Micromax Canvas Spark unboxing and first impressions: sparking off the competition in the entry-level segment

“At a price point of Rs 4,999, the Canvas Spark is the most affordable smartphone providing the sweet taste of Android 5.0 Lollipop”

After revolutionising the value-for-money and mid-range segments in India, phone manufacturers are aiming to shake up the entry-level smartphone market. Leading Indian brand Micromax is the first to do so with its latest offering dubbed Canvas Spark Q380. Even though it’s priced at Rs 4,999, the device manages to offer compelling specs along with the latest iteration of Google’s Android OS, which is 5.0 Lollipop. We have just received the handset in our labs, and as always, we’re giving it our customary welcome with a peek at its sales pack followed by a quick look at the phone.

The Micromax Canvas Spark comes packed in a sleek rectangular box. You’ll find the phone’s image at the front along with its key specs at the back. Without further ado, let’s open the box and see what’s inside. The very first thing you’re greeted with is the smartphone in black.

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Underneath the tray carrying the device, you’ll find various accessories. These include a wall charger with the rating of 700mA, a micro-USB cable and stereo earphones of in-ear type. You also get documentation in the form of a warranty card, SAR info sheet and the user manual, neatly bundled together. For protecting the screen, the retail box also provides a screen protector.

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Now, let’s bring our focus back to the smartphone. The Micromax Canvas Spark feels extremely good in the hand, thanks in part to its compact size. Up front lies a 4.7-inch display panel, which is flanked by an earpiece and a secondary shooter above and a row of capacitive keys for navigation below. The keys follow Android Lollipop’s guidelines in terms of their geometrically-shaped design and actions, i.e., the first one acts as a overview button (to access recently-opened apps), the second key is for jumping to the home screen, while the last button is for returning to the previous screen.

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The chrome trim running around the edges of the Canvas Spark complements the black on the front. Both the volume rocker and the power button are available on the right spine, while the left side is completely bare. The top is where the 3.5mm audio port is, whereas the micro-USB port is at the bottom along with a microphone.

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The rear features a matte texture, which lends the impression of the sandstone or moonstone finish available on the OnePlus One (review | cheatsheet) or YU Yureka (review | FAQs) respectively. The finish offers superb grip, even when the hands are sweaty. The removable back panel hosts the primary snapper along with an LED flash, with Micromax insignia below and a speaker mesh towards the bottom. Prying open the cover reveals the slots for inserting a pair of SIM cards and a microSD card. Interestingly, the phone offers a fixed 2,000mAh battery, something which we haven’t seen in most Micromax offerings.

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Sporting qHD resolution (960 x 540 pixels), the 4.7-inch display manages to offer vibrant colours. The screen also appears to be quite sharp, even though it has a low pixel density of 234ppi. The display also gets a protective layer of the third-gen Corning Gorilla Glass, which is unheard of in this price band.

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The UI also helps in making the screen look good, with its colourful animations and physics. These are available thanks to the Android Lollipop’s Material Design language. While the interface remains largely untouched apart from a few custom icons, the device is packed with a lot of preinstalled apps. Apart from Google’s app suite, you get apps such as AskMe, Chaatz, Clean Master, hotstar, Paytm, and Quikr among others. Thankfully these apps can be uninstalled to save precious space available, as from the 8GB storage on board, you only get a little over 4GB for use. However, you can make use of the expansion slot to add more storage with a microSD card of up to 32GB.

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Under the hood, the Micromax Canvas Spark comes powered by a 1.3GHz MediaTek MT6589 quad-core processor, which is mated to a gigabyte of RAM. The combination should be able to deliver smooth usage, though that can only be known when we test the phone extensively.

In the photography department, the Canvas Spark features an 8-megapixel autofocus primary camera, which also gets an LED flash. At the front, it has a 2MP snapper for shooting selfies or making video calls.

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In terms of its spec sheet and its price point, the Micromax Canvas Spark definitely seems impressive. While it remains to be seen whether our real-life usage of the phone also leaves the same impression, there’s little doubt that the phone will ignite competition in the sub-Rs 5k segment, which until now, only had one noteworthy option in the form of the Infocus M2.

Photos by Raj Rout. Video by Pratik Vyas

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