Over the last few years we’ve seen the old guard get left behind as new entrants try and make their presence felt in the Indian smartphone market. While the Chinese have increasingly made inroads, today we’re going to take a look at a device from a new Indian brand. Called Hyve, the Delhi based company launched two new devices recently. Here’s our review of the Hyve Buzz, the higher end of the two devices.
Hyve Buzz specifications
- 5.5-inch (1920 x 1080 pixels) 2.5D curved glass display
- 1.5GHz Octa-core MediaTek MT6753 processor with up to Mali T720 GPU
- 3GB DDR3 RAM, 16GB internal storage, expandable memory up to 128GB with microSD (Comes with free 32GB SD card)
- Android 5.1 (Lollipop), upgradable to Android 6.0 (Marshmallow)
- Dual SIM
- 13MP rear camera with dual-tone LED flash, Sony Exmor RS sensor
- 5MP front-facing camera
- Dimensions: 151 x 72.8 x 10.4 mm
- Fingerprint sensor with Touch2Call tech
- AquaRes Water resistance – IPX4 rating
- 3.5mm audio jack, FM Radio
- 4G VoLTE, WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS, NFC, USB Type-C
- 2500mAh battery
Amongst the sea of me-too phones, the Hyve Buzz stands out with its unique take on style. That’s not to say that it is the best choice of design but we’ll come to that shortly.
As always, the front of the phone is more or less just a glass slab. There are no capacitive buttons here as the phone makes do with on-screen controls. Up top, you’ll find a 5MP camera hidden away alongside a proximity sensor.
At the bottom is the USB Type C connector for charging while up top is the 3.5mm audio jack. The volume rocker and the power button on the other hand line up along the back of the device. Over on the left is a flap opening which you can spot two slots that can house micro SIM cards. You can switch out one of the SIM cards for a microSD card to expand storage. The phone comes pre-installed with a 32GB card. The USB port alongside the SIM slots are protected by rather tight-fitting rubberized plastic flaps. This is to further reinforce the AquaRes technology built into the device that makes it water-resistant. Hyve still won’t recommend dunking the device into a swimming pool but you should be okay with some splashes during the rain or a spilt cup of coffee.
While moving the buttons to the back has made the sides slimmer, we’re not entirely sure of it from an ergonomics perspective. If you are left-handed, it is almost impossible to use the buttons at the back. We also found them to be a tad too stiff because of which we needed to apply extra pressure on the device causing it to slip out from our hands. The phone generally tends to be mildly slippery. Between the buttons lies the fingerprint scanner above which is a hexagonal notification LED. Hyve Mobility has configured the fingerprint scanner to accept gestures as well and you can use it as a trigger to make phone calls to specific numbers. Using it for an emergency contact assigned to a specific finger could be a possible use case in this scenario. A 13MP camera module sits up above at the top with a dual LED flash next to it.
The Hyve Buzz measures 151 x 72.8 x 10.4 mm which makes it marginally chubby at its thickest point. The curvature of the device however masks the thickness and makes it pretty comfortable to hold. The buttons aren’t the easiest to access though, especially if you are left-handed. We weren’t too fond of the quality of the materials used either and the plastic back has a tendency to creak and flex. We appreciate what Hyve has been trying to achieve in terms of design but the Buzz definitely feels like a 1st gen product and it is hard to excuse the not so great build quality once you factor in the competition.
If there’s one thing that we love about the Hyve Buzz, it has to be the clean build of Android onboard. The phone runs Android 5.1 with a promised upgrade to Marshmallow. How long that takes however remains to be seen.
Customizations are practically non-existent on the device other than the rather nice looking wallpaper as well as the Hyve Care app that activates your warranty. Beyond that there’s a range of Google apps that are preinstalled on the device which do tend to be useful for all.
Kudos to Hyve for providing a clean Android build which should not only help them provide future upgrades but will also keep things running nice and smooth as far as possible.
The Hyve Buzz is definitely not a powerhouse. With a 1.5GHz Octa-core MediaTek MT6753 processor and a Mali T720 GPU, it can’t keep up with the Snapdragon running competition. General performance is quite alright on the handset but the phone can often struggle under a heavy load. The phone also has a tendency to heat up towards the upper half when playing games or running benchmarks. There’s 3GB of DDR3 RAM onboard the device. In our testing, the phone performed well enough but heavy multitaskers might once again be disappointed. Fact of the matter remains that though the Hyve Buzz works well enough in isolation, especially due to the stock Android build, the competition exceeds it in specifications by leaps and bounds making it hard to make a case for the device. We’ve included some benchmark scores below to give you a better idea of comparative performance.
The Hyve Buzz scores 37659 points in the AnTuTu benchmark.
In 3D Mark Ice Storm Unlimited, the handset manages 7075 points, once again trailing the competition.
In the Basemark OS II benchmark, the Hyve Buzz places at the bottom of our test bench with a score of 726 points.
The 5.5 inch display on the Hyve Buzz goes plenty bright and is high on contrast making it very suitable for multimedia consumption. We observed that outdoor visibility too is above average and fingerprint smudges apart, content tends to be clear and visible even in sunlit conditions.
Hyve has opted for an above average IPS LCD panel owing to which viewing angles and color rendition tends to be very good. The colors are mildly over saturated but not to an extreme degree. The 2.5D curved display tends to pick up smudges fairly easily so you might want to keep the pre-installed screen guard installed on the handset.
The 13MP camera over at the back of the phone is strictly average. We’ve observed that the Exmor RS sensor requires a fair amount of tweaking and fine tuning to produce high quality results, something that most new entrants are unable to perform.
As you’ll notice in the sample shots, the dynamic range is severely lacking. In the shot above, all the highlights ie the bright region around the clouds are blown out indicating an almost complete loss of details. This can be observed in the first show below as well where the camera loses details in the shadow regions.
Taking a HDR shot helps to a degree but a slight lag between tap and capture times often results in a blurry HDR shot making it useless. The Hyve Buzz doesn’t have the worst performing camera that we’ve seen in this category but it certainly doesn’t inspire much confidence either. Strictly middle of the road, the camera is just about serviceable.
Connectivity & Battery Life
In terms of connectivity, like most current devices, the Hyve Buzz comes equipped with 4G VoLTE support on both SIMs. The 2nd SIM card slot doubles up as a microSD card slot. There is WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS and NFC onboard as well. It is nice to see FM Radio onboard as well though you’ll have to plug-in your headset to be able to listen to audio. There’s 16GB of built-in storage on the handset of which around 10GB is available at launch, par for the course. As we mentioned earlier, you can expand the storage via the microSD card slot and a 32GB card gets bundled in with the phone.
A 2500 mAh battery powers the device and this is one area that particularly stood out like a sore thumb. With minimal use, the phone just about managed a day. Even after multiple charge cycles, we observed extensive battery usage on standby indicating a software issue with the device. You’ll have to be very careful with usage to last a full day with the Hyve Buzz.
It is clear that Hyve is headed in the right direction with the Buzz but as it stands, the handset feels like a pre-release prototype. There are niggles on all fronts be it the not so great build quality to the rapidly depleting battery life. The camera too could do with some tweaks.
That said, the Hyve has a really good display making it a very decent device for multimedia purposes. It is also water-resistant, making it a good choice for those who live in areas with inclement weather conditions. All of this is backed up by Hyve Care which gives you two years of warranty, a year of insurance and complimentary pick up and drop across India which makes it a pretty good deal. The Hyve Buzz is an interesting choice for people who want a reliable smartphone backed by good support as long as performance is not the primary criteria. The device is priced at Rs. 13,999.
- Stock Android
- Interesting Design
- Water Resistant
- Claimed Warranty & Support
- Dated Specifications
- Average Battery Life
- Average Camera Quality