Smartphones are getting faster and cheaper day by day. Nowadays, you can get all the features of a 3-year-old iPhone in a phone that costs less than Rs.10,000.
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These new devices are also so good that they have more computing power than supercomputers from only a couple of decades ago.
Micromax, a firm that has made a name for itself by coming out with some cool and affordable smartphones, is now again pushing the boundaries of what is possible with budget phones. Its latest smartphone, the Canvas Xpress 2, is a phone that gives users an octa-core processor, a high resolution camera and a HD display all in a package that costs less than Rs.6,000. Now, this comes at a time where already the market is flooded with a plethora of devices, which offer a robust stack of features.
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So how does the new Micromax Canvas Xpress 2 match up? Well, that’s what we intend to find out in this review. The Moto G has done a lot to further smartphone design at the lower price points and the Canvas Xpress 2 can surely thank it for that. A contoured back, rounded edges and sturdy plastic construction are all hallmarks of the Canvas Xpress 2.
The phone feels fairly light in the hand and is comfortable to use over extended periods. Like always, Micromax hasn’t provided any numbers on the exact dimensions and weight of the device. It also is well built with a matte finish on the back, which has a rubberized texture to it. This means the phone doesn’t get dirty quickly and isn’t slippery in the hand even in sweaty conditions like New Delhi. Micromax has opted for a rather unique black and gold colour combination, which looks nice.
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The physical buttons are also place logically on the right hand side of the phone, which makes the phone easy to use with one hand. The Canvas Xpress 2 will probably not be a conversation starter, but it will also not be something that you will be ashamed to whip out of your pocket. Canvas Xpress 2 has a neat looking 5-inch HD IPS LCD display, which shows nice and crisp images. The screen has decent viewing angles and is fairly bright, which means that using it isn’t a troublesome experience even direct sunlight.
The PPI of 293 is an acceptable density for a phone that costs so less. While that is true, we must say that Xiaomi Redmi 2 has a vastly better screen for a little more. The YU Yuphoria, which is a phone made by a Micromax subsidiary, though offers similar performance. The colours on the phone do look a little washed out but that is acceptable for the class.
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If you’d look at the bigger picture, the display isn’t bad at anything. Videos, gaming, reading and even content creation is handled very nicely by the phone. Even phones like the Moto E lag behind in this regard. A 13-megapixel resolution of a Rs.6,000 smartphone is unheard of. But as they say it is not the megapixels that count as much as the sensor size. On expected lines, the Canvas Xpress 2 has a rather average camera. The specification sheet will suggest otherwise but the real performance is just average. The camera is slow to lock focus and more often than not the pictures it takes are lacking in sharpness.
Things become even worse in low light situations as mostly the images are full of noise. On most occasions the images shot in low light are so bad that they are not even good enough for social media use. The moral of the story out here is that you shouldn’t by a phone or expect a camera to be good on the basis of a higher megapixel count. Phones like the Xiaomi Redmi 2, YU Yuphoria have better cameras though they have a lower 8-megapixel resolution. The front facing 2-megapixel camera is decent for taking selfies and the odd video call.
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Micromax has improved the software on its phone by leaps and bounds in the last few months. We noted this in our review of the Canvas Knight 2 and the Canvas Spark, however, the Canvas Xpress 2 is a disappointment. The phone is still running on Android 4.4 KitKat. What’s worse is that the phone is preloaded with many applications that can’t be removed. This is a big issue because the phone only has 8GB of internal memory. There’s also an unnecessary HTC BlinkFeed style aggregator on the home-screen. Its presence is mostly pointless.