Karbonn Titanium MachFive first impressions: an affordable phone that also boasts universal remote capabilities

“The Titanium MachFive is among the most affordable smartphones with an IR emitter”

The trend of selling smartphones exclusively online might have been started in India by new-age brands such as Motorola and Xiaomi, but nowadays it seems that even established companies are also opting for this route. We’ve already seen the likes of Micromax and Samsung launching devices that are exclusively retailing on eCommerce websites, and the latest brand to follow their footsteps is Karbonn. At an event today, it has unveiled a new phone in its Mach range of budget devices.

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Christened Karbonn Titanium MachFive, the handset offers a loaded set of specs and also has some interesting tricks up its sleeve. The device will be exclusively sold via Amazon and is priced competitively at Rs 5,999. We were able to spend some quality time with it and here’s what we think.

Even though the Titanium MachFive is a budget smartphone, Karbonn has ensured that it features a good design. It’s constructed from high-quality plastic and has a textured pattern at the back. This ensures that the device offers superb grip and looks different from the rest. While our demo unit was available in silver, it can also be purchased in gold or white hues.

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The Karbonn Titanium MachFive is optimised for one-hand usage, since it’s built around a 5-inch display panel. The display offers nice colours and sharp text with the pixel density of 294ppi, though we found it to be a bit reflective. With the thickness of 8.8mm, the MachFive is quite lean, but the weight is on the heavier side at 157g.

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Along with the display dominating the fascia, you’ll also find the earpiece, sensors, and a secondary shooter along with an LED flash above, and an array of capacitive navigation keys below. The right edge is home to the power button as well as the volume rocker, while the left side is bereft of any elements. The headphone socket is available at the top and is accompanied by an IR emitter, and that’s one of the highlights of the Karbonn Titanium MachFive. The IR blaster is a feature usually available in pricier offerings, but the Indian brand has brought it in a budget device. The micro-USB port for charging and data transfers can be found at the bottom.

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The removable back panel of the handset sports the primary camera, which juts out slightly and has a nice-looking blue accent around it along with an LED flash. A speaker grille is available towards the bottom. An interesting point to note is that the brand name isn’t visible anywhere on the phone.

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Before delving into the hardware details, let’s see what the IR blaster on the Karbonn Titanium MachFive allows you to do. The manufacturer has tied up with Peel. which offers an app to turn a normal device featuring an IR emitter to a smart remote control. The MachFive comes closely integrated with Peel Smart Remote app, since you can find it on the lockscreen, notification bar as well as a floating button. The app has a vast database of supported devices and can control TVs, DTH set-top boxes, DVD players, and air conditioners among other things. The app not only lets you control your TV, but it also offers you a guide of what you can watch, which is neatly categorised between top picks, movies, serials, etc.

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The device boasts powerful internals with a combination of a 1.3GHz MediaTek MT6582 processor, which is clubbed with 2GB of RAM. While the processor is slightly old, the hardware is quite good for its price and should be able to handle multiple apps or casual games well. We didn’t find any lag while switching between apps or navigating between screens. The phone seems to have ample storage for most users as it ships with 16GB memory on board, out of which around 11.5GB is available for use. There’s also an option to extend it further up to 32GB by making use of a microSD card.

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The Karbonn Titanium MachFive runs the latest iteration of Android, which is v5.0 Lollipop and has a stock interface. However, there are a number of preloaded apps on the phone such as Amazon, Myntra, Paytm, etc. There’s also support for gestures, and the good thing is that you can customise them as per your liking… both the actions as well as the apps assigned to them.

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In the photography department, the Titanium MachFive offers an 8-megapixel snapper at the back, while a 5MP secondary camera is available for selfies. What’s interesting is that the both shooters are supplemented by a dedicated LED flash strobes, which means not only normal shots, but selfies also can be captured well even in low light.

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Perhaps the only shortcoming that we can think of with the Karbonn Titanium MachFive is the lack of support for 4G. The dual-SIM phone only supports 3G connectivity, although other options like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS are available. The phone draws power from a 2,200mAh battery.

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While Karbonn has priced its latest offering well, it will be facing stiff competition in this price point from devices such as the Coolpad Dazen 1 (review), Xiaomi Redmi 2 (review | FAQs) and Micromax Canvas Xpress 2 (first impressions). That said, the phone is able to distinguish itself with its universal remote control capabilities and does feature decent hardware specs.

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