Low-cost Andy A4.5 is a dual-sim disappointment

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/ Updated: May 1, 2014 9:31 AM PDT

Dual-SIM phones aren't that easy to find, but Miami-based Yezz (popular across Latin America) is working on changing that with its newest budget-conscious Android smartphone, the Andy A4.5

Less expensive than the $220 5-inch Andy AC5, but higher-end than the even smaller Andy A4. For its $190 price tag, it's a good value for a dual-SIM smartphone, with a 13-megapixel camera and quad-core processor.

Unfortunately for the Andy A4.5, the fact it has two SIM slots is one of the only compelling features of the phone, since its camera and processor are underwhelming. If a single-SIM model is enough for you, I highly recommend Motorola's Moto G, which is $10 cheaper unlocked, runs a newer version of Android, has more on-board storage, and a better-performing camera.

Design

The black or white Andy A4.5 sports a thin design and smooth rounded body that makes it feel very nice to hold. At just 5.2 tall, 2.6 wide, and 0.3 inches thick (that's 132x65.6x8.6mm) the Andy A4.5 is compact enough to use one-handed and slip into a jeans pocket. It also weighs just 3.60oz (102g), so it felt light in my hands.

The phone's smooth matte back cover is remarkably hard to pry off -- using my fingernail didn't work, so I had to resort to a knife to pop it off. However, even using a soft plastic knife, I managed to create several dents in the cover, along the corner where I tried to separate it from the body.

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The Andy A4.5 is thin and compact. Josh Miller/CNET

True to its name, the phone has a 4.5-inch LCD screen with a 540x960-pixel resolution. That gives the display a pixel density of 245ppi, which looks fine if you have nothing else to compare it to, but next to a premium smartphone, such as the Samsung Galaxy S5, it will look dull. Still, the screen is bright enough to see in full sunlight and text is still readable.

Below the screen, on the front bezel, there are three brightly-lit hot keys for the back, home, and menu commands. On the white Andy A4.5 model, the back lights create a halo of light around each hot key. There's no way to dim those lights and they can be a bit distracting in the dark.

Software

The phone runs Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, and while there are a few modifications from Yezz, including white and blue colored menus, it otherwise looks just like stock Android. It's preloaded with all of the standard Google apps, including Currents, Earth, Gmail, Search, Plus, Keep, Local, Maps with Navigation, and Photos. You can open Google Now, Google's search and personal assistant feature, from the lock screen by swiping up, or by tapping the microphone icon in the persistent search bar at the top of each home screen.

The Andy A4.5 also comes with several social apps, including Facebook, Twitter, Skype, Instagram, and WhatsApp. Yezz teamed with gaming company GameLoft to include a two of their titles, Wonder Zoo and Little Big City, as well.

Since its a dual-SIM phone, you can also manage your SIMs in settings, where you can choose which service to use for a data connection, or completely turn off one of the cards.

Camera and video

The Andy A4.5 has a 13.1-megapixel camera with many of the features you'd expect these days, including scene modes, continuous shooting, auto-focus, and flash.

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The Andy A4.5 has a 13-megapixel main camera. Josh Miller/CNET

However, don't let that high megapixel count fool you, the camera doesn't take great photos. In outdoor shots, I had a lot of issues with lighting. In bright daytime sun, both in the mid-morning and afternoon, any areas in a scene that were in the sun looked either washed out or completely blown out. In wide landscape shots, the vibrant blue sky usually showed up much lighter than reality, though objects and buildings in the foreground looked more natural. In close-up shots with ample sunlight, parts of the photo looked vibrant, while others were completely blown out -- too bright to make out any details.

I had the same issue with indoor shots with a lot of natural sunlight -- the scene was bright, but the brighter areas were overexposed. In contrast, shaded areas were overly dark. In our standard studio shot, with fluorescent lighting, the middle of the photo has a distinct blue shade, while the edges look brown.

There's a 1.3-megapixel front facing camera for selfies and video chatting, and shots I took with it looked grainy and, again, overexposed.

The Andy A4.5's camera shoots 1080p video and I was impressed with the clips I shot. I still encountered the same lighting issues from the still shots, where brightly areas looked overexposed, and colors looked a bit unnatural. However, the video itself was sharp and clear, and when I played back the clips on both the phone and on a computer, it looked smooth, and not at all choppy.

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This outdoor shot was one of the few I captured that didn't look washed out. The colors in the statue are vibrant, but the blue sky looks lighter than it should. Sarah Mitroff/CNET

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In this indoor shot, the plants look bright, but the bricks in the background are overexposed. Sarah Mitroff/CNET

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Indoors and away from natural light, the camera made my subject's faces look much darker than they really are. Sarah Mitroff/CNET

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In this studio shot, there's a large blue area in the middle of the photo. Josh Miller/CNET

Hardware features

Inside the Andy A4.5, you'll find a 1.2GHz quad-core processor, a PowerVR SGX544 GPU, a 1,500mAh battery and 512MB of RAM. Yezz promises the phone's battery will last for 25 days on standby and 14 hours of talk time.

You also get 4GB of storage in the phone for apps, games, photos, and other saved files. If that amount isn't enough, you can add up to 64GB of extra memory with a microSD card.

The phone's processor won't blow you away, but it's capable of running most any app you download. it can also handle most mobile games without them lagging or sputtering. I did however, encounter a lot of lag while navigating around the phone, which was especially noticeable in the camera and gallery apps. I would tap the screen and the phone would either not respond to my selection at or it would take a few seconds to complete the action. It's hard to tell if this was an issue with the screen's touch sensitivity or the processor, or both.

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The phone packs a 1.2GHz processor, 4GB of on board storage, and a 1,500mAh battery Josh Miller/CNET

The Andy A4.5 is a GSM (850/900/1800/1900 MHz) dual-SIM phone that also supports HSPA+ 3G/4G data (850/900/1900 MHz). While setting up the phone, I got an error message that my T-Mobile SIM card wasn't compatible with the phone. However, I was able to connect to the Internet and could see that I had a 4G HSPA+ data signal, which was fast when loading websites and downloading apps.

Yezz Andy A4.5 call sample (unlocked, on T-Mobile)

Although this unlocked Andy4.5 isn't optimized for any US network, I tested its call quality using T-Mobile's network in San Francisco. On one particular call to another T-Mobile smartphone, my tester said that I sounded clear and natural. However, on my end her voice sounded distorted, almost robotic.

Speakerphone fared far worse. My tester couldn't hear my voice unless the microphone was right next to my mouth, and she complained about significant background noise that made it hard to understand me, even while I was inside a quiet office building. This time both voices sounded unnatural.

Outlook

If you absolutely need a dual-SIM phone, it's hard to beat the compact Yezz Andy A4.5. At $189, it's cheaper than most dual-SIM phones on the market, including Yezz's Andy AC5 and the Blue Life View, both which retail for more than $200. Just keep in mind that, with that low price tag, you're getting handset with budget internal guts, an unremarkable camera, and a low-resolution screen.

Otherwise, for those who are just in the market for an inexpensive Android phone, and can live without a second SIM card slot, the unlocked Motorola Moto G is overall a more attractive choice. It has a better image quality, runs Android 4.3 Jelly Bean, and still manages to come in $10 cheaper.

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Quick Specifications See All

  • Weight 3.67 oz
  • Diagonal Size 4.5 in