Some smartphone companies try to create a mark with high-end flagships, but the entry-level section is still where most of the action is, and a good deal of companies focus only on the low-end. Kult is one such brand, and has been launching a steady stream of these products for a while now. Interestingly, Kult is a brand from Optiemus Group, the same company that is now behind BlackBerry in India. The Kult Gladiator is a newly launched model that is priced at Rs. 6,999 and boasts of some good specs. Let’s see how it compares to the big titles, and whether this is a fantastic budget smartphone to pick.
Kult Gladiator design
One look at the Gladiator and we could declare that the device appears quite premium. Kult has used metal in its construction and the phone has a metal backplate involving plastic end caps. Regrettably, there are variations in the finishes, and the plastic is curved while the metallic panel has chamfered edges. The Gladiator is available in dark, and while we like the finish, we have to state that it picks up fingerprints easily. Hold it in hand and the first thing that you notice is that the weight of this phone. At 180g, this is among the heavyweights in its price range.
The Gladiator includes a 5.5-inch display at the front, with on-screen buttons for navigation. It has an 8-megapixel selfie camera along with a selfie flash. The earpiece is shining and might pick up pocket lint easily. At the back, there’s a 13-megapixel camera with an LED flash and a fingerprint scanner positioned below it. The Micro-USB interface and the 3.5mm headphone socket are all positioned on the top.
At first, it seems as though the Gladiator has a sealed unibody, but on closer inspection, you see a tab to pop the back open. The back is removable and gives access to the SIM slots along with dedicated microSD card slot.
Like the majority of other makers, Kult has stuck to a fairly common configuration for the Gladiator. It is powered by a MediaTek MT6737 quad-core processor with all four cores clocked at 1.25GHz. There is 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage which is expandable using a microSD card of up to 32GB.
The 5.5-inch display sports a 720p resolution which works out to a density of 267ppi. The Kult Gladiator is a dual-SIM device and contains two Micro-SIM slots. There is 4G service on both SIM cards but just one SIM can get the 4G system at a time while the second SIM is restricted to 2G speeds. For connectivity, there is Bluetooth 4.0, WiFi b/g/n, and USB-OTG.
Software was until lately a continuous issue with non invasive Android smartphones, plus they frequently shipped with severely outdated versions of Android. Kult hasn’t done a great deal of customisation to the UI, and you obtain a stock Android experience. Besides a few Google apps preinstalled, we can only find Opera Mini and Vistoso, a photo editing program which lets users print edited photos onto t-shirts and coffee mugs. With the phone relatively bloat-free, there was roughly 20GB of storage available to the end-user.
Colour reproduction is adequate and you do get the option to tweak the output. But, viewing angles are not all that good. We observed a shift in colors when looking at the screen at an angle. Sunlight legibility is also only about average, and also you might have to shield the display with one hand when using this phone outdoors. The fingerprint scanner was quick to unlock the cell phone.
The Kult Gladiator managed to dent 2,923 in AnTuTu, also as 549 and 1540 in Geekbench’s single-core and multi-core ratings respectively. In GFXBench, the phone was able just 11fps. While these are relatively adequate numbers, the real-world usage experience is what matters. Apps took a lot longer to load than we expected, and there were occasional slow-downs.
The gaming experience was similar, as big titles like Real Racing 3 took a very long time to load. We also noticed the phone dropping frames occasionally. We also played Clash Royale which is light on graphics but network-intensive, and discovered that it drained the battery much faster than Actual Racing. If you are into online multiplayer games, then you might want to keep an eye on the battery level.
Battery life is where we expected the phone to deliver its best scores, because of its 4000mAh batterylife. However, in our HD video loop evaluation, the phone survived for 9 hours and 43 minutes before throwing in the towel. This is a whole lot less compared to similarly configured Intex Elyt-e7 (Review), which handled 12 hours and 18 minutes under similar conditions. The Gladiator will deliver one day of battery life with light usage, but charging does require a very long time after using the supplied 7.5W charger.
Kult has used a very basic camera app and you have limited modes to play with. You receive panorama, video, photo and attractiveness styles, and an HDR toggle. You also receive a shortcut to the Vistoso app built into the camera app. One issue we had with the camera is that you can not take multiple shots rapidly. Photos taken with the Gladiator in daylight turned out well, with nice details and adequate colours. But, performance is disappointing in low light. This phone takes a while to save photos, and you will also need a steady hand if you would like usable shots. We saw ghosting in a couple of our samples. Noise is kept low, but details are not brought out well whatsoever.
The front camera carries usable photos but you will need to hold the phone steady, especially in low light. HDR could be turned on for the front camera also, and we discovered the selfie flash to be helpful in low-light conditions. Video recording resolution maxes out at 720p for both cameras. Automatic refocusing takes some time, but you are able to tap the screen to force it. That is an option to allow electronic stabilisation for both cameras, but we did not see any significant difference in the output.
The Kult Gladiator offers adequate hardware and software for the segment it is positioned in. The processor and RAM are sufficient to offer a stable, usable experience. However, this phone’s cameras are not that good, and battery life is disappointing. Overall, it is a decent device but this is a really crowded market, and we would recommend that you take a look at our top picks before making a buying decision.