Budget Android phones are coming in by the dozen and this latest one by Micromax comes with a dedicated voice recognition feature onboard. Dubbed Aisha, which stands for Artificial Intelligence Speech Handset Assistant, this feature is taking on the likes of Siri. The A50 ‘Superfone Ninja’’ as Micromax has named it, comes in at a super price tag, but we’ve seen it numerous times in the past – a significant reduction in the price tag has resulted in a significant reduction in the usability factor of the phone. Let’s find out if this Ninja can hack away at that notion.
Check out a quick video review of the Micromax A50 Superfone Ninja:
Check out AISHA, Micromax's answer to Siri on their A52
Design and Build Quality
The Superfone Ninja has a plastic body that gives a feeling that the parts will fall apart pretty soon. The A50 scores almost nil marks in terms of build and design, but keeping the price factor in mind, this comes as no surprise. The phone comes dressed in white with a silver border along the edges, but is uninspiring at best. It’s incredibly glossy and fingerprints pose a big problem to the screen. Let’s take a quick tour of the device.
The A50 comes with a 3.1-inch display with a lowly resolution of 240 x 320 pixels. Below the screen there are three physical backlit buttons. Along the left we have the microUSB port and the volume rocker. The top consists of a difficult to find power button, along with a poorly designed 3.5mm slot that forces you to literally push in your 3.5mm headphone jack, causing you to worry that either the slot or the jack will break. This could be a problem with only our handset, but that's some major design flaw. Under the hood, you have dual-SIM support and a microSD card slot along with a 1200 mAh battery.
From the sides
At a width of 13mm, the Superfone isn’t the thinnest of phones around, but with the tiny form factor, it fits in well in the palm of your hand. However, the build quality isn’t something to write home about.
Features and Performance
The Ninja is powered by a 650 MHz processor and has 256 MB of RAM and 512 MB of internal memory, but all of it is not user accessible. It comes with Gingerbread 2.3.6 onboard and the interface is surprisingly quick for a phone that runs on a processor, which most may consider obsolete for an Android device. While that is impressive, the limited internal memory means you’ll soon run out of space, if you intend to download a few apps. The interface tends to turn laggy after prolonged usage and that doesn’t come as a surprise, as we’ve seen that on most budget Androids now.
Backlit physical buttons
We put the AISHA to test in our synthetic benchmarks and it fared similar to the Galaxy Pocket that we reviewed earlier. It got a Linpack single thread score of 8.6, as compared to the 9 on the Pocket and an AnTuTu score of 2308 beating the Pocket by a couple of hundreds.
The A50 comes with a stock media interface that doesn’t offer a visual treat, but it tries to cover that up with a range of enhancements and equalizers, that work pretty well. Music via the bundled headphones is good, but we’ll have to mention the design flaw here, as we were worried we might snap the headphone jack whilst trying to plug it in.
The media interface
Video playback is limited to the native formats and coupled with the poor display, the A50 doesn’t qualify as a device worthy enough to cater to your personal viewing needs. Colours appear extremely poor and this device reminded us of the 8 bit panels that graced devices in the bygone era.
This is a dual-SIM phone with 3G, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and GPS. In call quality is decent via the earpiece and the loudspeaker. Browsing WAP sites isn’t a problem, but on trying full websites, text starts appearing warped and it’s difficult to scroll and pan through content. Flash is not supported either. There are no special social networking apps, but the default ones are good enough anyway, so there’s no problem out here.
Browsing best for WAP sites only
Due to the fact that there’s very limited space, Micromax have wisely chosen not to pre-install a range of apps and all that you’ll get at the start are the stock Google apps – Gmail, Talk, places etc. Games like Temple Run aren’t available for the device.
The most interesting part out here is the presence of AISHA, their much talked and marketed voice recognition feature. Like Siri, if you have a clear voice and anything, but a thick or a peculiar accent, Aisha will not disappoint you. For simple things like placing reminders, calls, playing music, finding areas on maps, it works quite well. But sometimes you’ll have to repeat, repeat and REPEAT what you want her to do, if you’re speaking in a conversational tone. Which will really make you wonder, if you could just do it the ‘old fashioned’ way – type it out, and finish it yourself! However, we’ll have to give Micromax the benefit of doubt on this one, because in terms of functionality, you’d rather have it than not.
The A50 comes with a 2 megapixel camera that has very bad quality and we’d recommend you avoid it entirely. Images look terrible on the phone’s screen, but they look no better when viewed on a bettery display. It’s important to mention that the Spice Mi-280 that we reviewed earlier, comes with a 3.2 megapixel camera and a front camera as well. Video recording is equally bad and the camera is definitely not one of the highlights of this phone.
The A50 Ninja is powered by a 1200 mAh battery and keeping in mind that this is a dual-SIM, the battery fares average. If you have a single SIM activated though, the battery life improves considerably. In our test, we managed to get 5 hours 20 minutes of video playack in the video drain test. Under normal usage, you should manage about three fourths of a day.
Worth a buy?
The Micromax A50 Superfone Ninja is priced at Rs. 4,999. While the price is impressive, the A50 has a number of cons that prevent us from recommending it – from the build, design flaws, the display, right up to the camera. AISHA definitely isn’t the selling point out here, as the marketplace is filled with third party voice recognition apps. The Spice Mi-280 comes in at a similar price tag and though the screen size is slightly smaller, it packed in more of a punch than the A50.
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Oct 28, 2016