Gigabyte GSmart Alto A2 Review
Interface and functionality
As far as the software goes, the stock Android 4.2.2 experience on the Alto A2 sure allows us to take a break from the negative overtone from the last paragraph. The UI runs smoothly for the most part, though if you take a closer look, you can still notice some minimal slowing down every now and then, when swiping around. Lest we forget, our particular unit seems to exhibit a small bug – the lockscreen shortcut for the camera does not work, which is kind of weird, seeing as the rest of the GSmart crop at the office all work fine in this particular regard.
With the above in mind, everything else is as you'd expect from a vanilla Android. Of course, Gigabyte has added its own touch in regards to what to put in the quick toggles area and the homscreen, with the latter housing four separate widgets – one for time and date, another with a few quick toggles like Wi-Fi and brightness, and two others for internet tethering and access to the dual-SIM manager menu. Luckily, all of these are as minimalistic as they get, and the company hasn't gone overboard like some of its rivals.
Processor and memory
The hardware on Gigabyte's device is perfectly capable, though some of you might have been left a little puzzled as to why the UI would sometimes slow down. This is most likely due to a combination of things, but do keep in mind that the phone sports a 1.3GHz MediaTek MT6572 chipset with two Cortex-A7 cores. This particular chip from the Chinese manufacturer is built on a 28-nanometer process and the chip has, overall, seen some improvements. Namely, while yesteryear's dual-cores from MediaTek ran on a sluggish PowerVR SGX533 GPU, the MT6572 now touts a more respectable single-core Mali-400 GPU, clocked at 500MHz. This ensures a mostly smooth gameplay in the low- to mid-tier of gaming titles, though these are rendered with less fluff than your neighborly flagship.
The memory department is pretty much on par with the above. You get 1GB of RAM, but the 4GB of native storage are quite constrictive, meaning that you'll likely have to make use of the microSD card slot, found under the removable back plate.
Internet and connectivity
Browsing with the help of the MT6572 has been made easier and more of a pleasure, yet it's still not without it's shortcomings. For example, text and imagery only gets rendered once you zoom in enough for it to matter, though we full-heartedly prefer this approach to waiting. Zooming and swiping can get a little taxing on the CPU, but the average smartphone user will likely never notice it.
As for connectivity features, you get a middle-of-the-road pick, with Bluetooth 3.0, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, GPS and 3G HSDPA speeds of up to 21Mbps.