Micromax has made quite name for itself in the mobile playing field. As a budget handset maker their products tend to be quite innovative and competitive when it comes to feature sets. Take this for example, the X450 aka Van Gogh (ok so they’re not very innovative when it comes to naming their devices) comes bundled with a Bluetooth headset but offers a unique USP for it. Here’s a closer look.
I was unable to figure out just why the X450 was dubbed the Van Gogh. The ridiculous ad ‘paints’ (pardon on the pun) no clear picture of this. We jokingly assumed has something to do with Van Gogh cutting off his ear and this handset offering a bundled mono Bluetooth headset… I know that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense but it was the only connection I could make. However, Micromax has explained that the handset is reminiscent of Van Gogh’s famous Sunflowers painting. I honestly don’t see it… at all!
Keypad and nav-pad are easy to use
The X450 is nevertheless a very well designed handset. Its slight curvy shape is ‘reminiscent’ of Sony Ericsson’s Human Curvature design form seen on the Cedar for one. The rear panel can be replaced with an alternate color option that Micromax includes with the package. You could go with all Black, where the black rear panel is slightly rubberized providing a better grip or you could opt for a bright yellow, that although isn’t rubberized, does make the X450 quite an eye catcher in terms of appeal. The lack of a micro SD hot swap slot is a bit of a disappointment.
The 2.4-inch TFT LCD sports a 240 x 360 pixel resolution with 262k colors. It’s clear and bright enough to view even in bright outdoor conditions. The keypad is built on a slight layer system with ridges at every level making it very comfortable for typing. A five way nav-pad just below the display makes getting around the menus an easy task. A 3.5mm handsfree socket and micro USB port are located on the top of the device. The use of standard connectivity ports makes this an easy device to accessorize when it comes to replacing cables and the charger. Any Android or BlackBerry charger will work with no issues.
The Bluetooth headset that is provisioned has a built-in cradle at the rear of the handset. This also allows you to charge both devices when plugged in. Quite convenient. What’s truly remarkable is that it in no way hinders the use of the handset and is a great way to store the earpiece without worrying about misplacing it or wearing it all the time.
Features and Performance
The Java OS has undergone no change and is still a little round about in some ways. The X450 has customized the UI a little bit offering a very cartoonish styled theme which is quite colorful. Getting the right sized wallpaper for this display is not the easiest task as 320 x 240 sized images don’t seem to ever stretch out across the screen fully. I found typing to be a simpler process as compared to some of the other Java mobile options I’ve tested. Nevertheless the overall navigation and functioning of the system including the speed it takes to open apps etc. was not too bad. However, when it came to refreshing the media sections, especially the videos, it took up to 3 minutes just to add a single new file to the list. The same file can be accessed and played via the File Manager but it doesn’t provide you with the option to play in full screen. This was rather ridiculous. This is sometimes the case with Java handsets, but it’s not universal across the bar.
Widgets for the desktop
It handles dual SIM (GSM + GSM) functions quite seamlessly and easily allows you to distinguish which SIM is receiving the incoming calls or messages. The desktop has an idle Widget set up that allows you to have a full monthly view calendar, Date and a clock on the home page. Shortcuts can be assigned to the Shortcuts section that’s activated from the left menu button. It makes accessing frequently used features quite easy.
The X450 is capable of dishing out some seriously heavy beats. The native audio player automatically found my music folder and listed out my tracks without me needing to activate the option in the settings. Music quality was better than average and the bundled handsfree kit thrown in looks a lot like the ones Samsung issues with a lot of their handsets. Still, they were able to provide loud and clear tones with a significant thump in the bass line. Sadly Micromax has chosen not to provide any audio enhancement settings with the X450, not that I’m complaining. The FM radio also proved to be quite effective. It took less than 10 seconds for the handset to locate and store 7 of the 8 stations available. Reception was not bad for most part but there was quite a bit of static while commuting. There’s no record option for the radio but there is a built-in voice recorder that quite clearly picks up vocals from a distance of 2 feet away.
Plays low res videos so don't watch for too long
I was unable to play any test file that was above a 320 x 240 resolution. It reads 3gp and MP4 files only. I don’t recommend trying to watch more than just short clips on the device. Preferably limit yourself to about 10-15mins max or you could strain your eyes as the display is of course a little small and the resolution is low.
The bundled Bluetooth headset is actually not bad at all, although it’s not something one can use for music as audio sounds horribly cracked. Voice calls though, worked out quite well. I was able to hear those on the other line well enough, even if the volume was just a bit on the lower side and they were able to hear me quite clearly. It’s comfortable to wear but since it doesn’t have a clip that goes around your ear for support, this might not be the best option while engaging in a lot of activity. The headset can also be charged simply by docking it with the handset when plugged in.
The X450 is a minimalistic handset that can handle GPRS and WAP speeds. The native browser, like all the others, is slow but gets the job done. You’ll find Opera Mini 4 preloaded and that makes a better alternative for web browsing. Micromax has also included eBuddy for chatting but no other social networking options. I downloaded the mobile Facebook app that functioned quite well with the device. Other modes of connectivity include Bluetooth of course with A2DP compatibility and USB 2.0. The handset can be used as a COM Port for data connectivity and a webcam as well. There’s no email support.
Simple connectivity options and basic GPRS access
As far as additional settings go in Java-based handsets, the Micromax X450 is again devoid of too many. Basics like a calculator, currency converter, Calendar, Task and World Clock are on board with the addition of a .TXT reader for reading eBooks.
Basic features all accounted for
A 2 megapixel fixed focus camera is loaded onto the X450 and comes with features that include white balance settings, a delay timer, night mode and a few color effects. Image quality is not too great as 2MP cameras go, but for viewing on small screens like the handset itself, it’s alright. Indoors, at first glance images look decent, however, at native resolution, I noticed there was a lack of focus in quite a few places.
Not the best 2 megapixel camera
With a 1000mAh battery under its hood, the X450 managed to perform extremely well with our tests. I initially ran just an audio test with music playing non stop for over 15 hours. My second test was a slight variation of our tech2 Loop Tests. The Loop consisted of running the handset for 1 hour with video, 3 hours on call for talk time and 2.5 hours of music playback. I was able to run the test the second time as well however in Loop 2 I ran the battery down with 2 hours of calling, 2.5 hours of music and 1 hour and 15 minutes of video playback. According to Micromax, the X450 would be able to provide for up to 4 hours of talk time. This handset exceeded that with flying colors.
The headset's cardel also doubles up as a charging post
The Bluetooth handsfree on its own was able to provide just about 3 hours and 25 minutes of only talk time. All in all, the X450 performed extremely well.
The Bottom Line
The Micromax Van Gogh or X450 is priced at just Rs. 3,500 and ships with the mono Bluetooth headset as well as a second rear panel in a different color. With good audio quality and a great battery life, coupled with this innovative design, the X450 works out to be quite a value for money handset. So you’ll have to put up with a few minor issues like a not-really-up-to-the-mark camera etc. but on the whole the handset with its limited features still manages to make its USP work for it. A work of art it isn’t, but it is a comfortable phone as far as ultra budget handsets go.
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