“The Arya Z2 manages to stand apart with its slender profile and gorgeous 5-inch HD display”
The booming Indian mobile market is attracting attention from all kind of brands. Not just global ones, but Indian companies are also eyeing for a place in the rapidly-growing segment. Salora International, one of the oldest electronics companies in India is the latest to join the brigade. Although the company already had a few offerings in both feature phones and smartphones category, they weren’t very popular. However, Salora is aiming to change that by creating a brand-new identity for its new range of smartphones – Arya, an Indian name which means “not ordinary”. The first smartphone under this moniker was introduced recently as the Z2, and if our first impressions of the device are anything to go by, then we definitely feel that it’ll be able to live up to its name. Read on to find out why we think so.
Before we start with our hands-on impressions, let’s take a quick look at what all do we get in the retail package of the handset.
The Arya Z2 comes enclosed in a typical rectangular-shaped box. Sliding the tray out from the box will reveal the smartphone itself, which we’ll be taking a look at in a while. Underneath the tray, you’ll get a couple of manuals and the service centre list. Next up is a Li-Po battery and the bottom trays include a pair of stereo earphones, a micro-USB cable and a charging adapter. While the box contents are the regular stuff, the company is also providing a protective flip cover with the phone, although it was missing from our box. The brand is also offering a screen protector installed on top of the device’s display. Additionally, buyers will get an 8GB microSD card with the Arya Z2 under the introductory offer.
Coming back to the smartphone itself, the first thing that will pique your interest is its slender profile and distinct looks. Even though the Arya Z2 is a budget smartphone, it’s design doesn’t give away that impression at all. The phone is just 7.55mm thick and the metallic edges lend it a premium appeal. The fascia of the phone is dominated by the display panel along with an earpiece, front camera and a few sensors above it and the usual row of Android navigation buttons below. The capacitive buttons are backlit, which is a good thing as many smartphones in its range are devoid of such a feature.
On the right edge, you’ll find a power button, while the volume rocker is on the left. The top spine houses both the 3.5mm audio jack and a micro-USB port, leaving the bottom edge completely empty. The rear of the Arya Z2 feature a matte finish making it resilient to scratches and fingerprints. The primary camera and an LED flash is available at the top, along with the branding in the middle, followed by a speaker grille towards the bottom. Opening the rear panel gives you access to the battery compartment, along with a pair of SIM slots (while the first slot accepts regular-sized cards, the second one supports micro-SIM cards) and a microSD card slot.
The handset is fitted with a 5-inch IPS display with One Glass Solution. Since OGS leaves no air gap between the touch panel and the display, it also contributes in keeping the Arya Z2 slim. The screen bears a resolution of 720p, resulting in pixel density of 294ppi. The large display and a rich pixel density makes the device a leader in its segment, since most offerings in its class come with qHD resolution at best. Although the display on Xiaomi Redmi 1s sports this resolution, it offers a slightly lower size of 4.7-inches.
Like most smartphones these days, the handset comes loaded with the latest build of Android, i.e. 4.4 KitKat. Salora hasn’t played with the interface at all and users get a UI which is completely stock, although there are a few preinstalled apps. These include Amazon’s eCommerce website, App Store, Kindle and Opera.
The performance aspect of the Arya Z2 is in the hands of MediaTek MT6582 SoC, which is a popular choice in this budget and offer four Cortex-A7 cores clocked at 1.3GHz. Complementing the processor is a gigabyte of RAM. In our brief usage, the smartphone was very smooth while navigating between different screens and opening or exiting multiple apps. However, the true measure of performance can only be tested during the real-life use. Storage-wise, the phone might be a tad disappointing as it offers just 4GB of flash storage. The storage is further partitioned in two separate chunks and adding the free space in both, the end user will get close to 2.6GB for installation of apps or saving their personal content. However, the good part is that the brand is bundling a microSD card for free, as mentioned earlier.
On the camera front, the handset is loaded with 8- and 2-megapixel snappers at the rear and front respectively. Salora has used Sony’s BSI sensor for the primary shooter ensuring that users get good imaging experience. With a few shots we clicked in the indoors, we were quite impressed by the details captured, though we will refrain to give comments on the camera quality before reviewing it across different situations. The device can also shoot images in 13-megapixel resolution with software interpolation, which increases the resolution of the original 8MP image. Even the front-facing camera can capture images in 5-meg resolution in a similar manner.
For connectivity, it supports 3G (in both SIMs), Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS. With the 1,800mAh Li-Po battery, the company claims that users can get up to eight hours of talk time.
The smartphone is going on sale starting today in exclusive partnership with Amazon. At the asking price of Rs 6,999, the smartphone comes across as a good value proposition and offers a solid spec sheet, but it still faces stiff competition. The Redmi 1s (review | FAQs) undercuts its price by Rs 1,000 and yet manages to offer a better chipset and more in-built memory. The Moto E (review | FAQs), Micromax Unite 2 (review | FAQs) and the recently-launched Android One smartphones (Karbonn Sparkle V first impressions | FAQs) also pose tough challenges. However, what sets Arya Z2 apart is Salora’s service expertise of handling after-sales service for other phone brands like Alcatel. The company has more than 250 service centres across 189 cities in India and promises turnaround time of maximum seven days on its offering.
Rahul Gupta contributed to this article. Video by Pratik Vyas