There’s a couple of Android Go smartphones in the country right now. itel’s P33 is one of the few that are really worth considering because of the specs you get vs how much you pay. It is Ksh. 6,999 recommended retail, and for that amount there’s a lot of positives:

  • Dual rear cameras
  • HD+ 5.5 inch display
  • 16GB storage
  • Fingerprint scanner
  • Face Unlock and
  • a 4000mAh battery (with a variant having 5000mAh)

However before we dive into praising some things you’ll like about the phone, you should know a couple of things:

  • It doesn’t support 4G networks
  • Charging takes a long while

Unboxing:

itel P33 Review

Inside the box you get the following:

  • Phone
  • USB cable
  • Charger
  • Earphones
  • Plastic back cover

The main interaction point with any device is its display. Most phones around this price point have small screens. The P33’s 5.5 inch screen is a good size for anyone who wants a big phone. I mean, it is 2019 and we have 6 inch phones as standard, but with the price point, even the bezels on this device are acceptable. They’re greatly reduced, and it has the same design as some 2018 phones.

itel P33 Review

But it a heavy device. Especially when you use the included plastic cover always. Which is something you’ll want to keep to avoid scratches on the removable back cover. The design choice to have the back cover removable is not something I will complain about. I just wish it was easier to open. I felt like it would break when I first popped it off.

It isn’t a Full HD display. It maxes out at 720p. And though it is sort of a high res display at its price, both the choice of icons and font in the UI make it look different from other phones. You sort of feel like you’re interacting with a cheaply done device because of the UI, and also because the display isn’t fully laminated. There’s no app drawer, and to have one you’ll need to install a launcher, and while at it, even change the icons.

itel P33 Review

Performance is not bad. With Android Go, Google has not only optimised Android OS to make it lighter for the little amount of RAM, but you’re also advised to use LITE apps that aren’t as resource intensive as full versions would be. You will find Facebook Lite already installed, and you can, from Play Store, get other apps. It is advisable to keep using these Lite apps where possible, because immediately you install something heavy you will notice the performance will be affected. So don’t expect to play games on this device. Don’t expect to have a myriad of apps installed too, because that may hurt performance.

The usual Android Go apps come pre-installed. But there’s also BoomPlay, Opera News, PalmStore and Opera Mini as bloatware. The good thing is you can disable or uninstall all of them. Also, there’s no ads on this phone once you remove these unnecessary apps. The launcher is clean, there’s no side drawer with unnecessary suggestions and you get to customise your phone to your taste. Some Android Go apps like YouTube Go are really bad, so just never use them. You can install the full YouTube App from Play Store instead.

itel P33 Review

The thing that will probably make many people get this phone is the dual rear cameras setup. I don’t think there’s any other phones in this price range that can take Portrait shots that blur the background. This phone manages that either through software or through the extra VGA lens (I cannot tell, because it doesn’t zoom in like a telephoto lens, and there’s no statement anywhere as to what the lens actually does).

The portrait pictures are not anything mind blowing. You will still see it fail to perfectly apply the blur, something blurring subject’s hands or unevenly applying the blur. You cannot tweak the level of blurring effect, so you have to make sure the shot you get is really good.

Normal shots aren’t bad. But you need adequate lighting for any shots to look good. A little low light and things get bad real quick. Don’t expect to take like super amazing pics. Just expect usable cameras, that stand out in the price range, and can take portrait shots in good lighting.

itel P33 Review

Finally, the battery of this phone is its main selling point for me. The 4000mAh cell lasts very long given the non-demanding screen, and software. If you want crazy good battery life, this is the phone to get. It takes a long while to charge from zero to 100, but that’s a compromise anyone can take.

I wish itel made this a 4G phone, because then for many it would be considerable for a couple of different use-cases: from house landlines, to portable hotspot routers. If you’re getting someone their first smartphone and you’re limited in budget, it is something to consider. But remember Xiaomi’s Redmi Go has 4G support and a Snapdragon 425 processor at just Ksh. 5,499.

The Redmi Go doesn’t have a 4000mAh battery however, you don’t get 16GB internal storage, neither do you get a fingerprint scanner, nor earphones, and a plastic back cover included in the box. But that’s what it is with picking up any phone: there’s always a compromise. To get something with everything you have to pay much more. The itel P33 has its compromises, and if you don’t mind lack of 4G, and want more storage space, it is something to check out.

What are your thoughts?

Itel p33 Review

itel P33 Specifications and Price in Kenya

Display Type IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen
  Size 5.5 inches, 68.9 cm2 (~73.2% screen-to-body ratio)
  Resolution 720 x 1440 pixels, 18:9 ratio (~272 ppi density)
 
Platform Operating System Android 8.1 (Oreo, Go Edition)
  Chip Mediatek MT6580
  GPU Mali-400MP2
 
Memory RAM 1GB
  Internal 16GB (expandable to 32GB with external Micro-SD)
 
Network SIM Dual SIM Support
  Support 2G/3G only
 
Cameras Main 8MP+VGA
  Front 5MP
 
Battery Size 4000mAh battery (5V/2A fast charge)PLUS version has 5000mAh battery
 
Colours Champagne Gold, Deep Blue, Gradiation Blue
 
Features Rear Fingerprint Scanner, Face Unlock
 
Price RRP KES. 6,999