The new Samsung Galaxy S5 is waterproof, but you don’t have to spend over Rs 50,000 if you want that feature. Indian mobile maker Wickedleak has a new smartphone that survives water damage and costs just Rs 18,000. But that price comes at the cost of many sacrifices…
Quick Tech Specs: 5-inch IPS touchscreen with DragonTrail scratch-resistant glass (1920×1080 px) | 1.7GHz octa-core Mediatek MT6592 processor | 2GB RAM | 16GB internal memory, microSD up to 64GB | 13MP rear camera, 1080p FullHD video recording | 5MP front camera, 720p HD video recording | Dual-SIM (GSM + GSM) | 3G, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4 | GPS with A-GPS | 2500mAH battery | Android 4.2 Jelly Bean
Price: Rs 17,990 excluding taxes
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Design & Build: The Wammy Passion X looks exactly like its predecessor, the Wammy Passion Z or Z+. I’m a fan of the design, which is rectangular with slight curves at the top and bottom—reminiscent of how the Sony Xperia Ray. Plus, the Passion X is extremely light for the hardware it packs, including that big battery.
However, for all its looks, it feels cheap. And a closer inspection of the design betrays why it is priced low. The back panel, for instance, does not seal tightly and you can see gaps. The plastic material is of a low quality and recesses when you press on any of the sides. It uses capacitive touch buttons, making full use of its bezel, which is always good—but in this case, there is no backlight for those buttons. So if you are using the phone after switching off the lights, you can’t see the buttons and will often press the wrong one. It’s a frustrating experience.
Finally, the AquaProtect waterproof nanocoating does not do it any favours as it looks like some sticky goo fell on the back of your phone. With usage, the protection starts peeling so the edges don’t feel refined either.
Of course, this water protection is what the Passion X is all about. And Wickedleak has treated every aspect, including the motherboard, so that it doesn’t need to seal the ports shut, like Samsung and Sony phones. This is more like the Moto G, which features a similar nanocoating. We mimicked real-world scenarios to test the waterproofing, like using it in a shower to simulate rain, spilling cold water and hot coffee on it, and even dunking it in a shallow pool of water for some time. The Wammy Passion X will hold up under the usual water-based mishaps that are bound to hit your phone. However, don’t expect it to be a functional device for snorkelling—the idea here is to protect from water damage, it’s not a rugged phone for adventure sports and the like.
Screen: The Wammy Passion X has a stunning screen that is bound to draw favour from anyone who looks at it. It has wide viewing angles, accurate colour reproduction, and it displays sharp images. The addition of scratch-resistant Dragontrail glass is welcome because you don’t have to put on a screen guard, although that’s packaged in the box.
Performance: For most purposes, the Wammy Passion X runs as good as any other Android we have seen. Even high-end games played well for the most part, but switching them to high quality did cause frames to drop when we were multi-tasking. Still, at this price, the Wammy Passion X is as good as or better than any of its competitors.
Memory: The 16GB of built-in memory is a nice touch, since Android forces you to download apps and games to your internal storage now. Plus, you can always expand it via microSD.
Connectivity: While you will get network in most places, the Passion X has weak audio. In a crowded or noisy environment, it’s difficult to hear the person on the other line unless they start yelling—and even that’s not enough sometimes.
Software: This, for me, is the biggest problem with the Passion X. The colloquialism of “Chinese maal” was never more true. Out of the box, the phone looks like stock Android and has no issues. But reset it once and it defaults to a new interface with the Chinese language enabled. Even if you change the language, other parts like the icons and the theme no longer look like Android. This isn’t friendly for those who like to tinker around with their phone, which is something I liked about the Passion Z+. If you think you’ll ever need to reset your phone—and chances are, you might have to—you will need to get help from Wickedleak service, it’s not as simple as any other Android phone.
Camera: The camera of the Wammy Passion X is not worth the price it demands. Competitors like Micromax and Xolo offer much better snappers at this price. The Passion X is fine when you are clicking photos outdoors in the day, but as light gets dimmer, the noise levels go up disproportionately. Taking photographs at night, even with the LED flash on, is not a good experience. And during both day and night, the images appear dull and the colours look faded. Finally, video clips are not the Passion X’s stronghold, and there is more camera shake than we have experienced with other smartphones. It’s a disappointing rear camera. And while the 5MP sensor on the front cam is welcome, the photos you click are still grainy and dark.
Battery: The Wammy Passion X lasts for around 15 hours of average usage and 6 hours of video playback—that’s good enough for most people.
Special Mentions: The Passion X is the phone to avoid if you like your music. First, there are no headphones in the box. And we tried three different headphones, as well as a Bluetooth one. The Passion X has poor audio quality, with the bass sounding flat and there not even being adequate volume to pump it up. If you care about your music, don’t even consider this phone. The Atom Supremus is still the phone to beat in that aspect.
Verdict: I have been trying to figure out why I dislike the Passion X and it comes down to this: it feels like an incomplete phone. While you get waterproofing, the build quality isn’t great. Over usage, the edges become rougher and Aquaprotect isn’t pretty to look at on the back panel. The fact that it resets to a different UI is annoying. The lack of backlight on the capacitive touch buttons is frustrating. And there are no earphones packed in the box.
The phone has some good points, like that fantastic screen, the good performance and the water protection. But it doesn’t come together to feel like a great device. Maybe if it was priced closer to Rs. 12,000, this would be a decent purchase, but as it currently stands, the Passion X is not worth your money. Even if waterproofing is something you really want, the Moto G is a better bet at a lower price, and it even survived a 30-minute underwater test.