Kazam Trouper 450L
SOC Qualcomm Snapdragon 410
1.21 GHz quad core
GPU Adreno 306 @ 400MHz
Screen 5” 480x854 LCD IPS
Memory 8 G built in + SD Card to 128 G
Main Camera 5.0 MP with flash
Front Camera 0.3 MP
GSM: 850 900 1800 1900
HSDPA 900 2100 HSPA+
LTE 800 1800 2600
Battery 2000 mAh
Dimensions 145 x 73.5 x 9.9
Weight 170 g
Fantastic support system
Everything to do with the handset (almost)
The Kazam Trouper 450L is not so much a phone as a package. You don’t buy just a handset, but rather you are buying a service that comes with a handset. I will cover the ins and outs of the service later but for now lets look at the phone.
In the last year or so budget handsets have started to become a real alternative for those not wanting to break the bank on a flagship. No longer are they small slow units that exasperate more than they please. Kazam however have managed to let all that pass over them. To say the Trouper 450L is disappointing would be like saying losing a league title on the last day of the season to your bitterest rivals is only mildly upsetting. The Trouper is like a mid range handset from three years ago, not a device trying to be better than the sum of it’s specification sheet. The main specifications are below and they are as underwhelming in the hand as they are to read.
Specifications aside, how does the Trouper perform?
The Trouper runs a slightly skinned version of AOSP 4.4.4 so isn’t too far behind the curve in that respect, but the skin ‘enhancements’ are very dated looking, making the whole OS look more akin to Ice Cream Sandwich, and even Ginger Bread at times. Pull down the navigation bar and there are quick settings reminiscent of Touch Wiz of old with a sickly green colour by default. The whole effect with the default wallpaper is dull and dank, yet the settings panel is a far more pleasant white and light green, if only they had carried this through to the whole theme. Luckily Android is a versatile beast so by installing your favourite launcher from the Play Store some of these ills can be quickly remedied.
In use you pretty much get what you would expect, a phone that can easily handle everyday tasks like calling, messaging and emailing but takes a little more time with slightly heavier tasks such as web page loading or playing YouTube video. Audio is muted and tinny sounding through the internal speaker and not recommended for more than little snippets. The screen I found to be the biggest disappointment and probably the source of my feeling for the device as a whole. There is little that an average user uses their smartphone for that doesn’t require more than an odd flick or press of the screen, so when it bombs, the phone bombs. The Trouper 450L has a very low resolution for a 5” display, a lot lower than we have become accustomed to. 240 dpi no longer cuts the mustard, and to make things worse I found it to either look washed out, or over saturated. The bottom edge always seemed to look duller than the rest of the screen to me, possibly to do with the way the back lighting is implemented.
Neither the front or back camera’s offer anything to shout about with the paltry 0.3 MP FFC being a step back in time that doesn’t glow with nostalgia. In the modern world of selfies and Snapchat I predict a lot more mirror shots from 450L users. The main camera isn’t as disappointing, with its budget standard 5.0 MP sensor, and shots don’t look too bad when viewed on a device that isn’t the 450L (the screen kills everything), just don’t expect a fast focus or great low light images. Overall the front camera is a waste of time and budget with the rear camera being more than adequate for gran or grandpa to snap the odd shot of little Tim.
Everything about the design of the Kazam is cheap and it shows. The back and sides are encased in a metallic silver piece of plastic that would not look out of place on a pound shop kids toy, but at least it has grip thanks to a slightly ribbed effect. On top sits the audio jack just left of centre, with the USB port slightly to the right of centre on the bottom edge. A Volume rocker slightly protrudes on the upper left leaving the power button to sit alone of the upper right edge, just slightly too high for my thumb to comfortably reach while resting the phone on my pinkie (we all hold phones like that, right?). the front face is all glass with capacitive recent/menu, home and back keys on the bottom and a speaker grill, camera and light sensor at the top. The back cover pops off to give access to the SIM tray, an SD card slot and removable battery. Maybe their will be an option to buy a cover that’s not so cheap looking as well.
Now to part 2 of the Trouper 450L package, the interesting bit. I said earlier that Kazam were not so much selling a phone as giving you a phone and selling you a service, and this is where the package comes into it’s own. Kazam have looked at the Android market and decided that in the UK nobody is catering for the technophobe or the clumsy oaf. We all see HTC offering free screen replacement in the US and ask why we can’t cut the same deal, well Kazam are offering free screen replacement on the 450L for accidental damage within the first year. As standard Kazam offer a 2 year warranty package but this can be extended by another year if the user installs 5 partner apps from the likes of Kindle, Amazon and McAfee (watch out for that last one). But rather than just rest on their laurels with the screen they are also offering technical support as well.
One of the few apps that Kazam have added is the Rescue app, which will allow a Kazam technician to take control of your device and sort any settings that may need adjusted (secured with a 6 digit pin that the user must enter to grant access). Kazam are effectively stepping into the role of the family/friend ‘technical’ person, the poor sod who gets a phone call every time Internet Explorer shows more tool bars than web content. Think of it, no more calls from your mum or dad asking how to change their wallpaper. For those tech savvy folk out their it may seem pointless, but the Trouper 450L isn’t aimed at them, it’s for the grandpa’s and grannies I mentioned earlier who still look for a pull dial on a phone and think a video call is sci-fi fantasy. For them, they just call Kazam and if the technician on the other end needs to change something he takes control of the phone and does what needs doing. Other OEM’s have support apps installed as standard, but none that I have come across offer anything near this level.
The big pity with the Trouper 450L is that Kazam didn’t up the price a little to make the handset a little better. A better screen and a little work on the default theme could make this a cracking package to recommend to it’s target audience but even with the exceptional support I could not, in all honesty tell a family member or friend to buy one. If this is the first step in bring this level of service to more capable units then it will definitely be worth watching.