Micromax has been on a roll of late as far as product launches are concerned. After carving a niche for itself in the low end smartphone segment, the company has now set its sights a bit higher and is looking at the relatively high end. And spearheading its endeavour in this range is the feature packed, AMOLED screen toting Micromax A90.
Micromax has gone with a minimalistic design for the A90 which has nothing unusual, yet is appealing.
On first look, the design of the device bears resemblance to Samsung’s Galaxy SII. The front panel is dominated by the 4.3-inch Gorilla Glass AMOLED display, with no hardware keys below it. It looks good, although we think the space below the screen could have been utilized instead of being left blank. On the right side, there is a power/unlock key and the left contains the volume rocker keys while on the top are charging and audio port. The textured back panel houses an 8.0-megapixel camera with flash, and adds a bit of extra grip to the device.
Hardware: Charged up
Micromax has given the device some very impressive specifications. The A90 is powered by a 1 GHz MediaTek MT675 processor combined with a PowerVR SGX 531 GPU and 512 MB RAM. To store files and application data, the A90 carries 4 GB internal memory, 2 GB of which is available to the user and can be expanded up to 32 GB through microSD card. The phone supports dual SIMs (GSM+GSM), although it can only support one 3G SIM. The microSD card and the SIM A are placed with the battery and are therefore not hot swappable, while SIM B is placed on the other side so one can pull it out without switching off the device.
Software: Acceptably recent
Some might say that with Jelly Bean being released, the fact that the A90 runs on Ice Cream Sandwich is a letdown. However, we really do not mind a smoothly running ICS phone, and the A90 certainly is that. The unlock screen comes with two options either to unlock the screen or directly head to the camera of the device. The notification bar will notify you about Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, data connectivity, brightness, timeout, auto rotation, airplane mode and various user profiles like – general, silent, etc. The app panel is spread across five panes (which can increase if you download more apps) and you can simply swipe sideways to navigate through them. Apart from the usual e-mail support and Google apps, Micromax has also thrown in a number of preloaded apps like M! Buddy, TOI, WhatsApp, YouTube, Yahoo! Cricket and Finance; as well as some games like Skyward Run and Sampo Lock.
Multimedia: Steady stuff
The 8.0 megapixel camera clicks decent images in well-lit conditions, although we did get some noise on the edges. We also would have liked a hardware key for camera as one has to rely on the soft key on the screen to click images. The device also includes a front 0.3 megapixel camera. The video recording is good enough with 720p clarity. The phone comes with voice assistance (AISHA) which works good enough. All in all, we found both video and still image quality acceptable at this price point. We played some of our favourite videos on the A90 in HD quality and it played without any hassle. We also found the sound quality of the phone acceptable in both loudspeaker and headphone mode.
User Experience: It grows on you
The Micromax A90 packs a lot of punch. And even gives you a high end device experience when it comes to the display. The display is very much visible under the Sun and we had no problems working on it. The touch experience was also good and the device managed multitasking with ease, lagging only when we started piling on hefty apps. We can confidently say that high-end device users won’t have too many complaints about the A90 in terms of both performance and features. We tested it on quadrant and it scored 2624. We had heard of some complaints about signal reception in the device, but faced none of them in our review. The 1600 mAh battery claims to deliver around five hours of talktime and 174 hours of standby time, but we found ourselves having to charge the phone twice a day when using it extensively. All said and done, the brilliant AMOLED screen is easily the USP of the phone.