Micromax seems to have taken a cue from Samsung by steadily launching a stream of new phones for different market segments and prices. One of the recent additions to their rapidly growing portfolio is the Canvas 3D. Micromax is not the first company to dabble in 3D smartphones. HTC and LG have already tried their hands at it but the high price and the lack of 3D content was what killed them. The Canvas 3D on the other hand aims to offer similar features but at less than half the price. Will the A115 manage to popularise 3D phones or has Micromax compromised too much for a bargain basement price tag? Let’s find out.
Design and Build
The Canvas 3D looks and feels ginormous and not in a good way. The handset reminds us of the Canvas 2 A110, which had shoddy aesthetics and the A115 feels similar. The handset is quite thick at 11mm and heavy too at 188g. The only positive remark about the design is the matt finish for the back and new chrome logo, which looks a lot more presentable compared to their older handsets. The buttons fall in place along either side of the phone but lack a very good fit. The tactile feel could have been better too. Upfront, we have a 5-inch TFT display with Naked Eye 3D technology. Basically, it functions using the parallax barrier method for creating an effect of depth without the need for special glasses. The problem is that the clarity of neither the display nor the viewing angles are very good, for both 2D and 3D viewing. The HTC Evo 3D for instance had a 4.3-inch display with a 540 x 960 resolution (256ppi) so 3D content still appeared crisp and relatively pixel-free. The A115 has a measly 480 x 800 (188ppi) resolution on an even larger display so you can imagine the reduction in sharpness.
Very bulky in size
The A115 is a dual-SIM phone along with a microSD card slot for expansion. The card slot does not support hot-swap however. Despite the gigantic proportions of the phone, we only have a 2000mAh battery, which feels too little.
The Canvas 3D is powered by a MediaTek MT6577 SoC, the same chipset used in the Canvas 2 A110. The CPU runs at 1GHz and is accompanied by 512MB of RAM. The OS of choice is Android Jelly Bean 4.1.2, which runs smoothly without any hiccups. You get the same light skinning we’ve seen on all Micromax handsets along with some of their own apps like M!Live, MZone+, etc. Onboard storage is very less. Despite having a 4GB ROM, the actual usable memory is only 930MB.
Micromax has a special gallery app called 3D Space which lets you access photos, games, YouTube and videos in 3D. The gallery is heavily ‘inspired’ by LG’s implementation on the Optimus 3D. Native 3D content looks good but the sweet-spot for viewing it properly without ruining your eyesight is very limited so two people cannot comfortably watch a 3D video together. The screen also darkens quite a bit when the parallax barrier kicks in to create a 3D effect. Unlike active shutter glasses, where both eyes see a complete frame, here one eye only sees half the horizontal pixel count which cause loss in detail. The chipset can easily handle a 3D 1080p movie though and with very minor stutter, the video plays just fine. You also have the option of converting existing images to 3D with the press of a button. The depth can be adjusted too. The display is unable to produce a crisp 3D image due to the low pixel count, which is a shame; given this is the main selling point for the A115.
The music player gets a slight facelift but underneath, it’s the same Jelly Bean music player. The quality of audio is strictly average even with a good pair of earphones. The rear speaker is quite loud so you won’t miss any of the alerts even in a noisy place. Video playback leaves a lot to be desired. First of all, the Canvas 3D can only handle up to 720p video playback smoothly. MP4 files play well in the stock player but AVI, MKV, etc. have trouble playing back even in MX Player. The colours aren’t too vibrant even in 2D mode and the viewing angles are not great either.
Media playback is strictly average
The Micromax Canvas 3D only supports two bands for 2G and just one for 3G, which means you won’t be able to use this on all networks around the world. Other connectivity features include Wi-Fi ‘n’, Bluetooth v4.0 and USB plug-and-play support. Other than the Play Store, Micromax also bundles their M! Store and M!Zone for added content. The bundled apps include some games like TheDarkMan, Fruit Devil along with some productivity apps like File Manager, M! Buddy and HookUp.
The Canvas 3D gets a measly 5MP sensor on the back and just a VGA sensor upfront. We also have just a single camera sensor which means in order to shoot in 3D, you need to capture once and then move the camera towards the side for the second image for the final 3D image. The software automatically fixes the depth as long as you don’t move too much while shooting. You can’t record 3D videos since there’s only one camera lens. Image quality is strictly average for outdoor photography but not so good indoors. Video recording maxes out at 720p. Our unit had some focusing issues in macro shots which is why most of the images are blurred. We hope this is an isolated case and if not, Micromax should issue an update to fix this.
Camera is strictly average
The 2000mAh battery managed to last our full 8-hour loop test with about 20 per cent battery to spare. This was with a SIM card, brightness turned down to medium and Wi-Fi enabled.
Battery life is decent
Verdict and Price in India
The Canvas 3D A115 tries to be jack-of-all trades but ends up being a master of none. Everything about this handset feels half-baked and unpolished and for an asking price of Rs 9,999, feels very expensive. Today, you can buy Android phones with IPS displays and quad-core chipsets for this price. The 3D support is the only differentiating factor here but it’s honestly not worth it. Even if the price dips further, we wouldn’t recommend the Canvas 3D.