The budget smartphone titan from India has unleashed yet another invention in the market. The first ever full-fledged economic phablet has hit the shores of India, and we’ve got our hand on it. The Micromax Canvas HD A116 was launched on this valentine with a budget price tag of 13,999 INR. This was the most anticipated product from the India based smartphone manufacturer; as it was classified as first ever budget HD Smartphone cum phablet in India. Also, considering the fact that the previous version of this very phone has been running out of stock for many months, people were expecting Micromax to deliver a huge blow to the International giants like Samsung and Apple with this product. Those who are not familiar would be pleased to know that Micromax alone sold over a million tablets in the last calendar year. Micromax has not deviated from their line of marketing – high end features at a budget price. There is a news story keep telling the audience that 9000 pieces are already sold in just 48 hours. And now it is confirmed that they are selling around 25 pieces of Micromax Canvas HD A116 every minute. We’ve received the device couple of days back and had a chance to play around for quite some time now. So why not provide a detailed review of Micromax Canvas HD, so our users can be their own judge. Let’s have a detailed look at what Micromax Canvas HD has to offer to the end-users
Build and Design:
The build and design of the Micromax A116 Canvas HD is strikingly similar to that of Samsung Galaxy 3. No wonder, deep down inside the manufacturer would be hoping to bring Galaxy S3 on its knee. When we first touched the device, we could feel the shiny hard plastic body. The solid plastic body did help in reducing the weight but it felt cheap in the hand. Moreover, the body is glossy and somewhat slippery in the sweaty hands of mine. Although, we were disappointed with the build quality a bit, unlike the predecessor, the build quality is quite better. In terms of quality, Micromax has managed to beat down the predecessor, but is still far behind competitors. There’s a reason for such cheap price and you’d feel that exterior is where Micromax has made some adjustment to justify the price tag.
With 144mm x 74mm x 10.7mm measurement and 156 gram weight, Micromax A116 Canvas HD feels a lot like a lighter device. Some of the look is transcribed from the predecessor Canvas 2.
Overall, the design is very similar to other phablets you’ve seen so far. The curvy or tapered design gives it a premium look. The large rectangular body houses a 5-inch IPS HD display and other important hardware.
In the front, you’ll see a 5-inch IPS capacitive touchscreen capable of displaying HD content. The LCD display will ensure that the colors are more vivid. With 294 PPI pixels density, it is slightly better compared to a competitor, Samsung Galaxy Grand (187 PPI). In layman’s term, you’d get more more pixels to fit on the screen, which is proportional to a better display quality. In one of our previous article, we’ve provided a detailed comparison of both the devices.
The top front section has centrally located earpiece. Beneath the earpiece grill, there is a hidden notification light (green and red). On the extreme right hand side, a 2MP secondary camera is present. The secondary camera is extremely helpful in making a video call and other functions. We’ll go into the details of the quality of the camera in the next section.
Meanwhile, check out the comparison between Micromax Canvas 2 and Canvas HD to see how much advancement has been done by Micromax.
The back side has an 8MP shooter camera with flash light. The camera placed in the upper side middle section identical to the previous version of the device. However, there is a slight alteration in the position of the flashlight. The back cover is glossy and semi-slippery. Though, the white glossy back cover gives it a premium look, it still reflects the plasticky look. Below, there’s a speaker grill.
The left side contains volume rocker, which are often used to control the volume and factory reset of the device.
The top most section has two different slots. A 3.5mm audio jack to plug in your normal headphone. There is also a micro USB port besides that can be used for charging or connecting the device to the PC.
On the right edge, you’ve a power cum screen lock button. Again, it can be used in conjunction with volume rockers to put the device into recovery mode. A small notch is provided at the bottom to remove the back cover.
Back panel consists of a speaker grill at the bottom which is clearly visible in the below screenshot where we have removed the back cover.
The top section of the back panel consists of two slots for dual SIM and one slot to insert MicroSD card to expand the storage facility. Fortunately, Micromax has provided a slot where you can insert a normal SIM card. No longer you’d require to cut your SIM into micro SIM. Above these slots, you can see a rear camera and flashlight.
The device is marketed by developers as a High Definition device and it is. A 5 inch IPS screen with a screen resolution of 1080×720 pixel delivers great results. You will definitely like 294 PPI screens while you browse through net and watch videos. Since it is an LCD display, you’ll notice some faded colors. Although, IPS is supposed to deliver the great viewing angle, the colors seem to be washing out to some extent on different angles. So you will not get the best viewing experience on all viewing angles.
While surfing through images we have found that pixels are well synchronized and colors are quite vibrant. With the good hue and Chroma combination you will have performance of HD in the real sense. On such a large screen 1280 x 720 pixels resolution is a treat. At such a price tag, you couldn’t ask anything for more. It is a steal at this price tag, we bet.
Though, my real concern is text display on the IPS LCD screen. The text doesn’t seem to be as clear and sharp as you would see on AMOLED screen. Probably, this is the reason, we firmly believe that Samsung is still better in this aspect. But at the end of the day, you wouldn’t go for such granular level details. 5-inch IPS LCD screen does give justification to the HD tag.
Initially, we had to dart the fingers deeper into the screen to swipe through the menu, widgets and applications. Compared to the likes of HTC One X, Samsung Galaxy S3, you’ll find yourself giving more pressure to swipe through the different portions of the OS. Again, it is not noticeable, and you’d only feel it if you’re used to above mentioned devices.
The Micromax Canvas HD comes with Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean out of the box. There are a few minor tweaks done to the stock ROM, but you can ignore them. The UI is a familiar one. Users are also expected to get Android 4.2 update right away. Instead of going through what Android 4.1.2 offers, we will rather concentrate on what’s being offered by Micromax. Home screen will show M! Live, M!Zone+, M! Store and Google Play store to start you right away with what matters the most. Micromax exclusive apps will help you to get the latest updates of Entertainment, Applications and other information related to India.
Unfortunately, the images are enlarged and not optimized to work with 5-inch 1280 x 720p display. A blurred images will leave a bad impression. Micromax has also provided inbuilt applications like CricketFever, Talk, ToDo and Micromax Hookup messaging service. CricketFever will provide the latest updates related to Cricket, which is again specially designed to please Indian users.
You will get 1.77 GB of space out of 4GB space. Here is a screenshot of what you get. The problems presented in Canvas 2 have been rectified by the developer which is a plus point. Overall, there is nothing much changed in stock firmware to give you additional advantage like offered by Samsung.
We’ve installed some apps and games to see how the device performs and we found no lag while playing the games. We tried Temple Run 2, Angry Birds Space and few other famous games on the device.
As mentioned earlier, Canvas HD houses dual LED flash light and 8MP rear camera. With 8 mega pixel primary camera and front 2MP camera, there is nothing so special to describe about. The back camera or shooter can deliver 3264 x 2448 pixels pictures with additional support for burst mode shooting. Unfortunately, it doesn’t deliver much. The picture quality in low light and in night mode is extremely poor. The colorful details are missing in the absence of light and does not even improve with dual flash light. In the evening light, we found reddish colors in the image which feels like I’ve instagram effects on the camera (Serpia).
There are some settings available to better the performance of the picture, but they are there for the sake of it. Don’t expect those settings to add much aesthetic value. Picture quality is the same as was with the Canvas 2 but the increased screen resolution will let you feel of betterment, but technically there is no enhancement.
Let us walk you through some of the available camera settings
Here are some screenshots taken in the different light conditions.
Low Light Image
External image moving object
With a tag of first ever Quad Core budget Smartphone, it does carry a burden on its shoulder to satisfy the need of Indian consumers. Normal users care about the performance and not the company that provides the chip. Exynos, Qualcomm has a reputation to provide an energy efficient processor, but MediaTek doesn’t seem to be too familiar enough to the normal users. Micromax has collaborated with MediaTek since a while back in 2013, and after the launch of Canvas HD, Micromax can afford to have a smirk at the competitors.
Canvas HD is far superior than Canvas 2 in terms of processing muscle and energy consumption. MediaTek processor is based on ARM’s Cortex A7 cores, which is known to consume less energy. The difference is visible in Canvas HD. Sliding through menus and playing back videos is a smooth and pleasant journey. The launch of applications, working of applications, browsing and online games are quite efficiently performed. Temple run 2, Fruit Ninja, Dead trigger games were tested on the processor and there was no lag while playing those games. However, it would be interesting to see how it fares against monsterous NFS and other games which requires lots of data.
Although the device is sold based on its HD capability, I’d like to stress that Quad Core processor is nothing less than that. It brings a joy of enjoying graphics intense games on budget device. Nothing on the phone that keeps you hanging.
With 2000mAh battery they have not done enough with Li-ion battery itself. Even MTV Volt is providing 3200mAh Battery.
But the developers have already compensated with Quad Core processor. The enhanced processor has truly worked for battery performance. In our Hands on the device has shown more than 4 Hrs media standby. Also the battery lasted almost a day on a regular usage which is quite impressive. Developers are saying that the Quad Core processor also helped to decrease the heat from device. But it doesn’t prove up to the words it still as “exothermic” as the Canvas 2 was.
Connectivity & Memory:
- The Wi-fi and Bluetooth are functioning as good as it was with Canvas 2.
- The Phablet comes with an Active dual Sim slot.
- We have been expecting a little more as far as inbuilt memory is concerned. But developers are thinking on a different line. They have kept that feature unchanged from Canvas 2 with 4 GB of internal memory out of which 1.77GB is available to the user. Still it is expandable up to 32 GB.
- Another change that has gained our appreciation is increased RAM. With 1 GB of RAM and Quad Core processor device is really functioning Smart.
- This is the feature why Indian people will love it. It is available at budget price of 13,990 INR. Quite low as compared to other MNC giants. On the box the price mentioned is Rs. 17,499.
We know this is neither an Apple nor a Samsung product. But with this price segment and impressive set of features you can definitely go for Micromax Canvas HD, if you are aiming at budget Smartphone in subcontinent territory. The plasticky body, though doesn’t put it in the premium device category, helps in cutting down the cost. Micromax has done an excellent job in providing a dual SIM android phablet at an affordable price tag.