It is becoming tougher for smartphone makers, especially those stuck to Android, to create a differentiated user experience. With most of the hardware almost identical across Android devices, manufacturers have no option but to try and tweak the software to make it look different.
But this isn’t always a great experience given that these tweaked OS often result in a weird experience for the user. This is why I think Creo Mark 1 is a gutsy device.
Creo Mark 1
Yes, Creo is a new name in the smartphone space. In fact, the company was called Mango Man till it morphed into Creo and announced that it was making a new smartphone, or should we say smartphone brand.
Creo has good looking hardware, a very competitive price and above all the promise of a “new phone every month”. The latter is actually a marketing driven way to say you have a monthly software upgrade, but it is still innovative.
What is good
I like the overall look and feel of this phone. Even though it is a bit heavy, it feels like a solid device in your hand. The power and volume buttons are on the right, while the three buttons below the screen can be customised, according to your needs. The back panel has a glossy finish, which I didn’t like much, but my fingerprints did.
The 5.5-inch display on this phone is a stunner. The Mark 1 is the most affordable phone to sport a 2K QHD display and this could end up being a USP for this phone, taking it to the league of the flagships.
Creo has tried its best to offer a new software experience, but it has retained the familiarity of Android which is the best part. So you don’t have to go around looking for familiar icons or hunting for features. Creo’s contributions are really in the form of add-ons. I like the Sense which opens up on double tapping the home button and lets you search for and within apps.
Then there is Echo, a voice mail that resides in the device and not with your service provider. Retriever, meanwhile, lets you retrieve the phone even if the new user has added a new SIM. All of these features you could potentially use to your advantage.
The overall performance of the phone is smooth. It does not lag even while multi-tasking and that is good. It also does not heat up and that is something I have come to appreciate in new phones.
What is not that good
The Creo has a camera with immense potential, but it needs work. At the moment it looks like a camera that has been tuned to impress and in that process tends to outperform itself. Picture at times appear stunningly good, and in the very next instant appear bizarrely over processed. However, this does not appear like something that can’t be fixed with a upgrade.
The phone’s glossy rear might find stickiness with the fingerprints, but not the fingers itself. So helped by the heavier body weight of the phone and the smooth edges, the phone becomes really slippery in your hands. You will need to be careful with this one, if you are not spending extra on a good cover.
The fact that it is a new brand could end up playing on the minds of a lot of people, especially those who think they will struggle if the phone needs service. While the company has announced partnerships with HCL for service centres, I think it will take a bit of time and some good work on the ground to build user confidence.
Should you buy
Yes, if you like customising your phone and ensuring that your phone looks different as soon as you switch it on. The Creo Mark 1 offers both of these out of the box. Plus, it seems like good value for money given specs and features, especially the QHD screen. Overall, the Creo seems to have achieved a decent value-for-money smartphone. Now to see if they can deliver on their promise of a new phone every month.