Hands On: Micromax Canvas HD

The Micromax Canvas HD is perhaps the most highly anticipated smartphone priced south of Rs 15,000 and with good reason too – it packs a quad-core processor, a 720p HD screen and runs on Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.  We have managed to get our hands on one. So read on for our first impressions of the product.

The moment we opened the box and laid our hands on the device, it was pretty evident that Micromax has pulled all the stops with the device. This is the best built Micromax product we have ever seen. Build quality wise, its almost as good as a Samsung, but when one takes a closer look one does realize that its not perfect.

The highlight of the show is the 5-inch display, which packs in a resolution of 1280×720 pixels and has 294 pixels per inch. Of course at a price of Rs 13,990, one should not expect the best in the business, but it is a very good display nonetheless. It’s definitely very washed out when compared to the Nexus 4 or the iPhone 5, but at the price we believe its pretty good.

The other star of the Canvas HD is the quad-core processor clocked at 1.2GHz made by MediaTek. Now people hear a buzzword like ‘quad-core’ and get excited, but the reality is that it’s a quad-core based on the ARM Cortex A7 design not the Cortex A9 design. This means it will not be as powerful as than a Cortex A9 based quad-core like on the Galaxy S III. It will be closer to a dual-core ARM Cortex A9 chip and when we ran the Quadrant benchmark our theory was proven as it scored in the vicinity of 3500, a score that is quite similar to the one we have seen on the Galaxy S II that has a dual-core Exynos processor. Now, this performance is better than most ARM Cortex A9 dual-core SoCs but its way below a Cortex A9 based quad-core chip. The one advantage is that the battery life could be better, but we have not tested that, yet.

General performance seems smooth and the GPU that the device leverages is the PowerVR 5XT. While this is a pretty new GPU some how the user experience feels artificial in the sense that everything feels a nano-second slower. It is consistent, but there is this ethereal lag that just stops short of making the experience wonderful. It’s still very good. But if one compares it to a device like the Galaxy Nexus then one understands the difference better.

The biggest surprise of the Canvas HD package is its camera. Last evening when we received the unit we decided to take a few shots and they turned out to be surprisingly good. Of course it has a 8-megapixel sensor, but at this price one normally does not expect much of the camera, but the results seem to be promising, we will test the camera in great depth for the full review. Micromax has heavily customized the camera UI which allows users to shoot video and click photos simultaneously, but on the down side it has also buried the flash setting in a nonchalant corner so switching the flash can take some time to begin with.

Overall, the Canvas HD seems like a very promising smartphone and as Android has reached this level of maturity in fluidness, it can hurt Windows Phone right where it hurts the most. User Experience. Of course the Canvas HD is a culmination of fast processor, good display, a great OS and a decent camera, but its biggest weapon is its price – Rs 13,990. That said, today Lava has announced the Xolo A1000, which also packs in similar features for more or less the same price, so Micromax will have some competition. This however is not our final verdict on the device and we will soon have the full review up.

Photo Credits: Rohit Sharma

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