The sub-Rs 7000 smartphone segment is increasingly getting crowded with domestic and China-based companies launching new devices almost every week. While it’s getting difficult to offer differentiation, phone makers are taking the kitchen sink approach trying to stuff in devices with all possible features and playing the specifications card.
Micromax from launching Canvas Xpress 2, priced at Rs 5,999. At this price, the phone competes with the likes of the CoolPad Dazen 1 and Xiaomi Redmi 2.
We used the phone for a few days in order to find out whether it is worth a buy.
Build and design
Micromax Canvas Express 2 is a good looking smartphone which comes in a black-gold colour. The rectangular smartphone has rounded corners and a plastic body with matte finish. What adds to the visual appeal of the phone is the champagne golden rim around it and the slightly rounded back panel.
The front panel of the phone is dominated by a 5-inch display with the 2MP front camera placed right next to the circular earpiece. The onscreen buttons on the lower bezel light up only when the display of the phone is on.
The volume rocker button and the power button are placed on the right edge of the phone whereas the micro-USB port is on the bottom along with the speakers and the 3.5mm jack is placed at the top.
The back panel of the phone covers a 2500mAh removable battery, dual sim card slots and microSD card slot. It also features the Micromax branding, which is also gold in colour. A 13MP camera enclosed in a metal ring and LED flash are right above it. We like the build and design of the smartphone.
The front of the phone is dominated by a 5-inch HD (720x1280p) IPS display which comes with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection to guard against minor scratches. It’s one of the cheapest phones to come with Gorilla Glass.
The display looks crisp and bright but viewing angles were a little off as we noticed some minor colour distortion while viewing the screen from a different angle. Sunlight legibility was decent and touch response was good.
We also observed that the screen was a little prone to smudging.
Micromax Canvas Xpress 2 runs Android 4.4 (KitKat), which has not been customized much. The company has promised an upgrade to Lollipop soon.
Unlike phones like Coolpad Dazen 1 and Xiaomi Redmi 2, the phone’s app drawer has not been integrated with the homescreen. Micromax has a Flipboard like feature, Quick Look, which integrates news and social media updates on a separate homescreen. It also shows weather information and time.
There are quite a few preloaded apps in the phone like Housing.com’s app, M! Live, NewsHunt, Scandid, etc. A few apps in the phone, like Chaatz, keep running in the background, and send out unnecessary notifications hampering the user experience. These notifications cannot be stopped, but fortunately, users can uninstall third party apps if they don’t find them useful.
A particular app in the phone, Start, sets up a simplified lock screen which lets the user access most used apps, and social media accounts directly from the from the lock screen itself. It also gives direct access to Wi-Fi connections, Music Player, Gallery, weather information, and others.
The software of the phone was user friendly and simple.
Micromax Canvas Xpress 2 sports a 13MP rear camera and a 2MP front facing camera.
The phone’s camera app offers a number of features like multi-angle view mode, panorama mode, smile recognition, HDR capturing mode, beauty mode, etc. The camera can also click GIF-like live photos.
The 13MP primary camera of the phone clicks good photos in well-lit conditions, with accurate colours and good image quality. However, we noticed that the phone takes a long time to focus.
The front facing camera was underwhelming. The selfies taken from it were not very impressive. Quality of videos recorded with the rear camera was average though it supports 1080p resolution.
Micromax Canvas Xpress 2 is powered by a 1.4GHz MediaTek MT6592 octa-core processor with 1GB RAM and 8GB internal storage (almost 5GB is usable). The phone supports 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS but doesn’t include a 4G radio. The phone also has an FM radio tuner.
We noticed slight lag while launching and switching between apps. However, the phone didn’t slow down when multiple apps or multiple Chrome tabs were open simultaneously.
We didn’t encountered any problem while playing games like Temple Run 2 but there was minor stutter with graphics intensive games such as Asphalt 8.
Call quality was good and we did not encounter any problems while making calls in areas with low signal reception such as basements and elevators.
The phone’s 2,500mAh battery offers decent backup and it lasted a full day with moderate use.
It is noteworthy that it takes approximately 2.5 hours to charge the phone’s battery completely.
At the price of Rs 5,999 Micromax Canvas Xpress 2 is a decent budget smartphone with a good design and sharp display. The Canvas Xpress 2 is one of the cheapest octa-core processor-equipped phone and offers smooth performance but the lack of RAM affects multitasking.
The Canvas Xpress 2 competes with the likes of the CoolPad Dazen 1 and Xiaomi Redmi 2. However, the lack of 4G support is a dampener.
The camera specifications appear to be superior on paper but more megapixels don’t translate into better quality pictures. The Redmi 2 has a better camera compared to the Xpress 2 and supports 4G on both sim card slots.