Highlight - The OUKITEL K7000 is a good balance between value and a decent user experience
OUKITEL may be a little-known company here in the U.S., and that’s completely understandable considering their smartphones aren’t typically sold here in the states. That said, just like other devices which aren’t marketed for and sold within the U.S. market, phones from OUKITEL such as the K7000 can still be purchased and imported as they can be used within the U.S. In fact, we have reviewed more than a few devices from OUKITEL before such as the K6000 and the K6000 Pro. The phones are not designed for the U.S., and so you won’t be able to connect up to 4G LTE networks here from any of the carriers, but you will be able to get 2G and 3G connectivity with some of them, although you'll only get 2G with this device here. Without 4G LTE or 3G connectivity you might wonder why you would want to consider a device such as the OUKITEL K7000, and the main reason is the price. Smartphones continue to be costly but in the last couple of years devices with decent specs have become more affordable and in turn more available, and that’s what you’re getting with the K7000 as it comes in at $99 but offers up more than what you would expect to find in a phone that costs just under $100, such as fairly new software with Android Marshmallow and a fingerprint sensor. With that said, we’ve spent a little while with the OUKITEL K7000 now so let’s see how the device stacks up.
When it comes to the specs most of what you’ll find in the OUKITEL K7000 is pretty standard here, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a capable device, and certainly doesn’t mean that it isn’t a good value for what you get for what it costs. The K7000 comes equipped with a 5-inch HD display and is powered by a Quad-Core ARM Cortex A-53 processor which is paired with 2GB of RAM. More specifically this is a MediaTek MT6737 chipset which uses a Mali-T720 GPU for the graphics processing. For the cameras OUKITEL has used an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera with autofocus and LED Flash, while on the front the phone carries a 2-megapixel sensor. These cameras aren’t going to deliver any mind blowing images but it should suffice for anyone who simply needs a camera on their device and doesn’t care about the quality. Of course, we’ll get into how the cameras perform later on.
Moving on the K7000 comes running on Android 6.0 Marshmallow, which isn’t the latest version of software now that Android 7.1.1 Nougat has started pushing to a few devices, but Marshmallow isn’t too bad as there are phones which have come out this year from some OEMs which launched with Android 5.1 Lollipop. For storage, the internal amount of space is sitting at 16GB, but the K7000 also supports expandable storage up to 32GB via a microSD card. It carries a 2,000mAh removable battery inside, weighs around 158 grams, and it’s 144.7 x 71.7 x 8.65mm. It has proximity, accelerometer, and ambient light sensors, as well as a fingerprint sensor on the back for unlocking the device. This is also a Dual SIM phone which makes it a great inexpensive option for travelers.
In The Box
As with most smartphones these days, you aren’t going to find a whole lot of extras inside the box with the OUKITEL K7000. Once you open the box which is a pretty standard affair in itself, you’ll find the phone, a quick start guide, the wall adapter and a micro USB cable for charging. Normally this would be all you would get with a device, but OUKITEL has packed a case in with the phone, but not just any case. It’s a power pack case which comes with another 5,000mAh of battery power, essentially tripling the amount of battery life you’ll get with this phone. OUKITEL has also fitted the K7000 with a screen protector, but this doesn’t really come inside the box as an extra as it’s already applied to the display so you don’t have to put it on yourself. It’s also worth mentioning that the wall adapter you get is for China and not the U.S., so you’ll need to use a different wall adapter to charge this device up. This should be expected though as it is a phone meant for the Chinese market and isn’t officially sold in this country. All in all, you get about what you would expect in the box for having to spend under $100.
Hardware Design & Build
At first glance you might look at the device and think it has a little inspiration in the design department from the iPhone, and if you quickly glance at it that’s completely understandable as it does appear that way. Of course once you pick it up and look it over, as well as hold it in your hands you immediately know that it’s not an iPhone. While the build quality is not necessarily terrible, it doesn’t feel premium either, but there should be no misconceptions about whether or not this is a premium device as the cost is nowhere near what you pay for premium, even these days. That said, the OUKITEL K7000 feels just fine in the hand and doesn’t feel overly cheap, and is actually a lot nicer than what you would have found for around $100 just a few years ago. This is evident by the use of the Aluminum Alloy frame that surrounds the screen, although this is where the use of metal materials ends as the battery cover is made of plastic.
You’ll find the volume rocker as well as the power button on the right hand side of the device with the left hand side of the phone being completely free of any buttons, and there are no on screen buttons here for navigation down at the bottom as OUKITEL chose to stick with capacitive keys here. That being said, only the home button lights up which is noticeable by the small circle shape in the middle of the bottom bezel, with it being impossible to tell that there is actually a back button and a recents button on either side of the home button. In fact, for the first day or so while I used the phone I wasn’t aware these buttons were present, which led me to question why OUKITEL would have left them off. This proved to be more than a little annoying as it wasn’t exactly enjoyable to have to hit the home button every time I wanted to back out of something and use a different app, and while you can long press on the home button to bring up your recently opened applications, having a dedicated recents button just feels better and more easily accessible, as long as you know it's there. On the bottom of the phone you’ll find the micro USB charging port and the single speaker for the phone, and up top you’ll find a 3.5mm audio port for plugging in headphones. Overall, the design of the OUKITEL K7000 isn’t going to be turning any heads, but with an Aluminum Alloy frame and things like the fingerprint sensor on board, it won’t be dismissed as a bottom of the barrel cheap device either, which is a good thing for OUKITEL and anyone who choose to go with this device.
With just an HD display here you would think that you’re in for a terrible experience for just about anything you do with the phone, and normally that might be the case but on the contrary the display actually isn’t too bad at all. I found it to be bright and colorful during my time of use, and although the viewing angles were just ok, it was easy to see the screen out in direct sunlight during the day, which is always a good trait for any device. That said, it is noticeable that this is only an HD display with 720p resolution, and this becomes more and more apparent when doing anything that you would normally want a higher resolution for, such as games or watching video or movies. For the average user though who doesn’t engage in these kinds of activities as often, meaning they aren’t power users who are on their device a lot for the more intensive activities, HD resolution will be just fine and there likely won’t be any complaints.
For the power user, or anyone who is use to a 1080p display on a smartphone and prefers at least Full HD resolution, the screen on the OUKITEL K7000 may not necessarily cut it, and it will probably feel like it falls just short of acceptable for an everyday use phone. The digitizer under the display feels fairly responsive and I didn’t notice any sorts of issues with it, which is quite honestly surprising given the price point of this phone. That also goes to show that the technology advancement for devices has come quite a ways and it’s not as difficult to get a decent phone these days for not a lot of money. During my time using the phone, I never once noticed any problems with the screen not working and it was more than capable of handling multi-touch and single touch without any issues even after extended use. Overall, the screen isn’t fantastic, but it performs admirably and it looks good enough for basic tasks like reading emails and browsing the web. It won’t be as enjoyable for media or games if you’re someone who likes to have the highest quality resolution for those activities, but then again, those types of traits will cost more, and there is just no way to fit that type of quality into a phone for around $100.
These days, it doesn’t take a whole lot for a smartphone to perform decent. A quad-core processor will more times than not, get the job done for just about anything, and that seems to be the case here. The OUKITEL K7000 had no issues with performing tasks like gaming and watching video, and it handled things like scrolling through social media feeds and such without much issue. That being said, during activities such as games there is a noticeable performance dump if the games are higher quality. For games that are a little more demanding such as Asphalt Xtreme or Heroes of Incredible Tales, I found the K7000 to produce a little more lag than I prefer when trying to enjoy a good gaming session. This is more than likely due to the use of high quality visuals in both those games, so while both of them were playable as Android does optimize games for the scaling of different hardware, games are still affected by the lack of high-powered CPUs and GPUs and that’s what you’ll find here.
There were also some issues when trying to multitask a little bit and upon opening a larger amount of applications I found that there was a little bit of lag when trying to switch between apps that were open. This quickly becomes corrected if you close a few apps out, but with only 2GB of RAM inside at a time when many high-end devices are working with 4GB, it’s noticeable that the K7000 is more under powered compared to many other devices out there. If you need or simply want your device to always be snappy and responsive with almost zero waiting, then the K7000 is probably not your device, but it should be just fine for anyone who is aware of its lower-end processor and is ok with this particular drawback.
I was surprised to find out this device had a fingerprint sensor when I opened the box, and even more surprised when I realized that it costs just $99. For that price, you might think that the fingerprint sensor wouldn’t be very high quality, and that’s what I was thinking when I first set it up. On the contrary, though, the fingerprint sensor was quite fast upon attempting to unlock the phone nearly 100% of the time, with only a few hiccups in not getting it right on the first press. That being said, it did have some trouble recognizing my fingerprint during the initial setup as it would snag and hang at certain spots. Once it was finalized, though, it was pretty smooth sailing and I didn't have much trouble with it, which is a good thing at this cost range.
Since this is a device out of Asia we weren’t expecting any 4G LTE connectivity, and that’s what we got. In fact, during my time with the phone I wasn't able to actually test out the call quality because it wouldn't accept my Project Fi SIM card, although it's likely that this may have been simply because the Project Fi SIM is a nano SIM card and the K7000 won't accept a SIM card this small. Of course, Project Fi is only officially supported on a handful of Google devices so chances are it may not have worked if it were the right size anyway. When it comes to network support, the device does support GSM frequencies 850MHz, 900MHz, 1800MHz, and 1900MHz, as well as WCDMA 900MHz and 2100MHz, and 4G LTE frequencies 800MHz, 900MHz, 1800MHz, 2100MHz, and 2600MHz. Since T-Mobile supports GSM 1900MHz, it will work on 2G, but no other network types as the rest of the supported frequencies for the phone, are not supported by T-Mobile. So while the OUKITEL K7000 would work in the U.S. it will only connect up to 2G networks, and that could be an issue for anyone who tends to use a lot of data away from Wi-Fi.
As with any smartphone that has a single speaker, the sound output and quality isn’t anything to write home about, but it’s just fine for the average user who doesn’t look for the best possible audio quality in their devices. That being said, I was a tad bit disappointed with how loud it got when I turned the volume nearly all the way up during a game, and expected it to be more crisp and clear than it was. The speaker sounded more muffled and a little bass heavy, more so than I was expecting and this took away from the overall audio quality of the phone, but it did still perform better overall than I initially expected, and there’s something to say for that when it costs as little as it does. Given it’s lack of excellent audio performance, though, you’d be better off plugging in a pair of headphones or connecting a pair of Bluetooth headphones when doing activities that benefit from great sound, such as gaming, watching videos, or listening to music. Between the lower quality of the speaker as well as the fact that there is only one speaker available, the sound output just isn’t up to par compared to many other devices. This is another element that should come as no surprise considering its cost, and it’s not the end of the world as you can pick up a decent pair of headphones for pretty cheap these days.
We already talked about performance, so now it’s time to look at the benchmarks and how this device performs on paper. We ran the OUKITEL K7000 through Geekbench 4, AnTuTu, and 3DMark (for gaming) to check out how it stacks up, and as was expected it came in with some pretty low scores. Check out the gallery of screenshots from those benchmarks below for the full details, but in short this device isn’t winning any awards in the benchmark department.
With only a 2,000mAh battery on board we weren’t expecting it to take us through 2-3 days of use before needing to be plugged in, but it was kind of surprising to find the amount of screen on time we were able to get with the phone, and that’s likely due to its use of the low-end processor and lower resolution screen. Had the K7000 been equipped with a QHD display and a higher-powered processor, 2,000mAh wouldn’t be nearly enough, but that isn’t the deal here. What’s more, is that OUKITEL has packaged the phone with a power case that not only protects the back of the phone, but it charges the device during use as it carries a 5,000mAh capacity battery of its own. The case is also capable of charging a second device via a micro USB cable as the case does have a USB port on the side, so you can charge the K7000 and another device at the same time if you wanted to. To test out the battery we ran the K7000 through the PC Mark battery test to see what it was rated for battery life, which tests a various number of things like simulated web browsing, video streaming, and graphical sequences to mimic everyday use. At the end of this test the phone came out with about 3 hours and 38 minutes of screen on time, which brought it down to around 17% battery life from around 98% before the test. Beyond the screen on time I was able to get through a full day of use on the phone without having to worry about it dying on me, and ended up with close to 30% left. Of course, thanks to the battery case you can essentially triple the battery life since the case itself has two and a half times the battery capacity of the removable battery inside of the phone. If you aren’t opposed to cases, then this power case (which has a kickstand as well I might add) will give you a significant amount of power on top of what you would get with the phone's battery by itself.
When it comes to the software for the K7000 it looks and feels a lot like the software on other Chinese devices. The build is mostly based on AOSP but there is no app drawer for installed apps, and instead everything is laid out on the home screen in a similar fashion to the way iOS handles apps after they have been downloaded and installed onto the device. While some prefer this sort implementation due to the fact that everything is visible right from the home screen, not all users are going to appreciate having a series of home screen pages that are cluttered with app shortcut icons. That being said, it does make for a more simplistic approach to launching apps as they're all laid out in front of you, and it could be argued that this makes them quicker to get to. No app drawer to open up before you start scrolling through your installed apps to find what you want. Just swipe left or right and find what it is you're trying to open.
Not everything seems a little abnormal in regards to how most people are used to Android. The notification shade as well as the settings screen very much mimics and more or less mirrors what it looks like on stock Android devices, and this was a pleasant experience as it was more familiar to work with. There are also a few different specific tweaks to the software that you can find in some other Android devices but not all. Such as the gesture motion feature inside settings. Inside this menu you can configure different elements of the software like enabling answering voice calls by motioning a swinging gesture of the device, as well as a smart switch gesture which is meant to turn off the speaker by putting the phone up to your ear. These particular gestures I wasn't able to test as I couldn't connect the phone to my network, unfortunately, but they certainly sound as if they could be useful to anyone who often makes voice calls and wants a way to more easily interact with them. There are also gestures that are aimed at the system. OUKITEL has implemented a double tap to lock function as well as sliding up on the screen using three fingers simultaneously to open the camera. In addition to these gestures there are a series of unlock gestures for the device that can open up to various apps, like drawing a "c" on screen to open the phone or double clicking to wake the screen. Overall the software experience is nothing spectacular and in fact comes off as a little bland, but it does run pretty smoothly and the use of gestures does help to streamline the usability of certain functions.
While other elements of the device, like the fingerprint sensor, tend to shine with very little inconsistency, other features like the camera were less than impressive, although you shouldn't be expecting a stellar camera on a device that costs under $100. The software is pretty basic, and has your standard options for photo manipulation with the ability to change up the exposure, shutter delay, white balance and more. There are three different camera modes including Normal, Face Beauty, and Panorama, and each has varying sets of options like the the ability to enable and disable HDR images in Normal Mode. There's not a whole lot going for the K7000 in terms of camera software. It sports what looks like an outdated user interface despite being on Android Marshmallow.
When it comes to actual quality of the camera, the rear-facing camera is an 8-megapixel sensor so you shouldn't expect groundbreaking quality. While I found the pictures to be decent when the light was more than forgiving, if the room was just a little bit too dark the image quality really starts to slide downhill. That said, this is only an 8-megapixel sensor and the quality of the sensor itself speaks volumes about the phone's lack of camera capabilities. While images weren't amazing, they weren't the absolute worst we have seen from any other device, but there was nothing to capture the attention. Colors were more dull than on other phones in a similar price range and images came out grainy more often than not. The biggest complaint, though, is the speed of the camera. The amount of time it took for the K7000 to snap off a photo after tapping the shutter button was way too long and should someone be trying to capture a moment that could go by quickly, it would be extremely easy to miss. The good news is that there is an option to turn on zero shutter lag, but this is disabled by default and anyone who doesn't know to look for such an option would simply have to deal with the way things were. Even without high-quality images and extremely vivid color contrasts, the camera could still be pretty decent as long as it was able to snap off and process the image faster than it does right from the start, but because it takes too long to go from taking one photo to resetting so the camera is ready for the next one, this could make it hard to get the exact picture that you want. This experience is only amplified by the fact that focusing is not that quick. Of course, this all depends on whether or not you're dealing with moving subjects, but that doesn't take away from the fact that taking pictures is still slow, and that's a shame if you use the camera often.
Aluminum Alloy frame gives it a slightly premium look and feel
Included power case for additional battery life
Pretty fast and accurate fingerprint sensor
Camera is extremely slow at capturing pictures, unless you turn on the zero shutter lag which is disabled by default
Camera image quality is poor overall
Poor low-light images
No USB Type-C
No 3G or 4G LTE support in the U.S.
While it's easy to focus on the faults of the OUKITEL K7000, and there are quite a few, it shouldn't be forgotten that there a handful of good things about this device as well. While the images are less than desirable, the phone has a wicked fast fingerprint sensor that actually works pretty well for its price range, and the software is mostly a smooth user experience. Which is another good point, as the OUKITEL K7000 is only around $100, and that's an insanely low price for some of the features on offer here.
Should you buy the OUKITEL K7000?
When it comes down to it, there's more to like and less to dislike when you consider what you get for what you're paying, and for those on a really tight budget, the K7000 is not so bad an option, and overall it's a good balance of value and a decent user experience. If you're someone who is more interested in saving money and still getting a few good features, then this device may not be a bad option, but if you want more functionality and better hardware, then you'll want to look elsewhere.