Hyderabad-based technology and IoT company Smartron launched last year in association with cricket star Sachin Tendulkar. The company introduced two products including a smartphone and a 2-in-1 hybrid laptop. While the Smartron t.phone didn’t gain enough popularity, the t.book turned out to be a good and cheap alternative to the Microsoft Surface 4 Pro.

Today it launched its third product in the market and this time, it’s a big one as the company is branding it the ‘Sachin Tendulkar’ phone. The srt.phone is a budget handset offering which seems to be aimed at competing with the numerous Chinese smartphones in the market. Here is a quick look at the new handset.

Build and design

With smartphone makers competing to make the most premium looking handset on a budget, Smartron has probably not thought of this so well. Handsets priced as low as Rs 7,000 today have a metal construction, but this one comes with a plastic finish. The srt.phone feels a bit cheap to be honest. The back panel comes off to reveal two SIM card slots. The company has tried to give it a faux metal finish, but hasn’t been very successful at it.

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Then there is the placement of the power button. I think it has been more than two years since I saw a handset that had the power button on the top edge. That was probably because smartphones back then were smaller in size. This placement isn’t a huge issue though as there is a fingerprint scanner at the back which most users would use to unlock the handset.

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For a 5.5-inch smartphone, it is large but with its plastic build, it isn’t that heavy. The bezels are fairly large and comparing it to the OnePlus 3/3T, it offers a larger footprint.

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The smartphone also comes with a USB Type-C port placed at the bottom, along with holes for the loudspeaker. The volume rocker keys are on the right while the headphone jack sits on the top.

Display

The smartphone comes with a 5.5-inch Full-HD display. It is an IPS LCD panel and it looks fairly good. There is a slight colour shift when looking from a narrow angle, but otherwise the display produces good looking colours. Apart from the Ambient display feature, I didn’t find any interesting settings for the display. Brightness and sharpness levels are also good, but not the best I’ve seen.

Chipset, Storage and RAM

The srt.phone runs on a Snapdragon 652 octa-core chipset clocked at 1.8 GHz. This chip has proved to be a good performer but is now aging as it was seen last year. It chipset comes with an Adreno 510 GPU to handle graphics performance. There is also 4GB of RAM on board which should be good to handle multitasking. The internal storage is 64 GB out of which 58.24 GB is user accessible and about 6.5 GB is used up when you start up the device. There is a no expandable storage on the smartphone.

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OS and software

The smartphone is running on the latest Android Nougat 7.1.1 update which is great to see as not many handset makers are launching devices with the latest Android OS. The UI is stock with just a few custom icons and you also get the slide up app drawer like the Google Pixel/Pixel XL.

Smartron has kept the UI clean and there isn’t any bloatware as such. It also comes preloaded with a set of Microsoft Office apps include Word, PowerPoint, Excel, OneNote and Skype. There is also an app called ‘tronx’ which basically offers free cloud storage and data backup facilities as well as device support.

Camera

The primary camera on the smartphone is a 13 MP sensor with an f/2.0 aperture and comes with a single LED flash. The front camera has a 5 MP resolution with an f/2.2 aperture. I tried the camera for a bit and found the quality to be just average. Details are good when shooting outdoors but you can see the quality suffer once you move indoors.

The camera app is snappy though. It shoots quickly and even the focusing seemed to work fairly good. Although I noticed that while shooting macro, the camera did struggle a bit in terms of focusing.

There are bunch of modes like manual, HDR, panorama, night mode and so on. The primary camera can also shoot 4K UHD videos. I can’t say a lot about the camera, as I only tested it for a few hours. Stay tuned for the full review to get a proper analysis of the camera.

Battery and connectivity

Now I mentioned the back cover comes off, but the battery unit is actually sealed in. The battery is rated at 3,000 mAh and supports quick charge 2.0.

As for connectivity you get 4G LTE, dual-SIM support, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, FM Radio, GPS, 3.5 mm audio jack, NFC and USB Type-C.

Verdict and price

The new offering from Smartron sounds like a good offering on paper. I wasn’t very impressed when I first looked at it, but at that price point, it definitely competes with handsets like the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4, the Moto G5 Plus and other falling under the sub-Rs 15,000 price bracket.

It think the design is one area where the handset could lack behind as almost all the handsets in the market in this price segment feature a premium metal body. I am a little unsure about the camera as well, but I think I will leave the details for the review.

Priced at Rs 12,999  for the 32 GB variant and Rs 13,999 for the 64 GB variant, the handset will be available via Flipkart and will be offered with special limited edition Sachin Tendulkar covers.

Publish date: May 3, 2017 4:03 pm| Modified date: May 3, 2017 4:03 pm

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