As far as really low budget Android smartphones go, none has more jaw dropping specs than the Innjoo i1S — 5-inch IPS display, 8GB internal memory, 1GB RAM, 1.3GHz Quad-core processor, front camera, 5MP primary camera with auto focus and LED flash and of course, Dual SIM functionality. And it runs Android 4.4 KitKat.

All the above for the ridiculously cheap price of N14,000. But only if you buy it online from Jumia, who have the exclusive rights to distribute it in Nigeria.  If it all sounds to good to be true, you’re not alone. I still find myself scratching my head even after my first encounter with the device yesterday.

Unboxing the Innjoo i1s

The Innjoo comes in a compact packaging that reminds me so much of perfume boxes. The box alone looks like it cost almost half the retail price of the device.

You have to tear off the protective cellophane layer and then pull upwards to open the box.

Again, perfume boxes. I mean, they even packaged the charging kit in its own separate mini-perfume box? That’s the box to the left of the device in the photo above.

I’m just here wondering how much it cost to print that bulky manual. In my head, we are already this close to 14k, and we haven’t even looked at the phone yet. Ah yes, the phone….

First Impressions

It does not look like it costs as low as 14k. Like, seriously.

First of all, it has 3 physical buttons. I would have expected software buttons, which are a great option for cost considerations. Of course, I have used some sub-15k phones that have physical buttons but I can’t think of any one that comes with a 5-inch IPS display, 8GB internal memory, 1 GB of RAM and a quad-core processor. And I don’t believe there are any sub-15k smartphones out there that run Android KitKat.

Second, it has both a front and back camera. The back camera uses auto focus and an LED flash. I’m yet to put the camera to the test but that’s quite impressive, at least on paper. I should probably mention here that the back cover seems a little too fragile for my liking. But that’s just by the way.

While the Innjoo i1s (what a name) won’t win any awards for slimmest smartphone ever, handling is quite comfortable and it doesn’t feel bulky.

That first button from the left is the power button. I don’t understand why it has to be placed that far. For huge screen devices, it’s standard practice to place the power button above, not below the volume buttons. Anyhow, these are just my first thoughts.

Inside the device, you will find the two (standard) SIM and memory card slots.

I wonder why the battery is so huge. I mean, it’s only 1900 mAh capacity. I’m just hoping somehow that size translates to impressive battery life.

Eventually, I powered up the device hoping to see horrible display or a repulsive and laggy UI. I was sort of disappointed. Of course, it’s no Samsung Galaxy but the display beat my expectations. The UI is a very basic skinning over stock Android but it doesn’t look terrible.

And there’s no noticeable lag. I have no idea if that might change in the coming weeks. All I know is that navigation now is very smooth.

I am particularly impressed with the tasteful default notification tones the Innjoo i1s utilizes. They sound nothing like those really annoying loud sounds we associate with “Chiko”. Phones.

To be completely honest, for a 14k device, the Innjoo i1s is really impressive. It’s almost too good to be true. Like, there just has to be a catch. I’ve been with the device only about 12 hours now so I won’t be jumping into any major conclusions yet but, I intend to find out what exactly is the deal with the Innjoo i1s.

Muyiwa Matuluko Author

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