“The Canvas 5 is the first smartphone in Micromax’s stable that boasts 3 gigs of RAM. Here’s a first look”
Back in 2013, Micromax proved that Indian manufacturers can also shake up the smartphone segment, when it launched its flagships, the Canvas HD A116 and subsequently, the Canvas 4. Since then, prospective consumers have been excitedly looking for a successor, which comes in the form of the new Canvas 5. That’s what we have in our labs today. While it’s for Micromax to answer why it took them two years to launch the smartphone, let us take you through its unboxing and our hands-on impressions.
The box of the Canvas 5 seems to be a regular affair with its compact rectangular shape. Prying open the cover exposes the device itself. Underneath the tray, there’s a wrapper that comes with a couple of manuals and a screen protector. The retail packaging looks premium, and you’ll find the standard set of accessories tucked nicely inside a box – a wall charger, a micro-USB cable and earphones.
Now let’s focus on the device at hand. Endowed with a 5.2-inch display panel, the Micromax Canvas 5 is able to fit in the hand nicely. Single-handed usage shouldn’t be a problem as well thanks to its slim frame and light body. In terms of design language, the phone looks similar to brand’s recent offerings, thanks to its pleather back. Although, we must say that the chrome rim along the edges adds a touch of class. The textured back panel also offers a good grip in hands. The phone can be purchased in black or tan hues.
Up front, the display panel dominates the proceedings, with the space above taken up by an earpiece and a couple of sensors. There are no navigation buttons at the bottom, as they are implemented in the software interface.
On the right spine of the Canvas 5, you’ll find both the power toggle as well as the volume keys. The headphone socket is available on the top, while the micro-USB port is present at the base.
Removing the back panel gives you access to the dual-SIM slots and a microSD card slot. At the rear, you’ll also find the main camera unit along with LED flash, Micromax branding and a speaker mesh further below.
With a full HD resolution, the IPS display offers impressive colours and sharpness. In indoors, brightness levels are also decent. Thanks to the 2.5D panel, the glass gently curves to the sides, adding to the looks of the smartphone. The Micromax Canvas 5 also gets a protective layer for the display in the form of third-gen Gorilla Glass.
Taking care of software affairs on the Canvas 5 is Android 5.1 Lollipop, which is slightly customised. Inspired by Chinese manufacturers, you’ll see a unified homescreen with all the apps placed right there, instead of a dedicated app drawer. The icons are also heavily customised. There are also some preloaded apps such as SwiftKey, Clean Master, and App Center, among others. The mobile also has a support for various gestures, letting you unlock it with double tap or accessing music or camera by tracing the letters ‘m’ and ‘c’ on the standby screen respectively.
The navigation on the Micromax Canvas 5 seems extremely smooth, thanks to the use of an octa-core processor with 64-bit architecture. Each of the cores of MediaTek MT6753 are tuned at 1.3GHz. Adding to the horsepower is a beefy 3 gigs of RAM. The combination should be able to handle most tasks, be it multitasking or running heavy games. In our brief usage, the phone seemed to fly through while navigating between screens or switching between tasks.
For storage purposes, Micromax’s latest flagship comes with 16GB of flash memory, out of which only 9.5GB is available to the end user. Thankfully though, you can expand it further with the use of a microSD card or make use of USB On-the-Go capabilities.
In the imaging department, the Micromax Canvas 5 sports a 13-megapixel shooter at the back and a 5MP front camera. For providing illumination in poorly-lit environments, both the snappers are accompanied by LED flash units – dual-LED flash for the primary camera and a soft-LED flash for selfies. The camera interface is minimal, and brings forth useful features. While the camera hardware seems potent, we’d like to reserve our judgment till we test the cameras out in different situations.
In the connectivity department, the phone supports 4G networks, along with the usual options such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS. Micromax has tied up with Airtel to offer consumers double the data for their 3G / 4G recharges. Powering the show on the Micromax Canvas 5 is a 2,900mAh battery, which like most smartphones these days, is an embedded unit.
Barring the Micromax Canvas Sliver 5 (first impressions), which focussed more on the design aspect rather than the core specs, it’s been a while since the leading Indian vendor has launched a loaded offering in the mid-budget segment. So, the Canvas 5 certainly comes across as a welcome change, and it’s price tag of Rs 11,999 makes it an attractive proposition. Thanks to its wide availability, across both online and offline channels, it should be able to give tough competition to the stalwarts like the Xiaomi Mi 4i (review | FAQs) and the third-gen Motorola Moto G (review).