Micromax Canvas Fire 4G first impressions: affordable and future-ready

“The Canvas Fire 4G is the most affordable 4G offering in the Indian brand’s portfolio”

One of the biggest reasons for Micromax’s success in the Indian market, apart from its aggressive pricing, is its knack for finding emerging trends. It was among the first manufacturers which introduced feature phones with dual-SIM connectivity and long battery backup. However, now it seems that the brand has altered its approach by playing it safe and jumping in only when it knows that a specific trend is here to stay. While brands like Xiaomi have numerous 4G-capable offerings across different price points, Micromax entered the 4G category very recently, with all its devices priced above Rs 10,000.

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That’s changing now, as the Indian manufacturer has partnered with MediaTek to introduce a bevy of 4G devices over the coming months. The first device under this partnership is the Canvas Fire 4G and here’s what we think of it, based on the time we spent with it.

At the launch event, Micromax CEO Vineet Taneja also mentioned that all the brand’s popular ranges such as Doodle, Juice, etc. will offer a 4G variant. The Canvas Fire 4G is a variant as well, borrowing quite a few elements from the Canvas Fire 4.

The first thing that grabs your attention when you see the Canvas Fire 4G are the dual-firing speakers at the front, which are located at the top and on the chin. The device is quite compact thanks to its 4.5-inch display panel. Above the display, you’ll find an earpiece and a couple of sensors, whereas below it, you’ll find an array of capacitive keys. Sadly, the keys aren’t backlit, though they follow the standard Android guidelines so it won’t take long to get used to them. Thanks to its size, using the phone with a single hand is a delight and you can easily reach any corner of the screen.

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The right spine holds the power button, while the volume rocker is available on the left. The 3.5mm audio interface can be found at the top, and the micro-USB port as well as the primary microphone is present at the base. The rear features a matte finish and houses the primary camera along with an LED flash, Micromax logo and a speaker mesh.

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With a resolution of 854 x 480 pixels, the 4.5-inch display doesn’t seem to be very sharp and you might notice some pixelation when you look at it closely. However, colour reproduction seems quite good and brightness levels were also adequate.

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Being a budget offering, the Micromax Canvas Fire 4G offers entry-level hardware led by MediaTek’s MT6735 processor. The 64-bit CPU offers four Cortex-A53 cores humming at 1.3GHz, and is backed by a gigabyte of RAM. During our usage, the performance of the phone seemed to be quite smooth, although it remains to be seen how well it can handle games like Asphalt 8: Airborne. The storage of the device stands at 8GB, out of which around 4.2GB is available to the end user. There’s also a provision to top it up further via a microSD card.

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To harness the capabilities of 64-bit processing, the Canvas Fire 4G comes with Android 5.1 Lollipop. While Micromax hasn’t made much changes to the OS, it has enabled a custom launcher called FirstTouch by default. The launcher offers big icons and presents all the apps on the homescreen itself. Thankfully, if you don’t like it, then you can easily switch to the standard Android launcher. The handset also comes preloaded with a lot of apps such as Amazon, Newshunt , Hotstar, etc.

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For imagery, the Canvas Fire 4G sports a 5-megapixel snapper at the back, supplemented by an LED flash and a 2MP shooter at the front for capturing selfies or making video calls.

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The highlight of the phone is its support for 4G, and it’s compatible with both the TDD and FDD bands that are available in India. The dual-SIM smartphone also supports the connectivity options such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS and MediaTek’s HotKnot technology. The device is fuelled by a removable 1,850mAh battery.

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The Micromax Canvas Fire 4G will go on sale this month, and while its pricing isn’t revealed yet, Micromax has indicated that it’ll be priced below $100 (approximately Rs 6,600). While it’s great to see the Indian brand trying to massifying the 4G devices with an affordable price point, the phone will face tough competition from the likes of the Coolpad Dazen 1 (review) and Xiaomi Redmi 2 (review | FAQs).

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