The smartphone market in India is growing exponentially with a mix of homegrown and international players all striving to strike the balance right between price and features. In addition to the battle of choosing between features, consumers are also stuck with the new-found issue of whether to go for smartphones available offline, without invites, or try their luck with those which are difficult to acquire online. Amidst all this, homegrown manufacturer Micromax is attempting to catch on to the growing trend of online exclusive devices with the launch of its new Evok Power smartphone. Available only on Flipkart, the smartphone is priced at just under Rs 7,000. With plenty of budget smartphones, available both online and offline, I try to find whether the Evok Power actually brings in the power Micromax needs to stand up against strong online players such as Xiaomi and Motorola.
Evok Power is one of the smartphones from Micromax’s new online-only series which has been built using consumer insights from Flipkart. Being an online marketplace for consumer electronics, Flipkart is visited by millions of users everyday looking to purchase a smartphone. From battery, storage, screen size, and price point, the consumer mind gets too complex to decode, and it is here that Micromax used Flipkart’s search algorithms to understand what the Indian consumer essentially demands for when it comes to a budget smartphone. Picking up two elements – build and battery- Micromax has come up with the Evok Power which also attempts to woo those who are first time smartphone users.
Talking first about the design of the Evok Power; crafted out of plastic, the smartphone features a rubberized strip running on the edges of its rear panel for protection against accidental drops. This nifty feature has been added to make the smartphone resistant to damage, especially to the corners, at times when you get careless. It is worth mentioning that this rubberized strip doesn’t cover the edges of the phone per se, but the edges of the removable rear panel. I did end up dropping the smartphone (once deliberately) to see if the idea was worth the effort and to my satisfaction, upon impact, the rear panel simply came off the device without damaging the corners as intended. Now this is not to be confused with the phone being damage-proof; the phone is still plastic and prone to damage. The rubberized strip is there to add the idea of strength to the otherwise fragile bodies modern smartphones have.
Although the rear panel is removable, the smartphone houses a fixed battery. Underneath the panel sit the SIM and microSD card slots. On the rear you also get a fingerprint sensor. At the given price of Rs 6,999, there are only a handful of smartphones which offer this capability. Having a fingerprint sensor on a budget device isn’t only an attempt to hop on the growing industry standard but also a way to feed the importance of security and privacy to consumers.
The physical buttons on the smartphone are limited, with the volume rockers and power button placed on the right and no button on the front panel. Even without distractions, the display has really thick bezels which take away the charm of an otherwise decently-styled smartphone. There’s a 5-inch screen with HD resolution, which is decent indoors and slightly reflective in the sun. What perhaps is unforgivable is that the touch response is quite a rough road to tread. Not only did I have to figure out the ‘right way of tapping’ onto the screen but it also reminded me of the past when the screens would require pressure-based touch input to function. At this price point, other smartphones such as the Xiaomi Redmi 4A offer a much smoother display experience.
Coming to the innards of the Evok Power; it runs a 1.3GHz MediaTek MT6737 64-bit octa-core SoC with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage. About 6GB of this storage is consumed by pre-loaded apps. Thankfully, the apps can be uninstalled. It is worth mentioning that the smartphone runs Android Marshmallow with some frills such as an iOS-like swipe up menu for shortcuts, which feels unnecessary. Being a budget contender, the given specification on paper might appear decent. However, in the review period, there were instances of sluggishness such as the apps taking too long to fire up, and the slow fingerprint sensing. I also ran the AnTuTu benchmark test and the score achieved is 27992. The experience is hampered further owing to the poor touch response on the display.
Consumers today aim to have the best possible mix of features at an affordable price and camera is one component, no one wants to compromise upon. The Evok Power is equipped with an 8-megapixel rear camera with LED flash along with a 5-megapixel front shooter.
Here are some camera samples in varied lighting conditions:
Now if you look at these samples, the grainy texture is palpable and the motion capture is a failed attempt. However, macro shots are tasteful which, given the otherwise average camera output, stand out. Flares were visible in dim lit conditions where the grains became more prominent. Despite having a dozen of filters, modes, and beautification tools to choose from, the results are not that up to mark.
Overall, the camera quality of the smartphone does not stand out which is not excusable given the competing smartphones such as the Xiaomi Redmi 4A which is priced lesser at Rs 5,999 and is equipped with a 13-megapixel rear camera that does a much more decent job than the Evok Power. ALSO READ: Xiaomi Redmi 4A to Coolpad Note 3 Lite: Top 5 smartphones priced under Rs 7,000
What works the most in favor of Micromax Evok Power is that it houses a massive 4,000mAh battery. While that does add a bit of weight to the plastic phone, it surely does its job well and easily survives a day for an average user like me. The issue with bigger batteries is that they take too long to charge. Micromax Evok Power is no exception. Charging the smartphone from O-80 percent took over one hour.
With Dual 5 as its recent attempt at making its presence felt in the top-tier segment, Micromax is placing the new Flipkart-only Evok Power smartphone as its chance in the online-only segment. With a pricing that is not aggressive and features which are easy to overlook, the Evok Power feels like a “me too” smartphone in a crowded segment. Along with being a less lucrative deal the Micromax Evok is also likely to hurt the renewed approach towards ‘online-only’ smartphones Micromax has embraced. If one looks at the competition, there are more feature-rich options available in the market such as the current leader Xiaomi Redmi 4A that has a blend of design, performance, and features at a lesser price, Coolpad Note 3 Lite which boasts more RAM and also packs a fingerprint sensor, and Samsung Galaxy J1 4G among others.
Micromax has a reputation of offering budget smartphones, but with the Evok Power, it also plans to penetrate the online market. While the battery capacity is impressive, a sub-par specification sheet is unlikely to make the online sales model kick off well. It is worth mentioning that for a consumer who is looking at buying a smartphone online, the filters – for specifications, feature, budget – are aplenty. All that one needs to do is put in their requirement. In this, the Evok Power can easily fall out of consumer fancy given the competition is getting stronger on a per day basis. While the smartphone does offer a good battery capacity which is seen on models priced slightly higher, if you are on a budget and want an affordable phone that offers a heady mix of features and specifications, you can consider these alternative smartphones under Rs 7,000.