In spite of all the scorn poured out on them initially, Phablets are the rage in celltown with all manufacturers trying to grab a slice of the market. The big screen smartphone segment is growing in the country with a number of launches from both domestic and multinational manufacturers. And one of the newest to leap into the phablet fray is Micromax’s Canvas 2.
The Canvas 2 is sleek when it comes to its build quality and size unlike some of its higher profile counterparts. We would have liked a smaller bezel though – there just seems to be some space wasted on the front of the device. There are three touch keys given on the front, placed beneath the 5.0-inch display, as in many Android devices. There is a micro-USB port on top of the device along with a 3.5 mm jack, a volume rocker on the left side and a power button on the right side. There is a front facing 0.3-megapixel camera and an 8.0- megapixel camera with dual LED flash on the back - and as in most phablets, no camera button. All in all, this is a very good looking device, although the camera does tend to protrude from the back.
The Canvas 2 comes with a 1 GHz dual core processor and 512 MB RAM, which is a huge surprise at this price point. The large 5.0-inch IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen incorporates 16M colors and has a 480 x 854 resolution, which is acceptable for this price point. The device is equipped with dual SIM (GSM+GSM) capability, and also supports 3G, Wi-Fi, GPRS, USB 2.0 and Bluetooth. It comes with a removable 2,000 mAh Li-Ion battery, and 2.5 MB onboard storage, which can be expanded to 32 GB via microSD card.
The device runs on Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) and has a basic Android ICS user interface (UI), offering all default customizable options. It comes with several pre-installed applications, including Mi-zone and Mi Store that are developed by Micromax itself. Mi Store offers selected applications to the user, who also have the option of heading right ahead to Google Play for trying out even more apps. Also on board are trial versions of games like Cricket Fever and Fruit Devil. Web browsing on the device was very good, courtesy the large and rich display.
The Canvas 2 scores heavily in the multimedia department. The sound quality of the device was extremely good both on speaker and earplugs. The music player features a five-band equalizer along with bass boost, 3D effect and reverb, that enhance the overall music experience. The bundled earphones are also of very good quality and offer high-bass for a better music experience. For videos, the device comes with a default video player that supports all high-definition (HD) videos, and delivered a decent experience. On the camera front, the 8.0-megapixel autofocus camera clicks satisfactory images and the dual LED flash and face-detection will be welcomed by mobile photography enthusiasts, although the dual LED did not deliver the kind of performance we expected in low light conditions. The camera offers various shooting modes, including panorama (which stitches nine shots together) and a 3D-like image feature, which adds depth to a photograph. Video quality too is satisfactory and comes with a number of effects and modes.
Our experience with the Canvas 2 was more than satisfactory. While the big screen made watching videos and browsing the Web a pleasant experience, the dual core processor made most of the games run smoothly. And the 2,000 mAh battery lasted a day of hefty use with a degree of comfort. The quadrant score of the device stands at 2,803, ahead of many high-end devices from HTC and Samsung. Yes, Micromax has pulled a rabbit out of its phablet bag!
In our opinion, the device is a good choice for all those seeking a large screen smartphone on a tight budget, and definitely outperforms and even out-specs a number of offerings from bigger brands in the sub-Rs 12,000 category. With its good display and dual core processor, the Canvas 2 seems to be the best blend of budget and performance that we have seen in the phablet category. One can also consider the Micromax A100, which boasts a 5.0-inch display and is available for Rs. 9,800.