“Micromax makes a serious play in the budget smartphone segment with the Canvas Xpress 2”
In its initial days of glory, the budget segment was ruled by smartphone brands like Micromax, Lava and Intex. As a matter of fact, Micromax, with its Canvas series, pretty much owned the niche. That was before the invasion of Chinese brands. Don’t get us wrong, the influx of budget devices has been readily welcomed by Indian customers, and consequently, the Indian smartphone bazaar has now become a hub for Chinese as well as other smartphone brands like Xiaomi, Honor, MEIZU, ASUS and Motorola, all trying to push the limits by loading their devices with impressive features and presenting them to customers with rather affordable price tags. Through all the ups and downs, Micromax has remained a consistent competitor, making continuous additions to its Canvas series, and even launching an altogether new brand, dubbed YU, which took the market by storm with the Yureka (review). Now, playing in its element once again and reclaiming its territory, Micromax has announced the Canvas Xpress 2 which boasts an octa-core processor and a 13MP shooter for a price tag of Rs 5,999. Here, we take a quick look at the device and its box contents.
The Micromax Canvas Xpress 2 arrives in a smart black box with the phone’s moniker, branding and image on top, and the product details at the rear.
Upon removing the lid you’ll find the Canvas Xpress 2 sitting elegantly on top of a thin black cardboard tray. The tray can be popped out to unveil a micro-USB to USB cable, a two-pin adapter, a pair of earphones, a screen protector, the smartphone’s 2,500mAh battery and standard documentation.
The new Micromax Canvas Xpress 2 is an uber-stylish device. We got our hands on the black model, and we have to say, the smartphone is one of the best looking devices in its segment. Taking its cue from the recent budget hero, the YU Yuphoria (review), the Canvas Xpress 2 sports a matte back panel. A champagne coloured trim in a metallic finish runs along the sides of the device. The rear of the phone is home to the primary camera widely encircled by black concentric rings. Additionally, there’s a dual-LED flash and some pronounced Micromax branding in the same champagne metallic finish. The back panel can be removed to reveal the cavity for the battery, a pair of micro-SIM slots and a microSD card slot. The front features a 5-inch display flanked by wide bezels on the top and bottom. While the chin stays empty since the brand has stuck to virtual navigation keys, the top houses an earpiece, sensors and the front camera.
The right spine carries the power button and volume rocker. The top edge features a 3.5mm audio socket while the bottom edge sports a micro-USB port flanked by precision drilled holes that hide a loudspeaker on one side and a microphone on the other. Thanks to its compact build and matte rear panel, the Canvas Xpress 2 is comfortable to use and feels rather light in the hands.
The Canvas Xpress 2 offers a Corning Gorilla Glass protected 5-inch screen with HD resolution, roughly translating to a pixel density of 294ppi. The screen looks decently sharp and the viewing angles do not disappoint. The smartphone hides an octa-core MediaTek MT6592 processor ticking at 1.4GHz, mated to a gig of RAM. There’s an integrated Mali-450 MP GPU as well. The Canvas Xpress 2 comes with an on-board storage of 8GB, out of which approximately 4.5GB is available for usage. The storage can be further expanded up to 32GB via microSD card. While the device runs Android KitKat 4.4.2 out of the box, it is upgradable to Android Lollipop. The phone will greet you with a nearly stock Android KitKat experience apart from the minor tweaks Micromax has made. One of these is a dedicated home screen for news on the extreme left. The device also supports gesture control letting you customise gestures to access various apps. The Micromax Canvas Xpress 2 comes preloaded with apps like hotstar, M!Live, Scandid, NewsHunt and Quikr.
There’s a 13-megapixel autofocus primary shooter and a 2MP front camera. The default camera app on the device can shoot in different modes like Live Photo, Face Beauty, HDR, Panorama and Multi angle view. Additionally, you get control over standard settings like ISO, shutter speed and white balance. Connectivity options on the Micromax Canvas Xpress 2 are standard, including 3G, dual-SIM, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth v4.0 and GPS. 4G LTE is not supported though.
We were not disappointed during the brief time we played with the device. There were no noticeable stutters while switching between apps and the overall experience was pretty smooth. For its asking price, the Micromax Canvas Xpress 2 offers big numbers, be it the processor or camera or display. As a matter of fact, the Xpress 2 is currently the most affordable smartphone with an octa-core processor, a 5-inch HD display and a 13MP snapper. However, priced only a tad bit higher, the YU Yuphoria stands as a tough competitor against the Xpress 2 with a more premium build quality and double the RAM. We’ll keep you posted on how the Xpress 2 fares against its competitors in real life performance when we review the device.