The Yezz Andy A5 Android smartphone was released earlier this year, and we recently got a chance to go hands-on. If you aren’t familiar with Yezz (as I wasn’t), it’s a smartphone handset supplier that specializes in budget devices, including smartphones and tablets. Their devices work on most GSM networks (including T-Mobile and AT&T in the US), and they all ship unlocked, so all you have to do is pop in a SIM card and you are set to go. The concept is great and provides a lot of flexibility to users, unlike my iPhone which is locked to a specific carrier for life.
The Andy A5 is the company’s flagship model, and comes with some pretty serious specifications – 5 inch HD display, 1.2GHz quad core CPU, microSD slot which supports up to 32GB, Android 4.2, and dual cameras including a 13.1mp rear facing camera. Because the Andy A5 comes unlocked, you can either buy a SIM card from the company (they offer Telcel and Net10), or you can use your existing SIM card if you have an existing account and phone number with another network provider such as T-Mobile.
In addition to the basic specs above, the phone also includes two SIM card slots (useful when traveling overseas for example, or having separate phone numbers for work and for personal use). This is something which is obviously missing on my iPhone, which could really be useful in certain circumstances. The Yezz shoots 720p video, has Bluetooth 4.0, WiFi b/g/n, and even an FM radio. It also supports most common GSM 3G and HSPA+ standards (including 850/900/1800/1900). There is no LTE support but some HSPA+ speeds can be close, depending on your carrier and location.
The device is sleek and only slightly thicker than an iPhone 5, although the weight feels similar. The edges of the Andy A5 are tapered which actually makes it feel thinner than it really is, but the larger screen makes the thickness seem quite reasonable.
The display is bright and colorful and supports video/animated wallpapers. It’s easy to read text, as the edges are quite sharp and video (such as YouTube) is smooth and fluid. The resolution is 540×960 with around 220 pixels per inch. While the iPhone 5 has a much higher pixel density and higher resolution, the larger display on the Andy A5 really comes in handy for video. The contrast could be better, but it’s a respectable display and easy on the eyes. I would still give my iPhone the win in this regard, since there is very little that can beat Apple’s screen technology.
The speaker phone is clear, but a little soft on volume with normal background noise at a medium volume setting. Unfortunately when you max out the speakerphone volume, there is terrible echo/feedback. This is not acceptable for a high end smartphone and is definitely a concern. When watching videos, you can clearly hear spoken text. Music quality is just OK using the built-in speaker (but to be fair, most modern phones suffer with terrible speaker audio quality, especially for music).
While using headphones for music, the audio quality is decent (a bit heavy on bass), but usable for basic listening needs.
Despite the respectable 13.1 megapixel resolution of the built-in rear-facing camera, the colors and overall image quality leave a lot to be desired. Compare the sample photos between the iPhone 5 and the Andy A5’s camera taken under identical lighting conditions. The camera is usable, but the color quality is less than ideal. My iPhone beats it hands down. OK, so there’s a big difference in price between the two phones, but even so, I would expect slightly better quality even on a budget product.
It may be the particular device I received, but the battery life was also severely lacking. After fully charging the Andy A5, the battery died in a few hours with moderate use. I could practically watch the battery meter drop starting from 100%. I hope this is merely a defective unit, because in the real world such poor battery life is a deal breaker and woefully inadequate.
The Andy A5 is packed with other features, including a fast quad-core processor, 2 built-in cameras (front and rear facing) and a full compliment of sensors including proximity, gyroscope, accelerometer, and compass. The device features expandable storage (via a micro SD card up to 32 GB) which is common on Android devices, and one of my major complaints with the iPhone (in that it lacks expandable storage). It would be great to be able to add more storage as needed on my iPhone, so here the Yezz definitely wins the contest.
The Andy A5 sells for $299.99 from Yezz, which may seem comparable to the price of many other high-end smartphones. However, keep in mind this is without a contract, and the phone comes unlocked. Typically when buying a high end phone from a major carrier, you end up locked into a 1-2 year contract with steep cancellation penalties. The beauty of the Yezz business model is that once you buy the phone, you can use it on any network you want without a contract or being locked down to a single carrier. That’s the kind of portability we iPhone users can only dream about.
The phone includes a lot of great features including the Android Jellybean operating system, but some major issues including poor battery life and sub-par speakerphone performance make it hard to recommend. However, it’s might be a good option for people who are on a budget, and want a fully featured smartphone without being locked into contracts or stuck with a single carrier. The dual SIM feature is particularly appealing for people who travel internationally and/or want the ability to have separate phone numbers for work and play. If you can see past its flaws (I hope the specific device I received was a special case), it seems to be a relatively decent Android handset. There are clearly other alternative budget Android phones which seem to offer better results, but for now, I’ll stick with my iPhone, thanks very much!
You can find out more from the Yezz website.
1.2 GHz Quad Core Processor
Dual SIM GSM Quad Band 850/900/1800/1900 MHz
3G HSPA+ Connection – 850/900/1900 Mhz
5.0″ IPS gHD Capacitive Multi-Touch Screen
Bluetooth 4.0 Connection
Wi-Fi / Wifi Hotspot
Internal Memory (4GB ROM 512MB RAM)(1.2 GB for Apps)
Optional Memory (Up to 64 GB)
13.1MP Camera Autofocus +
2MP Front Camera
ANDROID v4.2 Jelly Bean