iTel iNote Beyond 3G review: Crippled by low storage

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This is my first time with an iTel smartphone. The iTel Beyond 3G isn’t a stunning looker. It won’t win any design competitions, but it is not meant to. It is a smartphone for the budget-conscious person.

iTel iNote Beyond 3G review

iTel iNote Beyond 3G review: What’s Good

– The Beyond 3G is affordable, at about N14,000
– it feels well built
– comes with a 2200mAh power bank accessory
– dual SIM slots
– 4.5-inch screen size makes it comfortable in the hand and for one-handed use
– good audio volume via loudspeaker

iTel iNote Beyond 3G review: What’s Bad

– the internal memory is only 150MB, with problems installing 3rd party apps

iTel iNote Beyond 3G review: What’s Ugly

– loudspeaker volume is tinny with a high level of treble

iTel iNote Beyond 3G review - with Power Bank

The iTel iNote Beyond 3G runs standard Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean with a custom launcher installed. There are a number of 3rd party apps pre-installed, including: Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Recorder, Notes, Joy Box, and Du Battery Saver. When you pull down the notification menu, you will find Du Battery Saver permanently on display there, telling yo how many hours more your have left on a charge and the percentage of power left on your phone. You can tap on it for tips on how to manage power consumption better.

iTel iNote Beyond 3G review - closeup top

It has both Diagnose and Optimize features, and also offers manual power-saving options. You can also create/set modes when the phone turns certain features on or off for pre-determined hours. It appears to be a very comprehensive power management tool. You can also monitor apps power consumption.

The rest of the phone is standard Android – Gmail, email, Android web browser, Google Search, hotspot, and more.

iTel iNote Beyond 3G review: Storage

iTel iNote Beyond 3G - Storage

The iTel iNote Beyond 3G has a small internal storage, and that seems to be its Achilles’ Heel. With only 150MB of internal storage, it poses a challenge for app lovers. There is an 8GB memory card included by iTel, and you can install apps to the memory card, but the 150 MB just seems inadequate still. As you can see in the screenshot above, there is only 15.80 MB of space left. The only 3rd party app on the phone was a keyboard app. BBM was installed on the microSD card.

The first 3rd party app that I attempted to install was BlackBerry Messenger (BBM), but just after downloading it and about to install, the Beyond 3G threw up the following memory error:

iTel iNote Beyond 3G - Error Downloading Insufficient Space

I had to delete all of Facebook, Twitter, PalmChat, WhatsApp, and others in order to install BBM and Nokia keyboard. BBM (33MB size) was downloaded to the SD card, yet “Storage space running out” errors kept popping up. I had only two (2) 3rd party apps installed on the Beyond 3G – BBM and a keyboard app, yet I got that error again and again.

iTel iNote Beyond 3G - Storage space running out

While it doesn’t make the phone unusable, it gets annoying having that pop-up while you are busy doing something important or urgent on the phone. Is this also related to the available RAM on the iTel? I dunno. I have used a number of Android smartphones with 512 MB of RAM and not run into such.

Joy Box is a local compilation of apps for you to install without the need for going online. There were 37 apps i there, including QuickOffice, Afrinolly, Quran, Bible, among others. However, when I tried installing from there though, I got a pop-up that said, “The memory space is too low: The remaining memory is too small, can not be installed”.

By default, you should set the phone to store all your files – music, video and others – on the memory card.

iTel iNote Beyond 3G review: Media

The iTel Beyond 3G has a rear 3 megapixel camera. It is a budget device and you shouldn’t be expecting a top camera experience or photos. There is a flash for close up shots in dark situations.

iTel Beyond 3G camera

Media apps on the phone include a music player, FM radio, audio recorder and video player. All function without any hitches.

iTel iNote Beyond 3G review: Performance

Moving through the UI was standard fare for an Android smartphone in its class. It wasn’t super fast or horribly laggy: just fine and usable.

iTel iNote Beyond 3G review: Conclusions

The iTel iNote Beyond 3G is severely crippled by the small internal storage (or whatever else was causing those memory errors). If you are on a budget, and especially if you are not an app junkie, it is a low-cost smartphone that you may consider. But I am certain that you will find better in the market.

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