While top producers are slowly raising the price of flagships, small Chinese companies seem to be competing, who will present a cheaper state budget. In April 2017, Gretel A7 came out, which, on pre-order and the first days of sales, could be taken for only $ 40.Then the price has grown, but now this device costs about $50-60.
Gretel A7 smartphone is interesting not only very democratic price tag. It is a clear demonstration that if you want to make a decent smartphone for quite ridiculous money is quite possible. At one time, Doogee tried to prove it, releasing the X5 model for $ 60, but there were jambs there. In Gretel A7 some minuses are also available, but in many respects it is better than Doogee. Why – it helps to know our review.
The smartphone is equipped with a typical iron for the ultra-budget, to expect for 40-60 “green” something unusual would be strange.Nevertheless, given the price of the device, there is something to surprise, in a good way.
Some frills in the design from the ultra-budget smartphone is not expected, so here at Gretel A7 everything is typical. The device does not look like a freak, but it does not have any beauty. The usual slightly rounded brusochek, with wide enough frames on the top and bottom of the screen. The size of the smartphone is 139h67 mm, which is only slightly smaller than a compact five-inch gadget (there are average sizes – about 143×71 mm). Thickness rather big, about 9 mm, but the brick device is not felt. It weighs 130 grams.
The front panel Gretel A7 is made of glass without rounded faces. The frames above and below the screen are quite wide, the speaker (above) and the “home” key (bottom) are symmetrically placed on them. The remaining interface buttons are onscreen.
The back panel is removable, made in the form of a bath. It can be black, white, gray, orange or yellow. In the upper corner there is a camera with a flash, the speaker grid is symmetrically placed from the bottom.
On the left side are the power and volume keys. They are plastic, but they sit well, do not hang out.
The microphone and the MicroUSB port are removed to the bottom end. The top edge of the nest is placed under the headset.
In Gretel A7 is installed MT6580 – the cheapest chipset for smartphones. It contains 4 cores on an obsolete 32-bit architecture, operating at a frequency of up to 1.3 GHz. The processing of graphics is handled by the GPU Mali 400 MP2. Despite its ancient roots, the chipset is actively used in cheap smartphones and is still able to cope with everyday tasks. And he does not have problems with the software support of the manufacturer.
For the Internet and video viewing, the smartphone will come down, you can also play, but only at low settings. The same tanks are capable of delivering stable 40 FPS on reduced graphics quality. In AnTuTu the device issues approximately 23 thousand points.
The capacity of RAM on board is minimal by the standards of 2017, only 1 GB. This is enough for messengers to work in the background, opening half a dozen tabs in the browser, but multitasking is not the strength of the device. The programs do not crash, but if several are open, the switching takes place with small delays.
The capacity of the drive pleases, here it is 16 GB. The fact that even in such cheap tubes began to put such chips, it is very commendable. In total, the user partition has a capacity of 11 GB, but the part is initially occupied. However, if there is not enough – you can put a flash drive, a slot for which is separate.
Autonomy can not be called a strong point of Gretel A7 smartphone. The removable battery has a capacity of only 2000 mAh, which is not enough even considering the small size. Viewing the video at full brightness puts the battery in about 5 hours. If you greatly reduce the backlight level (good, brightness of the screen allows), then you can get about 7 hours. That is, on the day of moderate use of the device is enough, but no more.
The power supply from the kit is equipped with a European plug. The current strength on it reaches a maximum of 1A. Charge the smartphone costs about 3 hours, even if the indicator already shows 100%, because some users have seen false readings. Although it displayed 100%, the battery voltage was below the maximum 4.35V, indicating that it was undercharged.
Cameras Gretel A7 – this is a vivid example of the evolution of ultrabudgetary. If in the same mentioned Doogee X5 they were purely for a tick and shot terribly, then the hero of the review is able to please. The main camera is based on the matrix Samsung S5K3H5 or S5K3H7 with a resolution of 8 MP. This is an analog of the Sony IMX 179, used in due time in some games of the same Galaxy S3 and Xiaomi Mi2. The matrix has a size of 1 / 3.2 “, which gives 1.4 μm pixels.
There is no data on the optics of the camera, but EXIF-tags on the photos indicate an aperture of f / 1.8. And it’s in the device for fifty dollars! Here Gretel A7 is clearly surprising. Of course, traditionally for the Chinese, the potential of the camera is not fully disclosed, in a regular application, snapshots lack sharpness. But there are no pronounced noises, the dynamic range is average, in a room with a deficit of light, the frames are relatively clear.
Very well given to a close-up shooting device. It concerns both landscape scenes, and pictures of the book text, etc.
Also the camera in Gretel A7 managed to please the possibility of shooting video in FullHD. This is very rare for a cheap device, but the smartphone is coping with the task. You can find fault with the color rendition that goes into blue and red shades, but another camera application should eliminate this flaw.
The front camera has a resolution of 2 MP, it is based on the sensor OV9760. It is also “ultra-pixel”, the cell size is 1.75 microns. The camera copes well with the video communication function, self also get normal.
The Gretel A7 is equipped with a 4.7 “diagonal display with HD resolution, and such a diagonal is rare today (except for Aiphons) .It uses an IPS matrix without an air layer (yes, $ 50 for OGS), with a very bright Illumination (approximately 450 cd / m2), the viewing angles are close to the maximum, the sharpness is at the level, so for the ultra budget, the screen is simply gorgeous.
The touchscreen is covered with Gorilla Glass, without oleophobic coating. But what pleased – it’s a multitouch. The first buyers prayed Chinese gods, so that the manufacturer installed the sensor not on two touches. Prayers seem to have been heard, since the Gretel A7 supports as many as 10 touches. This is generally a unique case, because up to $ 100 and a five-finger multitouch is a rarity.
The slots for the SIM-cards from Gretel A7 are two, they are separate. Hot swapping of sim and flash drives is not supported, since the outputs of the connectors are located “face” to the battery socket. Smarta works in 2G GSM (EDGE) and 3G UMTS (HSPA) networks, there is no LTE support. Wi-Fi is designed to work only with a 2.4 GHz band, Bluetooth corresponds to version 4.0.
Navigator on board provides quite good positioning accuracy. Satellites are even indoors, the error in the recording mode of the track is only a few meters.
The speaker, located on the back of the smartphone, gives a loud and clear sound. It would be naive to expect audiophile capabilities from a smartphone based on the MT6580, but with normal headphones, the Gretel A7 is capable of delivering pure sound with a uniform frequency range.
On board the Gretel A7 is installed almost pure Android 6, featuring only a slightly redesigned interface launcher. The system runs smoothly, as far as possible on a cheap processor, there are no serious bugs. The manufacturer promises to upgrade to version 7 of the OS, and these promises look plausible. After all, the core of Android 7 for the MT6580 is already there.
At 4pda several times the message of the owners that one of the early firmware contains advertising viruses, but traces of their activity could not be found. In newer versions of the software, anti-viruses do not find anything suspicious. The Chinese people obviously need to pay attention to this issue, since a programmer who wants to earn money on advertising can tarnish the reputation of the company.
To the peculiarities of Gretel A7, you can refer the button home, located under the screen. It has a built-in LED indicator. Also, when ordering, attention should be paid to the equipment. The fact is that initially the Chinese sent a smartphone with a spare cover and a silicone case in the kit. The user could choose to walk with a black cover, or with a bright one. But some sellers do not put these accessories, but try to sell them separately.
At a price of about $ 50, Gretel A7 does not have any alternatives, it’s the cheapest modern smartphone of this level. From 65 dollars you can buy Homtom HT3, which is almost identical in filling, but is equipped with a five-inch screen with 2.5D edges. But he has a touch for 2 touches, and the camera is weaker. Approximately the same can be said about Oukitel C3, which attracts an unusual design of the rear cover. But his camera is weak, and even at 5 MP.
Of the larger brands closest to the price tag is only Xiaomi Redmi 4A, but it costs as much as $ 80. And the market leaders have absolutely no alternatives in the range, to buy Samsung or Huawei cheaper than $ 100 will not work.
Definitely, for its money, the Gretel A7 was even more successful than one might expect. The smartphone received a good screen, a decent camera, which is a rarity for a compact ultra-budget device. If the dimensions are critical for you, then the device should be considered for purchase. After all, although it is not much, but less than five-inch gadgets, especially in width.
The general impression is spoiled only by a weak battery, besides suffering from a jamb with an indicator. The day of moderate use of the device will last, but those who are not accustomed to put the device on charge every night will not like it. Puzzling is also caused by the onscreen buttons: at such sizes of “beard” they could be placed there, moreover, even in two rows.