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Kazam Tornado 348 Review: The World’s Slimmest Phone

When we were given the opportunity to have a go with the world’s slimmest phone, we just couldn’t wait to get it in our hands. Thinner than any of today’s flagship handsets, this mid-range phone from British manufacturer Kazam isn’t like any other smartphone. Sure, the design is similar to the iPhone 4 (we think this is what the iPhone 4 should have been), but it’s a design statement. It’s beautifully thin, simple and lightweight, making it a pleasure to use. We’ve been using the Tornado 348 for almost two weeks now and here’s how we’ve got on. 

Key Features: Front 5-megapixel camera, Rear 8-megapixel – LED flash – MediaTek MT6592 octa-core – 1GB RAM – 4.8-inch 720p AMOLED display – nonremovable 2050 mAh battery – 16GB internal memory – Android 4.4 Kit-Kat. Manufacturer: Kazam 

Overview

A name you might not have heard of before, Kazam is a British mobile phone manufacturer founded in 2013 by ex-HTC executives Michael Coombes and James Atkins. Expanding from its UK launch to having a presence in 15 countries across Europe, Kazam is a small fish in a pond full of very big fish, however that hasn’t stopped it from partnering with some of the industry’s big players such as Google, Microsoft and Mediatek to grow its range of handsets and operating system offerings. The company’s latest phone, the record-breaking Tornado 348, has achieved the status of the Guinness World Records’ ‘slimmest smartphone in the world’ at just 5.15mm thick.  

Hardware & Design

As a new (and small) smartphone company, Kazam needed a device that would stand out from the crowd and what better way that creating the world’s thinnest phone. In addition to being impossibly thin at just 5.15mm in depth, the Tornado 348 weighs just 95 grams, compare that with the iPhone 6’s 129 grams and you begin to understand how weightless this phone feels in the hand. It’s a really nice handset to hold, however we think it’s a little too light, and it does feel a bit fragile. 

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The phone comes in two different colour options, a black glass (front and rear) with a gold band, and a white glass with gold band. We had the white handset to review and it looked great. The gold band makes the phone look classy and expensive, and while we’ve not seen a black and gold handset in the flesh, we think it looks fantastic. Kazam has kept the back of the handset clean and has retained a completely flush camera despite the phone’s slim body. On the front of the phone you’ll find the off-screen capacitive buttons, ambient light sensor and the front-facing camera. Something that we did find a bit unusual was the placement of the power button and volume rocker on the left hand side of the phone. Compared with the devices we’re used to using, which all place their buttons on the right hand side, this seemed a little odd, however the buttons were perfectly easy to press using your thumb when holding the phone in the left hand. In terms of design flaws, this phone has little to none, and the only real design issue we could find was the location of the speaker. Small and quiet in the glass back panel, the phone’s speaker is incredibly quiet and muffled when the phone is lying flat on its back. 


 
Powering the Kazam Tornado 348 is a mid-range MediaTek MT6592 octa-core chip running at 1.7ghz, backed up with 1gb ram, 16gb of built-in storage and a 2050mAh non-removable battery (which we found kept us going comfortably throughout the day, although needed charging when we got home from work). The screen is a 720p, Gorilla Glass 3, 4.8″ AMOLED display which looks fantastic with the brightness turned up to full, however we did find that in bright daylight it just wasn’t bright enough. The phone supports USB on-the-go, meaning that you can connect peripherals such as a keyboard or memory stick using a USB adapter, however the lack of a MicroSD card slot might be enough to put some people off. 

Software & Performance 

The Tornado is running Android 4.4 KitKat, with Kazam’s own launcher which we really like. Under normal day-to-day use the phone is snappy and responsive with relatively little lag, start multi-tasking and the phone begins to show signs of struggle. It’s by no means a powerful phone, but you have to remember how much Kazam has packed into this super thin handset.  


 
Kazam’s customisation of Android is minimal but good. Home screen icons can be sorted into folders which expand out to fill the screen in an iOS style, and we found them clean and easy to use. Swipe down from the top of the screen and you’ve got the notification pane and Kazam’s own quick settings menu, which is completely customisable, giving you quick access to the settings you use most. Kazam has also included a handful of ‘smart gestures’ in its take on the OS, Smart Answer will accept calls just by picking the phone up and putting it to your ear and Quick Gesture will allow you to draw a shape on the screen when it’s asleep to quickly launch an app. It seems at the moment that there’s no news on an Android 5.0 Lollipop for the Tornado 348 however, during the time of our test, the phone received a software update for bug fixes, showing that Kazam is committed to supporting its devices. 

Camera Optics

The Tornado 348 has an eight megapixel camera on the rear (backed up with an LED flash) and five megapixel on the front, about the standard for a mid-range handset. Photos taken on the rear camera are completely acceptable, with only low-light images lacking detail and clarity. The Tornado’s camera is a little light on features, however does all of the basics and includes HDR and panorama modes, with the prior working particularly well at brightening images. It’s worth mentioning here that despite the low pixel count of the rear camera, it is flush with the body phone, which is just 5.15mm thick. The front-facing five megapixel camera isn’t going to take award-winning selfies, but it does the job. 

Unfortunately, due to a mix-up we’ve got no sample pictures to display which is inconvenient, no? However, over at Coolsmartphone, they took numerous images so you can see for yourself the quality.

Conclusion

Having spent some time with the Kazam Tornado 348 we were blown away by the size and weight of this thing. It’s REALLY skinny and you can hardly tell you’re holding it. It’s refreshing to see that a mid-tier phone can be beautiful, however we spent a lot of time worried that a strong gust of wind might blow it out of our hand. For the fashion-conscious, this is the ideal handset: it looks great, feels great, is great value (£249.99 direct from Kazam with a free two-year warranty) and is sure to attract attention from anyone who sets eyes on it. 

A huge thanks to the guys at Kazam for loaning us the phone to review.

 

Kazam Tornado 348

6.6

Hardware

8.0/10

Software

8.0/10

Performance

6.0/10

Camera

5.0/10

Value

6.0/10

Pros

  • Super-skinny design
  • Vibrant display
  • Software

Cons

  • Battery life
  • No expandable storage
  • Low-light camera capability
  • Speaker placement

About Matt Walker

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