After a sabbatical, Micromax announced its first major release for 2017 a smartphone with not two but three 13-megapixel cameras. Hopping onto the dual-camera bandwagon, the Indian manufacturer launched the Dual 5 smartphone. Interestingly, for a company primarily known for its affordable and feature-rich smartphones, the Dual 5 sits neatly in the premium segment with a price tag of Rs 24,999. I spent some time with the smartphone at the launch event and here are my first impressions. Also Read - Micromax to launch new smartphones in India on December 15: ReportAlso Read - Nothing Ear 1 gets a temporary price cut on Flipkart: Here's the new price
Micromax calls it as the most aesthetically pleasing smartphone made by the company yet, with its all-metal unibody design and chamfered edges. However, if you look closely, it pretty much resembles a lot of metal-clad Android smartphones out there in the market. What works in favor is the sleek design, despite the dual-camera setup. It also has feather-light architecture. Also Read - Flipkart Mobile Bonanza sale: Best deals on Poco M3, iPhone 12 mini, ROG Phone 3 and more
It has been designed with the 3D antenna technology, which essentially means the antenna bands run on the top and bottom of the rear panel, without compromising much on the aesthetic value of the smartphone. The company claims that this set up helps provide up to three times better network signal.
The front houses capacitive touch navigation buttons on the bottom while the top panel features the selfie camera, LED flash, and the earpiece. On the rear panel are the dual cameras placed vertically, along with dual tone flash and followed by fingerprint sensor, while the Micromax logo sits neatly towards the bottom. One of the charming bits here is that the dual camera setup does not protrude out of the panel, keeping the overall thinness of the smartphone intact. ALSO READ: Micromax Dual 5 with 3 13-megapixel cameras launched, priced at Rs 24,999: Specifications, features
In terms of physical buttons, there is a new Smart Key on the left side. The key essentially works as a shortcut to execute functions such as two clicks for camera, single click for torch, and so on. You can also customize its functions as per your convenience. On the right side of the smartphone are the volume keys and power button. In accordance with the Indian government s mandate for having a dedicated Panic Button on all phones manufactured in the country, Micromax has added the feature to its power button and volume keys. Pressing the power button and volume down key thrice activates the emergency service.
Coming to the display on the Dual 5; the smartphone features a 5.5-inch full HD AMOLED display with 2.5D curved glass on top with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection. Given that the side bezels are quite narrow, the overall display experience is enhanced. Under the controlled settings, the display quality seemed good with a smooth touch response.
At the heart of the Dual 5 is octa-core Snapdragon 652 processor paired with 4GB of RAM, Adreno 510 GPU, and 128GB of internal storage. With the default memory at 128GB, the smartphone also allows for storage expansion up to 128GB via microSD card. However, as the expansion is through a hybrid slot, the potential of a dual SIM + expandable storage smartphone falls short. ALSO READ: Oppo F3 Plus hands-on and first impressions
Furthermore, the smartphone comes with what is called as independent secure chip under its hood for passwords. The Dual 5 is claimed to be the first smartphone to feature such military grade encryption with the dedicated chip which also makes it theft proof . Explaining the feature at the launch event, Micromax co-founder Rahul Sharma said that with the secure chip, any attempt to remove the SIM card will switch off the smartphone in less than a minute and within an hour wipe off personal data to avoid misuse. However, for owners of the smartphone, they need to authentic the SIM removal through the fingerprint scanner in order to avoid bricking of the device.
For enterprise users or simply those looking at more privacy within a single device, the Dual 5 allows you to create a dual profile on the same handset to secure personal content through SecureVault technology. The personal data secured using the dual profile is accessible only through fingerprint. Encryption and user privacy are some terms which are yet to find home in the mindsets of Indian consumers who are still driven by stylish designs and fancy features. While it does offer Apple iPhone-like security, to locate or brick the smartphone in cases of theft, the feature is essentially not going to turn heads for Indian consumers who have looked up to the company for building affordable smartphones with features which they can relate to. Hence, overtly marketing the encryption feature, which is more like an added frill, needs to be seen how it stands out in front of the competition.
The Dual 5 runs the older Android 6.0 Marshmallow, which is sort of a disappointment for a smartphone in placed in the premium segment. However, the company is promising an upgrade to the next OS as an when Google rolls out. There are additional some Smart OS features, which are aimed at offering a more enhanced user experience. These features include Freezer a feature that lets you limit data usage of any app and prevent excessive load on the processor or RAM; Heat Source a feature that tracks the smartphone s CPU and overall system temperature; and Speedup a feature that closes unused background apps and freeing up RAM.
During the short time of playing with the smartphone, there were no lags or app crashes. However, I did witness a bit of heating while I was using with the three cameras. Having said that, we would reserve the final verdict on the performance of the smartphone till a thorough usage. ALSO READ: Vivo V5 Plus Review
Drawing its juice from a 3,200mAh battery, the Dual 5 comes with Quick Charge 3.0 support through a Type-C port. With the given capacity, the smartphone is likely to last a decent portion of the day for a light to average user. Real-world performance is yet to be gauged, so we will hold our verdict till then.
Micromax is relying heavily on the dual camera capabilities of its Dual 5. The smartphone packs a pair of 13-megapixel rear cameras. One of the cameras is an RGB sensor while the other is a monochrome sensor and together they are capable of capturing color rich and detailed images. There are plenty of modes and filters to choose from, keeping the smartphone photographer in you busy. In the controlled lighting environment, the results produced by the dual rear camera were indeed good in color contrast and detailed. I tried out the monochrome mode and the images could easily pass off as captured through a professional lens. . Such a dual camera combination with RGB and monochrome sensor is something we have already seen on smartphones such as the Huawei P9. Whether the dual setup is at par with other smartphones in the same category, we need to extensively use the Dual 5 to its potential to answer that. Other highlights of the camera include 4K ultra HD video recording, blurry-mode for Bokeh effect, slow shutter mode, and a Pro mode.
Talking about the third 13-megapixel camera on the smartphone; there is a two-tone soft flash and plenty of modes beautification features to enhance even the front camera results. In the controlled lighting conditions, the results were decent, albeit needing some stability of the hands to get a clear shot. Wait for our full review to know more about the front camera module.
Micromax has definitely entered the premium segment with its Dual 5 albeit compromising on the consumer demands. For someone who has the potential to spend about Rs 25,000 on a smartphone, the expectations would definitely include more in terms of hardware and features. While bringing sort of a comeback premium level smartphone, what Micromax perhaps overlooked is its brand value in the Indian market which is that of delivering affordable devices. With the Dual 5, Micromax is trying to make its presence felt in the market where the given features have already existed for long. An average specs sheet with an older OS make the Dual 5 seem like a pricier deal. At Rs 24,999, the Dual 5 competes with other smartphones in the same category such as the Moto Z Play that offers modular capabilities and a much higher brand positioning, Lenovo Z2 Plus with Snapdragon 820 SoC and OnePlus 3 which is a tested performer. Whether the Micromax Dual 5 is capable of fighting in the upper premium segment with its three 13-megapixel cameras and user privacy it promises, is something only the company s first sales figures will tell when it goes on sale from April 10. Till then, watch this space for a detailed review of the smartphone.