InfoSonics verykool s505 Spark review: A budget-friendly 5-inch smartphone

InfoSonics verykool s505 Spark

InfoSonics is not really known for making the world’s best phones; like some other smaller companies, they are trying their best to get those customers who don’t care about the latest bells and whistles today’s expensive super-phone have.

InfoSonics’ latest device, verykool s505 aka Spark, also happens to be their best phone to date, boasting a big display and solid hardware for $199.

Before we go into details, let’s take a look at the specs:

SPECS

  • 3G HSPA+ 21 Mbps DL / 5.6 Mbps UL connectivity
  • 1.3Ghz MediaTek quad-core processor
  • 5-inch HD IPS-LCD 720p (720 x 1280 pixels) screen
  • 12-megapixel rear camera, 2-megapixel front-facing one
  • 1GB of RAM, 4GB of internal storage expandable with microSD cards
  • Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, FM radio
  • Battery: 2,000mAh which is good for 5 hours of talk or up to 240 hours of standby time
  • Size: 143.5 x 71.60 x 8.25 mm; weight: 100 grams
  • Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, update to Android 4.4 KitKat coming later in the year

InfoSonics verykool s505 Spark

DESIGN

Although InfoSonics wants to sell the Spark as a device with an “ultra high-end design,” we find it to look rather plain. And we don’t expect much more from a phone in this price range.

The device is made out of plastic, boasting a slightly slippery back, which is kinda given with most phone these days, whether they cost $200 or $600. The big 5-inch screen with 720p (1280×720 pixels) resolution dominates the front panel; there are no physical buttons (not even capacitive ones) beneath the display, making for a more pocketable look and feel. Lock key and volume buttons are on the right side, the bottom has a micro USB port, while the top is reserved for a 3.5mm headset jack.

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Overall, we would give the verykool s505 a 3 (out 5) star rating for design. Again, you get what you pay for.

HARDWARE

As you can see from the specs above, the Spark is powered by MediaTek’s quad-core chip clocked at 1.3GHz. It also has 4GB of expandable storage (with microSD cards), two SIM card slots and 1GB of RAM, though for some reasons sites around the Internet are saying it tops at 512MB. Not sure why that’s the case, though.

That IPS display has a 5-inch diagonal and has a slim 8mm bezel around. The device supports 3G HSPA+ connectivity with download speeds of up to 21Mbps and uploads at up to 5.6Mbps. 4G LTE, unfortunately, is not supported.

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In the camera department, we have a 12-megapixel sensor in the rear camera, and a 2MP front-facing shooter.

Finally, Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth, FM radio and an array of “standard for Android” sensors all come included.

SOFTWARE

“True Android fans” will love the fact that InfoSonics hasn’t included any of its customizations. Quite the contrary, you get the pure Android experience many have learned to love, myself included.

Actually, there is one thing the company has preloaded with the verykool s505 but it won’t affect the user experience. You get the Personal Safety Services app from MobileTREC, which allows texting to 911 and immediate deployment of emergency help across multiple contacts when personal safety is at risk. Along with the phone purchase, users receive a free 30-day trial of MobileTREC’s platform, after which they are free to pay for the service if they want to. God forbid you ever need to use MobileTREC’s app; but it’s good to know it’s sitting there.

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The Spark is running Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, but the update to Android 4.4 KitKat should be out in the next few weeks (or months).

FINAL TAKE

As we’ve noted before, the verykool s505 Spark is the best device InfoSonics has made to date. It wouldn’t be fair to compare it with the likes of Samsung Galaxy S5, iPhone 5s and HTC One; simply put – it’s not in their league. The Spark costs $200, while each of the said three phones cost north of $600. And for $200, you get good value for money. Or so we think.

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