Karbonn A21 Review

| Published Date
29 - Jan - 2013
| Last Updated
20 - Sep - 2016
 
5790

Where to buy

Karbonn A21
At Rs. 9,899, the Karbonn A21 does offer value for money, with decent hardware under the hood, a near-vanilla Android experience, a very good build and a responsive touchscreen.

Karbonn A21 Rating 0100100

Our Verdict

At Rs. 9,899, the Karbonn A21 does offer value for money, with decent hardware under the hood, a near-vanilla Android experience, a very good build and a responsive touchscreen. On the downside, the camera is underwhelming, the battery life could have been better and the overall performance is relatively laggy. If you are looking to invest in your first Android device and thing 4.5-inch display is the right screen size for you, then you can consider this device. If you want a well-built device with a 5-inch screen, we recommend the Micromax Canvas 2 A110.

PROS

  • Dual-core processor
  • Good build
  • Great touchscreen
  • Great keyboard

CONS

  • Laggy performance
  • Bad camera

Karbonn A21: Detailed Review

The sub-Rs. 10,000 price segment is flooded with a lot of devices that have started offering a bang for users buck. We have seen smartphones like the Karbonn A18, Micromax Canvas 2 A110, Intex Aqua 5.0 and more give users a good smartphone experience and a sense of the Android OS even if these devices are plagued with some laggy performance. Overall, in this price point you get what you pay for.

One of the biggest disadvantages of devices in this price range is the build quality. We have seen this trend change with the Micromax Canvas 2 A110. Today, we have with us the Karbonn A21. It boasts of some good hardware under the hood and quite an impressive build – but is it enough to take on the competition?

Build and Design
Straight out-of-the-box, the first thought that came to our mind when we saw the Karbonn A21 was ‘wow’. It has a 4.5-inch display giving it a very comfortable form factor. But that isn’t the impressive part. The rear of the device has a rubbery matte black finish giving it an elegant and premium look. Someone would only call this a budget device if they knew Karbonn made it.

The back cover of the Karbonn A21 is very similar to the one found on the original HTC Sensation, as well as the HTC Desire C. It is a very good design choice adding to the grip as well as style of the device.

The rest of the Karbonn A21’s design elements are pretty standard. We have the front facing camera above the display. The four capacitive buttons rest below the display – home, menu back and search. The rear houses a 5MP camera with an LED flash.

Overall, the design of the Karbonn A21 is quite impressive, better than the predecessor, A18, and at par if not better than what we have on offer with the Micromax A110. This is a good-looking candy bar budget smartphone.

Features and Specifications
To start with the specifications, the Karbonn A21 has a 4.5-inch TFT display with a 480x800 pixel resolution. It is powered by a 1.2GHz dual-core CPU, but has an underwhelming 512MB of RAM. It runs on Android 4.0 ICS straight out of the box and there is no information whether it can be upgraded to 4.1 Jelly Bean. The best part is that the OS is a vanilla experience with a minimalistic skin that only Android veterans will be able to identify. To the everyday user, it is a near vanilla Android experience and that is a very good thing. The Karbonn A21 has 4GB built-in storage that can be expanded up to 32GB via a microSD card.

As stated earlier, the rear of the Karbonn A21 has a 5MP camera with an LED flash and the front has a video-calling camera. The device doesn’t come with any noteworthy preloaded apps but you have access to the Play Store to feed your app appetite. The specifications under the hood are quite impressive and the processor clock speed is faster than that of the Micromax A110. But does it out perform the A110 in the benchmarks?

Performance
Well to start with, let us take a look at the benchmark comparison between the Micromax Canvas 2 A110 and the Karbonn A21.

From the benchmark comparison it is clear that the Karbonn A21 has better raw performance than the A110. But the difference isn’t ground breaking. The only difference between the power under the hood of the two smartphones is that the A110 has a 1GHz dual-core processor where as the A21 has a 1.2GHz. The slightly more powerful processor is the most apparent reason for the higher scores in the benchmarks.

For a sub-Rs. 10K phone, the Karbonn A21 performs as we’d expected it to. It runs all the apps and works as a budget smartphone should but does present its fair share of lag. If you are one who likes to customize your home screen with apps and widgets, you are in for one frustrating right. Whether multitasking or not, going back to the home screen from an app, switching the orientation of the display, or merely switching between open apps, the device can be quite laggy.

The Karbonn A21 display’s performance is quite good. To start with, the touch response is very smooth, smoother that its predecessor, the A18. The touchscreen also feels like it has an oleophobic coating making it really smooth and nice to work on. The smoothness feels far better than the Micromax A110.

The quality of video playback on the Karbonn A21 is just above average. The reason it looks slightly better than the A110 is because the display has a higher pixel density so the videos look slightly sharper but still lack the overall polish.

Playing games was fun on the Karbonn A21, but this is where the 4.5-inch screen is a tad disappointing. We think the 4.7-inch display is the sweet spot for utility and multimedia. While playing Dead Trigger, the game lagged quite a bit and the controls seemed a bit cramped. A similar experience at least seems well spaced out on a 5-inch or a 4.7-inch display. Browsing websites on the device was a treat. The pages loaded fast and the display was crisp to read the text on.

We have to make a special mention here about the keyboard on the Karbonn A21 . Because of its form factor, the keyboard on the device is excellent to type on. Add to that the smooth response of the screen and it is a joy to type long SMS’s on the display. The keyboard is a definite highlight of the device. The audio output is average from the Karbonn A21, and at par with the competition if nothing better.

Under the hood, the Karbonn A21 has an 1800mAh battery and this is where the device could have been better. We made some phone calls, sent text messages and did quite a bit of social networking and little YouTube. The device lasted the day and before going to bed, the battery was at 25 percent. With similar usage, we have seen other devices stay above the 30 percent mark so the battery life of the device could have been better. It isn’t bad but we expect our device to pump out a lot more juice.

The Karbonn A21 also boasts of dual-SIM capabilities eliminating the use of a second phone. Last, but not least, the Karbonn A21 boasts of a 5MP camera at the back. The performance of this camera isn’t the best. The images lack stability, are quite hazy and just not worth the effort!!

Bottom Line
At Rs. 9,899, the Karbonn A21 does offer value for money, with decent hardware under the hood, a near-vanilla Android experience, a very good build and a responsive touchscreen. On the downside, the camera is underwhelming, the battery life could have been better and the overall performance is quite laggy. If you are looking to invest in your first Android device and thing 4.5-inch display is the right screen size for you, then you can consider this device. If you want a well-built device with a 5-inch screen, we recommend the Micromax Canvas 2 A110.
 

Latest Forum discussions on Karbonn A21

  • Karbonn a21 dead

    I have a friend who has completely wiped his Karbonn A21's data out, trying to show off his rooting skills. He had successfully rooted his phone, but then he tried to change the icons of the OS using an app called Rom Toolkit Pro, but then his device displayed an error, and since then all apps he tried to run started crashing. He turned his...

    1. Lywyre19/06/2013
      This may not work. But ask you friend to try taking it to the service centre and say he doesn't know why the phone is not turning on.
    2. Rohanm19/06/2013
      ^^ NO need to hide the reason as his warranty already expired. lol
    3. Anupam_pb19/06/2013
      Hunt for the service centre.......... give the phone there & pretend as if u don't know anything
    Show More
  • Micromax a110 v/s karbonn a21

    Hi Guys, I am looking for a budget Dual Core Android phone and shortlisted Micromax A110 & Karbonn A21, really confused between which one to choose in terms of display, camera, performance. :-? You can also advice me any other budget dual core phones. Thanks.

    1. Reddick30/10/2012
      Could you provide your budget n your usage pattern :?:
    2. Bhushan2k30/10/2012
      best budget dual core..xperia u..
    3. Hrishi01/11/2012
      as per the specs , The Karbon one looks better , becuase of better battery life and pixel density.Also , the processor has 0.2ghz more capability. It lacks mainly on the screen size which is around 16-18% smaller and is simple lcd screen compared to IPS. Karbon has better battery life than micromax a110. Can't say about durability , never...
    Show More
  • Want to buy the karbonn a21................

    Impressed by the features of A21......... Should i get it??

    1. Bhushan2k15/10/2012
      what are ur requirements?? May we have your answers of [URL="http://www.thinkdigit.com/forum/buying-advice/134349-questionnaire-mobile-phone-purchase-queries.html"][B][U]these questions[/U][/B][/URL] here in this thread??
    2. Aroraanant17/10/2012
      Karbon mobile...!!! Better spend money in a sony, samsung or a HTC phone.
    3. Darrelhadwin17/10/2012
      Karbonn..... Why dont you try other mobiles. Here is the sufficient information which may help you. [URL="http://buzz2fone.com/"]Mobile Technology Blog[/URL]
    Show More
  • Karbonn titanium s1

    Please ban me

    1. Rohanm07/08/2013
      powervr sgx544 > adreno 203 IMO.
    2. Jripper08/08/2013
      The snapdragon processor is better than the mediatek 6589, but the powervrsgx544 is better than the adreno 203. Why not get a pantech burst? Sure you won't get warranty for it,but its a great phone for the price. Try looking for coupons. People have bought it for as less as 7.5k
    3. Vijju609108/08/2013
      Xolo Q700 is Good Deal IMO.
    Show More
  • Karbonn a18 mobile

    I just bought Karbonn A18 mobile 4 days back. When I tried to take snaps, I am getting a message that "Camera cannot be opened". What is the reason for this and how to solve this problem?

    1. Techlover30/09/2012
      well the most simple way i know to solve the problem is to just restart ur phone ;)
    2. Dharmil00730/09/2012
      Hey buddy i just wanted to ask few questions about ur mob Karbonn A18. 'coz i m considering to buy 1 myself 1. Did u like the Fone ??like means how is its perfomance ??? 2. As it says Dual Sim-Dual Standby, so what happens when 1 is on call & on 2nd sim another call comes ? 3. Actually How much space is therein the phone availabe for Apps ? 4....

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