Micromax Canvas HD: Great bang for very few bucks

It’s been almost two weeks since I got the Micromax HD. Here are some initial impressions…

  • The 720p display is bright enough, but it doesn’t have that ‘Retina’ feel to it. This isn’t necessarily a problem with the Canvas HD – it’s more of an Android thing. Hardly any apps and icons have been made XHDPI ready, so the phone looks practically the same as a WVGA display phone such as the older Canvas.
  • The 1.2GHz quad-core processor seems powerful on paper and does score well on some benchmarks, but in real-world use, it feels not very much unlike the previous generation of Canvas devices. It’s usable, but you’re not going to feel like you’re in a supercar. Quad-chor!
  • The UI is almost pure Google. Micromax has made some very subtle and some very noticeable changes to it. Subtle, such as mildly colored icons in the Settings app. Noticeable, such as completely redesigned icons for basic apps in the launcher.
  • The fade in/out transitions feel very artificial, as if the were software-rendered and not hardware-based like Jelly Bean is supposed to be doing. I’d recommend swapping the launcher (I like Holo Launcher HD), turning off transitions and generally all animations in the developer options.
  • Network performance was good, but watching 1080p movies over WiFi felt something like 18-20fps and not fully smooth, 24fps. I didn’t try playing movies off the memory card, but I’m guessing that should be just fine.
  • The front of the device feels fine, but the glossy, pearlescent rear, coupled with the Micromax logo, lends a touch of cheapness to the device. And that’s not the only reason – it’s also that way because of the low quality default wallpapers and badly designed icons. All the default wallpapers suck and make your icon texts illegible.
  • The speaker is decent quality and not too loud, but the placement is terrible. A normal grip of the hand will end up covering the speaker, muffling the sound.
  • Not rootable at the moment. Existing tools for other MTK-based handsets don’t work for this one. This should change soon. Getting CyanogenMod 10.1 or AOKP JB on the Canvas HD would really make a great difference.
  • Calling, reception, quality, etc? I dunno. I don’t do any of those things!
  • Battery life. Some people say it’s got a low-capacity battery and that it might not work for such high specs, but honestly, which Android device have you used that went on for more than one day without recharging?

The verdict?

Don’t buy it because it has a 720p display or a quad-core processor or an 8 megapixel camera. Buy it because there’s practically nothing else you can buy in Rs. 13,990 that feels like a better buy…

  • The Lava Xolo A1000 at Rs. 13,999 comes close, but it’s got a 1GHz dual-core CPU. Not that it’ll make a huge difference to most people.
  • The Byond Phablet PIII at Rs. 12,699 has a bigger, 6-inch screen, but it’s only WVGA (480×800). Too low for that size.
  • The Karbonn Smart A111 is much cheaper at Rs. 10,290 and has a decent 1.2GHz dual-core CPU, but it’s running Ice Cream Sandwich, not Jelly Bean.
  • The Samsung Galaxy Grand is almost 40% more expensive for much weaker specs, such as a WVGA display.
  • Update: The Umimobile X2 is the latest entrant, offering better specs — 32GB on board, 2GB RAM, Full HD 1080×1920 display, Gorilla Glass, 13 mp camera, 2500mAh battery — for the same price. Holy shit, we have a new champion in the budget phablet arena!

Of course, by now the Micromax Canvas HD is out of stock pretty much everywhere, so you’re not exactly in much of a bargaining position! Update: Go for the fucking Umi X2 instead!

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1 thought on “Micromax Canvas HD: Great bang for very few bucks

  1. Micromax has service centers here, Umimobile X2 does not have any 😛

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