Micromax has established itself as one of the major Indian handset manufacturers. With a smorgasbord of devices available on different platforms, it has not only consolidated its market share in the Indian market, but has been crowned as the brand with the highest number of Android handset sales for the year 2012. With its handsets mainly targeted towards first-time smartphones buyers, it has enjoyed significant growth as well as a lot of interest in its handsets, until now. Samsung is looking to cut into Micromax’s market share by launching its own offerings in the Android arena.
The Galaxy Grand Duos is the latest entrant into the world of dual-SIM Android handsets. With a 5-inch screen, its feature-set is almost a match with what Micromax is currently offering with the Canvas HD. The Grand feature a 5-inch screen with a native resolution of 480X800 while the Canvas 2 has a HD resolution of 720 x 1280. For such a large screen, the resolution on the Grand does not seem to do the handset any justice when it comes to viewing content, like movies or images. While the resolution is not so low that it hinders basic tasks, more care could’ve been taken by the Samsung to include a HD screen with the device.
The Grand comes with a dual-core Cortex A9 with a clock of 1.2 GHz and 1 GB RAM. The Canvas HD offers a quad-core Cortex A7 with the same clock and the 1 GB RAM. On the camera side of things, both handsets feature an 8MP shooter at the back. The Grand’s sensor is the same that was seen in the S II and is slightly better than the one that comes with the Canvas. As a result, images and videos, may it be at 720p or 1080p, shoot just as well on both devices.
Moving on, the design is where it becomes clear as to how much Micromax has evolved over the years. The Grand Duos follows Samsung’s ethos in which it is looking to streamline its design guidelines across the Galaxy range, and thus features elements from the Galaxy SIII, with curved bezels and a well-thought of overall design. As a result, the 5-inch handset does not feel clunky and fits in the hand very well, making it very easy to use. The Canvas HD, on the other hand, has a design that makes it look sleek. With the glossy back as well as the rounded contours, the overall design is of a much higher quality than what Micromax is usually known to offer. While it is not quite what international manufacturers like Samsung churn out, it is getting there.
Also, the user interface on both devices is very fluid due to the fact that both of them offer Android Jelly Bean. While the Grand comes with Samsung’s TouchWiz nature skin on Jelly Bean, Micromax offers an almost vanilla-like UI with the Canvas. Also, the Grand includes features like S-Voice, the voice guided assistant similar to Siri. The Canvas HD is low on additional features offered, but that does not detract from the fact that Jelly Bean UI combined with the HD screen makes the navigation not only smooth but highly enjoyable as well. Seen against a bevy of older Micromax devices where the UI was one of the major drawbacks, it is evident that some thought has gone into the way user interaction is handled on this device.
Micromax has done a wonderful job with the Canvas HD. While previous models launched by the brand had a decidedly clunky-feel and lacked features that were considered standard by other manufacturers, it is clear that Micromax has put in a lot of time and effort in understanding what the consumer wants, and delivering those rather than just building a budget handset with the most basic of functionalities. Also, the decision to offer the newest iteration of Android (Jelly Bean 4.1.2) with the Canvas HD signifies Micromax’s intent to bring the latest to the consumer.
The fact that this handset is geared as a budget handset should be taken into consideration here. It is targeted for budget handset buyers. As such, there will always be restrictions on what the device can offer as there are inherent constraints, like materials that are used in the construction and the build quality. As a fledgling manufacturer, Micromax has had relatively less time to understand the nuances of industrial-level design and manufacturing, as is often the wont with brands like Samsung. With the Canvas HD, however, it is clear that the Indian manufacturer aims to be there duking it out with the big boys sooner rather than later.
The Canvas HD is available for INR 13,990 while the Grand retails for INR 21,000 (click here for latest price). It is the lower pricing of the Micromax that would be more enticing to buyers. Also, the fact that it offers a better processor as well as a higher resolution screen makes it an ideal contender for users looking to buy a 5-inch handset offering the latest Android treats. For now, Micromax has a very robust offering in the Canvas HD and has raised the bar for budget handsets in India.
This guest blog post is written by Asif Iqbal, a computer sciences graduate who enjoys writing about the latest gadgets and technology.