Micromax A88 Canvas Music Review
Micromax launched the A88 Canvas Music last month. We brought you the benchmarks of the device recently, here we have the complete review of the device. It has a 4.5-inch (854 x 480 pixels) display, powered by a 1 GHz dual-core MediaTek MT6577 processor and runs on Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean). Since this is a Music phone, Micromax offers a free JBL Tempo headset free with the device. You also get unlimited music downloads from M!Live mobile web application. Let’s dive into the review.
The box contents include
- Micromax A88 Canvas Music smartphone
- 1800 mAh battery
- 2-Pin charger
- Micro USB cable
- Micromax earphones
- JBL Tempo on-ear headset
- User manual
It has a 4.5-inch TFT screen at a resolution of 854 x 480 pixels and 217 ppi pixel density. The screen is bright, but the viewing angles are not impressive. The phone has curved corners with chrome finish on the sides.
There is a 0.3-megapixel (VGA) front-facing camera on the top. There is a Proximity sensor next to it along with the LED notification light, but the ambient light sensor is missing so that the screen brightness could not controlled automatically.
There are the usual capacitive touch buttons for menu, home and back.
On the left side there is a volume rocker.
On the right side there is a power / lock button.
On the top there is a micro USB slot and a 3.5mm audio jack.
On the bottom there is a tiny microphone hole.
The back has smooth plastic but it is a fingerprint magnet. There is a 5-megapixel auto focus camera on the back with dual LED flash. There is a large Micromax logo.
There is a Micromax branding towards the bottom along with the loudspeaker grill.
The plastic back could be removed easily, which reveals the respective slots and the 1800 mAh battery.
Below the camera there is a micro SD card slot that lets you expand the memory up to 32G. The full-sized SIM card slots are present on the back.
The 5-megapixel shooter takes decent shots. The dual LED flash is too bright which spoils the image at times. Day light images were good. The camera UI is similar to A116 with the navigation bar on the left pane that lets you change the different camera modes including HDR, Panorama, Smile shutter and more. There is a Flash toggle and option to switch between either cameras on the top. You can just swipe to the left to view previously shot images or videos. The settings menu lets you adjust exposure, white balance, add color effects, change the scene mode and adjust anti-flicker mode
Here are some camera samples
The phone records videos at 720p HD resolution. The video quality is decent but it misses some details. Check out the video sample below.
Coming to the software part, the phone runs on Android 4.1.1 which is pretty much stock with few added enhancements like support for up to 9 home screens, animation when you delete a home screen etc. You get signal bars for both the SIM cards since this is a dual SIM phone.
The lock screen is quite different. It shows a nice rotating colored circle animation on the lockscreen with battery percentage when it’s charging. You can quickly launch the messages or dialer directly from the lockscreen.
The Android 4.1 offers rich notifications that lets you quickly share and delete things directly from the lock screen. You also have toggle controls for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, Data Connection, Auto Rotation and more.
Since the phone lacks the ambient light sensor, auto brightness is missing from the display settings.You can use the scheduled power on & off feature in the settings to turn the phone ON or OFF based on a particular time or day.
You get 1.90 GB of user memory and 469 MB of usable RAM. But you get around 115MB of RAM even when the phone is idle without installing any addition apps. Most of the apps that need more memory force closes at times due to low memory.
The phone comes with lot of pre-installed apps. There are several utility apps including file manager, Calender, Calculator, Note Pad and ToDo note taking app. It also has the usual Google Apps apart from these. It also has Google Now support but you cannot launch it from the lockscreen. The HookUp is Micromax’s own messaging service and the M! Zone+ offers scheduled SMS alerts. The M! Live lets you download unlimited music. Let’s discuss about that later in the music part. It also comes pre-loaded with games such as The DarkMan and Fruit Devil.
Music Player and FM Radio
The music player is simple, and can play MP3, Midi, AAC, Amr and Wav audio formats. The sound effects equalizer settings has different equalizer presets. You can also enable Bass boost and 3D effect features once you connect your earphones. Even though this is called a Music Phone, it doesn’t come with any audio enhancements like Beats audio in the HTC, DTS support or any dedicated audio chip to improve the audio quality.
The FM Radio has option to record, but it lacks RDS feature. Audio output via earphones is average. Loud speaker output is quiet good, and the audio doesn’t get suppressed when you place the phone on its back since the phone’s back is slightly raised. The video player can play 3GP, MP4, AVI videos. It can handle only 480p videos at 30 fps. You can use external video player to play high-resolution videos.
One of the good thing about the phone is the unlimited music downloads using the M! Live web app. It takes you to a WAP page (mimicromax.com) that shows songs of different languages and genres. This is powered by Hungama and gets downloaded in the background directly when you click on a song. It also shows Song of The Day, which changes every day. Micromax says that the M! Live has over are 3 lakh songs. Even though this has unlimited music downloads, the free music offer is valid only for 90 days from the date of activation as mentioned in terms and conditions inside the web page. We could not download music on WiFi and it worked only on 2G/3G. We are not sure what might be the problem.
The bundled JBL Tempo on-ear headset is great. It is comfortable and has decent bass for low-frequency audio. The headphone is huge, so it might be difficult to carry. Wish Micromax offered a case for the headphones. The headset is priced at an MRP of Rs. 1999, but it is available in the market for as low as Rs. 1,500.
Calls and Messaging
You can call or text using either SIM cards since this is a dual SIM phone. You also get an option in the drop-down bar and a notification when you place a call, if you choose always ask option. For text messages, you get two send buttons that lets you send a message via either SIM cards. You get the SIM card name or the number both in the call logs and the message Inbox. It has the stock Android Jelly Bean keyboard.
The phone a dual SIM support with dual standby. You get a SIM management option to configure both the SIM cards. You can set different colors to the SIM cards. You can set a default SIM for several operations including voice call, video call, Messaging and Data connection. You can also choose Always ask option for voice calls and Messaging that gives you option to complete the operation after you choose either SIM cards.
The Connectivity features include, 3G (HSDPA up to 7.2 Mbps; HSUPA up to 7.2 Mbps), WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0 and GPS. It doesn’t have WiFi Direct or DLNA support.
Performance and Benchmarks
It is powered by a 1 Ghz dual-core MediaTek MT6577 processor based on ARM Cortex A9 with PowerVR SGX531 GPU. Games were fine but the device was a bit slow while multitasking. Here are some benchmarks.
The phone is just behind the A115 Canvas 3D that uses the same chip.
AnTuTu Benchmark 3.3
Here the Lenovo P770 powered by the MediaTek MT6577 processor clocked at 1.2 GHz tops the benchmark.
Vellamo 2 HTML5
The grabs the 3rd spot in the Vellamo 2 HTML5 benchmark. Check out the complete set of Micromax A88 Canvas Music Benchmarks here.
The phone has decent display, comes with a free JBL headset and runs on Android 4.1 out of the box. The 1800 mAh battery last for a day with average use with few hours of music and FM Radio, few music downloads and browsing. Micromax also offers free music downloads for a limited period. Wish it had some software enhancements for better audio output. It also lacks ambient light sensor and has just 512MB of RAM which runs out pretty quickly. At a price tag of Rs. 8499, if you are keen on getting an Android smartphone with large screen, bundled headset and free music downloads, go for it. Otherwise, there are lot of choices in the market if you spend a bit more.
- Runs on Android 4.1 out of the box
- Comes bundled with JBL headset
- Unlimited free music downloads for 3 months
- Average performance
- No ambient light sensor
- Just 512MB of RAM