If you’ve been watching the IPL, and perhaps that’s a silly statement, anyway, you’ll have noticed the ads for Karbonn one of those many many budget mobile companies sprouting up all over. So this, their K560 Dual SIM mobile is one of those touchscreen devices that also comes with a standard keypad. Here’s a closer look.

Form Factor
The K560 is a sleek looking handset. It’s slim and designed well enough to be comfortable to use. The volume and camera key are unusually on the ‘wrong’ side. The 3.5mm handsfree port is on the other side just above the digicam sized USB/charging port. I did try using a digicam’s USB cable but the handset kept giving me a message that the earphones were plugged in. Only the actual USB provided with the handset worked. Spooky! The earphone socket was also an issue. I wasn’t able to hear anything if the handsfree or my own earphones were plugged in until I jiggled the plug and removed it almost a quarter of the way out.

Designed to be a multimedia handset there’s a shortcut key to the music player on one side of the five-way nav-pad. The Dual SIM answer/call keys could have been color coded or numbered as the little dashes can sometimes be confusing. But on the whole the keypad is very comfortable to use even for long periods. As usual, the microSD card slot is located under the battery. That’s a universal trait with these Java mobiles.

It’s a good looking handset but the internal design schematics when it comes to connectivity ports were a big issue here. Like they say it’s what’s ‘inside’ that counts.

Features and Performance

This handset’s manufacturers have gone with an HTC-like WinMob desktop customization. By swiping your finger across the screen or clicking the side scrolling key on the nav-pad you can have a large clock or Calendar placed on the desktop. The main menu system comes with 3D animations just to add a little more than color to the overall look of the handset. The UI is smooth without any sort of lag or deal in response time. Touch sensitivity is average. It’s finger friendly to a small extent. The UI also supports handwriting recognition, that’s also where the stylus comes in handy.

The problem with most of these budget dual input handsets is that the touchscreen is actually quite redundant. It’s just a gimmick to impress potential customers – a touchscreen device in an affordable low price range. Me thinks if that function were removed it would knock off at least Rs. 800 – Rs. 1000 off the overall price.

The music player is loud and quite clear. The EQ presets help quite a bit and I was particularly happy with the customizable option of a five-band graphic EQ setting especially the interface for the same. The bundled handsfree served their purpose but using a better set of earphones made a considerable difference to the total output. The music player also comes with plenty of options and categories like Genre, Artist etc. and even allows you to create playlists. The K560’s FM radio also worked out quite well. It even has a schedule record function.

For videos you’ll have to drop the resolution during conversion. Files in a 320 x 240 pixel 3GP or MPEG4 format will be read but will frame quite a bit. Sadly, lowering the resolution the quality you’ll end up with is not too good. A couple of games have been tossed in too.

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