Ambition doesn’t seem to be Prestigio’s strong point. This is a relatively unknown company, based in Cyprus and has largely relied on the Eastern European and Middle Eastern markets for its sales. You’d be forgiven for raising an eyebrow based on these facts alone.
In the past Prestigio has released a slew of me-too products that, while getting the job done, fail to innovate or lead the way in any one area. Looking at the specs of its latest offering, the Prestigio MultiPhone 5430, it would seem like that note hasn’t changed in recent months.
You need only look on the surface to get that impression. The 5430’s bland design doesn’t exactly inspire. It’s as basic as contemporary smartphones get, never hiding its budgeted appeal or looking quirky in a way that might actually work in the favour of a relatively unknown brand.
The flimsy plastic backing that holds the handset’s innards together is not a good start. It picks up fingerprints and dirt with a frustrating degree of stubbornness. You’ll spend as much time cleaning it as you do using it. Access to your battery and SIM requires awkward removal of the back. Pry it off and take good care of it while it’s detached, as it could easily be bent or broken should it have the misfortune to be sat on or picked up by a youngster. It also gives sizeable real estate to Prestigio’s elaborate logo, which gives it a rather unwelcome merchandising feel. A little tacky to say the least.
The 140g weight does give it a solid, expensive feel however, and it’s generously sized to fit in your hand without much trouble while allowing the 4.3 inch screen plenty of its own space. You might face off with the camera button on the bottom right side if you grip it too tightly, but this fortunately won’t interfere with you unless you’re already using the camera itself. Ultimately the best thing that can be said about the design of the 5430 is that it’s the only area in which it lags behind the competition, which isn’t exactly what you want to hear.
This is a capable, if uninspiring smartphone. The 5430 runs a relatively standard version of Android’s 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich OS, an accessible,
dependable OS that sadly misses out on a few of the tweaks that later updates have brought.The device benefits from some bright ideas cherry-picked from other phones, including access to the camera from the lock screen and microphone-enabled Google searching. If you are familiar with standard Android OS’s then you’ll find yourself getting along with the 5430’s basic usage just fine.
It is however, one of the first phones to incorporate Intel’s Atom 1.2GHz processor, which finds a good home on the device too. It keeps up with normal browsing while stuttering just a little under more demanding use. Pre-installed apps run without a hitch. However some of the more demanding apps and games that we installed from the Google Play Store had long load times, occasionally choppy performance, and a noticeable few seconds pause before returning back to the OS menu when asked to do so.
At 960 x 540 pixels the 5430 isn’t pushing any boundaries of smartphone displays, but it isn’t causing any issues either. The screen size and resolution gives games and apps enough space to show off while full 1080p support means that video playback is about as good as you could ask for a device of this calibre. Youtube videos (though taking a few seconds to buffer), are viewed with a minimum of fuss and if you absolutely have to watch a full blown movie on a screen of this size then this is by no means a bad place to do it.
Given the 5430’s focus as an everyday use phone, the 2000 mAh battery suits its needs comfortably. On moderate use you can expect around two days’ worth of calling, browsing and texting out of it. The battery will decrease at a steady rate throughout the day, though never alarmingly quickly. If you’re looking to kick it around throughout the day with plenty of gaming however don’t be surprised if it runs flat.
Charging is by the usual micro USB, which will work via PC or mains. PC charging is of particular note. Our review kit came packed with a European charger only. Taking the battery from empty to full takes around three or four hours.
[alert type=alert-blue]CAMERA AND AUDIO[/alert]
The 8MP camera provides decent image quality with contrast and brightness all showing up clearly, which falls in line with the device’s ambitions. Pictures under low-light weren’t as good. but it does a good job of taking detailed photos outside. Compared to other 8MP cameras it isn’t inspiring, but suits the device’s position and price.
Video is in the same league as the camera although the auto-focus struggled to keep up with more rapid movement. When videos are shot steadily then picture quality is colourful and clear, making full use of the screen size during playback. There’s also a 0.3MP front-facing camera for video calls. In this respect, the Prestigio at least earns itself some points for being feature complete.
Voice calls are fine. Noise cancellation helped to make calls around busy transport hubs clear and the sound quality is smooth. We managed calls alongside the London traffic without any major issues. When it comes to video playback the speakers can, unsurprisingly, give way to nosier environments and end up feeling relatively weak. It’s unlikely to disrupt your experience with the phone, but it is unfortunate that it doesn’t quite hold up with the decent screen. That said, a pair of headphones do come in addition to the device, so you won’t necessarily be relying on those speakers anyway.
While the 5430 never excels in any one area area, it never makes a complete mess of anything either. Its bland design is probably its biggest drawback, proving to be completely indistinguishable from its competitors and is decidedly bland as result.
The real question is if a phone this unambitious and safe should really be worth considering when there are so many other companies trying to innovate and lead the way in any given area. This is 2013, and we’re seeing phones that offer vibrant screens, booming audio, and powerful processors ‘ the 5430 isn’t even trying to make its mark in any of these areas, it simply ticks the boxes.
Perhaps, given its position as an everyday phone, the 5430 is right to be so perfectly ordinary, as there’s undoubtedly a consumer out there that will be completely satisfied with all it offers at a respectable price of around £190.