“Here’s a closer look at the latest competition in the smartphone segment and the one that’s better for you”
The Windows Phone ecosystem has always been Nokia’s playground. Until now that is. It’s finally getting some serious competition and what’s more interesting is that the rivalry comes not from a multinational giant, but from homegrown manufacturer Micromax. The company earlier challenged the Finnish giant with its affordably-priced Android devices, and is now venturing into the WP territory. Micromax launched two Windows Phone smartphones in its newest range dubbed as Canvas Win – W092 (first impressions) and W121 yesterday. While the smaller sibling poses a solid challenge to the best-selling Lumia 520, the pricier one is targeted at Nokia’s latest offering, the Lumia 630 (review in pictures). This brings us to the inevitable question of which one is a better buy between the Micromax Canvas Win W121 and Nokia Lumia 630. Let’s pit them against each other to answer this..
Who’d have thought that we would be seeing a Note 3-like faux-leather rear panel on a sub-Rs 10,000 smartphone running Windows Phone? But Micromax has made it a reality with the Canvas Win W121. The brand has made sure that the device offers premium fit and finish with a removable leather-textured back cover and metallic finish across the sides. Other design elements like the volume rocker, power key, micro-USB port, and 3.5mm audio port are standard and so is the array of three capacitive keys at the front below the display. The front adorns a minimalistic look, while the back houses the main camera unit along with Micromax’s logo. Overall, the device offers superb handling and definitely deserves a special credit for the distinct design.
Nokia’s Lumia 630 follows the design ethos of the Lumia’s youthfulness with its colourful body. Even though the encasing is made of polycarbonate, it doesn’t feel cheap and build quality feels pretty good. However there are some changes from previous Lumia devices in the 630, namely the absence of dedicated camera key and physical navigation buttons, using a row of software keys at the bottom instead. Both the volume keys and power key are available on the right panel, whereas the headphone socket is on the top and micro-USB port is present on the bottom of the device.
Both the devices boast good design and it’s up to individual tastes if they like the subtle yet premium design of the Canvas Win W121 or the colourful hues of the Lumia 630.
The Canvas Win W121 is armed with a 5-inch IPS display bearing resolution of 1,280 x 720 pixels. This results in a decent pixel density of 294ppi and thus the images and text should be crisp and sharp. In comparison, the Lumia 630 features a slightly smaller 4.5-inch display with a lower resolution of 800 x 480 pixels. Its pixel density of 217ppi doesn’t sound too great, but Nokia has managed to make the screen bright and vibrant. Moreover, it gets the company’s proprietary ClearBlack technology for displaying true black colours. There’s also a layer of Corning Gorilla Glass 3 for additional protection.
The Micromax Canvas Win W121 is fitted with an 8-megapixel autofocus camera at the back with LED flash. The hardware should definitely offer decent images in outdoors as well as poor-lighting situations thanks to the availability of illumination with flash. There’s also a 2MP secondary shooter to help you with video calls and clicking selfies.
If there’s one aspect where the Lumia 630 is a bit disappointing, it’s the camera. The device has a barebones shooter in the form of a 5-megapixel unit without an LED flash. This means you get good enough images for casual purposes, but nothing more… as apparent from our review of its camera. You can’t make video calls either, since it lacks a front-facing snapper.
Microsoft’s latest Windows Phone version 8.1 is the underlying interface on both the Canvas Win W121 and Lumia 630. WP8.1 is a much-needed update to the OS, bringing it at par with Android and iOS with features like Action Center, a customisable lockscreen and start screen, support for dual-SIMs, the virtual assistant Cortana (exclusive to US for the time being), and a tweaked Windows Store amongst many more.
Nokia has spiced up the OS with its own suite of highly-useful apps like Smart Camera, HERE maps and Drive, MixRadio, etcetera. These apps certainly add a lot to the experience of the device. From what we saw of the Micromax Canvas Win W121, it doesn’t come with any special software additions. While you can always download apps from the Windows Store, including some of Nokia’s apps, this could be a possible pain point for Micromax. However, it could be slightly unfair to use this as a point of comparison at this time, since the Micromax Canvas Win W121 is yet to launch officially. As per our conversation with Micromax officials, the final retail units should include some special apps, though it remains to be seen how they’ll match up to Nokia’s offerings.
Micromax has partnered with Qualcomm to ensure that the smartphone can deliver smooth performance. Thanks to the QRD (Qualcomm Reference Design), the device packs powerful hardware with a Snapdragon 200 1.2GHz quad-core processor and 1GB of RAM. The combination results in a good performance, on paper at least, and should be able to run heavy games that require a minimum of 1GB RAM.
The Nokia Lumia 630 is no slouch either, as it also boasts a quad-core chipset. The device is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 quad-core SoC clocked at 1.2GHz. Theoretically, both the Win W121 and Lumia 630 should have similar performance as they both sport quad-core silicon, but the Snapdragon 400 is a generation ahead of 200 and would offer better performance. The Snapdragon 400 supports full HD video playback, while the Snapdragon 200 is only capable of playing 720p video smoothly. The main bottleneck in the Lumia 630, however, is its 512MB RAM, which would work fine in basic scenarios but would fail if you want to play graphics-intensive games. Even casual games like Subway Surfers aren’t optimised for WP devices with 512MB of RAM yet.
It’s also important to point out that the both devices would offer lag-free usage as the Windows Phone OS is not a resource hog, unlike Android. That said, if you’re an avid gamer, then your inclination should be towards Micromax’s offering.
Both the devices offer 8GB of built-in storage on offer. You can also increase it further thanks to the presence of microSD card slots. But the two vary in terms of supported card capacities – the Win W121 is compatible with up to 32GB cards, whereas the Lumia 630 goes supports up to 128GB cards.
Both smartphones are a rarity in Windows Phone world with their dual-SIM support. Apart from that, they both provide support for 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS. However, while the Lumia 630 accepts micro-SIMs and supports 3G on both SIM slots, the Canvas Win W121 offers regular SIM card slots and supports 3G on the first SIM only. The Lumia 630 also gets Smart Dual SIM functionality allowing you to forward your calls from one SIM to another, among other useful features.
The Win W121 packs a 2,000mAh Li-ion battery, whereas the Lumia 630 is equipped with a slightly weaker 1,830mAh battery. We know that the Lumia 630 offers an all-day battery, but we can’t comment on the battery life offered by the Micromax device. Hopefully, with its beefier battery, the Micromax Canvas Win W121 should be able to match Nokia’s.
If you’ve been following us till now, then your choice would have either become crystal clear or more confusing, as both the devices have their set of positives and negatives. What the Nokia Lumia 630 lacks in terms of specs in comparison to the Micromax Canvas Win W121, it makes up in the form of overall experience on the back of Nokia’s signature apps and reliability. Even then, the absence of a front camera and an LED flash for assisting the primary camera, comes across as a major sore point for the Lumia 630 and this is where the Canvas Win W121 totally knocks it out.
The Lumia 630 is available in both single-SIM and dual-SIM flavours and the price difference is negligible between them. For the sake of comparison with the Micromax Canvas Win W121, we have considered the dual-SIM variant of the Lumia 630. The Lumia 630 Dual will cost you around Rs 10,500 and can be purchased immediately. If you’re inclined towards the Canvas Win W121, then you’ll have to wait a little longer, as it’ll be going on sale only next month. However, it costs lower than the Lumia 630 at Rs 9,500. Hardware-wise, the Canvas Win W121 seems to be aptly-named, since it wins over the Nokia Lumia 630 on paper. Playing the Devil’s advocate, we do consider software more important though. Our review will separate the chaff from the wheat soon enough.
|Related reads: Nokia Lumia 630 unboxing | Nokia Lumia 630 FAQs|