Zen Mobile Cinemax 3 review: Budget price sure, but doesn’t stand out

Zen Mobile Cinemax 3 is a budget device and works like one, but there is not a lot to write back home

Rating: 2.5 out of 5
Written by Varun Sharma | Published:October 14, 2016 4:19 pm
Zen Cinemax 3, Cinemax 3, Zen mobiles, cinemax 3 review, cinemax 3 camera, Zen cinemax 3 specs, zen cinemax 3 features, Zen cinemax 3 price, zen cinemax 3 india, budget phones in india, sub 10,000 smartphones, cinemax 3 performance, cinemax 3 display, Cinemax 3 camera review, smartphone, android, technology, technology news, indian express Zen Mobile Cinemax 3 is priced at Rs 5,499, and falls in the highly competitive budget smartphone segment

Zen Mobiles is another player trying to carve a space in the low-end smartphone market for some time now, and one of its newest members – the Zen Cinemax 3 is the latest in this category. Cinemax 3 is priced at Rs 5,499, with its biggest selling point being the big display and the conveniently large battery.

Cinemax 3 is in the price bracket of sub Rs 6,000 smartphones, which is also one of the most competitive price ranges. Manufacturers like Coolpad, Micromax, Yu Yuphoria and Samsung also have smartphones in this category, and building consumer trust in this price bracket is not always an easy task.

Zen mobile Cinemax 3 Specifications: 5.5-inch FWVGA IPS display | 1.3 GHz quad-core processor | 2GB RAM | 16GB storage | 5MP rear camera + 3.2MP front camera | 2900 mAh | Android 5.1 Lollipop

Price: Rs 5,499

Cinemax 3

When you finally unbox the device and hold it in your hand, it feels like a hefty one. Thankfully the back panel offers a good grip, even though the phone is chunky. Cinemax 3’s overall design isn’t extremely exciting, but the phone feels solid despite the budget pricing.

Cinemax 3 features a power button on the right side of the device, with the volume buttons placed on the other side. The charging port comes on the top of the device. Powering on the device was uneventful, and just like every social animal out there – the first thing I ended up doing was install WhatsApp. As soon as I did this, I realised the phone started heating up (near the rear camera sensor). Do note I was not running any other application in the background, but simply installing the app.

The 5.5-inch IPS display comes with a 854x480p pixel resolution, which is bit unsuitable for video consumption in the day and age of High Definition.

What’s Good

Cinemax 3 features a Spreadtrum SC7731 SoC clocked at 1.3GHz and comes with 2GB RAM, and sure this is no speed demon by any stretch of imagination. Still it ended up working well even when multiple apps were open in the background. The device is running Android 5.1 Lollipop.

The phone was able to run all the apps I need without breaking into sweat or any apps crashing during the review period. However, it did heat up, near the rear camera sensor again when running a lot of apps in the background. On some days, I found myself reaching for the ‘Tap to boost’ feature automatically after a few minutes of use, but on other days it ran without a hitch. The headphones that came in the box were pretty decent.

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The Cinemax 3’s battery lasts more one and a half days of use on a full charge; this is with moderate usage, so you should manage around 12 hours with heavy usage on this one, which is not bad at this price point. But it does take a really long time to charge, so do watch out for that out.

What’s not good

The camera for one, is on top of my dislike list. I realise the phone is sub Rs 6,000, but the camera quality on the device is still pretty bad. The camera is painfully slow and make sure your friends are tied to their seats if you’re planning on taking their pictures with this one. Let’s not even talk about the front camera – I looked like a blurry potato in the selfies. Images taken in natural lighting fared better with the device.

Audio quality on calls is not good on this device, which is a crucial function of any phone. I was able to receive the audio perfectly, but the person who I was talking said my voice was getting distorted. So I switched over to VoIP to check if was any better, but the outcome was the same.

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The screen colours are somewhat saturated with a bluish tinge to the whole display. I had a real problem with the brightness of the display. The display is just too bright to be able to use at night without the lights on, or even when you wake up early morning to check your notifications.

Verdict

The Zen Cinemax 3 is not a power performer and frankly the slow camera and charging time, make this hard to recommend. There are better phones out there – possibly the Xiaomi Redmi 3S, which costs just Rs 1000 more and offers a brighter display, and a much better battery life.

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