Karbonn Sparkle V Android One review: The affordable Nexus

Karbonn Sparkle V Android One review: The affordable Nexus


4.5 out of 5
4.5 out of 5
4.5 out of 5
Battery backup
4 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value for Money


4.5 out of 5


  • Pros:

    Latest Android experience
    Impressive performance
    Nexus 5-like design
    Fair enough in-box content
    Bundled data plan
    Remarkable battery backup

  • Cons:

    Inferior display
    Need of microSD card
    No USB OTG support

  • Conclusion:

    Karbonn Sparkle V Android One smartphone not only comes with an attractive list of specifications, but it also gives an impressive performance to take on all the widely selling smartphones under mid-range segment.

In Depth

Entry-level smartphones often come with inferior design and low-end camera capabilities but Karbonn Sparkle V does not have any of these two cons, thanks to Google’s Android One branding. Now, we are getting deeper into the Sparkle V to know its performance and to find out all the actual benefits behind Android One presence.

Karbonn Sparkle V sports a 4.5-inch IPS TFT LCD panel with 854 x 480 pixels (FWVGA) resolution. These numbers make the pixel density of the display panel close to 218 pixel-per-inch (ppi), which is a bit lower than the Moto E and some competing entry-level Android smartphones. Though the pixel density is not as high as its competitors, the Sparkle V gives subtle viewing experience to the end-users. The display panel has an LED backlight which delivers a fair amount of brightness even under direct sunlight. This means that the Sparkle V has an impressive sunlight legibility and on-screen content are visible under bright sunlight. Lastly, there is a digitizer on the top of the display panel which supports 10-point touch support to give a decent multi-touch experience.

Karbonn Sparkle V

Karbonn Sparkle V with decent sunlight legibility

One of the main advantages of being as an Android One smartphone is that the Sparkle V runs on the latest Android 4.4.4 KitKat operating system out of the box. In addition, Google has promised to provide all the latest updates across the range of Android One smartphones as over-the-air (OTA) updates for the next two years.

Karbonn Sparkle V

Karbonn Sparkle V with Android 4.4.4 KitKat OS

As there is Google support, the Android One-based Sparkle V has stock interface on the top Android KitKat. With stock interface, users can get the same experience on this smartphone which initially featured on Google Nexus 5. There is a lockscreen which comes with a Camera widget and a large size clock on the top. After unlocking the screen, there is a homescreen which supports widgets, folders and shortcuts. By default there are two homescreens available and users cannot alter, delete or add them as per their preferences. These homescreens have five default dock icons on the bottom – Phone, Messages, App Drawer, Chrome and Camera. As there is no physical or touch-supported control available below the display panel, there are three on-screen controls for back, home and recent apps.

Karbonn Sparkle V

Karbonn Sparkle V with stock interface

Swiping from the top of the screen opens up a notification panel, which comes with a list of toggles – Brightness, Settings, Wi-Fi, Network, Battery, Aeroplane Mode, Bluetooth and Location. There is a stock app drawer available on the Sparkle V Android One smartphone which contains all installed apps. The app drawer, being a stock app drawer, does not support folder creation and users cannot even sort apps either alphabetically or in a customisable manner.

The Sparkle V has a stock experience for telephony and messaging. Here users can find a Smart Dialler which Google originally designed for the Nexus 5 and a Messaging app is available to support text messages in a threads form. Users can alternatively opt for Google Hangouts instead of Messaging app to integrate their mailbox and inbox under one app. For typing, there is Google Keyboard. As there is dual-SIM support, users can use any of the two networks on the Sparkle V for voice calls, text messages and data connectivity. We tested the telephony and text messaging of the Sparkle V Android One smartphone on some of the key network operators. The smartphone performed well on our testing, we have not found any issue or lag in terms of in-call voice, signal drop or text typing.

Karbonn Sparkle V

Karbonn Sparkle V with stock telephony and text messaging

For surfing the Web, the Sparkle V comes pre-installed with Google Chrome web browser. There is the latest version of the Chrome browser with Material Design interface to give users a perfect web browsing experience. Users can put a limit on data connectivity according to their data plan by going to Data Usage under Settings. We have not found even a single issue while surfing several heavy websites on the Sparkle V. In short, there is buttery smooth web browsing experience on the Sparkle V.

Karbonn Sparkle V

Karbonn Sparkle V with Google Chrome web browser and Data Usage settings

Though it is hard to find a single difference between all the newly launched Android One smartphones, there are certain apps which are exclusive to each of the three Android One smartphones to make some distinction. In this regard, the Sparkle V has Saavn, Snapdeal and OLX apps. Besides, the smartphone has Google Apps such as Gmail, Google Drive, Keep, Google Maps, Google Now, Play Books, Play Games, Play Movies, Play Music and Play Newsstand among others.

Users can download a further list of apps, according to their preferences, by visiting Google Play Store. One of the tricks that Google played on these Android One smartphones is that it made it necessary to have an external storage (microSD card) for downloading apps. This means that users cannot download or install even a single app without inserting a microSD card on these Android One smartphones. The limitation enables the smartphone to give top-notch performance as most of the internal storage space remains free and app installations will entirely be done on the microSD card.

Karbonn Sparkle V comes with an ability to provide multimedia content playback out of the box. Users can easily play audio as well video content on the smartphone using Google’s pre-installed apps or by installing any third-party apps. The smartphone additionally comes with FM Radio support for on-the-go entertainment. The available loudspeaker is fair enough to give decent audio output, without loosing any quality even at the highest volume. Users can alternative use an external speaker or a headset.

As some of our readers are keen to know the benchmark results of Karbonn Sparkle V Android One smartphone, we used some of the popular benchmark apps for this purpose. We installed Quadrant Standard Edition, AnTuTu, GFX Bench, Vellamo, NenaMark 2 and RealPi Benchmark apps to test its benchmark performance. On Quadrant Standard Edition version 2.1.1 , the Sparkle V scored 4259. When tested on AnTuTu version 5.1, the total scores were 18,694. On GFX Bench 2.7 T-Rex (onscreen), the Sparkle V given 9.8fps and on GFX Bench 2.7 T-Rex (1080p Offscreen), the total scores were 4.2fps. When used Vellamo version 3.0, the smartphone scored 744. On NenaMark 2, the smartphone resulted 62.3fps. Lastly, RealPi Benchmark resulted 26.32 seconds elapsed time.

Karbonn Sparkle V

Karbonn Sparkle V benchmark results

Apart from benchmark results, we also tested the performance of the Sparkle V by playing some of the popular games. These gaming titles include Need For Speed: Most Wanted, Asphalt 8: Airborne, Modern Combat 4: Zero Hour, Subway Surfers, Temple Run 2 and Minion Rush. The Sparkle V performed well across these games and had not given any lag in terms of graphics. Some heat was noticed from the rear after long playtime but it is quite common across all the entry-level smartphones.

On the part of specifications and general hardware, Karbonn Sparkle V Android One smartphone has an acceptable list of specifications. This starts with a MediaTek chipset which comes equipped with a 1.3GHz quad-core Cortex-A7 CPU, Mali-400 MP GPU and 1GB of RAM. Of the total RAM, there is 963MB available for the end-users and 2.27GB internal storage is available for storing content. The smartphone has a list of sensors, including 6-axis accelerometer, proximity sensor, ambient light sensor, gyroscope, orientation sensor, 6-axis magnetic field sensor, motion sensor, vector sensor and a gravity sensor.

The Sparkle V, on the connectivity front, has Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, A-GPS and a microUSB port. These are just fair enough connectivity options that one is looking for in an affordable price. We have not found any lag across these connectivity options but the smartphone does not support USB On-the-Go (USB OTG) support to connect with peripherals such as mouse, keyboards, pen drives or external drives.

One of the pain of entry-level smartphones is their poor battery life but Google played well in this area. The search giant designed Android One reference design with a 1,700mAh Lithium Polymer battery and thus Karbonn has provided the same battery pack on the Sparkle V. This battery pack is claimed to provide up to eight hours of talk time and 160 hours of standby time. On our testing, we found that the smartphone easily gives over two days of battery life with a mixed usage of telephony, messaging and web browsing.

That said, Karbonn Sparkle V Android One smartphone is a full-fledged package under entry-level segment. The blessings of Google are enough to give fast performance even with an affordable price.


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Categories: Mobiles
  • karbonn is better option who want to go with budgeted price, thanks for the good review of the device,