Media Tek MTK 6589 chipsets are seen on almost every budget Android smartphone available these days. Having characteristics such as a quad-core processor and the PowerVR GPU, budget smartphone manufacturers are implementing this chipset on almost all their current flagship models. Since most recent budget smartphones sold in India are featuring the same hardware, the only significant differences we get to see are display size and resolutions, RAM capacity, storage capacity and build/aesthetic variants. We saw the same chipset in a few other handsets we reviewed earlier and same is the case with the Celkon A119Q. So what does the A119Q have uncommon? We find out.
5-inch HD display, quad core 1.2GHz CPU, PowerVR SGX544 GPU
Design and build
The Celkon A119Q handset is encased in a completely glossy white shell and is a dirt magnet. There is also a black variant, which we feel is a bit more appealing. The handset is built very firmly with no creaky corners or any other such problematic areas to notice. The front features the large display with the three backlit touch buttons – Back, Home and Menu – at the bottom. The top sports the earpiece, front camera and the light/proximity sensor window. The rear panel sports the main camera with an LED flash residing next to it. Towards the bottom is a speaker grille and the brand name imprinted. The sides and bottom of the handset have a shiny bulging plastic trim, giving the phone a slightly premium feel. The volume rocker and the power/standby buttons take their places on the right and top of the smartphone respectively. Lastly, the top also features the earphone jack and the micro USB slot.
9.3 mm thick; volume rocker on the right
Slip out the plastic rear panel and you will find the two GSM SIM card slots and a hot-swappable micro SD card slot. At the bottom side is a large speaker underneath the shiny metal mesh. We did notice a minor but disappointment flaw on the manufacturing side. The power button, which is featured on the top of the handset, is placed externally on a small PCB with the cable running into the frame. Since the PCB and the cable is easily seen outwards, it looks pretty bad and could be prone to damage, dust and humidity. Apart from this, we did not find any issues with the build. But we would also like to mention that the handset is a tad heavier and weighs out at 177 grams. The phone measures 148 x 74.5 x 9.3 mm. The handset aesthetics does resemble the Samsung Galaxy series, except for the large bottom part, which features the buttons and the shiny trim around the frame. Overall, the A119Q does look good owing to the nice design implemented.
Power/standby, micro USB and headphone jack on the top
The Celkon Signature HD A119Q is built using the Media Tek MTK 6589 featuring a quad-core ARMv7 processor running at 1.2GHz and a PowerVR SGX544MP GPU. The system is supplied with a good 1GB of RAM, but the internal storage remains at 4GB, just as most budget handsets. Out of this internal 4GB, 2.65GB is available for user data while the rest is taken up by the operating system, apps and app data. You can expand the storage up to 32GB using a micro SD card.
The display is a large 5-incher sporting a resolution of 720 x 1280 pixels with a ppi of 294. There are no details of the display featuring an IPS panel or a regular TFT panel, but the display does look close to an IPS type owing to the good viewing angles. The rear shooter is a 12.6MP camera supported with an LED flash. Sadly, despite having a quad-core processor and 1GB of RAM, the camera records videos at only 720p resolution. We did try digging deep into the camera settings for finding out if this is the limit or the default settings are kept to 720p itself, but in vain. The camera sports other features such as GPS tagging, EIS (Electronic Image Stabilization), time lapse, burst (40 shots), face detection, anti flicker, colour effects, and a few other photo and video effects. The front camera is a 3.1MP for video chat.
AnTuTu system information for the A119Q
Connectivity options are Wi-Fi b/g/n, 3G, EDGE, Bluetooth 4.0, Micro USB PC interface and A-GPS. The operating system installed is Google Android Jelly Bean version 4.2.1. The launcher is stock with three built-in themes. These themes just have a slight change in colours, icons and such, and the setting is named as "Style" instead of "Themes". The operating system has a few bundled applications pre-installed in the firmware. These include a few entertainment apps, games, productivity apps and a security app. To end up the entire features section, the A119Q is powered by a 2100 mAh Li-ion battery, which should last you through the working day with basic to casual usage. Bundled along with the handset is a charger, in-ear earphones, a micro USB data cable, a free screen protector and a matte-finish all-white flip case.
Performance and user interface
The Android Jelly Bean operating system installed on the A119Q seems stable. We did not notice any lags, jitters, slowdowns or major glitches. Thanks to the 1GB of RAM, the operating system runs smooth on the hardware provided to it. We found a problem in a few areas and would like to highlight the same. Firstly, the device has a loud bootup music, which is unpleasant and there is no way to disable or shun it to lower volumes. Rooting the device could be the only help for it. Secondly, the Wi-Fi toggle in the toggle switch area of the notification bar had an issue too. Usually, it should toggle the wireless network on/off when tapped once. In this case, you need to tap and hold the toggle switch for the status to activate. The other toggles worked without any issues. The second area of concern was the display. Towards the edges of the screen, one can see the LED backlight illuminating the edges a little too bright. A bright line is seen and is disturbing when browsing or watching a movie. Thirdly, the home, menu and back switches are backlit with very bright white LEDs and they don’t turn off on their own. This brightness of the switches could also be annoying after a while. There are no settings to turn them down or switch them off after a few seconds.
Stock UI with a few themes thrown in
To test the core strength of the chipset, we did run our usual benchmarking tests on it. Though the chipset is similar to most budget phones in the same category, the performance does vary owing to the different features such as the system RAM, display size and type, and tweaks and bloatware installed in the operating system. As per our tests, AnTuTu scored 13186, Quadrant scored 3950 and Linpack gave us a frame rate of 44.5 fps. Linpack gave scores of 36.51 MFLOPS and 126.81 MFLOPS in the single-thread and multi-thread tests respectively. Acting on the scores, we compared the A119Q to the rest of the gang and found the performance pretty much close to the Gionee E3, Spice Mi500, Xolo Q700 and the Micromax Canvas HD, which fall in the similar category (there may be more handsets too). This performance can vary from time to time as the handsets are all dependant on the amount of free RAM, apps installed, running apps and the ambient temperature. Our tests are performed after a factory reset with stock firmware and pre-installed apps.
A few too many pre-installed apps are included
Display and media
As mentioned in the features section, the display sports a 5-inch screen with a 720 x 1280 pixel HD resolution. There are no details on the manual or the manufacturer’s website whether the display panel is a regular TFT, TN, VN or an IPS type. We checked out the viewing angle and it seemed pretty good from all sides, but there is a minor and noticeable colour depreciation when viewed from all different angles. Since the viewing angle is good enough, we could state it is an IPS panel, but it is not up to the mark. Therefore, it could be a lower variant of an IPS type, but we are not confirming this at the moment.
On the media front, the Celkon A119Q can handle formats such as MP3, AAC, AAC+, eAAC+, AMR, WB-AMR, MIDI, Ogg and PCM in audio and MP4, 3GP, WMA, H.264 and MPEG-4 in video straight out of the box. Certain formats and file types will definitely not be welcomed on the stock Android video player and you would have to incorporate a third-party media player for it.
Backlit buttons are continuously lit and overbright
We tried a few HD and full HD test videos and found the A119Q running flawlessly. The full HD videos ran smoothly with no issues whatsoever. The video quality is crisp and clear, with a good balance of brightness and contrast. Colours are brilliant too, but we did notice the blacks being displayed a bit greyish, but not all that bad. The minor issue of the display viewing angle cannot be noticed at all when you have a motion video on the screen, and it seems as though it was not there in the first place. The viewing angle problem can only be witnessed on a photo or a still/paused video where you can find minor colour changes at different angles. Overall, the video entertainment experience is great.
The speaker on the A119Q is very loud, clear and good enough for a small crowd. The audio quality is also pretty decent. The bundled in-ear earphones sport a bad build quality and equally bad audio performance. The audio quality is below average with almost no reproduction of bass and with very high mids and highs. The earphones are only good enough for voice calls; you would need to exchange it with a good set for enjoying music and movies.
The camera user interface and a few features highlighted
The rear camera is 12.6MP, although the manufacturer has stated it containing a 12MP sensor. The camera has a stock interface from Jelly Bean and is pretty enriched with the necessary shooting modes. We took some pictures from the camera both outdoors and indoors to analyse the quality of the pictures it can capture. Surprisingly, the camera performs better than most other smartphone cameras in the category. Outdoor shots are clear and sharp with a good balance of colour and brightness. Even after zooming into the image, there were very little noticeable grains or noise. The overall image is pretty good and usable. Indoor shots are similar, except that the image loses out due to less light—a good flash would have helped. Macro shots are good too, provided there is a good amount of lighting on the subject. No major complaints here.
Outdoor photos are good
However, we did witness a small but important flaw in the camera. The focus, which should be in the centre by default, was on the upper half instead. Even forcing the focus to be in the centre did not help. You will see in the sample shot that the focused part is blurred out while the upper area is in better focus. Hopefully, the manufacturer will consider an update patch in the OS or camera driver to overcome this issue.
Indoor photos are good, but can be better if there is more light
Fuelled by a 2100 mAh Li-ion battery, the A119Q should last you expectedly for around 6 to 8 hours. However, to check it out, we did our round of tests. We analysed the battery run time using a few tests that simulate web browsing, movies and gaming for a period of two hours each and looped it all over again till the battery gave up. Sadly, the smartphone lasted a total of 5 hours and 10 minutes till the charger needed to be plugged back in. Overall, a battery life of around 5 hours is a bit too little for a smartphone which is supposed to be used during the crucial part of the day. Had the manufacturer bundled an additional battery, the product could have been worth the price.
Macro shot, wherein the focus was supposed to be in the centre
Another sample macro shot with the focus on the top instead of the centre
Verdict and price in India
Priced at Rs 12,499, this phone seems to decently priced when compared with the others in the category. We also have the Xolo Q700, which sports almost similar features and is priced below the Rs 10,000 bracket. On the other hand, WickedLeak’s Wammy Passion Z is also available with a full HD IPS display for around Rs 2,000 more. Going by the price, performance and feature set it offers, the Celkon A119Q is a good buy. But what goes against it are a few areas of concern such as the bulky size, slightly excess weight, camera issue and a few others we mentioned earlier.