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Kazam thinks customer care, not specification, will be the future for smartphones

We get an early look at the first set of Kazam smartphones bound for the UK, which promise more than just specifications

Kazam, the company set up by ex-HTC staff late last year, didn’t opt for a big stand at this year’s Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona. According to James Atkins, company co-founder and CMO, the decision was a deliberate one, influenced by how Kazam approaches every part of its business: a focus on the bigger picture.

This ethos is visible in the company’s surprisingly large line-up of handsets. Rather than try to compete on specifications or features with one or two flagship handsets, Kazam is hoping to differentiate its phones from other manufacturers with better customer care, including a screen protection service and a technical support team that can remotely access your handset should something go wrong, along with a wider range of screen sizes and specifications that don’t cost a fortune. According to Atkins, “We’re not trying to replicate the big names, we’re trying to change the way we approach the market.”

It’s an approach that is already paying off in Poland, France, Spain and the Nordic regions, where there is a larger demand for post-pay (Pay-as-you-Go) handsets rather than long and expensive contracts for big-name brands and flagship handsets.

With only a few weeks left until the second generation Kazam phones go on sale across Europe, we got an early look at the entire range to see what we can expect here in the UK once network deals have been arranged. There’s a lot to choose from, with multiple screen sizes and specifications for each part of the range.

Kazam Trooper

The Trooper line might be where you’ll find Kazam’s most wallet-friendly smartphones, but there’s no shortage of screen sizes; 4, 4.5, 5 and 6in models will all be available. The 3.5in and 5.5in models from the previous generation have been phased out in favour of larger handsets, with specification and design varying based on price and screen size. Despite their budget nature, with every model opting for a dual-core MTK chipset, 512MB of RAM, sub-720p resolutions (depending on the model) and 5-megapixel camera, Kazam hasn’t skimped on design.

Kazam Trooper2 6.0

The Trooper2 6.0 has a flip cover with built in window, for quick glances at the time, weather and any notifications

At the top of the range, the huge Trooper2 6.0 phablet looks like one of the few big-screen smartphones that will be available with change from £200. It might not have the same Full HD resolution or stylus as Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3, but when it costs a third of the price and comes with a larger screen we’re willing to bet there are lots of people that won’t mind missing out. It even comes with a flip cover in the box, helping to keep the screen safe to the point that you might not need Kazam’s two year screen replacement guarantee.

Kazam Trooper2 5.0

The faux leather stitching on the Trooper2 5.0 will look familiar to Galaxy Note 3 owners

The Trooper2 5.0 again takes a bit of design inspiration from Samsung, this time with a faux stitched leather rear cover – just like the Galaxy Note 3. The smaller screen should make the phone easier to use for anyone with small hands, and also mean a reduction in the price. Otherwise it has the same internals and features as the rest of the range, letting you choose the screen that suits you best rather than having to pay extra for unwanted features or extra performance you won’t use.

Kazam Thunder

The Thunder range is more focused on the mid-range, stepping up to quad-core CPUs and even including a 4G option. We predict this is where Kazam will find the most success here in the UK, as the screen resolutions jump up to HD, memory is doubled to 1GB and the rear camera takes a noticeable jump in quality.

Kazam Thunder2 4.5

The Thunder2 4.5in looks set to square off against motorola’s Moto G at the entry-level end of the market, with the added benefits of a 4G LTE modem. Made from a soft-touch plastic and with bevelled edges, it feels very similar to Motorola’s budget bargain in the hand, but should be even lighter on the wallet.

Kazam Thunder2 5.0

Carbon fibre effect plastic? No that’s not a Galaxy S4, it’s the Kazam Thunder2 5.0

Stepping up the range, the Thunder2 5.0 borrows a few design cues from Samsung’s Galaxy S4, including a carbon fibre-effect removable rear cover. It has a 5in, 1,280×720 resolution display, 1GB of RAM and a quad-core CPU running at 1.3GHz, along with a range-topping 13-megapixel rear camera. There’s also a 5-megapixel front-facing webcam, and a microSD card slot to add extra capacity to the integrated storage.

Kazam Thunder2 5.0

The Thunder2 5.0 has actual metal edges, which give it a premium feel

There’s also a top-end Thunder2 5.5 which has a 1.7GHz CPU, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of onboard storage, a Full HD IPS display and the same 13-megapixel rear camera as the Thunder2 5.0. Unfortunately it wasn’t on display for us to try during our hands-on session with the other phones.

Kazam Thunder2 4.5

Hopefully stock Android will mean quick firmware updates, even for a new company like Kazam

Every Kazam phone uses the stock version of Android, with no custom skins and very few pre-installed apps or bloatware. That should mean the company is able to roll out updates with greater speed than other manufacturers – something we’re counting on, as the handsets we were shown were running a mixture of Android 4.2 and 4.3 Jelly Bean rather than 4.4 KitKat.

For a new company, there’s no question the initial Kazam range is large. “This isn’t the United States of Europe,” Atkins explains, “there’s lots of room for differentiation in specification, size and features in different countries”. Although we got to see everything the company has to offer, we were told that eventually certain screen sizes will find their markets and the range will shrink to suit demand.

Kazam is still ironing out the details with network operators here in the UK, but with a few onboard already and others expected to follow soon, it shouldn’t be long before you’re able to pick up a Kazam handset from the usual high street retailers. Prices are still to be determined, but you could see the 4.5in Trooper cost around £70 and the 6in handset approach £140 – still considerably less than the smaller budget- and mid-range competition.

We’ll hopefully giving some of the more exciting models a more in-depth look a little closer to launch.

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