InFocus Epic 1 first impressions: Brings 10-core Helio X20 SoC on a budget smartphone

With the Epic 1, InFocus brings in a smartphone with the 10-core Helio X20 chipset at Rs 12,999. So let us take a look at the phone


American phone maker InFocus has been in the country for over a year now. Apart from making smartphones, InFocus is also into making TVs. InFocus has generally been associated with affordable smartphones - under Rs 10,000 price bracket - barring the M810 which is priced at Rs 13,999. With the Epic 1, InFocus brings in a smartphone with the 10-core Helio X20 chipset at Rs 12,999. So let us take a look at the phone

Build and Design

 InFocus Epic 1 first impressions: Brings 10-core Helio X20 SoC on a budget smartphone
The build quality on the InFocus Epic 1 is quite impressive. The first thing that grabs your attention is the metal casing with the brush metal finish on the rear side. The sides are neatly bevelled so that there aren’t any sharp edges. A circular finger print scanner is located in the top half in the centre, just below the 16MP camera unit and the dual LED flash unit. The metal casing is complemented with plastic covering at the top and bottom on the rear.

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The top edge of the Epic 1 has the 3.5mm audio jack and the IR transmitter. On the right hand edge, you get the volume rocker buttons followed by the power / standby button whereas on the right hand side, you get the dual nano SIM card tray. At the base there is the USB Type C port with a microphone on the left and a speaker section on the right.

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On the front, just above the display, you have the earpiece speaker which seems to have taken some inspiration from that found on the Nextbit Robin. It has the similar circular shape with perforations. To its right you have the indicator LED, proximity sensor and to its left you have the 8MP front-facing camera.

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The phone has quite a slim profile, measuring just 7.6mm thick and weighs around 160 grams. The screen to body ratio of the Epic 1 isn’t the best. The build quality is good. The metal back makes it a bit slippery to hold though.

Display
The InFocus Epic 1 sports a 5.5-inch FullHD LTPS display, thereby having a pixel density of 401PPI. It is sufficiently bright, but also has a highly glossy finish. It is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass. On first impressions, the text looked sharp and colours looked a tad bit washed out on higher brightness. We will need to use it extensively to see how it performs in bright outdoors.

Chipset, RAM, Storage

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The star feature of the Epic 1 has got to be the presence of the MediaTek Helio X20 chipset which houses a 10-core processor arranged in a tri-cluster formation. What that means is that instead of having two clusters of processor cores, the Helio X20 adds another cluster, thereby adding in more granularity.

Of the 10 cores, you have two high performance Cortex A72 cores running at 2.1GHz, one cluster of quad-core Cortex A53 running at 1.85GHz for medium loads and another quad-core Cortex A53 cluster running at 1.4GHz for low power tasks. It also comes with Mali T-880 GPU. The chipset is paired with 3GB of RAM. The phone comes with 32GB of storage on board and you can expand it using a microSD card slot to up to 128GB.

OS and Software
The InFocus Epic 1 runs on Android 6.0 Marshmallow, but it has its proprietary InLife UI interface atop it. Right out of the box, there is a lot of bloatware on the phone which is an immediate downer. And you cannot uninstall some of the system apps. Also the default keyboard is Xploree, which takes up a lot of screen real estate thanks to the Yahoo search bar atop the keyboard. Unlike most Chinese user interfaces though, the InLife comes with an app drawer and you can set apps according to alphabetical order, install time, frequency and so on. The four apps present around the app drawer also show up on the lock screen, just in case you want to quickly get into the app. But you need to unlock the phone first, then you launch directly into the app you picked from the lock screen.

Camera

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In terms of imaging, you get a 16MP rear camera with a dual LED flash unit and an 8MP front-facing camera. The camera supports phase detect AF, has an f/2.0 aperture on the rear camera and an f/1.8 on the front facing camera. The camera interface though seems like you are using a KitKat OS based phone, it is that old. It comes with a Picture in Picture mode which is available on one tap, which uses the front and the rear camera. We have seen this on some Samsung devices in the past. Here are some sample images from the Epic 1. We still need to test it thoroughly.

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Connectivity and Battery
The Epic 1 supports Cat 6 LTE, VoLTE and has a dual 4G SIM slot, with dual standby. Other connectivity features include Wi-Fi 802.11n, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS with A-GPS and GLONASS. It does have FM Radio and lacks NFC. The Epic 1 houses a 3000mAh non removable battery.

Conclusion
The InFocus Epic 1 offers a MediaTek flagship level chipset with 10-core processor, at a mid-range price of Rs 12,999. The specifications on the device are respectable and they are backed up with a well designed phone. We will have to see how these things come together, and how well the Epic 1 will handle the heat that may be generated by the 10-core chipset. Keep checking for our full review of the Epic 1 soon.

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