After having made hay for many years, Indian smartphone manufacturers seem to be feeling the heat in the value phones segment from their Chinese rivals. In fact, all the Chinese smartphone makers having been launching phones across segments which seem to offer more than what you have paid for. Suddenly, Indian companies seem to have lost the USP that made them the giants they are now. But they are beginning to counter this new Chinese onslaught, and the Micromax Canvas Hue looks like a start.
The Micromax Canvas Hue is a mid segment phone that aims to woo users who want to upgrade from a entry-level smartphone, but have limited budget. It’s price point puts itself in the range of the Moto G and that is not such a comfortable place to be in. The phone looks a bit, or a bit too much, like the iPhone 5 and by that logic the Samsung Galaxy Alpha and could be a good reason why some people pick up this phone.
The first thing that you will notice about this phone is its design. The build quality is good with a metal band running around the frame. It is also slim in comparison to most other phones in this price range. In fact, the phone looks better than the Xiaomi Mi 4, which for me seems like a hybrid of the iPhone 5S and the iPhone 3G. The other good feature is the HD AMOLED screen, which is among the best at this price point. It works well even in bright sunlight and will please those who like to consume a lot of video.
Then there is the 3000 mAh battery which will easily last you a day, given that the phone does not have a lot of power hogging hardware. Plus, the company is promising 30 days of power backup. The camera is decent, but short of being called good. Photos shot in bright sunlight are good, while in low light there is a very powerful flash to make the photos passable. But you will not complain about this camera. Micromax has made sure of that. The overall performance is good. But don’t expect wonders out of a 13 GHz processor. The pre-loaded games work smoothly on the phone and multi-tasking is easy too.
Though an Android KitKat phone, the Hue does not run stock Android. In fact, the tweaked user interface does not give you the option of an app tray and everything goes into the home screens. Nothing to fret about, given that you have just 8 GB of storage and won’t be downloading a whole lot of apps. But it will be an effort keeping the home screen clutter free and finding apps when you need them. However, this means you also get a Swiftkey powered keyboard that is better than the stock Android version.
The phone has too many pre-loaded apps for my liking. I frankly think smartphone users these days are intelligent enough to know what they need. Unless you have been able to integrate an app into the user interface what is the point of packing into a folder on the phone, only to be deleted the first time the phone is used. So while the phone offers you just over 4.5 GB of free storage, a few hundred MB can be freed up by getting rid of these apps.
But for me the biggest problem is that this phone does not give the 4G option. There is still no 4G in most Indian cities, but buyers in this range are better-off future-proofing themselves.
Give it to me straight: Buy or don’t buy? My answer: Tough one. If you can afford to push up a bit, the Moto G is still a better option. Even in this range, there are a lot of options that will give you same features like the Yu Yureka and Lenovo A6000, both being 4G phones. Your call.
* Display: 5-inch AMOLED display
* Processor: Mediatek MT6582 Quad-core 1.3 GHz processor
* Operating system: Android KitKat 4.4.2
* Memory & storage: 1 GB RAM, 8 GB internal storage expandable up to 32 GB
* Camera: 8 MP (rear); 2 MP front camera
* Battery: Li-Ion 3000 mAh battery
** Estimated street price: R10,999