- crisp 1080p display, swift performance, ergonomic design
- Clumsy UI, sluggish camera
However, the usual Micromax smartphones does not seem to impress much and fails to be the number one choice among the lot. The last two devices that we reviewed- Canvas Nitro 4G and Canvas Selfie 2 were not very good performers and left us thinking that the company is now largely focusing on Yu smartphones.
But just in time, the company has introduced the fifth iteration of its Canvas flagship smartphone, which we are going to talk about in the following review. So, let’s find out how the Canvas 5 fares in one of the mostcompetitive smartphone category.
Display: 5.2-inch full HD 1080x1920p display, 423ppi
OS: Android Lollipop 5.1
CPU: 1.3GHz MediaTek MT6753 octa-core SoC, 3GB
Storage: 16GB inbuilt storage, expandable upto 64GB via microSD
Cameras: 13MP (rear with LED flash), 5 MP (front)
Connectivity: Wi-Fi, 3G/4G/2G, GPS, Bluetooth, microUSB charging port
Dimensions: 148.00 x 73.60 x 8.30mm
Weight: 143 grams
Price: Rs 11,999
The last Canvas flagship device- canvas 4 was launched in mid 2013 with a price tag of Rs 18,000 and had rounded corners with some really wide bezels. In short, it was not at all pleasing to eyes. Back to 2015, the latest Canvas handset is a huge transformation in terms of design. It is more urban, matured and feels more practical in day-to-day usage due to its sleek and ergonomic construction.
The front has a large 5.2-inch full HD display with the curved glass melting into the bezel, just like the iPhone 6. And it looks really good when the display is turned off; creating an all black effect that makes the display looks even bigger than the actual size. The metal frame holds the phone tightly and gives it a premium look when seen from the sides.
The volume rockers and power button are placed ergonomically on the right but in day-to-day usage, they feel quite rigid. The micro-USB port is located at the bottom and the 3.5mm headphone jack sits at the top.
Canvas 5 has a removable rear panel with faux leather finishing, which we seen earlier in the Canvas Selfie 2, priced at Rs 6,000. The material offers a good grip and does not easily attract smudges. The panel hides the microSD card slot, two SIM slots and the 2900mAh non-removable battery.
This the end of 2015 and smartphones have matured to a point where almost all of them (priced under Rs 12,000) pack at least 2 GB of RAM and an octa-core CPU. That said, Canvas 5 is powered by a decent 1.3GHz octa-core MediaTek MT6753 CPU, which is based on ARM’s Cortex A-53 architecture and has eight independent cores to handle day-to-day computing tasks. It is coupled with 3GB of RAM that easily takes care of your multitasking requirements. The MT6753 SoC offers 4G LTE connectivity on both the SIM cards and the smartphone has Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi, GPS, FM Radio as other connectivity options.
In terms of storage, the handset has 16GB of inbuilt memory that can be expended by up to 64GB via microSD card. All of this is backed by a 2,900mAh battery unit, which delivers acceptable performance.
Another notable point is the quality of bundled accessories in the package. The earphones and the charger do not feel cheap and the audio quality delivered by the earphones was also decent.
The last two Micromax smartphones- canvas Selfie 2 and Canvas Nitro 4G did not impress us with their display performances. Their screens did not have a good level of brightness, touch sensitivity and did not match the market standards in terms of resolution. But with canvas 5, things have started coming back on the track.
The 5.2-inch display comes with a full HD resolution that accounts to a good 423ppi. This makes text, icons, images and videos look crisp and sharp, even when you tilt screen to different angles. And unlike the displays on above mentioned devices, the display on Canvas 5 is fairly bright, which makes it easy to use the smartphone in direct sunlight.
The display on Canvas 5 is at par with its closest rivals such as Xiaomi Mi4 and Lenovo k3 Note (both have full HD panels) in term of color reproduction and vividness. And when compared with Samsung Galaxy J5, Moto G (3rd gen.) and Huawei Honor 4X, Micromax Canvas 5 simply takes the cake.
Besides, the smartphone also has Gorilla Glass 3 protection, but that is not going to stop you from spending an extra 100 bucks to apply that tempered glass. And we also recommend you buying one as a five feet fall might not save your smartphone’s display even with Gorilla Glass’s protection but that tempered glass will do the job.
Canvas 5 has a decent hardware to sail through day-to-day tasks, but to churn things up a little, and come up with a definitive explanation, we stress tested the smartphone with the most graphics intensive games and ran multiple apps simultaneously. The smartphone managed to run the latest racing game – NFS No Limits without any major issues and did not stutter even with 15 applications running in the background. You can browse web pages; shoot and edit pictures, tweet and watch YouTube videos without any hitch.
We also noticed that despite the strenuous tasks, there is a minimal heating at the rear panel that does not affect the overall performance of the device.
Canvas 5 runs on Android 5.1 with a customised layer on the top of it without an app drawer, just like most of the Chinese smartphones these days. Though the basic screen navigation and opening/closing of apps is lag free, there is a noticeable delay while you shift from one app to another or if you have a number of active applications in the background. Personally, we would prefer the original UI from Micromax as the one on Canvas 5 does not feel as smooth as the previous one.
Micromax has also preinstalled a number of applications on the Canvas 5 that can be uninstalled if not required. You will get Swiftkey keyboard, Quikr, Hike, Scandid (an e-commerce shopping portal), Hotstar, Saavn, Amazon kindle, Snapdeal, etc.
Micromax Canvas 5 features a 13-megapixel rear camera with LED flash and a 5-megapixel front-facing camera; that has become a standard feature for smartphones nowadays. The rear shooter can take good shots in daylight, but it is the low-light performance that disappoints. We tried to take some shots during night and camera struggles a lot to focus on the subject. You press the shutter button and it will take its time to take a shot even after turning on the zero shutter delay in the camera settings.
Besides, the usual modes such as HDR, face beauty, panorama, sports and professional are provided in the camera UI. The professional mode allows you to tweak the ISO, exposure, white balance and color saturation to take the desired shot. We also shoot the full HD video, which looked quite crisp on the full HD display on Canvas 5 and also works well on a computer screen.
Overall, the camera is good for taking pictures and to shoot videos in well lit conditions, but is a sluggish performer in the absence of light. The similar priced Samsung Galaxy J5, Asus Zenfone Laser and the Xiaomi Mi4i, which recently got a price cut, are better camera smartphones.
Here are some sample shots
The 2,900 mAh battery managed to last for a day with regular usage pattern that includes a number of calls, continues chats, checking e-mails, music playback, web browsing, etc. And with the PC mark battery test, Canvas 5 touched a mark of 7 hours 40 minutes. We recently reviewed Coolpad Note 3, which packs a 3,000 mAh battery unit and lasts longer than the Canvas 5.
Likes: Canvas 5 features a sharp full HD display and has a practical and sturdy design.
Dislikes: We are not much pleased by the clumsy UI that features flimsy icons and lags frequently.
Micromax Canvas 5 is not the perfect sub Rs 12,000 smartphone but does most of the jobs well. Buy it for a sharp and crisp full HD display, swift performance, a decent battery life and good after sale service support. But people who have a knack for photography can be disappointed due to the sluggish camera performance in low-light conditions.
Other worthy options in the similar price bracket are: Samsung Galaxy j5, Lenovo K3 Note, Coolpad Note 3, Xiaomi Mi4i and Moto G 3rd. gen.