Micromax Canvas Nitro unboxing and first impressions: the brand’s counterpunch against the likes of ASUS and Motorola

“The Canvas Nitro packs in power-packed internals at an attractive price“

According to the Q2 report from IDC, Micromax is the second largest smartphone brand in India based on shipments, trailing just behind Samsung. It’s just a few percentage points (3 percent) below the numero uno manufacturer, and could even surpass Samsung in the next few quarters. However, it’s not going to be a very smooth road ahead for the Indian vendor, since now it not only has to compete against tier-one brands and other Indian manufacturers, but also the rising wave of brands like ASUS and Xiaomi. But the company isn’t taking the competition lightly and today it has unveiled a big assault in the form of the Canvas Nitro A310.

The device is in our labs and as usual, we are greeting it with our unboxing and first impressions.

The smartphone has a very slim casing, just like other Micromax offerings. Without further ado, let’s take a look inside the box. Opening the box reveals the smartphone itself, in royal blue. Beneath the tray, you get a screen protector and a couple of manuals. There are two more cardboard boxes inside, one of which houses the battery, while the other one has a micro-USB cable, an in-ear wired headset and a 1A wall charger.

That’s all you get in the Canvas Nitro’s box. Sadly it misses out on a protective flip cover.

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Enough said about the box and its contents, now let’s have a look at the smartphone itself. In terms of looks, the device bears the usual candybar design with nothing particularly striking at the front. The display forms the major portion with an earpiece, sensors and a secondary camera above and three capacitive buttons below. The backlit buttons follow the usual Android guidelines with the first one used for showing options or recent apps if long-pressed, centre button for returning to the primary home screen or launching Google Now, and the third being used for returning to the previous screen.

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It’s the rear of the Micromax Canvas Nitro that catches your attention. Along with featuring a faux-leather back panel, the royal blue colour also adds a touch of class to it. While it may be a matter of personal choice, we think that the blue colour looks quite good on the device and also sets it apart from the sea of sameness. The leather back also makes it less prone to catching smudges. For powering on the phone, you get a power key on the left edge, while the buttons for increasing or decreasing the volume are on the left spine.

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Coming to the display, it measures 5-inch and sports a resolution of 1,280 x 720 pixels. In our short usage, the screen offered crisp colours and looked very vibrant.

The OS on offer is the latest build of Android, i.e. 4.4.2 KitKat. The interface is primarily stock, though the Indian brand has used custom icon packs as well as quite a few widgets and preinstalled apps on the Canvas Nitro. There are a few new features as well and some of these seem really interesting, such as Blinkscreen for lock screen, a dedicated homescreen called QuickLook, support for numerous gestures, etc. Blinkscreen is a well thought-out lock screen feature with a minimal strip at the centre showing you time and notifications. Quicklook aims to provide one-stop access to your social feeds and news, in a similar vein as HTC’s BlinkFeed.

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With the MediaTek MT6592 octa-core SoC throbbing at 1.7GHz coupled with a 2GB of RAM, you can expect things to be very smooth. During our usage, there was nary a hiccup, though of course, it’s yet to be seen if things remain the same while playing heavy-duty games and multitasking.

For storage, the smartphone comes with 8GB built-in memory that can be further expanded with the use of a microSD card. Thanks to Micromax as it has kept Android customisations to the very minimal, and hence users get 5.3GB for their personal content.

When it comes to the camera aspect, the handset flaunts a 13-megapixel camera at the rear supplemented by an LED flash. At the front, it gets a 5MP fixed-focus camera for selfies and video calls. While the main camera interface is basic, there are a number of software enhancements. You can refocus on a particular part of the image during post-processing. There’s also a camera widget right on your homescreen allowing you quick access to photo and video capture, along with a Frontback shot (the ability to shoot images from both the cameras one after the other and combining the results) and stable shot.

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A 2,500mAh battery, dual-SIM support, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and GPS round up the specs sported by the Canvas Nitro.

The Micromax Canvas Nitro will be going on sale starting today in exclusive partnership with Snapdeal at the asking price of Rs 12,990. Micromax has been teasing the smartphone as ‘Now Everyone Can’ and hence positioned it as an affordable flagship. While the device seems impressive and packs in power-packed internals, we’ll be testing out its capabilities as a daily driver to test its worth. It also remains to be seen if it can take on other heavyweights in its class, including the second-gen Moto G (first impressions) and ASUS Zenfone 5 (review). There are other octa-core-toting devices in the fray as well, such as the XOLO 8X-1000 (first impressions), Karbonn Titanium Octane and the upcoming Redmi Note (first impressions).

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