Google has finally launched the first set of Android One smartphones that are powered by reference design hardware and closely integrated, standardized, stock-Android UI. While there's not much differentiation in terms of the internals, the phones, made in collaboration with three Indian vendors - Spice, Karbonn and Micromax, look and feel slightly different.
Micromax Canvas A1, exclusively available on Amazon.in, is the most expensive of the lot, priced at Rs 6,499. Here's what we feel about the phone...
Micromax Canvas A1 looks very similar to Android One phones made by Spice and Karbonn except for a few minor aesthetic differences. The basic design philosophy and build quality of the three phones is consistent.
Made of plastic, the phones bear a simple, utilitarian look and the focus is on making the device durable and good to hold with soft rounded corners and edges.
The front of the phone features black plastic bezel that sports a glossy finish and a 4.5-inch FWVGA(480x854p) IPS display. The Canvas A1 is the first Micromax Android phone to come without any hardware capacitive keys for navigation. The front panel also features a 2MP front camera and a round earpiece.
The soft, plastic keys for volume control and power are located at the right edge and offer good tactile feedback. The bottom edge sports the micro-USB port while the 3.5mm headset jack sits at the top.
The back features a removable plastic back cover that sports a soft touch, rubberised, matte finish. The phone feels good to hold and there were no squeaks and wobbles.
The back is also where Micromax differentiates the phone with its own branding and a protruding, circular, metallic ring that houses the phone's 5MP rear camera and LED flash. The ring has a dark, brushed-metal finish though the finish could have been better. A small, round speaker opening and the Android One branding is also present at the back.
The back cover hides two micro-sim slots, a hot-swappable microSD card and a removable, 1700mAh battery.
The 4.5-inch display offers good viewing angles and decent sunlight legibility. However, we found it a little prone to smudges. Also, while the low display resolution doesn't stick out due to the comparatively smaller screen size, the experience is not as good when compared to the 720p display of the Xiaomi Redmi 1S, which is priced at Rs 5,999.
In terms of hardware, the phone is powered by a 1.3GHz MediaTek quad-core processor, Mali-400MP graphics and 1GB RAM. The phone has 4GB internal storage and a microSD card slot that supports cards of up to 32GB capacity. Out of 4GB, 2.27GB is available to the user.
The phone runs a near-stock version of Android 4.4 KitKat with a few non-removable preloaded apps that include Amazon, Hike, M!Live, and AskMe. The phone comes with the Google Camera app and we could not take pictures as the app refused to activate the shutter without an external storage source. We'll have a detailed look at the camera in our full review.
We'll have to say the phone is one of the smoothest ones available at this price. Also, it won't be wrong to say that it's the best entry-level Micromax phone we've used ever. We'll have to see how it fares with multiple apps running in the background and games.
Is the Micromax Canvas A1 Android One phone capable of usurping Xiaomi Redmi 1S from its throne? You'll need to wait for our full review to find that out.