Etel’s been around for quite a while. In fact, this homebrew brand once did an excellent job of converting the former “Chinese phone” market into branded device owners with an actual warranty backing them up.
However, times have changed. Android happened. Now there’s no shortage of competitors in the budget smartphone market – we’ve seen plenty of manufacturers churning out one cheap smartphone after another, most of them cheap OEM designs that differ only in the shape and branding.
In this space, at a price of Rs 21,900, comes Etel’s biggest shot to date: the Curiosity N3. We’ve got a unit of our hands: let’s see how well it does – and whether it’s worth the money.
From the front, the Etel N3 is one of the best-looking budget smartphones we’ve ever seen. It’s not fancy. Neither is it excessively rounded or colorful: it’s a mature-looking phone, with a 4.5” screen embedded in a front with acceptable bezels. It’s not particularly slim – a millimeter thinner than the Lumia 525 – but it well in the hand and is fairly heavy. The back panel, which is a matt black plastic, slightly cheapens the look with excessive lettering and serves as a fingerprint magnet royale.
Build-wise, it’s very well done on the outside, about as solid as an HTC One X. There’s a bit of backlight bleed around the edges of the screen.
The Curiosity N3’s specsheet is an odd one. It’s a quad-core phone. It has a MediaTek MT6582 processor with four cores and a clock speed on 1.3 Ghz, complete with a Mali-400 MP GPU, running Android 4.2 . Now technically, that’s only a tad under a Samsung Galaxy S3’s power. What’s weird is that it has only 512 MB of RAM (in practice, 460 MB).
While we’ve seen time and time again that it’s perfectly possible to get by with 512 MB of RAM, we have to question the wisdom of hitching it to a quad-core processor of any kind. It’s like dropping a V6 engine inside a Maruti 800 and expecting it to sound cool. It’s not. What you have is a phone theoretically capable of handling any app on the market, including the highest-end games, but being unable to because of a missing slice of memory.
The screen is this phone’s biggest luxury. While the 480×854 resolution (240 dpi) doesn’t seem like much, it’s an IPS display – a cheaper cousin of what you’ll find in the iPhone. This is as good as it gets in a budget device. It’s crisp, colors are vivid, the screen as a whole is very readable and it’s very responsive. There’s also an 8MP camera on the back (which we’ll test), a 2MP front camera, HSDPA 21 Mbps (not that you’ll ever get those speeds) and a 1750 mAH battery to boot. And dual-sim functionality. It’d be a very rounded package if not the RAM.
Etel also claims 4GB of internal memory, though there’s actually only 1.72 GB that you can use.
Most phone manufacturers either go stock or do horrible things to the Android interface. Etel’s opted for a middle path. They’ve replaced the icons with their own (all of them clearly reworked iOS 6 icons) and left everything else untouched.
This means stock Android is a simple launcher change away. There’s also the option to change the color scheme of the menus, switching between a very iOS-ish white and the usual default Android menus, both of which are quite pleasant. Usually, this option is kept hidden.
The Etel N3’s stock performance is epic. It’s fast and snappy in the menus and on the homescreen. Lag sets in only with the “water” Live wallpaper, which is forgivable.
However, if you expect to run Asphalt minimized while flipping over to your social media feeds, forget the idea. The Etel N3 is supremely good at one heavy thing at a time or three to four smaller processes. Which means yes, Facebook and Whatsapp can run, but don’t expect to run a Youtube video at the same time without lag. There’s only so much you can do with 512 MB of RAM, quad-core or no quad-core.
Battery life is good by default. Unless you throw it into use, the CPU keeps three cores turned off and one core at 598 Mhz. Heavy use burns out the battery pretty fast. We hit around 18 hours in our average day-of-use test, which includes an hour of music, a screen-on-time of roughly three hours, WiFi enabled around the clock with email, Whatsapp and Facebook syncing away. It’s enough to take you through a workday: definitely not enough to watch video on. If, and how the battery life will change after a month of use is not yet determined.
The camera is usable. On one hand, it copes with light quite well, picking up color in sub-light conditions. Greens are slightly washed out, reds are a tad too vivid and there’s a little bit of noise – nevertheless, very acceptable performance and detail. It has an HDR mode that captures a bit more detail and produces noisier pictures.
On the flip side, the camera app lags. Quite badly, if you’ve got night mode enabled (essential for taking pictures indoors or in the evening). You need a lot of patience and very stationary subjects to make this work.
There’s minimal bloatware. Etel Life Style Lounge (functionally useless), OfficeSuite 6, Raging Thunder 2 and Touchpal keyboard (which you’d want to replace with Swiftkey or Swype) are all that’s outside the stock Google set.
The phone is also noisy. Someone has seen fit to equip this phone with a speaker to match any of those blaring Chinese phones you hear on the bus. The camera app’s shutter sound is so loud your neighbors know when you take a picture of your cat.
Music playback is acceptable on the speaker, but when it comes to headphones, it’s like most phones based on MediaTek SoCs – mediocre. There’s a certain loss in clarity and lack of punch that occurs even on 320kbps tracks with a decent pair of headphones. The N3 has a problem with headphones with mics – they just won’t fit properly.
The packaging is where Etel hit it really well. We’re used to seeing crappy headsets in these boxes. Etel’s stock headset is cheap but it is wearable. Also included is a smooth, well-made flip cover with a back panel attached – a very thoughtful touch, one that usually costs the user a thousand rupees or so from a phone shop.
All in all, is it worth it? Yes if you want a cheap smartphone with decent looks, a good display and a usable camera (for still shots, anyway). Etel’s built a pretty solid device with decent ergonomics. The 512 MB of RAM is still weird. No if you intend to multitask like crazy – for that, you might have to stop being stingy and start ruffling through that bank account. It’s available at Takas.lk.
Subscribe to our mailing list and get interesting stuff and updates to your email inbox.
thank you for subscribing 🙂
awww something went wrong 🙁
We respect your privacy and take protecting it seriously
What kicked off in 2011 as a friendly gaming event has now developed into a fully-fledged gaming tournament. With the goal of promoting team building, leadership, and planning, the Virtusa
What kicked off in 2011 as a friendly gaming event has now developed into a fully-fledged gaming tournament. With the goal of promoting team building, leadership, and planning, the Virtusa LAN Challenge 2018 is happening.
Semi-Finals of the internal tournament will take place on the 22nd and 23rd of January 2018 at Virtusa premises.
january 22 (Monday) - 23 (Tuesday)
Virtusa Pvt. Ltd. 752, Dr Danister De Silva Mawatha, Colombo 09
The main purpose of the workshop is to give students the ability to analyze and present data by using Azure Machine Learning, and to provide an introduction to the use
The main purpose of the workshop is to give students the ability to analyze and present data by using Azure Machine Learning, and to provide an introduction to the use of machine learning and big data.
Module 1: Introduction to Machine Learning
This module introduces machine learning and discussed how algorithms and languages are used.
· What is machine learning?
· Introduction to machine learning algorithms
· Introduction to machine learning languages
Module 2: Introduction to Azure Machine Learning
Describe the purpose of Azure Machine Learning, and list the main features of Azure Machine Learning Studio.
· Azure machine learning overview
· Introduction to Azure machine learning studio
· Developing and hosting Azure machine learning applications
Module 3: Managing Datasets
At the end of this module the student will be able to explore various types of data in Azure machine learning.
· Categorizing your data
· Importing data to Azure machine learning
· Exploring and transforming data in Azure machine learning
Module 4: Building Azure Machine Learning Models
This module describes how to use regression algorithms and neural networks with Azure machine learning.
· Azure machine learning workflows
· Using regression algorithms
· Using neural networks
Module 5: Using Azure Machine Learning Models
This module explores how to provide end users with Azure machine learning services, and how to share data generated from Azure machine learning models.
· Deploying and publishing models
· Consuming Experiments
Module 6: Using Cognitive Services
This module introduces the cognitive services APIs for text and image processing to create a recommendation application, and describes the use of neural networks with Azure machine learning.
· Cognitive services overview
· Processing language
· Processing images and video
· Recommending products
Feel free to contact us for any inquiries
uditha bandara – 0716092918
All Day (Wednesday)
ANC education ,310 R A De Mel Mw, Colombo 03 00300
Blue Chip Training0716092918
Startup Weekend is a global phenomenon - 54 hours of fast and furious prototype development through to exploring potential markets and pitching. It’s an unparalleled opportunity to build lasting relationships
Startup Weekend is a global phenomenon – 54 hours of fast and furious prototype development through to exploring potential markets and pitching. It’s an unparalleled opportunity to build lasting relationships with co-founders; mentors, and investors.
The real value comes from taking an idea from concept through to execution using Lean tactics and working under high pressure with the best startups.
26 (Friday) 5:00 pm - 28 (Sunday) 8:00 pm
Oak Ray Regency Kandy
Oak Ray Regency Kandy, No 9, Devani Rajasinghe Mawatha,, 20000 Kandy