 1.2GHz dual core processor MicroSD memory card slot 4GB internal storage 5.5″ touchscreen with 480 x 854 resolution 5 megapixel camera 2500mAh removable battery 24 month warranty With the price in mind, any complaints on the spec are really lack the support they need. The biggest disappointment here has to be the screen resolution. Whilst HD isn’t necessary a slightly higher resolution would be greatly received. The advantage is however battery life is saved as a consequence. Functional is the design language that has been used on all KAZAM handsets. They are not the most pretty. Sit it next to the sleek colourful polycarbonate of Nokia devices and the KAZAM is the definitive underdog in the beauty pageant, but there is more to it than just design. The main ports, controls and sensors are all located in the normal places. What at first glance looks like a chip in the bottom right corner, exaggerated by the screen protector is in fact the microphone. Remove the back cover and the battery compartment houses the 2500mAh battery with a microSD memory card slot followed by 2 standard sized SIM card slots. The phone feels robust in hand. It certainly does not feel flimsy, even if it is made primarily from soft touch plastics. The bezel around the screen is a bit bigger than I would like to see but I have seen worse. A point to note is that included in the box is a flip cover too. This replaces the back cover and offers a cover that protects the screen that can then be folder back behind the unit for in hand use. It is a nice added bonus. Watching your favourite Hollywood blockbuster may not be the experience you would be hoping for but you get the big screen experience, just not the depth of colour and motion you would expect. Compared to many of the ‘higher end phones’ the display quality difference is immediately apparent. However, I defy anyone to say that for sending a text message, making a call, navigating and editing a document to justify the need for a HD display. A light and G sensor are built in so manual or automatic control of the screen brightness is an option as is rotating the screen in either portrait or landscape mode. The viewing angles on the screen are not great as you may have expected. So if there are a few of you huddling around the device to watch something then not all will get the same viewing experience. Pre-installed is a screen protector which helps protect the screen but is a little reflective and not too good at dealing with fingerprints. A toughened glass on the phone to make it relatively ‘lifeproof’, but as stated earlier, crack or damage your screen in the 1st year of use and get 1 screen replacement for free. Out of the box Android 4.2.2 is installed on the device. Adaptation of stock Android is very limited on any KAZAM Trooper handset which is a positive and a negative. On the plus side you know what you are getting and its not laiden with memory hungry additions. On the negative side, some of those software additions can be useful and make for a more rounded user experience. The main tweaks on the Trooper are the inclusion of a flashlight and a few wallpapers not to mention the SIM Management for the dual SIMS. If you haven’t figured out by now, a handset powered by Android gives all the standard Google services, including the Play store out of the box. Just input your existing Google account details if you have one and within minutes you can be up and running. There is a File Manager on board which makes accessing content simple especially for copying and moving files. An FM radio and Movie Studio enhance the multimedia capabilities on the move too. If you are a first time user of Android you do not get the same level of guidance as you do with a Samsung or Sony phone, but after 10 minutes or so, you should get the feel of how the device works. The Trooper has 4GB on board, of which approx 2.5GB of which is available to you. More expensive competitors will offer more memory but you pay the price. If you are not a big app user, then this be sufficient for storing apps and some content, but for additional content such as music and video there is the microSD memory card slot to help you out. It almost comes without saying that out of the box the Trooper is equipped with WiFi, Bluetooth & GPS along with mobile data connectivity (subject to you SIM card and data plan). Setting itself aside from many other similar devices is the dual SIM slots. Dual SIM means that at any one time, two SIM cards can be inserted into the relevant slots and have active connections on the phone. For example, you may have a personal and business SIM card/telephone number. Whereas before you may have had two separate phones, with the KAZAM Trooper X5.5 you can have just one phone with the two SIM cards in it. From with the settings you can choose how the SIM cards are used and managed. There is no DLNA or video out or anything like that here. The audio experience is pretty surprising. I really did not expect it to be as good as it was. The loudspeaker speaker whilst not the clearest like the HTC One M8, was much clearer and more balanced than I have expected with the phone able to kick out volumes that measured into the low 90’s on the decibel meter. That is impressive. The speaker was better than the Sony E1 I reviewed recently. Whilst the sound distorted slightly at higher volume, some ‘cheaper’ speakers can sound like they are being stretched and often have a tinny sound. There was little of this here. Call quality was average. No surprises or disappointments here. It appears to be a megapixel race when it comes to cameras, but its not all about this, it is about the lens and the processing of the image too. The Trooper has an acceptable 5 megapixel camera, but possibly unsurprisingly the images are just ok. They pass the test but the colours and balance are weak and realistically most of the photos will be good enough for social sharing. Jump into the camera app and it is a fairly standard affair. A bit more than basic controls but not the depth of additions seen on Sony or HTC cameras. You will get to grips with the app quickly. There are two main icons, the shutter for the camera and a video camera icon for recording video. Switch between the front and rear camera, manage the flash settings (Auto, On and Off), access previous shots, the main settings menu and a few other shortcuts. For those that do not want to stick with the standard ‘auto’ mode, you can manage exposure, colour effects, scene mode, white balance and more. There is a burst or continuous mode with the option of taking 40 or 99 shots in quick succession. There is less control over the video settings. You can turn the microphone on and off and then control the Audio mode. The video quality can be set but there are only 4 options from Low to Fine. Running two SIMS in one phone will draw more power there is no argument about this. You need not run two SIMS at a time or you could run with none if you do not want the phone connectivity. During my time with it I switched SIMs in and out over a week or so. With relatively light usage I was getting a couple of days out of the phone. Take the SIMS out completely and this is even better. At 2500mAh it is a good sized battery considering the screen resolution and I think a more demanding user will still get a good day out of it, unless you are stretching the phone with navigation and things that will inevitably drain the battery that much further. Of course so much is determined by your usage. To be safe, a routine daily charge might be worthwhile. I can’t help but be positive about the KAZAM because it offers so much for the money when you think about the natural competing devices. That said, the Samsung and Sony equivalents do offer a lot more added value, it is just whether the £200 additional spend is worth it. A few use case scenarios come to mind for me, and if you fit or are closely linked to these, then I do believe you will bask in the benefits of cost savings. Such examples include a device for an engineer or salesman on the road where they need something functional and affordable. A navigation device when out walking or for in the car. Do consider the KAZAM could be replaced twice for the cost of the more expensive counterparts. The Trooper X5.5 is exceptional value for money for what it offers. It is just a question of whether it offers enough to make it justifiable alternative to the heavier publicised devices that everyone knows about.