Is your phone in the Guinness Book of Records? The Kazam Tornado 348 is, by virtue of its extreme thinness, measuring just 5.15mm wide. Now, we all know that a thin phone doesn’t make a great phone and if I were to ask you to list Kazam’s previous efforts in the Android phone space, you’d probably struggle and with good reason – they were uninspiring at best. As a rare UK based phone manufacturer, it’d be great to see the company delivering a genuinely desirable product.
The Tornado 348 sensibly takes a two-pronged approach to winning across potential buyers. As well as its diminutive dimensions (which also deliver incredible lightness) and overall inoffensive design language (although we’re not fans of the retro menu, home and back capacitive buttons), it packs internals that, while certainly not up there with the latest flagship devices, allow for a user experience that doesn’t feel compromised.
We are generally accustomed to seeing the Qualcomm Snapdragon chipset in almost every device on the market today, however, the Kazam instead packs a Mediatek processor. Previously known for their presence in low cost devices from China, Mediatek are becoming recognised competitively with the best from the more respected brands, and the eight-core MTK6592 present in the Tornado represents a landmark for the company.
Running only a lightly massaged version of Android KitKat, performance on the phone is surprisingly good. What is particularly impressive is that unlike previous ultra-thin phones, the Tornado 348 does not get uncomfortably hot in use.
A real highlight of the phone is the 4.8” AMOLED screen. It is incredibly sharp and clear with impressive levels of brightness. We did find the auto-brightness software a bit keen to change the settings too frequently, however, this is something we fixed with a little tweaking.
So what’s missing from the device in order to hit both the dimensions and the price? Two key things stand out – the lack of LTE and the lack of microSD to expand the 16GB storage, both of which are available on one of its key rivals, the recently launched Honor 6 (also priced at £249).
Battery capacity is also something that unsurprisingly takes a hit – this may well be an issue if you are a medium to heavy user and you aren’t comfortable topping up your phone part way through the day.
These points aside, Kazam have done a good job. It looks good (the black is particularly sophisticated), its well built, still squeezes in a 3.5mm headphone port, performs well and is backed by impressive support. The Tornado 348 certainly isn’t the phone for everyone, but there is a market for its unique charms and it deserves to do well.