Kult Beyond review

Battling to the best under a budget

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Our Verdict

The Kult Beyond offers decent value and quality for the price, but like many budget phones, it is dwarfed by the competition.

For

  • Good display
  • Security features
  • Fast fingerprint scanner

Against

  • Average camera
  • Limited expandable storage

With technology touching new heights every second day, a number of smartphones are rolled out promising to offer something new to customers. But, in the quest to be make a mark, some companies fail to match up to the growing competition. Something similar happened to the domestic mobile maker Kult, which forayed in the smartphone market in December 2015 with its first device Kult 10, which has priced this phone at Rs. 6,399 focusing on budget smartphone segment in India.

The company was expected to roll out more devices after the first one but that didn’t happen. No new devices were launched after the Kult 10 and it was supposed that the company's survival is at its end. But now, after almost one and half year, the company has launched its second smartphone in the market. Touted as Kult Beyond, the smartphone comes with a price tag of Rs. 6,999. The smartphone maker is trying to revive itself with this new handset which carries a variety of features.

But, Kult should also prepare itself to compete with popular and established opponents like Motorola and Xiaomi with their popular devices like Moto C Plus and Redmi 4 in the entry level market. To see if Kult Beyond can truly appeal to the customers and whether it would be able to make a mark in the over-crowded smartphone market, we spent more than 3 weeks with the device. Here's what we think!

Scores in-depth

Design 3.5/5

Features 4/5

Performance 3/5

Usability 3.5/5

Value 3.5/5

Design & Display

Like most other smartphones these days the Kult Beyond also comes in Matte Black colour and some of the design elements are similar to existing budget devices. 

The modification which the company has tried to put into the design is the position of the front camera. It is placed in the center above the display where usually the earpiece is found, and it has the earpiece and dual LED on each side. The rear camera is baked inside a Moto like camera ring with the fingerprint sensor positioned slightly below it. The circular pattern is somewhat similar to what we see in Moto devices.

At the first look, one thing we can say is that the company has actually worked on the design. The Kult Beyond comes packed in a  polycarbonate shell with a metallic finish on the removable back cover. The back has slight curved on the sides and the edges are also rounded, which allows a strong and comfortable grip in hands and its compact size adds to this comfort.

The charging port sits along with the 3.5mm headphone jack at the top, while the speaker can be found at the back of the phone. The company has not played much and kept the design simple on the sides. The power button and volume rockers sit on the right side, and the latter can be used for clicking the photos as well.

It has two micro SIM card slots with another slot dedicated for a memory card placed inside the back cover.

Coming to the display, the smartphone sports a 5.2-inch HD IPS ‘On-cell display’ with a resolution of 1280 x 720 and 2.5D glass protection. The colors appear bright and vibrant, and I didn’t find any issue in operating the phone under bright sunlight. Notably, the display of the phone is decent considering the price point of the device. 

Kult excluded the physical navigation buttons in favor of on-screen navigation, thereby increasing the screen size. Overall, the Kult’s focus to revive its image is visible in its design.

Hardware

The Kult Beyond is powered by MediaTek MT 6737 64-bit quad-core processor coupled with a 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage, which is expandable up to 32GB. This might disappoint some, especially who are looking for a smartphone with greater storage capacity. Chances are that some of the potential buyers may opt for other rival handsets like Redmi 4 which offers an expandable memory of 128GB along with 32 GB internal storage.

The phone shows signs of slowing down even with the basic functions at times and lags in between launching of apps, and the phone is certainly not made for heavy multitasking. Coming to graphics, the phone has a 650MHz Mali T720 MPI GPU which is not the best in the range but still delivers a satisfactory graphic performance. Light games can be played without a hitch but graphic intensive games like Asphalt 8 suffer with frame drops after a certain play time. 

The phone was working smooth initially but after two weeks of usage, we started noticing minor lags in between transitions and animations while switching between apps and opening new apps. 

Interestingly, the phone managed heating pretty impressively and did not show any sign of unusual heating even after prolonged gaming or video watching.

Software

The Kult Beyond comes with the latest Android 7.0 Nougat out of the box. This is something that has added another star to the smartphone. It comes with stock Android features on top of some much needed enhancements and couple of removable bloatware apps like and games. 

It has safety features such as the Panic Button and Emergency Rescue case of any emergency. Short pressing the power button three times in succession will function as the Panic Button and raise an alert to a specific emergency number. 

On the other hand, the Emergency Rescue option can be used with the help of volume buttons. On long pressing them for 3 seconds, an alert message will be sent to the contacts mentioned in emergency contacts list along with the location of the user.

Coming to the fingerprint scanner, it has a bunch of features built to it that performs numerous functions like clicking pictures, playing or pausing music and video, answering a call, turning off alarm etc. You can also dial someone simply by entering the number and long pressing the sensor. Believe me, this works wonders. All the functions are executed smoothly by the scanner without any difficulty.

Similarly, the gesture control called SmartWake offers a variety of shortcuts that can make your tasks a lot easier. The phone also has some nifty gesture controls baked in which works like magic and recognizes gesture patterns instantly. The top drop down panel is similar to other phones, which includes various shortcut options and settings icon. 

Apart from this, the phone has a Do Not Disturb mode which can be customized according to the requirement of the user.

So, Kult Beyond has a massive bundle of features which we may not find in other phones within this price range.

Camera

The camera is one of the important factors that influence a buyer whether to buy a phone or not. The budget phones with impressive camera functions are in great demand but less in number. 

On the camera front, it carries a 13MP AF camera with dual tone LED flash at the rear, and a similar 13MP sensor with dual LED flash on the front. The rear camera has a circular and protruding design, which I don’t like in smartphones because it is prone of getting scratches. The camera interface is kept simple with four mode icons placed just above the shutter button.

I tested both cameras under various lighting conditions and this is what I found out. Starting from the rear camera, it works perfectly under natural light and artificial light, but when it comes to low light conditions, the quality drops below average even when used with flash. Many of our photographs had a foggy texture and resulted in grainy images. The autofocus is slow and struggles a bit while taking photographs in oddly lit conditions. Otherwise, the camera performs well in HDR and Normal mode without flash.

The front camera with the LED flash delivers good quality images in low lighting conditions. But, when used without flash the photos appear grainy and distorted as expected. It also has features like Beauty and Vistoso modes, while the former allows the users to enhance their selfies, the latter allows them to print their favorite photos on t-shirts and mugs.

Honestly speaking, the front camera is plausible but the competition is offering better rear camera capabilities than this one. 

Battery & Connectivity

The smartphone is powered by a 3000mAh battery which lasts a day with moderate use, which includes calling, web browsing, watching online videos, using social media apps like Facebook and WhatsApp, and gaming up to a hour. Additionally, the phone can last up to two days in standby mode. So, if you are a power user, then consider getting a power bank too.

Coming to connectivity, the phone has Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, FM radio, 4G VoLTE support, and MicroUSB port for charging and data transfer.

Verdict

Looking at its price, the Kult Beyond is an attractive phone in terms of design, software features like enhanced security and smart shortcuts but could have been a steal with a better rear camera, more storage capacity, and slightly better battery optimization. There are things that work in favor and some that work against, we would say there were many that worked in favour of Kult Beyond but the processing prowess and tough competition in this price range would steal some starts from the phone. 

For its price, the phone is not bad in terms of usability and features but again, the competition has a lot better to offer than this. Rivals like Xiaomi Redmi 4 will be a better choice over this handset.