At the moment, we have quite a few smartphones with us that have come for a review. The list includes the mighty Google Pixel XL, OnePlus 3, 3T, Huawei P9, and the itel SelfiePro IT1520. The SelfiePro IT1520 is a pocket-friendly smartphone of the lower midrange segment; all the others are from a premium category with the Pixel XL being the finest of the clan. Amongst all of these big players, there is one more smartphone which we have been using for a while. It has been one of our daily workhorses and we are surprised at what all it offers at 1/10th of the cost of the premium phone we have. This is the itel SelfiePro it1520!
Before you guys get scratching your head as to what smartphone company it is, here is a little intro: itel has been around for quite some but has been creating a strong footprint in the budget and feature phones segment. The SelfiePro series is the company’s lineup of budget android smartphones. The price mentioned on the box is of INR 8,490 but you can easily grab one from the market for around INR 7,500. So we used the it1520 extensively and here is what we think about it.
This itel SelfiePro it1520 can be had in a shade of gold which the company likes to call it ‘Champagne’, also on offer is Sandstone Black. On the visual front the it1520 looks really good. It has got a neat and clean finish that makes it all the more premium. The construction is nice and solid and we noticed no creaking or squeaking throughout the time we used it. The phone doesn’t get a metal unibody instead makes do with a traditional metal and plastic construction. itel has fitted the it1520 with a 5inch HD TFT IPS display equipped with OnCell technology. The pixel density of this unit is 294ppi. This HD unit is bit of a downer because many of its segment offer a FullHD display at the same or lesser price.
The display is vibrant and the saturation level is pleasant. Visibility of the display under harsh sunlight is pretty good too. The 13 MP front facing camera, proximity sensor, earpiece and the front flash is located on the forehead of the screen. The 13MP front camera doubles up as an Iris scanner. Yeah, you read it right, this budgets phone is quite serious about its safety features, and it does get an Iris scanner! We shall talk about it in a while.
On the chin are three touch capacitive backlit buttons out of which the center home key also works as a notification light. On the right are the volume rocker, power key, and a convenience key that works as a camera shutter button. There is nothing on the left. The 3.5mm audio jack is placed on top of the frame while the micro USB port and the mic are positioned at the bottom. The phone features a 13MP main camera, Dual tone LED flash, the speaker grille and the itel branding on the rear panel. The textured rear panel is removable.
itel bundles in a flip cover with the phone that saves the phone from scratches and smudges. Interestingly, the flip cover also adds functionality and a few apps like the clock, music player and weather can be accessed through it when it is closed. Also, you get a premium looking pair of in-ear headset in the box. The audio output is just average and you will have to upgrade to a better set for your music sessions.
The it1520 makes use of MediaTek MT6735 Quadcore CPU clocked at 1.30 GHz and coupled with Mali-T720 GPU. It gets 2GB of Ram and an internal storage of 16GB out of which only 10GB is usable. It gets Dual SIM capabilities and supports microSD cards up to 64GB. The battery fitted inside is a removable 2,500 mAh unit. The sensor set provided on the it1520 comprise of G-Sensor, Proximity sensor, Light sensor, Temperature sensor, and a Hall sensor.
It comes preinstalled with Android OS v6.0 Marshmallow. The UI has been optimized for a smooth performance through daily apps. On the first glance, you might feel that the phone is loaded with bloatware but it is not. Itel has added neat features in the phone that do a pretty good job. Here are the features listed below:
Surprisingly, this feature was spot on almost every single time we used it. Itel claims that this phone` uses an actual iris scanner.
The it1520 is not here to impress you with the performance but has enough muscle to keep you going through tasks. It is a budget smartphone that retails at a price of INR 7,000 and it does a pretty good job at it. The UI is smooth and switching through apps is like breeze. Out of the 2GB of RAM, around 600 – 700 MB is always free and with a quick tap on optimization another 50MB is cleared up. We had no complaints switching through apps while multitasking at all. All of our socializing apps including Whatsapp, facebook, Insta were up and running 24×7 and we never saw the phone going shilly-shally. Viewing videos on a small screen was uncomfortable but this was just a personal opinion as most of us are used to 5.5inch screen phones. The speaker could have been loud and it also looses out on the details on full chat.
Coming to the gaming performance, the it1520 passed our Subway Surfer test with flying colours. It scored well when we tested it with games like Clash of Clans as well. We tried heavy games on the phone with all the graphics level mellowed down. The performance was average that having said, apart from the visual graphics treatment, we had no complaints. We experienced almost no frame loss when we cleared all the background process while playing a game. On the downside, games took long to load and warmed up the phone quickly. With the flip cover on, the heating up was no issue to us but it was when we took it out. This mostly concludes that this phone is not meant for heavy duty apps or games on a daily basis.
The it1520 boasts a 13MP camera fitted on either side. The main camera is a 13MP autofocus unit that is accompanied by a dual LED flash. The 13MP camera in the front is a fixed focus camera. This phone has managed to surprise us here as well. The main camera is good with capturing details and macro shots turn up really well. The focus is responsive and the HDR mode also places the exposure well. While capturing a frame with well-distributed colours and ample light, the results are good. But when you focus on some dark or gaudy colours or in low light conditions, the colour reproduction is not correct and the colours get saturated or dark.
Speaking of the front camera, we expected it to be better especially after seeing the results produced by the rear camera. The lack of autofocus does not let you use the 13MP power to the full extent. Having said that, selfies come out good in well-lit environments. Also, for a dim lit environment, the front camera comes with a LED flash which is a boon. The colour reproduction by this camera is not up to the mark and sometimes Greens go blue as seen in the image below.
This is shot by the front facing 13MP camera.
The colour reproduction is close to natural.
That’s a confused doggy!
Macro Shots come out good!
Details are captured well!
The itel SelfiePro it1520 is packed with a 2,500 mAh capacity battery. This battery is assisted by a lot of power saving features that make the whole deal better. On one low battery occasion with only 21% power, we kicked in the Ultra Power saving mode and the phone survived for almost a 3hour journey with music playing all along. With moderate use including social networking, camera use, and internet browsing the phone can easily sail through a day.
The most impressive aspect of the iItel SelfiePro it1520 is its optimized UI and features that make multitasking flawless. For budget phones, phonemakers don’t take pain to work on the UI and fit in features that allows the hardware to perform to its full potential. Instead, they are rolled out with stock OS and UI that usually slows down the device and screws up with the general day-to-day tasks. With the it1520, the experience has been positively different than a lot of its segment. Another highlight of the phone is 13MP main camera that is capable of delivering surprising results. We did wish for a FullHD support initially but for a phone of this size, HD is no bad deal. We had fun with the Iris scanner and we never missed the fingerprint sensor that we have on all of our personal and review devices. Overall, the it1520 has some smart features and a decent set of hardware that makes it a good choice in the pocket-friendly segment.