Micromax has slowly grown from a company selling entry-level feature phones to the company creating much hype in the mid-range phablet market in India. Things started to fall in place for Micromax with the Canvas 2 which was launched less than a year ago. Within the last six months, we have seen two flagships from Micromax Canvas HD in February and now the Canvas 4 in July.
The Canvas HD was a big update over the Canvas 2 considering its quad-core processor, HD display and newer version of Android. The Canvas 4 is not a huge upgrade over the Canvas HD expect in terms of build quality, better camera and more recent version of Android out of the box.
Let’s check out how the Canvas 4 performs against its successor Canvas HD.
One of the most notable changes in the Canvas 4 from Canvas HD is its new design language and a better build quality. The Canvas HD itself was a solidly built, but Micromax outdid the Canvas HD with the introduction of brushed Aluminum in the Canvas 4. The new Canvas 4 feels quite premium and feels solid in hand.
On the front of the device, Canvas 4 has a neat arrangement of the ambient and proximity sensors and camera on either sides of the earpiece while the Canvas HD has the ambient sensor, proximity sensor and the front camera on the right side of the earpiece. The LED light is at the top right corner in the Canvas 4 while it is located right at the side of the earpiece in the Canvas HD. On the Canvas HD, we have a silver-colored plastic running along the side of the device reminding us of Samsung’s design. Micromax has got rid of the plastic and replaced it with brushed metal and that takes the build quality of a mid-range device Canvas 4 to a whole new level.
The key arrangement is pretty similar on both these phones with the volume rocker on the left side and the power lock key on the right side.
Things are different on the top and bottom though. The microUSB port has been moved from top in the Canvas Hd to bottom in the Canvas 4.
The 3.5mm headphone jack is located at almost the same place at the top of the device.
The capacitive touch keys below the screen are hidden in the Canvas 4 and are visible only when pressed while they are clearly visible in the Canvas HD even when not lit.
On the back side of the devices, there is some noticeable change. The new 13MP camera is now located at the top left corner and the LED flash is right next to it along with the secondary mic on the Canvas 4. On the Canvas HD, the 8 MP camera is at the top center of the back and the LED flash is below it. The Micromax branding and the speaker grill are located at the center bottom on the both the phones. There is an extra Micromax logo in the Canvas 4 at the center below the camera.
Removing the battery cover on both the phones reveals a 2000mAh Li-ion battery. The dual SIM slot arrangement and the hot-swappable microSD card slot arrangement is pretty similar on these phones. To remove the SIM, you need to remove the battery.
The matte finish of the Canvas HD gives it a pretty good grip. The plastic and glossy back of the Canvas 4 makes it slippery and the brushed aluminum makes it even more slippery. In terms of grip and handling, the Micromax Canvas HD feels better in hand, but the Canvas 4 has a more solid and premium build quality.
Both the phones have a 5inch HD display and have the same 294ppi pixel density. In our time with the phones, we found that the display on the Canvas HD has better blacks and produces true colors. The Canvas 4 on the other hand has a blue tint to the screen and blacks are not as dark as the Canvas HD. The display on the Canvas 4 has better brightness though.
Hardware Specs and Performance
In terms of processing power, both the phones are identical. Both the devices are powered by the same 1.2GHz Quad Core processor MT6589 MediaTek processor, have 1GB of RAM and have the same PowerVR SGX544 GPU.
One thing that differentiates both the phones is their internal memory. The Canvas 4 has a spacious 16GB internal memory out of which 10GB is user accessible while the Canvas HD has 4GB of internal storage out of which 1.77GB is user accessible.
Out of the 1GB RAM, the total available RAM was around 970MB and when the devices were idle, the free RAM was 570MB in the Canvas 4 while it was 620MB in Canvas HD
In the benchmarks, the Canvas 4 beat the Canvas HD, but only marginally.
The Canvas 4 has a 13MP camera on the back that has a Sony sensor and has LED flash along with secondary microphone. The Canvas HD has a 8MP camera at the back with LED flash and secondary microphone. On the front, the Canvas 4 has a fixed focus 5MP camera that can 720p videos while the Canvas HD has only a 2MP camera that records VGA videos. Both the cameras at the back are capable of 1080p video recording at 30fps.
The Camera UI on the both the devices is absolutely similar, however due to the newer software, the Canvas 4 gets a few shooting modes like Panorama, EV bracket, smile detection and best shot. However, when you update your Canvas HD to Android 4.2, you can get all the extra shooting modes, and hence no differences in terms of camera UI.
The camera UI has various shooting modes on the left side and on the right side, at the top we have access to gallery, followed by the camera shutter key and video key below it and at the bottom, there is the settings icon. Clicking the settings icon opens up a tabbed menu with general options and camera and video specific options. To the left of gallery shortcut, on the viewfinder, we have the toggle icon for front camera and to the left of it, we have the option to set flash to off/on or auto. Swiping left from the viewfinder takes us to the recently taken photos or videos.
In terms of quality, the 13MP camera on the Canvas 4 definitely shoots pictures with more details than the 8MP camera on the Canvas HD. The field of view of the Canvas 4 is also slightly more than that of the Canvas HD. The front camera on the Canvas 4 is better than the front camera on the Canvas HD. The 1080p Full HD videos came out decent in both the phones, but we liked the Canvas 4 better because it had more details, but the colors were slightly over-saturated.
Check out the camera comparison video to get a clear idea
The Canvas 4 runs on Android 4.2 right out of the box while the Canvas HD runs on Android 4.1, but there is an update to Android 4.2 already available(No OTA update, have to manually goto the service center to get it done). Both the devices have near stock UI and that makes the UI pretty smooth. However, the Canvas 4 comes with a few software goodies from Micromax. One of them is the blow/shake to unlock , then an improved video player which has live thumbnails, smart pause and pop-up features, a new pop-up browser and few gestures.
Do check out the video on new software features in the Canvas 4 below.
In terms of gaming performance, there is very little to differentiate both the devices. Being powered by the same processor and GPU and having same 1GB of RAM, nothing separates these devices. The gaming experience was very similar although we found that occasional lags were there in both the devices, but it was less frequent in the Canvas 4.
Battery and Connectivity
Both the devices are powered by user replaceable 2000 mAh Lithium-Ion battery and the battery back up is pretty similar.
In terms of connectivity, both the phones have dual SIM standby, WiFi, 3G, Bluetooth and microUSB port. The Canvas 4 has HSDPA+ that allows download speeds up to 42 Mbps while the Canvas HD has usual HSDPA modem that has a maximum download speed of 21 Mbps.
The Canvas 4 is priced at Rs. 18,000 while you can get the Canvas HD at Rs. 14,000. The difference of Rs4000 buys you a better cameras, more internal storage, few software goodies and a free aluminum at the cost of slightly inferior display and handling.
On the whole, if you are looking to upgrade from Canvas HD to the Canvas 4, it is not worth it. But if you are looking to buy a new mid-range smartphone, the Canvas 4 might be a better choice.
Advantages of Canvas 4 over Canvas HD
- Better build quality
- 13MP camera
- Software features like pop-up videos, pop-browser and gestures
- Free Aluminum cover
- More internal storage
Advantages of Canvas HD over Canvas 4
- Better grip and handling
- Slightly better display
- Cheaper price
Contributed by Monish Kumar