Micromax Canvas Knight A350 review: Offers good bragging rights to the uninformed but fails as a smartphone

  • price

    ₹19,999.00

  • tech2 rating

    3.2/5

  • user rating

    4.7/5

After spending a good two weeks with the Micromax Canvas Knight, one thing is certain – Micromax is certainly stepping up their game when it comes to choosing the right ODM (Original Device Manufacturer) for the flagship. The Canvas Knight A350 kicks it up a notch in terms of aesthetics and design. Like everything from Micromax, the Knight is all about cramming in the best specs and getting it under Rs 20,000. For the specification junkie out there, the Knight is like a, well, knight in shining armour.

 

So with such an amazing spec list, the Canvas Knight should automatically qualify for the ‘best smartphone’ in its price segment, right? If only it was that easy. As good as the phone might look; there are some pretty alarming chinks in the Knight’s armour which make you question if it’s worth investing in it.

A well-built handset from Micromax

A well-built handset

 

Design and Build
The Canvas Knight A350 is a handsome looking handset, a far cry from what we’ve seen from Micromax thus far. It looks a bit like a mash up of the iPhone 5 and the Xperia Z1, which is good since they’re both good looking handsets. You get the typical packaging from Micromax as well. The phone is a magnet for fingerprints, especially the back. Thankfully, the bundled cover should help keep it clean.

Looks sleek and well put together

Looks sleek and well put together

 

The primary chassis is made up of aluminium which adds to the solid build quality. The phone can also take a beating as accidental drops are absorbed well by the sides with no damage to the display. There are two micro-SIM slots on either side, but no microSD card slot. The buttons are ergonomically placed towards the middle but the issue here is that the power and volume rocker are placed too close to each other and are of the same size. This can get confusing when you’re unlocking the phone or need to adjust the volume. You get three capacitive buttons at the bottom which are backlit.

The aluminium chassis can sure take a beating

The aluminium chassis can sure take a beating

 

Around the back, we have the 16MP snapper from OmniVision and a dual LED flash. This is the same sensor we first saw in the Gionee Elife E7. The Canvas Knight is built by a Chinese ODM Tinno Mobile, who also happen to supply the same unit to the popular French smartphone company, Wiko. For a sub-Rs 20,000 handset, the Canvas Knight has excellent build and looks just as good as other handsets like the Lumia 720 or the Lava Iris Pro 30.

 

Features
The 5-inch Full HD display offers good colours and sharp visuals and is the perfect size to be used comfortably. We’re really glad Micromax didn’t get carried away and use a 5.5-inch display here. The software is pretty much stock 4.2.2 Jelly Bean with a sprinkle of Micromax apps and a few tweaks to the UI. The interface is very smooth without any hiccups and lags.

A simple and easy to use UI

A simple and easy to use UI

 

The phone is powered by MediaTek’s MT6592T octa-core CPU and there’s also 2GB of RAM onboard. The Knight can easily handle games with ease however we did experience intermittent lag and sluggishness even in simple games like ‘Where’s my water? 2’.

 

The phone also tends to heat up very quickly after a quick game of Ridiculous Fishing or snapping a few pictures. We also noticed the phone tends to get quite sluggish after playing a game. A couple of times, the game would just crash to the home screen. This happened again when streaming music over Bluetooth. The tracks would skip intermittently and distort quite a bit with an incoming notification. There doesn’t seem to be much optimisation done within the software to efficiently use the eight cores. The GPU onboard is also a mainstream one as its performance is only slightly better than the one used in a Snapdragon 400 chipset.

The Knight posts some good numbers but not good enough for eight cores

The Knight posts some good numbers but some benchmarks say otherwise

 

Media
The 25GB of usable space should be enough for most users. The audio and video player does a decent job of playing back popular formats. Audio quality is good with a good pair of IEMs. The Knight also features a Yamaha amplifier for boosting sound over the earphones and the speaker. The effect is present but isn’t very profound.

Media playback is good

Media playback is good

 

Connectivity
You get the usual set of connectivity options like dual-SIM, 3G, quad-band 2G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS. NFC and GLONASS are still missing. You do get USB OTG support and our SanDisk 16GB Dual Drive was detected instantly.

Some handy third-party apps

Some handy third-party apps

 

Camera
The 16MP sensor from OmniVision coupled with the M8 Largan Lens manages to cpatures some pretty impressive pictures, both indoors and out. The focus speed is quick and time taken to capture is under two seconds. We were particularly impressed by the quality of the pictures taken indoors under ambient lighting. You get to play with some effects like GIF animation, 3D Panorama and Remove object, all of which work well.

The camera UI is well designed. A first for Micromax.

The camera UI is well designed. A first for Micromax

 

Shooting modes range from HDR, Smile shot to Auto scene detection. There’s also voice detection which didn’t work well all the time. You can limit the burst mode to 40 or 99 shots. The interface looks polished and all the settings are easy to get to.

Captures good details

Captures good detail

 

 

Handles dynanic range pretty well

Handles dynamic range pretty well

 

 

With HDR mode

With HDR mode

 

 

Indoor shots are detailed with very little noise

Indoor shots are detailed with very little noise

 

The front camera is an 8MP sensor, which produces good pictures for video calls or selfies. Sadly, video recording is limited to 720p.

 

Battery life
The 2350mAh battery is just unable to keep up with the amount of tech packed in to the Canvas Knight. The phone didn’t finish our 8-hour loop test and stopped just shy of 6-hours. Even with regular use, you will have to charge the phone by evening as it won’t last till the next morning. The battery life is below average and could be a major dealbreaker for many.

Battery life is the Achilles heel of the Knight

Battery life is the Achilles heel of the Knight

 

 

Verdict and Price in India
Only the white and gold versions seems to available at the time of writing this article and there’s no mention of when the other variants will be available in stock. At Rs 19,999, the Micromax Canvas Knight is the best Android phone if a good camera and solid build are you top priority. The octa-core CPU makes for some good bragging rights to the uninformed but in reality, it isn’t all that faster than a good quad-core CPU. Octa-cores will be a big deal the day Google drops one into their Nexus smartphone, optimising the OS for the eight cores. Till then, take the marketing hype with a pinch of salt.

 

As an overall Android phone, the Canvas Knight’s biggest failing is the below-average battery life. Add to that the heating issue and random freezes and slowdowns and it makes for a very unpredictable experience. If you care about the above issues then we recommend the Samsung Galaxy Grand 2 or the Motorola Moto X for a little more money. Both handsets are very good all-rounders and you also have the added security of good after sales service and regular firmware updates.

 

Photography: Joshua Navalkar


Specifications

Canvas Knight\\\'s Tru Octa-Core processor allows for all eight of its cores to run simultaneously, offering a decisive combination of performance and power-efficiency. The Canvas Knight with its 2GB RAM access all applications, faster. With the unique ability to allocate individual browser tabs to CPU cores, Tru Octa-Core allows for a faster, more stable web browsing experiences. The 12.7 cm Full HD IPS screen which has a stunning 1920 x 1080 resolution and its dense pixel composition of 443 pixels-per-inch delivers images in life like clarity. Supporting 16-megapixel burst photography, the CameraChip sensor can also capture High Definition video at a 1080p(1920x1080) resolution. It has 32 GB internal memory. Built on high-performance 1.34-micron OmniBSI-2 pixel architecture, the sensor supports emerging standards in high-resolution video recording. The CameraChip sensors feature electronic image stabilization (EIS) which helps capture high resolution images in rapid succession. Amp up the volume on the Yamaha Amplifier which delivers advanced sound reproduction. Discover the hottest games, applications, music, videos and more on the immersive Android Jelly Bean OS. The new OS also lets you download all the latest applications and software upgrades over Wi-Fi through FOTA to keep your phone updated.

Display

Form Factor Bar
Screen Type FHD IPS Capacitive Touchscreen
Screen Size 5.0 inches
Screen Resolution 1920 x 1080
Number of Colours 16.7M

Processor

Processor Octa Core
Speed 2.0 GHz

Memory

Internal Memory 32GB, 2GB RAM

Camera Features

Sensor Resolution 16MP, 3456 x 4608 pixels
Video resolution / frame rate 1080p / 30fps
Video Recording Yes
Front facing camera 8MP, 2448 x 3264 pixles

General Features

OS Android
Version 4.2 (Jelly Bean)
FM Radio Yes
Bluetooth Features 4.0
Dual Sim Support Yes
Messaging SMS, MMS, Email
GPS Yes, with A-GPS Support
USB Connector Yes
Browser Yes
Available Colours Black, Black & Gold, White & Gold

Carrier Networks

2G GSM 850/900/1800/1900 MHz
3G HSPA 900/2100 MHz

Data

GPRS Yes
EGPRS or EDGE EDGE
WiFi Yes

Sound

Media Player Music formats: MP3, MIDI, AAC, AMR, WAV|#|Video formats: 3GP, MP4, AVI(MJPEG)
Speakerphone Yes
Audio connector 3.5mm

Battery

Type Li-Ion
Capacity 2350
Talk Time with Standard Battery 7.5 Hrs
Standby Time with Standard Battery 175 Hrs

Miscellaneous Features

Built in Applications Hike|#|Spuul|#|Opera|#|M!Live|#|M!Security|#|M!Vault|#|Real Steel|#|Where is my Water|#|Where is my Perry|#|Getit|#|BBM|#|True Caller|#|Kingsoft Office

After Sales Service

Warranty Period 1 Year

Price

Warranty Period 1 Year

Published Date: Mar 30, 2014 10:30 am | Updated Date: Mar 30, 2014 10:30 am