itel Mobile is one of the newest entrants in the mobile segment in India and the itel S42 is one of its latest offerings. The budget device will be available offline only and this can be a huge benefit for users who are tired of trying to get a phone in the flash sale.
The Itel S42 is priced very competitively to offer competition to the likes of the Xiaomi Redmi 5, the device does have some decent features and comes with the latest operating system which gives it a neck-t0-neck fight with the latter, though is this a winner? Let’s check it out in the review.
In terms of the design, the device from itel sports the FullView 18:9 display and the display measures 5.65-inches diagonally. The device has a pretty sturdy feel and is very comfortable to use even in one hand. The itel S42 fits into the hand very well because of its rounded corners and curved edges.
The company has worked well on the design aspect of the device and it feels very sleek and premium for the price that it is being offered at. Despite the 18:9 aspect ratio display, the device has chunky bezels both on the top and the bottom of the device and these are used to house the 13MP selfie front camera along with the LED flash and rest of the sensors.
The back of the device is made up of plastic which is still fine as the quality is pretty good, it is given a brushed aluminum finish to remove the cheap feel. The rear also houses the conveniently placed fingerprint sensor that unlocks the device pretty fast. The right edge of the device houses the volume rockers along with the power button while the left houses the dual-SIM card slot giving you an option to use, both the secondary SIM card as well as the microSD card. The top of the device houses the 3.5mm headphone jack while the bottom has the microphone, speaker grille, and the charging port via micro USB.
The display is beautiful and has 2.5D curved glass on top to help reduce the scratches, the company, however, had nothing to talk about any sort of protective layer such as Gorilla Glass. Although the resolution is pretty low at HD+ which translates to 1440 x 720, the display is still very much usable and you won’t find too much difference in day to day use unless you have used devices with very high-resolution displays. The display surprisingly outputs very well saturated colors and the output is vibrant and crisp. There is also a blue light filter that offers a more comfortable viewing experience in reduced lighting.
The device is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 chipset and has 3GB of RAM. The internal storage of the device is 16GB which can be further increased to up to 128GB via microSD card slot. The CPU isn’t the most powerful, but easily gets done with most of the daily tasks without breaking a sweat. We found the device to be very capable for basic tasks like social media browsing, internet usage, and similar activities. Low weight games also work well on it without any issues while heavier games would see noticeable frame drops.
Talking about the software, the itel S42 comes with the latest Android Oreo-based operating system out of the box. The software comes with a very lightweight skin and the app drawer is very light and lag-free in our usage. The software comes with a few handy features such as screen-off gestures and three finger screenshot along with one-handed mode. While the OS did look lightweight, it took up a lot of space on the storage leaving only about 8.5GB for the user to use. The worst part is the inclusion of a few pre-installed apps that cannot be uninstalled. The only rescue to this is the fact that the device supports the memory card alongside the secondary SIM card slot.
The camera on the itel S42 is a 13MP sensor on the rear which is placed adjacent to the dual LED flash. This helps in adding natural light and allowing for better results in low lighting environment. The camera app is fairly easy to use and offers functions like HDR, Beauty, Panorama, Lowlight mode and a few others which can be easily toggled to improve the photography experience on the mobile device. There is also a pro mode along with the wide-selfie option that stitches multiple images from the front camera for a better coverage.
The images that were taken in the daylight turn out pretty good on the HD+ panel as the display offers a vibrant output. The shutter is very snappy and there is no shutter lag to be seen, the images have a good contrast ratio and a decent dynamic range in good lighting conditions. The loss is not very high on slightly zooming into the images and the low light performance is average while not being something we could outright praise. The F/2.0 aperture on the camera of the itel S42 took the pain in capturing the utmost details and even the slightest of shakes was noticeable in the final image. The HDR mode on the device is surprisingly decent and adds detail that was otherwise unseen.
Coming to the 13MP front camera, the selfies look pretty crisp and the skin tone and color is pretty accurate. The camera does overexpose the bright colors in some instances but the overall output was very much acceptable. There is also a software bokeh mode to blur out the background and it isn’t something we can complain about considering the price point. The front camera is a very wide angle 120-degree sensor allowing for all the details to be captured with accuracy.
The device comes with a 3000mAh battery which helps the device past a day of low to moderate usage. The software is decently optimized and makes it an overall good experience. The itel S42 is a decent phone given the budget, the availability in the offline market combined with the latest Android 8.0 operating system is the icing on the cake for the device.
The camera and battery performance are about average and the SoC on the device gets you past most of the regular tasks without any issues. This device is expected to compete with the Redmi 5 and is an appreciable effort from the company’s end and the added advantage here is of the availability as the phone is available even in the offline market.
Having said that, the phone isn’t the only best choice in that price range because you see several phones from different brands, including the ones from Lenovo, Motorola, and Xiaomi that stand tall with lot of good specs and performance, and it is about what you would want to have as the main factors while purchasing the device.