“Celkon’s new phablet rocks good build quality and reasonable specs for its price”
The phablet juggernaut continues its charge unabated, and with both Apple and Google jumping into the fray now, there’s no stopping it. Large-screened smartphones are quite popular in India too, but it’s the affordable price segment that sees the most uptake… quite understandably. A look at the phablet options available currently in the region of Rs 10,000 will show up tons of options, but a majority of them involve some compromise or the other – usually with respect to things like design, screen resolution or internal storage. And these aspects are exactly where Celkon’s new offering, the Millennia Epic Q550 shines.
Before we get ahead of ourselves however, let’s take a look at the retail pack and then get into the specifics of its design and specs.
The Epic Q550 comes encased in flat black box that bears an image of the device boldly in the front and details on specs and features at the rear. The pack features a tray design, and pulling on a tab on the side reveal the inner box, with the phablet lying up top. Removing the device and lifting the thin layer of cardboard it lies on opens up the bottom compartment, in which you’ll find three smaller boxes. The dinkiest of the lot contains a two-pin wall charger, while the longer one holds a wired headset with in-ear buds. The flat one includes the quick start guide, a leaflet with warranty info, a micro-USB cable and a screen protector, along with a wiping cloth to help apply the latter.
Moving our attention to the smartphone, the Millennia Epic Q550 is surprisingly slim, being just 8mm thick. The sealed unibody design and the OGS screen definitely help in keeping the girth down. It’s a fairly large device though – thanks to its 5.5-inch display and wide bezels at the top and bottom. Our unit came in black, and despite the plastic construction, the build quality seems pretty good.
The fascia is the usual mix of the screen, three non-backlit capacitive keys at the bottom, along with the front camera, earpiece and sensors on top. The right is home to the volume rocker, with the power key placed below it, while the micro-USB port and headset socket at where you’d expect them to be – at the bottom and the top respectively.
Since the Epic Q550 features a sealed design and the real panel isn’t removable, the slots are available on the sides. On the left, you’ll find a micro-SIM slot and a microSD card slot, both covered by plastic tabs. And as this is a dual-SIM device, you also get another micro-SIM slot… and this one is available on the right above the volume rocker. Just like the other two, this slot is also covered with a plastic tab. All three tabs feature tiny protrusions at the corners, indicating the spot where you need to push down using a fingernail to pop them open.
The rear is done up in matte black (there’s a white variant available too), and there’s a nice rubbery feel to it… making it less prone to smudges and aiding in grip. At the rear, you’ll also find the primary camera lens flanked by an LED flash, Celkon branding and a speaker grille right at the bottom.
Software-wise, the Epic Q550 runs Android KitKat version 4.4.2, and the brand has left the interface completely untouched in terms of any tweaks or modifications. You do get a bunch of preloaded apps though, covering stuff like AskMe, Backup and Restore, Clean Master, Dr. Safety (a security app powered by Trend Micro), Mobogenie, NewsHunt, TaxiPixi and Truecaller. Trial versions of a couple of Gameloft games – Modern Combat 4: Zero Hour and Spider-Man: Ultimate Power are also included.
The 5.5-inch display sports 720p resolution, and at first impressions, offers crisp and vibrant-looking visuals. Powering the show is a quad-core 1.3GHz MediaTek processor, working in tandem with 1GB of RAM. There’s 16GB of internal storage, and this is one of the highlights of this device since most rivals in the same price range offer 8GB or lower. The storage has been partitioned, and you get a total of about 13GB to use. You can add up to 64GB more via the microSD slot, and USB OTG works too. 3G is supported on both SIM slots, but otherwise the connectivity options are fairly standard. The shooters comprise of an 8-megapixel autofocus camera at the rear, and a 2MP sensor at the front. The 3,500mAh battery also looks like a strong point at this price – which is Rs 10,499, in case you’re wondering. In the brief time we’ve spent with the spent with the new phablet so far, we didn’t encounter any lags or freezes… but our full review should have more details on the camera capabilities and the overall performance.
As we mentioned earlier, the list of rivals for the Epic Q550 is not a small one, covering contenders like the Micromax Canvas L, the Panasonic P55, and the XOLO Q2000L. The recently-announced selfie phablet, the Alcatel OneTouch Flash also looks like worthy competition, but the one device Celkon needs to be wary of is the upcoming Xiaomi Redmi Note (review), which boasts an octa-core processor and 2GB of RAM, and will be priced at Rs 9,999.