Intex Aqua 4.0 Review



Intex launched the Aqua 4.0 Dual SIM Android phone in August. This is a entry-level smartphone that comes with a 3.5-inch (480×320 pixels) 256k color capacitive touch screen display. It is powered by a 800 MHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S1 processor and runs on Android 2.3.5 (Gingerbread). Let’s get it into the detailed review.

Box Contents

The Box Contents include

  • 1400 mAh battery
  • Warrant card
  • User Manual
  • Charger with a USB cable
  • Earphones

Hardware


The phone is completely made of plastic, but it doesn’t feel very cheap. The 3.5-inch display is bright. Since it has a nice rugged pattern at the back, it is easy to hold.

At the top, there is a large ear piece grill with a Intex branding below it. There is a VGA camera next to it and there is a proximity sensor on the right side.


Below the display, there are capacitive touch buttons for menu, home, back and search. There is also a tiny hole for microphone.


At the top there is a power button and a power / lock button.


The Volume rocker is located on the right side of the phone. Below that, there is a micro USB slot.


At the back there is a 3 Megapixel fixed-focus camera.


Below that there is a loudspeaker with an Android branding below that.


When you open the back cover, you can see the 1400 mAh battery. You need to open the battery to insert a SIM card or a micro SD card. The slot on left is for the Primary (3G/ 2G) SIM, and the slot on the right is for a secondary (only 2G) SIM. The micro SD card slot below the SIM card slots lets you expand the memory up to 32GB.

Camera

The 3MP fixed-focus shooter captures decent shots in daylight. The camera has several features that can be accessed from the on-screen menu.You can adjust the exposure, change the image size , picture quality, add color effects (Mono, Sepia, Negative, Bluish), Select ISO (100 to 800). The Anti Banding feature lets you change the refresh rate. This would be helpful when you capture a moving content such as Television or a monitor. You can toggle between the back or front-facing camera easily. You can’t use the camera without an SD card, which is disappointing.


The video camera lets you capture videos at VGA (640 x 480 pixels) resolution. You can adjust the video quality ( High, Low or MMS), add color effects, White balance and set a video recording duration (maximum 30 minutes).

Here are some image samples from the camera

Software

The phone is called Aqua 4.0, but it runs on Android 2.3.5 (Gingerbread). The UI is Stock Android with Intex’s own wallpaper and theme on top. There is a standard dock at the bottom with shortcuts for dialer, contacts, menu, SMS and Browser. There are 5 home screens. You can press and hold on the home screen to add shortcuts, widgets, folders or change the wallpaper. The power control widget lets you toggle WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, Data and also control the brightness easily.


The lock screen shows the network of both the SIM cards. You can swipe from left to right to unlock, or right to left to turn the silent mode ON or OFF. The drop-down bar shows notifications. You can press and hold the Home button to view Recent apps, that also has a shortcut for app manager and lets you clear background apps from the memory.

Apps

The phone comes with several pre-loaded apps. There are utility apps such as Calendar, Notes, Email, Sound Recorder and Calculator. There are Google Apps such as Google Search, Gmail, Play Store, Maps and YouTube. The India-specific apps include, Flipkart and IRCTC. The pre-installed Nimbuzz app lets you chat with others on different Instant Messaging platforms and the Skype app enables you to make video calls to other Skype users with the phone’s front-facing camera.


There is a profile manager that lets you select suitable profiles such as General, Meeting, Silent etc. You can press and hold a profile to edit it. The file Explorer is an useful app to view and manage the files in the SD card.

Dual SIM

The Intex Aqua 4.0 has Dual SIM support with Dual Standby. The primary SIM card supports 3G / 2G SIM cards, but the secondary SIM card has 2G support only. You can configure the SIM cards from the settings. The Dual SIM settings enable you to set a name for a SIM card, disable a particular SIM card and also set the network type. The preferred SIM settings let you select default option for Voice, Data and SMS. Since there is no dedicated SIM Switch key, you have to change the SIM settings for each SIM cards manually.

Music Player and FM Radio

The Music Player is simple and can play MP3, AAC and AMR audio formats. It shows the song details in the ‘now playing’ screen. You can enable or disable repeat and shuffle with the respective on-screen buttons.There is also a party shuffle option. When the song is playing, you can set the song as a ringtone for either SIM 1 or SIM 2. The loudspeaker has good audio output, and the bundled in-ear earphones also sound good. The FM Radio has auto tune feature that automatically searches for stations. You can view the list of stations, rename them, and also mark them as favorite. It can play MP4, 3GP and AVI files, but it doesn’t play high-resolution files.

Calls, Messaging and Browser

The dialer has options to select either SIMs after you dial a number. The call log lets you view logs from both the SIMs or from either SIM 1 or SIM 2. You can also select similar option to view the list of contacts. You can’t use the front-facing camera for video calls, it can only be used with video calling apps. The Keyboard lets you Send an SMS from SIM 1 or SIM 2. The messages in the inbox are marked with SIM 1 and SIM 2. The Keyboard is the stock Android keyboard, but it is not comfortable if you have large fingers.

The Android webkit browser scored 189 points in the HTML5 test with 1 bonus point. Since the phone has multi-touch feature, you can pinch to zoom in and out of web pages.

Connectivity


The connectivity options include, 3G (HSDPA: 7.2 Mbps, HSUPA 5.76 Mbps), WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 3.0 with A2DP and GPS. There is a separate traffic monitor app to keep track of data usage. It also lets you set a data limit that warns you when you are about to reach the limit. You can also add traffic monitor widgets on the home screen.

Benchmarks
Here are some benchmarks that shows the performance of the 800 MHz Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM7627 processor.

Quadrant Benchmark

The Intex Aqua 4.0 crossed the 1000 score mark in the Quadrant Benchmark and stays right behind the Optimus Sol.

Vellamo

It stays in the same 3rd spot even in the Vellamo browser score.

AnTuTu Benchmark

In the AnTuTu benchmark, the Aqua 4.0’s score is about 200 points less than tipo.

Smartbench 2012 (Productivity)

In the Smartbench productivity benchmark the Intex Aqua scored a decent score of 660.

Smartbench 2012 (Gaming)

The Smartbench Gaming score for the phone is better than the Galaxy Ace Duos, but it could not compete with the Xperia tipo or the Optimus Sol since this phone has an old Adreno 200 GPU.

Conclusion

The Design, Build and features such as Dual SIM support and the front-facing camera in phone are good. Low user memory of about 110 MB and 256MB of RAM doesn’t let you run several apps in the background. Intex could have provided at least a 2GB microSD card since most important features such as Camera and the Music Player needs an SD card to function. The Battery life is good, and the phone lasts for a day on a single charge with few calls and SMS on both the SIMs, couple of hours of music playback and FM radio. If you make a lot of calls, then the battery would drain quickly. The Micromax A73 is the other competitor with a secondary camera and similar specs in this price range, but it has slower processor and lower 2MP camera. If you are looking for an entry-level Dual-SIM Android phone at a price of about Rs. 5000, this is a good choice.

Pros

  • Good Design and build
  • Front-facing camera
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Just 256MB of RAM
  • No memory card in the box

Author: Srivatsan Sridhar

Srivatsan Sridhar is a Mobile Technology Enthusiast who is passionate about Mobile phones and Mobile apps. He is currently using the Motorola Moto G4 Plus. You can follow him on Twitter @ssrivatsan and on Google+