Prestigio? Who’s that? Well, you might be thinking that right now, and indeed the company’s profile in the UK has been low (to put it politely). But Prestigio has been around for a while and sells in 75 countries around the world.
Moreover, if you do a bit of research on the old net, you’ll find quite a lot of Prestigio handsets on sale right now here in the UK. None are particularly expensive, and the model that has recently launched, the Prestigio MultiPhone 5430, can be yours for around £190 Sim-free. Yes, it’s another handset eyeing that £200-ish bracket, fighting it out with the likes of the Sony Xperia L I reviewed last month.
One of the more interesting things about the Prestigio MultiPhone 5430 is that it boasts an Intel processor – although it isn’t the first mobile to go with Intel. Orange was the first to use Intel in a smartphone last year with its San Diego, but Intel’s progress in the mobile phone arena has been painfully slow.
That’s not what Intel wants. It needs to find another outlet as PC sales slow. Phones and tablets seem the ideal space to try to occupy and so Intel is persisting. A relatively new chip, the Atom Z2420 1.2GHz makes an appearance here. The processor is single core but includes Hyper-Threading – which means there’s a virtual second core that shares the workload.
The Prestigio MultiPhone 5430 is certainly a nippy little thing – web pages load nice and fast, and the phone zips along responding to screen taps, presses and sweeps.
Battery life seems quite unaffected by the processor, too. There’s a 2000mAh battery built in and the usual mark of acceptability for a handset of a day between charges should be achievable for the majority of users (providing they don’t pound it with games playing or push the GPS too hard).
Some handsets come bundled with a range of third-party apps, and I tend to sit back and bemoan the amount of memory space they take up. Prestigio offers you some choices when you first set the phone up so you can pick which of several third-party apps to install. A collection of solitaire games, the Adobe Flash Player, Angry Birds, Blue – which provides business and stocks news – Chess Free (a very good free chess app), and a currency converter can be installed (or not, as you wish).
This is quite important because there’s only 4GB of built in storage and even declining to install all those optional apps I’ve just listed left me with just 1GB free. The microSD card under the backplate will need to be filled early in your ownership of this phone. And even then, if you want to hot-swap new music in and out via microSD, forget it – you have to remove the battery to get at the card.
It would have been nicer if there was more internal storage, and if you were offered the option to avoid installing eReader Prestigio (a reader and portal for eBook purchases), Evernote, and MobiSystems OfficeSuite (though this at least allows you to create documents in Microsoft Office formats).
The handset runs Android 4.0 and while it’s unskinned, Prestigio has added its own keyboard, which has a small number row on top. It’s more efficient than long pressing to get at the numbers, and you can select from a range of different colour schemes such as a blue, green or red background with white keys. You can go back to the standard Android keyboard if you prefer.
It is nice to see an FM radio built in. However, if you are a music fan you might want to think twice about this handset. Things bode well when you first look at the earphones which have an in-ear fitting that I find far more comfortable and secure to wear than the usual saucer shaped earbuds. The bad news is that the sound quality itself is pretty poor. Through the phone’s speaker the sound is tinny and lacking punch, and the same qualities are present with the headphones. It’s all a bit “meh.”
The build quality is not the greatest, either. The front is unadorned black with three touch buttons under the screen that are backlit when that area is pressed. The silver edges are plastic, and they look it. None of that is really a problem for a handset coming in at this price, though at 10mm thick the phone does feel a bit chunky. What really lets the build down is the back. It just looks cheap and nasty with the branding a bit too large for my tastes.
The 4.3in IPS LCD screen has good viewing angles and the resolution of 960 x 540 pixels, while hardly record breaking, is plentiful enough to deliver web pages and text to readable quality. I’m not going to say the screen is fantastic, because it is not, but on the other hand it’s not impossible to live with.
There’s an 8-megapixel main camera and 0.3-megapixel front camera. The former has a fairly long shutter lag and so images can be blurred, but there’s a burst mode and a few scene modes to keep you going if you have a steady hand.
Something I have not mentioned yet, but which does deserve a little doff of the cap is that Presgitio ships the MultiPhone 5430 with a small sleeve case (pictured below). Once, long ago, this was seen quite regularly, but shipping with a protective case has gone out of fashion. It’s nice to see the trend bucked, particularly on a cheaper handset. The top of the case is open so that you can get to the headset port, and there are even a couple of holes on the back so the speaker can let its sound out.
There are numerous niggles with this handset, but despite this, it’s difficult not to have a soft spot for the MultiPhone 5430. Intel’s processor does well, battery life is good, and the screen is perfectly adequate. These are the key things a handset has to get right – and that protective case is a bonus. But poor sound and a lacklustre build quality let this phone down, along with a lack of storage space.
Manufacturer and Model
Prestigio MultiPhone 5430
GSM 900/1800/1900; HSPA 900/1900/2100
4.3in, 960 x 540
126 x 54.7 x 10mm