Among the Indian handset makers, Micromax is now a force to reckon with. Right from the entry level to the premium—the company has been churning out handsets for every segment at a breakneck speed. The company’s successful Canvas series— the mid-to-premium smartphone range, now has a new entrant—the Canvas Turbo Mini (A 200), which I took out for a spin.
Apart from its minimalist white packaging, the first thing that struck me was how light the phone felt in hand. I incidentally started looking for the battery, only to discover both that and the back cover are non-removable. The device looked extremely slim and Micromax has to be given credit for doing a good job with the design. Complementing the phone’s white and silver body, it has made the accessories in white. However, the metallic silver back, which, inspite of looking far better than the run-of-the-mill Android 5-inchers, was slippery to hold. Perhaps using a sturdy back cover would be prudent.
Younger sibling of the highly-praised Canvas Turbo, the Canvas Turbo Mini offers dual SIM capabilities—one normal and one micro SIM. I thought this feature was a useful one, which would save users from the trouble of getting one of their SIM cards cut. Calls went without a hitch and voice quality was good.
The Canvas Turbo Mini has a 4.7 inch, IPS HD screen with a resolution of 1280 by 720. The display was sharp, colours looked vivid and crisp, and viewing angles were pretty good. However, I felt full-HD was required here. The R15,000-smartphone market is cut-throat and competitors in this segment are offering full-HD options.
Running on Android Jelly Bean 4.2.2, the phone does not offer a pure Android experience. The stock interface has been heavily customised, which did not work for me. The app icons and phone dialler had an iOS-like feel to it. Not sure if that was intentional.
A 1.3 GHz quad-core processor with 1GB of RAM powers the phone. Multitasking between apps was fine and performance was snappy. A couple of windows on Chrome and a constant swapping between Subway Surfers, Temple Run 1 and 2 worked well, with a few lags here and there.
I was very pleased with the 8 MP primary camera. Pictures taken were quite good, even in low-lit conditions, thanks to the powerful flash. Even the 5-MP front camera, an exception in this range, performed above expectations. Picture effects like zero shutter delay, face detection, smile shot, self-timer and panorama should please the user.
Now for the major disappointments. The 1800mAH battery was a let-down, as this will not last a day for an average-to-high user. For a 5-inch HD phone, I felt Micromax should have given minimum 2000mAH battery, quite common at this price point. More disappointing was the 4-GB internal storage, out of which about 2.5 GB is free for the user. Competitors offer 8 GB, or even 16 GB internal storage at this price. I felt Micromax could have been more generous on these two areas.
A special word for the headphones included with the phone. They looked the same that comes with the low-priced phones and sound quality was below average. For a R15,000 phone, Micromax should have given better headphones.
Preloaded apps like BBM, Hike, Flashlight, Kingsoft Office, Opera Mini and Spuul were good add-ons. Although, why Facebook and Twitter was left out was a mystery. Some preloaded wallpapers were a delight.
In a nutshell, the Micromax Canvas Turbo Mini is a very good-looking device with an excellent camera and a good processor, but lacks a punch in a few vital areas like internal storage and battery. If you can overlook those, this could be a good choice. If not, you do have better options at this price point.
Estimated street price: Rs 14,999
By Debasis Basak