The budget or low end category of smartphone is now extremely competitive with new devices launching every week and some of these offer great specs at low price. Micromax launched yet another budget smartphone, the Canvas Xpress A99 and the device has a 4.5-inch FWVGA screen with IPS technology. The device is powered by a 1.3GHz quad core processor and runs on Android 4.4 (KitKat). On the imaging front the device features a 5-megapixel autofocus rear camera with LED flash and a 0.3-megapixel VGA front-facing camera.
The device supports Dual SIM and has 3G connectivity. It also features 1GB RAM and has expandable memory up to 32GB with microSD. The phone also comes with 1950mAh battery. Here is the detailed review of the device.
Related Reading: Micromax Canvas XPress Unboxing
Here is the video review of the device.
Design and Build:
One feature which stands out when you look at the Micromax Canvas Xpress is the design. Unlike most of the devices in the budget or mid range category, the Canvas Xpress has a stand out design. There is metallic finishing on both sides while the top and bottom have again flat panels and gives the device a premium feel. The rear panel has a matte finish and also curved giving a good grip on the device. The power key is on the right side while the volume key sits on the left side. The 3.5mm audio jack and micro USB charging slots are at the top. The device is easy to hold because it is just a slim and also compact.
The camera unit has a square frame and the LED flash is below it. Overall, we are pretty impressed with the design and quality of the device.
The 4.5-inch display on the Canvas Xpress has a resolution of 854×480 pixels (FWVGA) which is low considering that the competition now offers HD display at lower price points. But having said that the display is pretty good and has good colors although at time you can see the pixelation in the display due to low resolution. The viewing angles are pretty good and the touch response is also good.
Overall, we were pretty happy with the display even though it is low resolution and it is better than the Micromax Canvas A1.
Software and Performance:
The device runs on Android 4.4 KitKat and the UI is mostly stock with very little customization from Micromax. The options available are exactly similar to stock experience and the company has added lots of apps in the device which we feel is kind of unnecessary. These apps includes M!Games, M!Live, M!Insurance, M!Security and also MAd app.
The notification center is also provides stock Android experience. Powering the device is the 1.3Ghz Mediatek Quad core processor coupled with 1GB of RAM. The phone does have good performance and it is responsive without any lags in normal usage. Multitasking was also fine, but the gaming experience was not the best although it might be able to play most of the games. The graphic quality was not the best together with a low resolution display.
The phone comes with 8GB internal storage and out of which the user available is 5.86GB which is pretty good. You can also expand the storage via Micro SD card.
Two of the important features of this device is HotKnot and Smart wake. HotKnot allows you to share images and other files by tapping the display of other device. Simply tap the devices screen-to-screen or connect the devices through touch to pair them instantly and share images, videos, music and browser URLs. This is a feature of Mediatek and you need two devices with HotKnot enabled to share data.
The second feature is Smart wake, where you can open your favourite apps through your customized gestures and access apps directly from the locked screen. Say for example, if you want to open camera, just draw letter C on the display while its in sleep mode. The feature works very well when we tested.
The call quality on the device is pretty decent and we didn’t have any issues with dropped calls or signal strength. The speaker quality is just average and there are other devices with better audio output. The phone comes with dual SIM card support and has dedicated section to manage the SIM cards.
The phone comes with a 5MP auto focus rear camera with LED flash and VGA front camera. The camera interface is exactly the same we found on most Android phones from Micromax powered by the Mediatek processor. The set of features includes normal mode, Panorama, Beauty face, It can also take photos in HDR and record videos in 1080P (full HD). The camera interface is fairly feature rich and easy to use if you have previously used a Micromax device.
The camera on the device is pretty decent for an entry level phone and is capable of shooting some good photos in daylight. The colors were pretty good, but the sharpness was missing as the 5MP shooter cannot capture too many details. Low light photography is not a strength of this camera as the noise level were high and there was an yellowish tint added in low light captures. It can shoot decent photos with flash.
The phone can also record videos in 1080P which is pretty decent quality. Here are some of the photos taken with the device.
The device comes with 1950mAh battery which is similar to other devices like Moto E or Lumia 535 and the performance is pretty good as well. You can get a day of usage from the battery. We tested the battery by using the 3G SIM card and few social apps configured and running in the background along with email accounts. We were able to get a day of battery life with average usage.
Priced at Rs 6999, the Micromax Canvas Xpress is a pretty good device which has a unique stand out design, great build quality, decent display and camera along with 8GB of internal storage being offered. But at the same time, it might not match up with Xiaomi Redmi 1S (review) or the Huawei Honor Holly (review) in terms of specs. The Micromax Canvas Xpress is a decent buy if you are looking for an all round budget smartphone which is readily available for purchase.