Micromax launched its first device in the Canvas back in August 2012 , calling it the Superfone Canvas A100. The Micromax A110 Superfone Canvas 2 launched 3 months later in November. Micromax lost the Superfone tag soon after the second canvas device. The A116 Canvas HD, the company’s first smartphone with a HD display made a debut earlier this year. Micromax launched fourth device in the Canvas series is aptly named the Canvas 4 with a model number A210. One thing that is common in all the Canvas devices is the 5-inch display. Is the phone worthy at a price of Rs. 17,999? Let’s dive into the review to find it out.
We unboxed the device last week. Here is the unboxing video.
The box contents include:
- Micromax Canvas 4 smartphone
- Tangle-free micro USB Cable
- 2-pin charger adapter
- Tangle-free in-ear earphones
- Ear buds
- 2000 mAh battery
- Warranty card
- User Manual
- A card with M!Live details
Micromax offers an Aluminium flip cover in the retail box, but it was missing in our box since it was a review unit.
The phone has a 5-inch HD IPS display at a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixel at 294 PPI pixel density. The display is bright and has good viewing angles, but the outdoor visibility was not good. Since the phone has ambient light sensors, the display visibility is decent in indoor once you set it to auto mode. Since it is glossy, it becomes a finger print magnet. The phone doesn’t come with a one-glass solution (OGS) display like some of its competitors.
There is a 5-megapixel fixed-focus camera on the front, next to the ear piece. The camera can record videos at 720p HD resolution. It also has a usual pair of proximity and ambient light sensors. There is also a LED notification light next to the camera, which is hardly visible when it’s OFF.
There are the usual capacitive touch buttons for menu, home and back below the display. These are backlit and offers haptic feedback.
There is a volume rocker on the left side. Micromax has used anodized aluminium on the sides that runs on the sides of the phone. Even though it looks premium, it makes the device slippery while holding it.
The Power button is on the right side. Both these buttons have aluminium finish.
On the bottom there is a tiny microphone hole and a micro USB slot.
On the top there is a 3.5mm audio jack. Even though the back cover of the phone is closed, you can see a tiny gap.
On the back there is a 13-megapixel auto focus camera with LED flash. It is capable of recording full HD videos similar to the Canvas HD. There is a tiny secondary microphone hole next to the LED flash. There is a large silver colored Micromax logo below the camera.
On the bottom there is a Micromax branding, just above the loudspeaker.
The phone has plastic back cover similar to the previous Canvas devices. The shiny plastic cover makes the device slippery, and is a finger print magnet. The dimensions of the phone is 144.5 x 73 x 8.9. The height and width of the phone is almost similar to the Canvas HD, but the Canvas 4 is about 1.8mm thinner than its predecessor. It is quite heavy at 158 grams.
The plastic back cover could be removed easily, which reveals the battery and the slots for SIM cards and memory card.
The micro SD card slot is present just below the camera, between the SIM card slots. The phone uses a standard SIM card slot, similar to other Android devices from Micromax.
There is a 2000 mAh battery similar to the Canvas HD. Let’s talk about the battery life later.
The 13-megapixel camera has a Sony sensor. Sony Exmor sensor is present in the high-end phones like Oppo Find 5, the Lenovo K900 and the Samsung Galaxy S4. Looks like Micromax has used a cheaper variant of the sensor. The camera UI is similar to other Android phones from local OEMs running Android 4.2. Since this is runs on Android 4.2, it support lockscreen widgets that lets you launch the camera directly from the lockscreen. It has a navigation bar on the left pane that lets you change the different camera modes including HDR, Panorama, Burst mode, Smile shutter and more. The settings menu lets you enable GPS location, adjust exposure, white balance, add color effects, change the scene mode and adjust anti-flicker mode. It also has burst mode that lets you capture 99 burst shots at once.
Images were decent, but not impressive. It takes some time to focus and the focus is not accurate. Macro shots were pretty good. Low light shots had a lot of noise, and the LED flash is overpowering, making the image look washed out.
Here are some photo samples (click to view images in full resolution.)
The phone can record videos at full HD 1080p resolution. Even though the colors look a bit over saturated the video quality is great. Here are video samples with and without the Electronic Image stabilization (EIS).
You can read more about the phone’s camera in the Micromax Canvas 4 Camera Review and also check out our Camera Review video.
The phone runs on Android 4.2.1 Jelly Bean. The UI is similar to other phones from Indian OEMs running on Android 4.2. There are 5 homescreen, you can’t add or remove the number of home screen. You can press and hold on the home screen to change the wallpaper.
When you swipe from the top with a single finger, you get the transparent notification screen. You get the Quick Settings when you pull down from the top with 2 fingers. This lets you control Brightness and has toggles for WiFi, Airplane mode, Bluetooth, Data Connection, Data usage, Audio Profiles, Timeout and Auto rotation. You can hold some of these quick toggle buttons to get to the advanced settings. It has notifications that lets you perform several actions such as sharing or deleting an image directly from the lock screen.
The lock screen lets you add widgets. You can add a range of widgets including Gmail, Clock, Messaging, Sound Search and more. You can swipe to the right to launch the camera directly from the lock screen.
Micromax has added an app called M! Unlock powered by foneclay that lets you unlock the lock screen jut by blowing Air or shaking the device. It also available to download from Google Play to download on other devices. Here is a demo of the feature.
Once you disable the M! Unlock feature, you get a normal lock screen. There are different unlock options such as Slide, Face Unlock, Pattern, PIN and Password and Voice Unlock. It has Google Now, but you can’t access it from the lock screen by swiping up or by holding the home button. However you can add the Google Now widget on the lock screen. You can’t access the lockscreen widgets when the blow to unlock feature is enabled.
The phone has Daydream feature that acts as a screensaver when the phone is charging or docked. Micromax has added Smart Gestures that could be enabled from the settings. These include option to attend incoming calls automatically by holding the phone close to the ear, dial a number by bringing it to close to ear after choosing a contact, change the profile to silent by flipping the phone upside down, put an incoming call on silent by flipping the phone over and keeping it down, and switch on the speaker phone on a call when you turn the phone upside down. There is also a tutorial to learn about the gesture in detail.
Check out our video in which we demo all these smart gestures
Micromax has added a separate app called popup browser that opens a small popup window with a URL bar to open up a website on a small window. You can adjust this window easily. You can also click the maximize button to open it in the stock Android browser, but you can’t get back to the popup browser again after you maximize it.
Micromax has developed a new video player that has pinning feature. This feature is similar to the pop up play feature in the Samsung devices. Again, you can minimize it to the notification bar and click the maximize button to open it in the video player. There is zoom-in and zoom-out buttons to view the player in two different sizes, as you can see in the image above.
The Video player lets you preview a video when other video playing. You can also adjust the brightness and volume by swiping on the left and right side of the screen respectively, while the video is playing.
Here is a video demo that shows off the video pinning and other video player features.
The Pause on Look away feature pauses the video automatically when you look away. This is similar to the Samsung’s Smart Pause. This uses the phone’s front-facing camera to detect your eyes, so it will not work in low lighting conditions.
Here is a video demo of the feature.
Out of 16 GB of internal storage you get 10.02 GB of user storage. The free phone memory is 2.46 GB. Out of 1GB of RAM, you get 971MB of usable RAM. About 544MB of RAM is free when the phone is idle.
Once you insert an SD card you get option to switch the default write disk to the SD Card, but you can move apps only to the Internal SD card, and not the External SD. The phone also comes with built-in OTA update feature that lets you download the latest update directly from the Micromax’s server.
The phone comes with lot of pre-loaded apps. The Utility apps include, Calculator, Calendar, Clock, File Manager, NoteBook, Email, Sound Recorder and ToDo . It also comes with the usual set of Google Apps. Other apps include, Opera mini, foneclay ( to download wallpapers), Hike messenger, Kingsoft Office (to view and edit documents) and Spuul (to view free movies). It also comes pre-loaded with games such as The Dark M, NFS Shift and Fruit Devil.
The M! Security app powered by NQmobile protects the devices from viruses. It also lets you backup contacts and also lets you track your device when it’s stolen. In the Premium Zone inside the app you can enable a lot of additional features at a nominal cost.
The Game Hub and M! Live apps lets you purchase games. The M! Zone app offers scheduled SMS alerts.
Music Player and FM Radio
Unlike a standard music player, the Canvas 4 has a new user interface for the music player. It can play different audio formats, including MP3, MIDI, AAC, AMR and WAV. The slide-out bar shows lists the songs in the music library under different categories. The Now Playing UI is quite different with a dial to seek music and large play/pause button in the center. Apart from these UI changes, the settings are similar that lets you enable the equalizer for Bass boost and 3D effect features when you are listening using earphones. Audio from the bundled ear phones are pretty good. Since these have tangle-free cables, you don’t have to spend time to untangle when you carry it in your pocket. Since it in pure white color, it gets dirty easily.
The online music tab inside the music player opens up a Music Hub wap page that lets you purchase the songs. Micromax offered 3 months of unlimited music downloads with the A88 Canvas Music, but this phone doesn’t come with any such offers. The phone has FM Radio with auto search, RDS and recording. Audio from the loudspeaker is also good, but it could be better.
It can play Full HD videos in different formats, including 3GP, MP4, AVI. Of course, videos look great on the HD screen.
Calls and Messaging
Calls went though fine without any dropped calls. Since this is a dual SIM phone, you get options to switch to either SIM cards from the notification bar. The keyboard is stock, but it doesn’t come with gesture typing like the stock Android 4.2.
There is a SIM manager option in the settings that lets you 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.
Icons in the settings in most of the devices are usually in black and white, but Micromax has added colors to these icons. Connectivity features include, 3G (HSDPA: 42 Mbps, HSUPA: 11 Mbps), Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth v 4.0 with A2DP and GPS. It has support for wireless display. You can share content from the phone to a HDTV by connecting a wireless display adapter to a HDMI-enabled TV. This option comes as default in the Android 4.2. Some had GPS issues previously in the Canvas 2 A110 and the Canvas HD, the Canvas 4 doesn’t have any such issues. The phone also comes with USB on-the-go (OTG) support that lets you connect storage devices.
Performance and Benchmarks
It is powered by a 1.2 GHz quad-core MediaTek 6589 processor with PowerVR SGX544 MP2 GPU similar to the A116 Canvas HD. The scores are slightly better in the Canvas 4, this might be due to the latest Android 4.2 OS.
The Micromax A210 scorse over 4000 points in the Quadrant benchmark.
AnTuTu Benchmark v3.3
In the AnTuTu Benchmark 3.3, the Canvas 4 grabs the 3rd spot.
Vellamo 2.0 HTML5
The Micromax A210 grabs the second spot with 1471 in the Vellamo 2 HTML5 browser benchmark.
Vellamo 2.0 Metal
The Canvas 4 grabs the second spot again with over 450 points in the Vellamo 2 CPU subsystem performance test. Check out the complete set Micromax Canvas 4 A210 Benchmarks here.
We tried out some games in the device such as Asphalt 7 and NFS Most Wanted, which were smooth without any lags. Check out the game play videos below.
We even connected the PS3 dual shock controller using a USB OTG Cable and tried Shadow Gun game, which worked perfectly fine.
Coming to the battery, the phone packs a 2000 mAh lithium-ion battery, similar to the Canvas HD. It offers a day of usage if you are an average user, but if you use 3G data, both the SIM cards and play high-end games, it’ll last half a day. Wish Micromax offered a large capacity battery. The phone doesn’t have any unique power saver apps to improve the battery life.
Overall, the Canvas 4 is not a huge upgrade to the Canvas HD. People expected full HD display, faster processor and a larger battery. The Canvas 4 has a better build, better front and rear cameras, offers 16GB of internal storage, has some additional software features and comes with a free Aluminium flip cover compared to the Canvas HD. If you already have the A116 Canvas HD, you don’t find anything new apart from these things, if these doesn’t impress you, wait for the next Canvas phone, which would probably come later this year. Even though the video quality in the camera is good, auto focus is very slow when you capture images. At a price tag of about Rs. 17,999, it’s a bit costly compared to other similar range smartphones. If you can compromise on the price and the camera, for the display and build quality, go for it.
- Good display
- Good build quality
- Fast performance
- Full HD video recording is good
- Auto focus in the camera is very slow
- Average battery
- Slightly on the expensive side
- Brush aluminium on the sides makes the device slippery