Smartron first impressions: a lightweight and colourful flagship

“The Smartron is claimed to be the lightest smartphone with a 5.5-inch display ”

Make-in-India… the phrase has its own charm. You might not think about ways to empower your country while going about your daily lives, but the thought of someone managing to develop and coming up with a flagship-grade device locally brings a sense of pride, and an inevitable fondness for the product, irrespective of what utility it might or might not offer you. Consequently, a smartphone made in India, is expected to grab some limelight. And so it did, as Indian startup Smartron launched the, which has been designed and engineered in India. Of course, other brands are manufacturing smartphones in India too, but the is claimed to be the lightest 5.5-incher out there. We got some time to play with it and here’s what we think about the device.

In a smartphone market where every second phone is trying to look like the iPhone, the Smartron comes like a breath of fresh air. However, it has not been crafted out of metal, which at its price point, is a disappointment. That said, it looks stylish and the matte finish on its body does somewhat look like metal. Moreover, the build quality seemed decent as well. We had the blue variant with us, which looks more grey than blue. However, the also comes in a grey hue too, apart from pink and orange. The dual-toned back panel adds to the looks.

The sports a unibody design, and that is why, the SIM tray is placed on the left edge of the phone. Another interesting thing about the phone is that it features four microphones, one primary and three more, for improved noise cancellation. The phone gets a USB type-C port instead of a regular micro-USB, which means you don’t need to worry about the way you insert the cable, thanks to the reversible connector.

The rest of the port placement is pretty standard. One thing we must mention is that the navigation keys come as part of the software, despite the thick horizontal bezels, and extra real estate on the body. With its large 5.5-inch display and the boxy design, the phone is a tough play when it comes to one-hand usage. The wasted space on the fascia only adds to the discomfort. But the is an extremely lightweight smartphone…we’ll give that to it, and it’s somewhat of a relief. While you still won’t be able to use it with a single hand, it’s at least easy to handle. Overall, the looks like something that might turn heads if you get it in the not-so-usual blue or orange hues.

Up front, you get a full HD super AMOLED display on the which looks decently sharp. The colours did look vibrant, but on the cooler side. The touch response was decent as well. The screen brightness, however, wasn’t adequate outdoors, and being reflective, the display of the Smartron may not please you in bright sunlight. The viewing angles were just about average.

Under the hood, the hides a Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 v2.1 SoC. This chip is said to have addressed the heating issues on the earlier SD 810 chip, but we felt the got a little warm after we were done playing with it for a short period of time. The processing is aided by 4GB of RAM, which is ample for you to multitask easily. Our short session was mostly snappy, but there sure were minor jitters while opening and exiting applications.

In terms of storage, you get 64GB, out of which approximately 54GB is usable, which is pretty impressive. On top of that, Smartron is offering unlimited storage on, so the users never run out of memory on their t.phones. For those who do not plan on using the cloud storage all that much, the storage can be expanded using a microSD card of up to 128GB capacity.

Software wise, you get Android Lollipop, and an interface which is mostly stock… always a plus. The phone does not ship with any bloatware. All you get is all apps from Google, and tron.x, which is the company’s own IoT ecosystem.

The camera on the back is rated at 13 megapixels and comes assisted by a dual-tone LED flash. Up front, you find a 4UP camera for selfies.

The camera UI is amazingly minimal. You do not find any preset shooting modes like most of the camera apps offer these days. A toggle above the virtual shutter key lets you access the HDR mode, the front camera key, and a bunch of other usual camera settings.

We tried clicking a picture with a the camera and the shutter speed was average. The primary shooter captured decent amount of detail and colours, however there was noticeable lag when we tried to view the picture, and it took a good 2-3 seconds for the picture to load and zoom. However, we must emphasise that it’s not our final take, and we’ll be testing the snappers in different shooting conditions to give out the verdict.

The is backed by a 3,000mAh battery, which sounds beefy enough to make the phone last a day. The phone supports Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 2.0 tech and is claimed to be able to charge from zero to 60 percent in less than 30 minutes.

The Smartron is a dual-SIM device and accepts one nano-SIM and a micro-SIM. The rest of the connectivity options are standard.

At precisely Rs 22,999, the phone does not directly compete with any smartphone, however, for a few grands less you can find the Moto X Style (review), which recently got a price cut. And if you go slightly higher, there’s the option of the newly-launched Coolpad Max (first impressions), and Xiaomi Mi 5 (review). The Smartron has an edge over its the X Style and the Mi 5, with its 64GB built-in storage. The Coolpad Max offer the same storage, and has some of its own interesting features, like the ability to run two WhatsApp, Facebook or other social networking account. The Mi 5 and the Coolpad Max also offer fingerprint readers, something the lacks. How tough of a rival is the Smartron, and does it offer good value for money, we’ll let you know in our full review, which will be out in no time, so stay tuned.

Photos by Vijay Raj

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