Intex Aqua Octa Review


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Intex launched the Aqua Octa last month as India’s first smartphone powered by MediaTek Octa-Core chip. We already brought you the unboxing, benchmarks and the photo gallery of the handset recently. We had seen quite a few phablets in the Indian market recently. Can it compete with them? Is this worth the price? Let us find out in the complete review.

Unboxing

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We unboxed the Intex Aqua Octa recently. Check out the unboxing below.

Box Contents

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The box contents include:

  • Intex Aqua Octa in Silver-White
  • Flip cover with kick stand
  • 0.2 A charger plug with USB
  • Scratch guard for the screen
  • Information booklets for warranty, user manual and apps
  • micro USB cable
  • In-ear headset with mic

Video Review

Hardware and Design

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The 6-inch screen at a resolution of 1280 by 720 at 245 ppi pixel density is decent. It is based on One-Glass-Solution (OGS), so the viewing angles are good. This display is bright and the colors are vibrant, but the sunlight legibility is just average. The screen is reflective and is prone to fingerprints. You can use the bundled scratch guard to prevent the phone from fingerprints and scratches.

The phone has huge bezels on the top and the bottom, which makes it looks tall and huge, but the width is acceptable to hold the phone easily. At dimensions of 161.06 x 80.86 x 7mm, the phone is taller than the Samsung’s Mega 6.3 with a 6.3-inch screen.

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On the top you have the usual set of proximity and ambient light sensors. The 5-megapixel front-facing camera can record videos only at VGA resolution. You also have a LED notification light next to the earpiece, but it only glow in blue.

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You have the usual set of capacitive touch buttons for Menu, Home and Back. These light up when pressed, but don’t offer haptic feedback.

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The phone is 7mm thick, thinner than most 6-inch smartphones. You have a thin brushed metal strip running on the sides of the phone. There is nothing on the left side.

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On the right side you just have the volume rocker. It is actually present on the back part of the phone, behind the metal strip for easy access. The Volume rocker also has a metal build. Since it is present on the top, close to the camera, it is a bit hard to reach for people with small hands.

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On the top you have the 3.5mm audio jack and the power button. Since the power button is located on top, it is quite hard to reach. Unlike the volume rocker, the power button is made of plastic.

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On the bottom there is a micro USB slot and a tiny microphone hole on the metal strip.

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On the back you have a 13-megapixel camera with LED flash. You also have a loudspeaker grill.

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There is another loudspeaker grill on the bottom. Even though the top and the bottom part of the back have plastic build, there is a large metal back cover in the center.

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Since the sides are not shiny, the phone is easy to grip, and doesn’t slip out of your hands easily. The phone is obviously huge to pocket, mainly due to its height. It weighs about 180 grams, which is decent compared to other phones in this range.

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You can easily remove the plastic part on the bottom to slide out the metal back cover.

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You have a micro SIM and a standard mini SIM slot along with a micro SD card slot, just below the camera module. You also have a removable 2300 mAh Lithium-Ion battery.

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The phone comes with a flip cover in the box. It feels cheap and is not comfortable to use the phone with the flip cover. It has magnetic lock that lets the display go to sleep when the cover is closed and wake up when it is opened. But the magnet is not powerful enough to keep the cover closed completely.

Camera

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The phone has a 13-megapixel rear camera with LED Flash. The camera UI is a bit different compared to other MediaTek-powered smartphones running on Android 4.2. You have a smile shutter and HDR toggles on top, in addition to Flash and camera toggles. On the left sidebar, you have Live Photo mode and Motion Track mode. The Live photo mode takes a short video clip quickly and the Motion Track Mode lets you capture burst shots. Other features are exactly similar to most of the MediaTek-powered phones.

Coming to the image quality, the camera is strictly below average. Daylight shots doesn’t have much details, have pink tinge and looks washed out. The phone focus is quick in macro shots, but again the images look washed out without vibrant colors. Low-light shots without flash are terrible with a lot of noise. Flash helps a bit, but it doesn’t make any justice. Overall the camera is disappointing, just like the Intex Aqua i7. Check out some camera samples below.

You can check out more camera samples here.

The phone can record videos at 1080p full HD resolution at 30 fps. It also has EIS software image stabilization. It doesn’t have a secondary microphone, so the audio is not crisp. Video quality is decent, but it is not impressive. Check out the full HD video sample below.

Check out the camera review video to know more about the camera in detail

Software

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The phone runs on Android 4.2.2 (Jelly Bean), similar to most of the recent MediaTek-powered smartphones. You have Lockscreen widgets, Daydream, Quick Settings and lots more features.

Intex Aqua Octa Quick Settings and Notification

In the Quick Settings toggles you have additional options to clear memory and enable Wireless display. Since the display is huge, all the icons and text look big. You don’t have any theme manager to change the icons. You can always use any third-party launcher to change it.

Intex Aqua Octa One-handed usage

Intex had added some features such as Quick Controls and System keyboard for one-handed operation. Quick controls places the menu, home and back button control onscreen. You can move this to right or left side. Similarly, the System Keyboard option lets you move the default keyboard or the dialer to either right of left side for comfortable one-handed usage. You can also adjust the size of the keyboard or the dialer with the zoom feature.

Intex Aqua Octa RAM and Internal Storage

Out of 2GB of RAM, you get 1.97GB of usable RAM. About 1.5GB of RAM is free when the phone is idle. Out of 16GB of internal storage, you get 11.66 GB of user storage and 1.97 GB for apps.

Intex Aqua Octa Default Write Disk and App to SD

You can also set SD card as default write disk to install apps and also move the apps from the phone memory to the SD card.

Apps

Intex Aqua Octa Apps

You have the usual set of utility apps and Google Apps. You also have some pre-loaded apps such as BigFlix Lite, Flash Player, Getit, GreetZAP, Hungama, Intex Cloud with free storage, IntexZone which has Intex Play, Intex Games Club, Intex LifeBox, Auto Call Record and Charging Info, Firewall to block calls and SMS, NQ Mobile Security, OLX, Opera Mini, Vault powered by NQ Mobile, WeCat and Zapak. It also has some pre-loaded games such as Bubble Invasion, Chennai Express and Jelly Jumpers.

Music Player and FM Radio

Intex Aqua Octa Music Player and FM Radio

The Music Player is stock and can play several audio formats. You can enable equalizer from the settings and use Bass boost and 3D effect features when you are listening using earphones. The phone has FM Radio with auto search and recording, but lacks RDS support. Audio from the dual loudspeakers is pretty good even though it is not stereo and the bundles in-ear earphones are decent.

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The default video player can play videos in a range of formats in full HD 1080p resolution smoothly. Since the screen is huge and bright videos look great on the screen, but the screen is highly reflective. Since the flip cover doubles up as a stand, it is great for watching videos. The ClearMotion feature in the display settings is said to improve the video fluency, but we didn’t find any changes. The video player also has pause on look away feature that automatically pauses the video by detecting your eyes using the front-facing camera.

Dialer and Keyboard

Intex Aqua Octa Dialer and Messaging

As we said before, you have on-handed option to move the dialer and the default keyboard to right of left side for comfortable one-handed usage. Since the phone has dual SIM support, you can select either SIMs from the drop-down notification bar before calling someone or sending SMS.

Dual SIM and Connectivity

Intex Aqua Octa Dual SIM and Connectivity

As usual you have dual SIM support with a standard SIM and a micro SIM. Both the SIM cards support 3G, but you can enable 3G on only one SIM, while the other is on 2G. As usual, you can customize the SIM name, color etc. The connectivity features include, 3G, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth with A2DP and GPS. It lacks USB on-the-go (OTG) support.

Performance and Benchmarks

Intex Aqua Octa benchmarks

It is powered by a 1.66 GHz Octa-Core MediaTek MT6592 processor which has 8 ARM Cortex-A7 CPUs and is based on 28nm HPM. It has a Mali 450-MP4 GPU. This is the first Octa-Core chip with Heterogeneous Multi-Processing (HMP), where all the core can be turned ON at the same time. Unlike the Intex Aqua i7 with a full HD screen and the MediaTek MT6589T chip, this didn’t lag a bit. Since the phone has a metal back cover, it gets heated quickly while using 3G and watching videos for a long time. Check out the benchmark charts below.

Quadrant Benchmark

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It scored 12755 points in the Quadrant Benchmark, above the HTC One.

AnTuTu Benchmark 4

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It tops the AnTuTu Benchmark with 27251 points, better than the Nexus 5.

Vellamo 2.0 HTML5

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In the Vellamo 2 HTML5 browser benchmark, it scored 2122 points. Check out the complete set of Intex Aqua Octa Benchmarks here.

We tested several games on the phone. Graphics was good even when it is set to high and gameplay performance is smooth. It doesn’t support the PlayStation 3 controller though. Check out the GTA San Andreas gameplay below.

Since the phone has a metal back it gets heated quickly in graphic intensive games. Check out the gaming review below to know more about the gaming performance of the phone in detail.

Battery Life

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The phone packs a 2300 mAh battery, which is definitely not enough to power the huge 6-inch screen. You get about half a day of battery life with heavy use such as gaming, video playback, some calls and music, and a day of battery life with average use. You have CPU power saving mode that limits the CPU performance when the phone is idle. You can use this when you are not playing games. The aligned wakeup option reduces the system wakeup time to save power.

Conclusion

Overall, the Intex Aqua Octa is a decent phablet under Rs. 20,000, but it is not the best in the range considering the below average camera and average battery life, even though the performance is better than other phones in this range. At a price tag of Rs. 19,999, it is definitely a good contender, but aspects such as camera matter too, since you have some tough competitors with better features in the same price range.

Pros

  • Decent build
  • Good performance
  • Good loudspeaker output
  • 16GB internal storage with expansion slot

Cons

  • Camera is below average
  • Slightly on the expensive side
  • Power button is awkwardly placed on top
  • Device might be bulky and too big for some

Author: Srivatsan Sridhar

Srivatsan Sridhar is a Mobile Technology Enthusiast who is passionate about Mobile phones and Mobile apps. He uses the phones he reviews as his main phone. You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram