Kingzone N3 Plus Review : Worth a second try?


Kingzone did a great job back with the K1 last year, which can easily be described as the first available Mediatek-based flagship device from China. When they released the Kingzone N3 later in the year, they obviously had the goal of achieving the same success again within the entry-level market. In the beginning it seemed like they would indeed be able to do exactly that, but still failed in the end. We have been quite shocked about how Kingzone screwed it up when we tested the N3 in late 2014. They faked the battery capacity, delivered a buggy software and the audio quality was bad as well even though they advertised a dedicated Yamaha DAC. The camera was also pretty much unacceptable and in the end led to us not recommending this handset.

Kingzone didn’t abandon the idea behind the N3 and try to deliver once again in form of the Kingzone N3 Plus. This handset packs a better 64-bit SoC, more memory and more RAM into the same body we are already used to, all that at an attractive pricing. But is that enough? Did they repeat any of the past mistakes? Let’s check that out!

Kingzone N3 Plus Review: Packaging, Design, Build

kingzone-n3-plus-lieferumfang

At the first look the Kingzone N3 Plus is delivered in the very same box as the original N3. And indeed this first impression gets confirmed as soon as you take a look at the boxes rear. A sticker with the specs of the phone is glued on there, and if you remove it, the specs of the original 32-bit device appear printed on the box. It even packs the same accessories as the predecessor, those being documentation, one protective film, a plastic bumper, headphones, one micro USB cable, one 1A wall charger and even an OTG cable.

The design of the Kingzone N3 Plus is identical with the original N3. There isn’t any difference both in the look and feel and the build quality. Now that’s actually a little disappointing. Don’t get that wrong: The Kingzone N3 Plus is a well made and nice-looking handset, but Kingzone actually once told us that in the future they are going to use a real metal body. That actually didn’t happen which is sad because it would’ve set this phone miles apart from any MT6732 based handset out there right now.

But as we said: Build quality is great and the plastic used doesn’t feel cheap at all, so that’s definitely complaining at a very high level. Also the screen does use Gorilla Glass 3 for increased toughness and there are no moving parts, which still give the handset kind of a premium appearance. It’s pretty slim, too at 143 x 72 x 9mm and a comfy weight of 140g.

Kingzone N3 Plus Review: Display

The screen was one part of the original Kingzone N3 we have been quite satisfied with. Yes, it is a 5-inch panel that operates at “only” 720p, but the panel comes from Sharp and delivers IPS and OGS technologies along with a very nice image quality which lets you forget about the missing FHD quickly. The touch panel also is done nicely with a very slick surface making every gesture a breeze.

Unfortunately, not everything is perfect. Our review sample of the 32-bit N3 had a few bad pixels and this one has again. This indeed appears to be an issue with the N3, as numerous people complain about that. It’s plain sad that Kingzone still didn’t do something about those frequent cases of dead pixels on the panels used inside the N3. So that already is the first flaw they didn’t fix – keep counting.

Kingzone N3 Plus Review: Hardware & Performance

Now performance and specs is where the most has been changed compared to the old N3. The Kingzone N3 Plus comes equipped with a MT6732 64-bit quad-core SoC clocked at 1.5GHz, 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal memory. Other specs remain the same except the support for NFC, which has been dropped – something we do not understand at all. Kingzone also seem to have changed the e-compass used inside the N3 Plus, as it isn’t working as well as it used to anymore. We had issues of a constantly spinning compass with several (but not all) apps.

Performance has been greatly improved of course due to the powerful SoC and the 1GB of additional RAM. Not only multi-tasking with apps is a breeze, playing the latest games is as well. Comparing the real-life performance of the N3 Plus to the N3, we would say the N3 Plus is about three times as fast as the old MT6582 based handset. That’s quite impressive and once again shows that Mediatek really did some magic with those new 64-bit chipsets.

Kingzone N3 Plus Review: Software

The Kingzone N3 Plus is running Android 4.4.4 KitKat – the norm for all MTK 64-bit handsets these days. Of course a Lollipop update will be released in the future, but expect that to take until June, as Mediatek postponed the final sources on those chipsets till then. As usual, Kingzone left their ROM stock Android and only included their own launcher. There isn’t any pre-installed bloatware and the ROM comes with support for off-screen gestures, Mediatek MiraVision and notification LED control. Sadly, Kingzone forgot about one very important thing: Unified storage is missing! These days this feature became kind of a standard and this is why we think this is not acceptable. It essentially means that the internal memory is split into data and apps. You have about 5GB available for applications and if you used that up, you will not be able to install more unless you remove some of the old apps.

Read Also:  How a smartphone saved a soldier's life in Ukraine

Kingzone N3 Plus Review: Audio

As mentioned in the beginning of our review, the original N3 was a real let down in terms of audio quality. We have been very happy to see Kingzone improving this with the N3 Plus, taking full advantage of the Yamaha YDA165 DAC. The internal speaker has been greatly improved, delivering a clear audio playback with no distortions even on full volume and subtle yet present bass. It’s for sure not on-par with high-end phones but at the price point more than acceptable. The real fun, as oh so often, starts going by attaching your favorite headphones. The Yamaha DAC delivers a clear, powerful and very balance audio output with no background noises or distortions. That’s how we like it and we are sure that audiophiles will like the Kingzone N3 Plus for that, especially after installing some sound enhance like Viper4Android to fine-tune the output.

Kingzone N3 Plus Review: Wireless Performance

During our test, the Kingzone N3 Plus delivered good results for mobile network, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth reception quality. It wasn’t on high-end level, but above average though. We have been surprised to see 3G and LTE connections even in places where most devices fail. Unfortunately, Kingzone screwed up the GPS antenna. The very first fix took us 20 minutes to get. Fix times got better afterwards, but it still took the handset up to 40 seconds to fix a proper amount of GPS satellites each and every time. GLONASS satellites took even longer with up to 5 minutes. On average we have been able to get a fix for 13 satellites and an accuracy of 3 meters with this handset.

Kingzone N3 Plus Review: Camera

Camera performance of smartphones gets more and more important, as many users drop their digital cameras and solely rely on their phones for taking pictures. Now the original Kingzone N3’s camera was performing extremely bad and you would believe that Kingzone fixed that with the N3 Plus. Unfortunately they didn’t – and it got even worse! Pictures never look sharp, not even close-ups. Night shots are close to impossible due to the noise production and lack of sharpness and the LED flash creating a reddish tint. What’s more, the camera does have huge issues with direct sunlight. It will create ugly blue fractals, making pictures look awful. Video quality is pretty bad as well.

Kingzone N3 Plus Review: Battery

Seriously, we are sick and tired of fake battery specs. There has been a time when pretty much all Chinese phone makers lied about their batteries, but those days are long gone. This of course means that it gets even more unacceptable if a phone maker labels their cells wrong. Kingzone is one of them. Back with the Kingzone N3 they claimed the handset to come with a 2,800mAh. Due to the dimensions and weight of the cell, as well as the battery life, we doubted that back then. Now the Kingzone N3 Plus is still supposed to come with a 2,800mAh battery. The difference: This time we have been able to verify the real capacity. Guess what: In reality it only is 1,800mAh! That’s a whopping 1,000mAh less than advertised. Now this is far away from being a mistake, and we indeed call that criminal. Kingzone clearly want to gain advantage over other phone makers by claiming false specs, and that is far away from being acceptable. This low capacity also means that the battery life is pretty bad. The screen-on time you can squeeze out of this cell is just a bit about three hours, which translates to a day of battery life, but only if you take care about your energy consumption. You really need to cut down on screen brightness and stay away from games at any cost.

Kingzone N3 Plus Review: Verdict

The Kingzone N3 Plus could be a very nice handset featuring a nice design, good build quality and good specs. Yet it fails to be due to the inability of Kingzone to learn from their past mistakes and the repeated lies about battery capacity. Probably the only way for them to learn their lesson is if no one buys their products. And exactly this is the reason why we recommend you to stay away from the Kingzone N3 Plus.

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73 Comments

  1. tomas85svk
    March 30, 2015

    Good day,i buy a Kingzone N3 plus and few days i been disapointing by battery life,but from one of the firmware updates,battery life is very good and one whole day with gaming,internet and more is normal thing now and on screen time is very good now.

    • Muhammad Yasir
      March 30, 2015

      what about camera ?

    • March 30, 2015

      Yeah …what about camera?

    • March 30, 2015

      I can confirm the battery life was improved with one of the recent OTAs. But camera still didn’t change. And battery life also still is far away from other MT6732 phones with larger cells. It’s still not possible to get over the day when using GPS for longer times or playing games.

      • Rob
        March 30, 2015

        Since a lot of their phone suffers from poor camera performance I wonder if it is more than just a software issue, possibly poor lenses??

        • tomas85svk
          March 30, 2015

          i use firmware update from 27.3. and camera is still poor.

        • March 31, 2015

          For the N3 I believe it only is a software issue. With the 32-bit N3 I got a beta ROM once which had a perfect camera quality. Unfortunately the stable version screwed up once again.

  2. March 30, 2015

    well i will not risk my money. better to buy a new bicycle
    ————————————————————————
    ובכן אני לא אסכן את כספי, מוטב לקנות אופניים

  3. Muhammad Yasir
    March 30, 2015

    SCREWED up crap !
    WHY DINT YOU IMPROVE THE CAMERA ?!

  4. ervin panda
    March 30, 2015

    How to measure real capacity off battery? I know cpu z has that option but i am not sure can measure exactly. Thankyou.

    • March 30, 2015

      CPU-Z doesn’t meassure anything. I have a device for that you plug in between the phone and its charger. Of course it is not 100% accurate because the phone itself also needs energy while charging, but the device takes that into account and displays a rather pessimistic value. After a while you know how much to add or subtract. In the end the value you get is pretty accurate, tested it with lots of devices I know for sure the displayed capacity is real.

      • Roger
        March 31, 2015

        Also, it would seem that for most batteries, the real battery capacity is printed on the batter underneath the sticker. You just need to peel of the manufacturer’s labeling to see the real capacity.

        Thanks for detailed review too. This was a phone I was considering buying if reviews were positive. I won’t buy one now though.

  5. Guest
    March 30, 2015

    Good day,i buy a Kingzone N3 plus and few days i been disapointing by battery life,but from one of the firmware updates,battery life is very good and one whole day with gaming,internet and more is normal thing now and on screen time is very good now.

    • Guest
      March 30, 2015

      what about camera ?

    • +1876™ plus1876.net
      March 30, 2015

      Yeah …what about camera?

    • Christopher Straßer
      March 30, 2015

      I can confirm the battery life was improved with one of the recent OTAs. But camera still didn’t change. And battery life also still is far away from other MT6732 phones with larger cells. It’s still not possible to get over the day when using GPS for longer times or playing games.

    • Rob
      March 30, 2015

      Since a lot of their phone suffers from poor camera performance I wonder if it is more than just a software issue, possibly poor lenses??

    • Guest
      March 30, 2015

      i use firmware update from 27.3. and camera is still poor.

    • Christopher Straßer
      March 31, 2015

      For the N3 I believe it only is a software issue. With the 32-bit N3 I got a beta ROM once which had a perfect camera quality. Unfortunately the stable version screwed up once again.

  6. Rob
    March 30, 2015

    This is a shame as I owned a K1 turbo and it was a great phone with a great ROM, only thing I would say is the camera on that was the only negative point. It appears that the cameras disappoint on all their phones, not sure what’s going on with them as I was looking at something like this for my mother as she’s in need of a new handset. Will have to look elsewhere I guess…

    • March 30, 2015

      I also had the K1 and was amazed. Mine even had a very good camera.

      • Rob
        March 31, 2015

        I had an early version when they first came out, last month I bought another for a friend which came with android 4.4 out of the box and the larger 3200mah battery (if its true) and the camera on it is no better than the early one I had with android 4.2. I also thought the pics they used on their website that were taken with the K1 had a lot of noise in them and were very soft compared to other phones I’ve tried. I would be tempted again by a Kingzone phone in the future if they ever sort the camera issue out.

    • Steve B
      March 30, 2015

      Some of the K1 Turbo image samples on the web look really good?! Did they do an Inew and swap out the camera module at some point?

      • Rob
        March 30, 2015

        It was great in bright light but poor in low light with a lot of noise and a distinct lack of sharpness, also found colours over saturated. Still loved the phone as it had great audio until it developed the usual speaker issue! Lol

  7. pdayahoo
    March 30, 2015

    well i will not risk my money. better to buy a new bicycle
    ————————————————————————
    ובכן אני לא אסכן את כספי, מוטב לקנות אופניים

  8. Vypros
    March 30, 2015

    That is really dissapointing, I was going to buy this phone this week. Maybe I’ll just wait for the full review on mlais m52 to decide wich one should I buy.

  9. k...F
    March 30, 2015

    For me the worst mobile ever is UMI Zero the phone that you most advertised !!! Thanks god I return it back and took my money.
    Now I am owner of Kingzone n3 plus and I am much more happier than I had the Umi Zero(battery life if not explode and most important SIGNAL).
    For the camera I hope in the next updates to get improved.
    As for the battery you say about a devive please upload a video to show us what you are telling.
    Thank you

    • nads
      March 31, 2015

      Sorry u had such a bad experience with your zero. I am, I guess one of the lucky ones that did not experience any reported problems and the camera output is pretty good after the 3.06 update.

  10. Guest
    March 30, 2015

    SCREWED up crap !
    WHY DINT YOU IMPROVE THE CAMERA ?!

  11. March 30, 2015

    Life is like a box of Chinese phone — you never know what you’re gonna get.

  12. Don Rogers
    March 30, 2015

    Thanks for the good review, I was considering this phone to replace my old original Jiayu g3 but 2 things in the review kills it for me. 1, the GPS is poor in the Jiayu g3 and I wanted a good quick time to fix as I want to use a golf GPS app with the phone and 2, I too do not want to carry a phone and a camera so the camera needs to be a lot better than this phone’s camera. I will wait to see if the purported Jiayu S4 is vapour or real, also the LANDVO L600 Pro 5.0 Inch looks interesting

    • Steven Fox
      March 30, 2015

      Go with Jiayu again.

      • March 30, 2015

        i just order the s3 lol

        ——————————
        הזמנתי את ה S3

  13. ervin panda
    March 30, 2015

    How to measure real capacity off battery? I know cpu z has that option but i am not sure can measure exactly. Thankyou.

    • Christopher Straßer
      March 30, 2015

      CPU-Z doesn’t meassure anything. I have a device for that you plug in between the phone and its charger. Of course it is not 100% accurate because the phone itself also needs energy while charging, but the device takes that into account and displays a rather pessimistic value. After a while you know how much to add or subtract. In the end the value you get is pretty accurate, tested it with lots of devices I know for sure the displayed capacity is real.

    • Christopher Straßer
      March 31, 2015

      I know, but not even that is true sometimes.

  14. Rob
    March 30, 2015

    This is a shame as I owned a K1 turbo and it was a great phone with a great ROM, only thing I would say is the camera on that was the only negative point. It appears that the cameras disappoint on all their phones, not sure what’s going on with them as I was looking at something like this for my mother as she’s in need of a new handset. Will have to look elsewhere I guess…

    • Christopher Straßer
      March 30, 2015

      I also had the K1 and was amazed. Mine even had a very good camera.

    • Steve B
      March 30, 2015

      Some of the K1 Turbo image samples on the web look really good?! Did they do an Inew and swap out the camera module at some point?

    • Rob
      March 30, 2015

      It was great in bright light but poor in low light with a lot of noise and a distinct lack of sharpness, also found colours over saturated. Still loved the phone as it had great audio until it developed the usual speaker issue! Lol

    • Rob
      March 31, 2015

      I had an early version when they first came out, last month I bought another for a friend which came with android 4.4 out of the box and the larger 3200mah battery (if its true) and the camera on it is no better than the early one I had with android 4.2. I also thought the pics they used on their website that were taken with the K1 had a lot of noise in them and were very soft compared to other phones I’ve tried. I would be tempted again by a Kingzone phone in the future if they ever sort the camera issue out.

  15. Guest
    March 30, 2015

    That is really dissapointing, I was going to buy this phone this week. Maybe I’ll just wait for the full review on mlais m52 to decide wich one should I buy.

  16. Steve B
    March 30, 2015

    It’s the Z1 I really want to know about, but I’ll probably still get a TCL M2U, it looks a lot more trustworthy.

    • March 31, 2015

      Testing the Z1 right now.

      • Mars
        March 31, 2015

        N3 Plus was my first choice and I am glad I have not proceeded with the purchase. Thanks for this very much needed review.

        I am seriously considering Z1 or Jyaiu S3 or Ecoo E04, but unfortunately the camera is my parameter for the budget ,which is under £200. Yet majority of the phones priced up to this budget have inferior cameras despite some of them using the pretty standard Sony Exmor 214 RS sensor as the clearly higher specsed devices. Ecoo E04 is a weird one, reports of flawed GPS system and unknown camera sensor (that again suppose interpolation) still kinda hold me back. Jiaiyu S3 (at the least) the first 2GB version had a very strange defects during video recording that kinda pulled me down as I never know what can be and what cannot be fixed by updating the firmware – camerawise.

        Generally, I’d rather 5″ , but clearly interpolated Elephones P6000 and P3000s can’t deliver, ZTE Blade 6 pics look weird and its 615 Snapdragon also seems to underperformed opposed to Mediatek 6752 and finally Zopo ZP920 Magic that even fields OIS as probably the only phone from the price range comes with only 2300mha battery and there is insufficiency of reviews out there.

        My hopes are sticked towards iOcean X9 that looks like a perfect solution, but my worries are still in place. The latest phablet was large disappointment filled with flaws and terrible battery just 2300mha.

        Reviews like this are always something I cannot wait for.

        Apart from Z1 I would love to see also review on Zopo ZP920 Magic, TCL M2U as that one really looks as it can give a punch and the super-cheap :
        Mlais M52 Red Note, here I am pretty sure though that although aspiring to kick so Xiaomi and Meizu butt here, at least the camera will be miserable.

      • mti
        March 31, 2015

        please post ASAP

  17. k...F
    March 30, 2015

    For me the worst mobile ever is UMI Zero the phone that you most advertised !!! Thanks god I return it back and took my money.
    Now I am owner of Kingzone n3 plus and I am much more happier than I had the Umi Zero(battery life if not explode and most important SIGNAL).
    For the camera I hope in the next updates to get improved.
    As for the battery you say about a devive please upload a video to show us what you are telling.
    Thank you

    • Guest
      March 31, 2015

      Sorry u had such a bad experience with your zero. I am, I guess one of the lucky ones that did not experience any reported problems and the camera output is pretty good after the 3.06 update.

  18. 10basetom
    March 30, 2015

    Life is like a box of Chinese phone — you never know what you’re gonna get.

  19. Don Rogers
    March 30, 2015

    Thanks for the good review, I was considering this phone to replace my old original Jiayu g3 but 2 things in the review kills it for me. 1, the GPS is poor in the Jiayu g3 and I wanted a good quick time to fix as I want to use a golf GPS app with the phone and 2, I too do not want to carry a phone and a camera so the camera needs to be a lot better than this phone’s camera. I will wait to see if the purported Jiayu S4 is vapour or real, also the LANDVO L600 Pro 5.0 Inch looks interesting

    • Steven Fox
      March 30, 2015

      Go with Jiayu again.

    • pdayahoo
      March 30, 2015

      i just order the s3 lol

      ——————————
      הזמנתי את ה S3

  20. Steve B
    March 30, 2015

    It’s the Z1 I really want to know about, but I’ll probably still get a TCL M2U, it looks a lot more trustworthy.

    • Christopher Straßer
      March 31, 2015

      Testing the Z1 right now.

    • Mars
      March 31, 2015

      N3 Plus was my first choice and I am glad I have not proceeded with the purchase. Thanks for this very much needed review.

      I am seriously considering Z1 or Jyaiu S3 or Ecoo E04, but unfortunately the camera is my parameter for the budget ,which is under £200. Yet majority of the phones priced up to this budget have inferior cameras despite some of them using the pretty standard Sony Exmor 214 RS sensor as the clearly higher specsed devices. Ecoo E04 is a weird one, reports of flawed GPS system and unknown camera sensor (that again suppose interpolation) still kinda hold me back. Jiaiyu S3 (at the least) the first 2GB version had a very strange defects during video recording that kinda pulled me down as I never know what can be and what cannot be fixed by updating the firmware – camerawise.

      Generally, I’d rather 5″ , but clearly interpolated Elephones P6000 and P3000s can’t deliver, ZTE Blade 6 pics look weird and its 615 Snapdragon also seems to underperformed opposed to Mediatek 6752 and finally Zopo ZP920 Magic that even fields OIS as probably the only phone from the price range comes with only 2300mha battery and there is insufficiency of reviews out there.

      My hopes are sticked towards iOcean X9 that looks like a perfect solution, but my worries are still in place. The latest phablet was large disappointment filled with flaws and terrible battery just 2300mha.

      Reviews like this are always something I cannot wait for.

      Apart from Z1 I would love to see also review on Zopo ZP920 Magic, TCL M2U as that one really looks as it can give a punch and the super-cheap :
      Mlais M52 Red Note, here I am pretty sure though that although aspiring to kick so Xiaomi and Meizu butt here, at least the camera will be miserable.

    • Guest
      March 31, 2015

      please post ASAP

  21. jimberkas
    March 30, 2015

    lost me at no unified storage. c’mon, how hard is that?

    • March 31, 2015

      True that. I was shocked when I noticed that there is no US. The Z1 doesn’t have it, too.

      • Mars
        March 31, 2015

        but they both have SD slots right ? so that’s not that big deal to me

        • March 31, 2015

          You will never be able to move a whole app to your SD card. So if the App memory is full the SD won’t save you. Of course it increases the amount of apps you can install significantly. Lets hope they will fix that with the Lollipop update.

  22. Guest
    March 30, 2015

    lost me at no unified storage. c’mon, how hard is that?

    • Christopher Straßer
      March 31, 2015

      True that. I was shocked when I noticed that there is no US. The Z1 doesn’t have it, too.

    • Mars
      March 31, 2015

      but they both have SD slots right ? so that’s not that big deal to me

    • Christopher Straßer
      March 31, 2015

      You will never be able to move a whole app to your SD card. So if the App memory is full the SD won’t save you. Of course it increases the amount of apps you can install significantly. Lets hope they will fix that with the Lollipop update.

  23. Angry Mobile Nerd
    March 30, 2015

    Seems like every cheap Chinese phone these days has “Corning Gorilla Glass” but is it true?

    It seems contradictory they would put top-of-the-line glass over a sub-standard screen (if it’s even a genuine Sharp manufactured screen for that matter).

    • March 31, 2015

      Gorilla Glass isn’t that expensive. For now I don’t have any scratches on the screen without any protector, so it could be Gorilla Glass but at least it is some tempered glass.

  24. Angry Mobile Nerd
    March 31, 2015

    Seems like every cheap Chinese phone these days has “Corning Gorilla Glass” but is it true?

    It seems contradictory they would put top-of-the-line glass over a sub-standard screen (if it’s even a genuine Sharp manufactured screen for that matter).

    • Christopher Straßer
      March 31, 2015

      Gorilla Glass isn’t that expensive. For now I don’t have any scratches on the screen without any protector, so it could be Gorilla Glass but at least it is some tempered glass.

  25. Primo
    June 12, 2015

    I bought this kingzone n3 plus. The microphone is poorly worked noise whenever it was bad signal. I do not recommend it!

  26. Guest
    June 12, 2015

    I bought this kingzone n3 plus. The microphone is poorly worked noise whenever it was bad signal. I do not recommend it!

  27. Bingo
    March 20, 2016

    I’ve had the phone for quite a while and it does the job well. It’s quick and responsive but does have a few quirks when making calls. I like it but will get a different phone soon as I cant hear it. Speaker volume is the biggest let down!! Still waiting for the lollipop and the battery does suck……. Nuf said….

  28. Guest
    March 20, 2016

    I’ve had the phone for quite a while and it does the job well. It’s quick and responsive but does have a few quirks when making calls. I like it but will get a different phone soon as I cant hear it. Speaker volume is the biggest let down!! Still waiting for the lollipop and the battery does suck……. Nuf said….