iBall launched the Andi 4a Projector last month, we unboxed the smartphone recently, here we have the complete review of the smartphone. Even though main feature of this phone is the projector, it decent specs for a mid-range smartphone including a 4.0-inch 480×800 (WVGA) TFT display at 233 ppi, 1 GHz dual-core MediaTek processor and runs on Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean). Samsung launched the Galaxy Beam last year that we reviewed back in September last year, which launched on Android 2.3 (Gingerbread). Even the Galaxy Beam had a similar display, but it was a but it was a bit thinner. Is the Andi 4a projector phone worth the price ? Let’s get into the detailed review to find out.
- iBall Andi 4a Smartphone
- In-Ear type headphones
- USB Charger
- Battery – 1500mAh
- microUSB to USB cable
- Phone stand for tripod
- User manual
The phone has a 4.0-inch (800 x 400 pixels) 16M color capacitive touch screen IPS display with a pixel density of 233 ppi. The display is bright and has nice viewing angles. It supports multi-touch, and the sunlight legibility could be better. Since the display is shiny, it is prone to fingerprints.
There is a 2-megapixel front-facing camera that can record videos at VGA (640 x 480 pixels) resolution. It also has the usual set of proximity and ambient light sensors on the other side of the earpiece. Since the phone has a black bezel, these sensors are hardly visible.
There are the usual set of capacitive touch buttons for menu, home and back. In adding iBall has added the projector key next to it, instead of adding a physical hardware key on the side. You can press and hold this projector button to power up the projector.
The projector is present on the top and there is a grill probably for heat dissipation. The power button is also present on the top. Even though the power button is easy to access for single-handed use, it is hard to press since it is small.
On the left side there is a focus controller that lets you keep the projected content in focus.
On the right side there is a 3.5mm audio jack. Since the audio jack is present on the sides, instead of top, the headset sticks out awkwardly when the phone is in your pocket. Below the audio jack, there is a volume rocker. The phone is 13.98mm thick and weighs 162 grams. The top half of the phone bulges and narrows towards the bottom part. The Samsung Galaxy Beam is 12.5mm thick and weights 145.3 grams.
On the bottom there is a micro USB slot along with a tiny microphone hole.
There is a 8-megapixel rear camera with LED flash on the back. There is a grill next to it, which looks like a loudspeaker grill, but it is actually used for the internal radios.
The plastic back cover is shiny and is prone to fingerprints, but not too slippery. The loudspeaker grill is present on the bottom part of the back cover. The build quality could be better.
Once you open the battery cover you see a 1500mAh battery. Once you remove the battery, you can see the micro SD and micro SIM slots below the camera module. The micro SD card slot lies on the bottom, that accepts cards up to 32GB. Since the micro SD card slot lies below the SIM card slots, you can remove it without removing the SIM cards. The phone uses a standard / mini SIM card. The SIM 1 slot on the top accepts both 2G (GSM) and 3G (WCDMA), but the SIM 2 slot support only 2G.
The projector phone also comes with a stand to place the phone, which is definitely a good addition.
Let’s come to the main part of the phone, the projector. The DLP projector is capable of projecting content from the phone at 35 Lumens in VGA (640 x 480 pixels) resolution, better than the Galaxy Beam . You can project from a distance of 8 meters and 120 inches wide. It is bright and the room needs to be darker for a perfect output. The dedicated projector key below the screen is much useful to switch to the projector mode quickly on long press. You can also turn ON the project using the iBall projector app. Since the phone doesn’t come with any software to adjust the focus, you need to rely on hardware focus controller ring on the left side of the phone. iBall claims that the Andi 4a Projector is the first smartphone to offer 35 lumens projection. The projector has a contrast ratio of 1200:1.
Overall we were impressed with the performance of the projector. Even though you keep the projector running for an hour, it doesn’t get heated. Check out the video demo below.
The 8-megapixel auto focus camera takes nice shots. The user interface of the camera is stock. You can access previously shot images or videos on the right corner or by swiping to the right side.. There are different capture modes (Auto scene detect, Face beauty, Smile shot, Best shot and more) and color effects (Mono, Sepia, Negative, Aqua, Blackboard and Whiteboard). There are several camera options including option to change flash mode, adjust white balance, capture HDR images and panorama shots.
Check out some camera samples
The phone can record 720p HD videos. It also has time-lapse option that lets you record time-lapse videos and background effects. Since the phone lacks a secondary microphone, the audio quality is not crisp.
Check out the 720p HD video sample
The phone runs on Android 4.1.1 (Jelly Bean), so you get a lot of features such as Google Now, Better notifications, faster performance with project butter and lots more. But it lacks quick settings, daydream, photo filters etc available in the Android 4.2. You get signal bars for both the SIM cards since this is a dual SIM phone.
You can swipe to the left from the lockscreen to launch the camera and swipe to the top to launch Google Now. 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 has ambient light sensor, you have auto brightness option display settings to adjust the brightness automatically.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 2.05 GB of user memory and 473 MB of usable RAM out of 512MB of total RAM, out of which, 145MB of RAM when the phone is idle.
You can set the default write disk to SD card, once you insert one. You can also move apps to the SD card.
The phone comes with a quite a few of pre-loaded apps. There are the usual set of Utility apps include, Backup and Restore, Calculator, Clock, Calendar, File Manager, News & Weather, Sound Recorder, and ToDo. It also has an app that lets you connect a Wireless Input Device to the phone via Bluetooth. Google apps include, Google Search, Gmail, Google Maps, Google+, Hangouts, Play Books, and YouTube. It comes with Documents To Go app to view Office files and Facebook. The iBall Projector app lets you launch the projector, but it doesn’t offer any additional functions.
Music Player and FM Radio
The Music Player is stock, which lets you play audio from different formats, including MP3, MIDI, WAV, 3GPP, AAC, AAC+ and WMA. You can enable equalizer from the settings. The Bass boost and 3D effect features enhanced the audio, when you are listening using headphones. The phone has FM Radio with RDS, auto tune and recording feature. Audio from the loudspeaker is loud, the bundled earphones could be better. It offers 720p HD video playback in different forma at 30 fps.
Calls and Messaging
Calls went through fine without any dropped calls. Since this is a dual SIM phone, you get options to switch to either SIM cards. The keyboard is stock Android 4.1 Keyboard.
Dual SIM and Connectivity
There is a SIM manager option in the settings, similar to other dual SIM Android smartphones in the market. 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: 7.2 Mbps, HSUPA: 5.76Mbps), Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth with A2DP and GPS. You also GPRS transfer prefer mode that kicks data connection on the SIM 2, if you receive a call on SIM1. It has WiFi direct option that lets you share files quickly with other Wi-Fi direct-enabled devices.
Performance and Benchmarks
The phone is powered by a 1 GHz dual-core MediaTek MT6577 Cortex A9 processor with PowerVR SGX 531 GPU that is commonly seen low to mid-range smartphones. Performance of the phone was decent. The UI was pretty fast and smooth, and it can handle games well. It has 512MB of RAM, wish it had 1GB of RAM for better multitasking. Check out the synthetic benchmark scores below.
The Andi 4a manages to score over 3000 points in the Quadrant benchmark.
AnTuTu Benchmark 3.3
In the AnTuTu benchmark, the Andi 4a grabs the second spot.
Vellamo 2 (HTML5)
The Andi 4a tps the Vellamo 2 HTML5 benchmark with over 1300 points.
Vellamo 2 (Metal)
The phone manages to score 371 points in the Vellamo 2 Metal CPU subsystem performance test.
Linpack (Single Thread)
It clocked around 39.6 MFLOPS in the Linpack Single Thread benchmark.
It clocked 66.4 MFLOPS in the Linpack multi-thread benchmark and grabs the third spot.
I manages to clock 28 fps, better than most of the dual-core smartphones in the NenaMark2 GPU benchmark.
GFXBench 2.5 Egypt HD (On Screen)
It clocks 3.8 fps in the GFXBench 2.5 Egypt GPU benchmark.
Coming to the battery life, the phone packs just 1500 mAh Lithium-Ion battery. With an hour of projection, few calls, few hours of music playback, few image captures and some gaming the phone will last less than a day. If you use it only for projection, it lasts for 3.5 to 4 hours. If you are a heavy user, it doesn’t last for a day, otherwise you can use it for a day with minimal use of projector. Wish iBall packed a high-capacity battery to last for a whole day since this is a projector phone.
Overall, the iBall Andi 4a projector is definitely a good projector phone in the market since there is no competition in this space. At a price tag of Rs. 17,999, if you need projector smartphone that you can carry in your pocket, but can compromise on the RAM and battery life, go for it.
- Built-in Projector
- Comes with a Projector stand
- Good loudspeakers
- Bit bulky
- 512MB of RAM
- Battery life could be better