With the huge success of the Superfone Canvas A100, Micromax has decided to do raise the bar once again for what a sub-10K Android smartphone should look like. With the same massive 5-inch screen making a comeback, they’ve managed to fit in a dual-core CPU this time – all for the same price as the previous one. Too good to be true?
Design and Build
The Canvas 2 A110 once again borrows many design cues from the Galaxy Nexus. The chrome trim along the side is shaped in such a way so as to create an illusion of a curved glass. You get a nice chunky volume rocker on one side along with a power/sleep button on the other side. The phone appears larger than it actually is due to thick bezels on either side. There is a row of sensors beside the chrome plated earpiece and the back cover is quite sturdy and doesn’t scratch easily. The matt finish helps keep fingerprints away. The 8MP shooter produces quite a bulge at the back so you need to be careful as the lens cover will scratch easily.
A decent camera
The 5-inch LCD display has quite a low resolution of 854 x 480 which makes images, icons, etc. lose their sharpness. The screen doesn’t appear to be of a very good quality either as the viewing angles are pretty poor and there’s terrible banding throughout. We now know where Micromax has cut corners in order to offer this phone at the same price point.
Could have had a larger battery
Overall, the Canvas 2 is built well but is too bulky and quite heavy as well. We could have done without the chrome trim along the edges which quite frankly, gives the phone a cheap look. But then again, it is a cheap phone so there’s that. Unfortunately, the placement of the microSD card does not allow for hot-swap as the battery gets in the way.
The Canvas 2 A110 sticks to the stock interface of Android Ice Cream Sandwich for the most part, except for some changes to the notification bar, where we now have side-scrollable toggle switches. The UI is far from smooth though, which is a bit strange when you consider the fact that it’s powered by a dual-core CPU. It all makes sense when you take a closer look at the type of SoC used. Instead of a Qualcomm or TI OMAP, Micromax has used the MT6577 SoC from MediaTek. This comprises of a dual-core 1GHz Cortex-A9 CPU and PowerVR GPU. This SoC is specifically designed for the sub-$200 smartphone segment and has the potential to support up to 720p displays and record videos at 1080p. Unfortunately, Micromax has not exploited its full potential, which is why we have to live with lag in the UI. Another important feature that’s missing is an ambient light sensor.
UI is not the smoothest
Other than the stock UI and apps, Micromax has added a SIM management option to set the default card for call, messages, Internet, etc. Both SIMs can be active at the same time if needed. Another feature added is a scheduled power off option, which lets you switch the phone on or off at a designated time and day of the week.
Audio is handled by the stock music player of ICS. The quality of audio is strictly average even with a good pair of earphones. The rear speaker is quite loud so you won’t miss any of the alerts even in a noisy place. You get 4GB of internal memory and a slot for expanding it up to 32GB. Video playback leaves a lot to be desired. First of all, the Canvas 2 can only handle up to 720p video playback smoothly. MP4 files play well in the stock player but AVI, MKV, etc. have trouble playing back even in MX Player. The colour reproduction is good but the viewing angles are weak so you have to hold the phone just right for a decent experience.
Decent audio playback
Connectivity and Misc. apps
The Micromax Canvas 2 only supports two bands for 2G and just one for 3G, which means you won’t be able to use this on all networks around the world. Other connectivity features include Wi-Fi ‘n’, Bluetooth v3.0 and USB plug-and-play support. Other than the Play Store, Micromax also bundles their M! Store and M!Zone for added content. The bundled apps include some games like Cricket Fever, Fruit Devil along with some productivity apps like File Manager, M! Buddy and HookUp.
Good number of bundled apps
The upgraded 8MP shooter manages to capture decent outdoor images with pretty accurate colours and good amounts of detail. Touch-to-focus and face detection is also present along with many scene modes. Indoor picture quality is not the best and the dual-LED flash isn’t very powerful in illuminating a dark area. Macro shots fare pretty well with a decent amount of detail and depth of field.
Macro mode is pretty good
Video recording maxes out at 720p but the quality is not very good since the recorded file is not an MP4 video but 3gp. It’s a little strange that Micromax would limit the video recording capabilities to just 720p when clearly, the 8MP sensor and dual-core CPU could easily handle more.
The Canvas 2 come fitted with a 2000mAh battery pack, which is clearly not enough to power such a huge screen for the entire day. We got just about 7-hours in our video drain test. We expected a bigger battery given the size of the phone. The phone lasted about 6-hours and 15-minutes in our loop tests which included an hour of calls, two hours of music, two hours of music and the rest was taken up by audio streaming over Wi-Fi.
Verdict and Price in India
Micromax has priced the Superfone Canvas 2 at Rs 9,990, which is the same price as the first Canvas. However, in order to achieve this, they’ve seem to have compromised a bit too much on performance. The type of panel used is quite poor, the dual-core CPU doesn’t seem to be put to good use as the UI is very laggy and the phone cannot handle video beyond 720p. Crucial features like an ambient light sensor and quad-band functionality also seem to be missing. Overall, the A110 turned out to be a bit of a disappointment and we’d advice you give this a pass.
We've also done a truck load of features around the A110, comparing it with the Karbonn A21, the Samsung Galaxy S Duos and the iBall Andi 4.3h. Don't forget to also check out a rare camera shootout between the A110, Karbonn A21 and the iBall Andi 4.5h.
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