The Micromax A110 is one of the two dual core phones that Micromax currently sells. And it happens to be the elder brother of the two. And also, it happens to lie on our office desks waiting to be taken for a spin. And so, we do just that.
The Micromax A110 is a phablet. It’s a big phone. Please keep that in mind before you start day dreaming about this phone already (which is easy to do since this phone looks so good). We will be going through all the different key aspects of the phone one by one, so you will get to, by the end of this review, determine if this phone is really for you or you should look elsewhere (our initial impressions tell us that the former is more likely than the latter). Let’s dive in!
Micromax A110 Specifications
First off, a round up of all the internal specifications that this phone packs. And here we go:
- Mediatek MT6577 chipset
- 1 GHz dual core ARM Cortex A9 CPU
- PowerVR SGX531 GPU
- 512 MB of RAM
- 5″ FWVGA (854*480) IPS LCD display
- 8 MP auto focus camera, dual LED flash
- VGA front facing camera
- 4 GB internal storage (2 GB
- 9.7 mm thickness
- 2000 mAh Li-ion battery
- Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich
The Micromax A110 is powered by two ARM Cortex A9 CPUs giving it decent power in the CPU front. The GPU is a PowerVR SGX531. While nothing extra ordinary, at the said resolution (FWVGA) it performs admirably. RAM is also not an issue for most part. And the stock ICS interface and feel will appeal to most. Bloatware is a minimum as well, and for a 5″ phone it is comfortable to hold and very slim as well. Let’s go for a part by part review.
Chipset, RAM & Benchmarks
The Micromax A110 comes with the almost latest ARM Cortex A9 CPUs. These are one step below the Krait CPUs used in the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 chips or the Cortex A15 in the Samsung Exynos dual as well (the same one used in the Google Nexus 10). As expected, apps often effortlessly and mostly without lagging. Heck, you’re getting a dual core for Rs. 9,999. One year ago it wasn’t available for less than Rs. 30,000 also!
The GPU is more than enough for casual gaming, as we observed while playing games such as Angry Birds and the rest. However, latest games such as Need For Speed: Most Wanted might more slightly challenging to run.
The phone comes with 512 MB of RAM. After normal usage, we got 135 MB of free RAM on an average, and that is with quite a few background apps running and installed. We are quite happy with that.
View all the benchmark scores in the Gallery.
Build Quality & Design
When we first got our hands on the Micromax A110, we forgot entirely than this is a sub-10k device. If any of you are expecting too much, folks this device costs Rs. 9,999 only. And let me tell you, it does not disappoint at all. It looks beautiful, although we wish the bezel were a bit thinner at the top and sides as well. For most of the front, the beautiful 5″ IPS panel is the dominating feature. Below it, you have 3 capacitive ICS buttons. On the top you have ambient light sensor and a VGA front camera, all placed on the right corner.
Coming to the sides (edge), the phone is adorned in aluminium. It looks stunning at this angle and gives the phone an overall premium look and feel. We were particularly impressed with the volume rocker buttons feel to touch and press. On the top you have the micro USB and 3.5 mm audio jack. On the right top is the Power Button.
Coming to the back, you have a nice rubbery texture feel that adds grip to the phone. Also, this ensures that the phone doesn’t slip easily out of your hands (for you butter fingers out there). The 8 MP module is protuding out, and is backed up by the dual LED flash.
Overall, we are mighty impressed with this device. For Rs. 10,000 you simply have no other phablet doing so well as the Micromax A110.
Camera & Playback
The A110 has a 8 MP rear camera. The photos have come out just fine. There’s some bluriness if the photos are shot from too close. Move further and they are slightly better. The camera has options such as HDR (High Dynamic Range) as well, but that isn’t really going to help the average photos this device clicks.
Videos on this phone are shot at a maximum of 720p HD resolution. The videos are just okay, you can’t expect this to replace a point and shoot camera, it won’t either. But for casual photography, it’s perfect really. You can’t ask for more.
The phone plays back video across multiple formats (simply use MX Video Player) including .mkv format with relative ease. Videos upto 72op play easy. Extremely high bit rate videos might have some problems with playback though.
Keeping that in mind, the device is an absolute breeze to use and watching movies or shows while you’re on the go is a particularly good experience.
The phone is blessed with a 5″ IPS (In Plane Switching) display. This in turn gives it some nice viewing angles and decent sunlight legibility. The screen is decently bright, not one of the brightest panels out there obviously. However it stacks up well compared to the IPS display of the iPhone 4 and the LED backlit Xperia Sola. We are happy with the display, which can show display 16 million colors (unlike the 262k limit of the Micromax A90S). A 196 ppi pixels density isn’t that bad too.
The only qualm we have with the display is the resolution. Although it doesn’t cause any hindrance, a qHD (960*540) or a HD (1280*720) display would have done far far better on this phone. But then again the GPU wouldn’t have been able to power the display, and the RAM would come out short. We really hope Micromax makes an even better version loaded with all these features.
Interface & Browsing
The interface is stock ICS which isn’t a bad thing. Google did a good job with their ICS redesign. We can’t even call it old because the same design carries (save for some additions) in the newer Android 4.1 and 4.2 Jelly Bean versions. If you wish to customize the interface, you can do so easily by installing a launcher atop the default skin.
Browsing is a good experience. Page loading time is slightly higher but that can be attributed to our 512 Kbps WiFi speed more than the device itself. Pinch to Zoom works flawlessly. We opened up Phonearena.com and the site was panning in and out without a single hitch. Text appears small, but that is because of the display resolution. Never mind, just double tap to zoom in and comfortable reading is back. The ICS browser shows it’s strengths. Page rendering is smooth and fast. Browsing is a fluid experience for most parts.
Price & Availability
The Micromax A110 has an MRP of Rs. 9,999. However at every online portal selling for the same (or lesser) price, the device is OOS (out of stock).
Flipkart is selling for Rs. 10,300 which is a decent price. You can wait for deals to get this phone for 500 bucks cheaper, but at this price it’s still an easily recommended purchase.
To Buy or Not to Buy?
Finally, coming to the main question of whether to buy this phone or not. Well there are many things going for the phone.
- Good display
- Fast processor
- Nice, clean interface
- Decent battery backup
- Great pricing
- Likable design
- Slightly low resolution display
- Weak GPU
- 8 MP camera is not that good
- Lacks Jelly Bean (latest Android OS)
It’s up to your wants really. If you want to browse, play casual games and watch a ton of videos this device is great. If hardcore gaming and multitasking is your priority, the weak GPU and 512 MB of RAM will come in the way.
At the end of the day, this device comes as one that I would easily recommend to anybody looking to buy a big smartphone (aka phablet) anywhere between the Rs. 10-20k price range. Having said that, I genuinely believe that Micromax has made a nice device. Now we sit and wait for what this Indian company does next (while competition keeps getting heated up each moment).