The smartphone market in India has truly evolved. Phones under Rs 10,000 have the fanciest of specifications and a full metal build. The days when you had to pay top dollar for anything fancy like 4G, VoLTE and VR are gone, and companies like Intex are now proving that you can get all of that and more for the budget price of Rs 5,000.
Intex 5.5 VR
Considering that I recently reviewed the Intex Aqua S7 (with which I was genuinely impressed), I was once again a little sceptical about reviewing another Intex phone with half the price of the Aqua S7. Intex 5.5 VR is a big phone with a 5.5-inch display, which makes sense considering that the company is trying to sell a VR smartphone to you.
My 10 days journey with the device made me realise that a Rs 5,000 phone can do almost everything that a more expensive one does, even if that finesse and smoothness is lacking.
Specs: 5.5-inch IPS display| MediaTek MT6737V processor | 1GB RAM | 8GB ROM (expandable up to 32GB) | 5MP rear camera | 5MP front camera | 2,800 mAh battery | Android 6.0 Marshmallow OS
Price: Rs 5,099
Surprisingly there are a lot of good things about the phone, which makes it better than some of the much more expensive smartphones that I have used recently. To begin with, the build of the phone is good for a Rs 5,000 phone. The champagne gold colour of the device that I was using was not too blingy, and the phone (even if a little big) does not feel too clunky or heavy.
The highlight of the device for me was the battery. I recently got my new Reliance Jio SIM, which I had been previously testing on a OnePlus 3. I decided to run it on the Intex 5.5 VR. Despite the budget pricing, Intex 5.5 VR can gave no trouble with 4G or even VoLTE.
The battery on this device is impressive as well. If I started my morning with 80 per cent battery, the phone would not die even at 11pm in the night – even while I had used the device as a hotspot, and as a radio playing YouTube songs one after the other.
The cardboard VR headset that the phone comes in also packs two lenses, two rubber lens holders and a nose protector. A little handy work, and the VR box is ready to use. If you are watching a VR video on YouTube, or playing a 3D video on your phone, the device makes it a fun experience – allowing you to continue doing so for hours. The audio is also clear while the phone is inside in the VR box.
The speaker on the phone was a pleasant surprise, which is important given the price point.
Even while the build quality is more or less good, you do get to see that the phone has a few rough edges. The switch that flicks the phone to General or Silent mode feels flimsy. The volume rockers and the power button are too flush with the body, making it impossible to know which button is which.
The phone does lag when you push it to multitask. I have had a few app crashes with the phone, which generally happened when I used any of the browsers on the phone. Overall, my experience surfing the net, may it be on Opera or Chrome, was not really smooth. If you have a little patience, the phone starts working smoothly within a second or two once an app crashes.
The 5MP primary camera on the phone is decent, but can be considered a let down if you look at all the good things this phone has going on for it. The front 5MP camera is no better, but if you are not that big of a selfie guy like me, this is something that will not bother you too much.
Even while the call quality was clear every time I made a call from the phone, I did find that the network connection kept fluctuating a lot. Of course, the Jio network is still far from perfect so it’s wrong to blame this budget phone for that.
Charging the phone is a pain, and it takes a better part of the day to go from 0 to 100 – or so it seems.
The VR box is fun to use, but the native VR app in the device feels like a disaster. Once you open the app, you find a four option menu on the display which can virtually only be seen when you hold your phone horizontally at the horizon. The four options you can see are VR gaming, VR 360, 3D and VR.
To select either of the options, you will need to move the phone in virtual space to point at them, and this is where the problem starts. It takes a lot of effort and moving around to point at the virtual options. The whole experience was laggy, erratic and annoying – meaning that I did not explore it further.
For Rs 5,000, I would definitely recommend this phone as it will let you happily use everything from WhatsApp, Facebook, YouTube, music – you name it though it won’t be the fastest experience. The phone actually ships with a hard-back cover, but it is pointless to use considering how resistant to scratches the plastic back of the phone is in day-to-day use. Just put in a big enough memory card in the phone, and you are set for all your multimedia consumption.