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Micromax Canvas Nitro review: The comeback phone?


Micromax Canvas Nitro review: The comeback phone?
Overall Rating: 3.5/5


Micromax Canvas Nitro (A310) is the company's attempt to retain its grip on a segment that it once ruled. The first phones of the Canvas series ignited the idea of offering phones that boast of good hardware specifications at a budget price. 

The entry of new players like Xiaomi, ZTE, Motorola, Xolo and Asus has widened the segment even further. It certainly means there's more choice for the consumer and competition for device makers. With the Canvas Nitro, Micromax claims it is democratizing technology, bringing high-end features to budget phone users. We try to find out if the Canvas Nitro is a better buy compared to other budget phones, in our review. 

Build & design 

Micromax Canvas Nitro looks better than the company's previous budget offerings, with its all black, plastic front panel and rounded corners. 

The front panel is dominated by a 5-inch 720p display. 

The three capacitive touch buttons for navigation are placed below the display while the 5MP front camera is placed above it. Interestingly, the phone looks very similar to the recently launched ZTE V5, looking at just the front panel. 

 

The right edge of the phone has a power key while the left edge features the volume rocker. The keys are made of white coloured plastic and offer good tactile feedback. The 3.5mm headset jack sits at the top while the micro-USB port is placed at the bottom. 

The phone doesn't feature any tacky chrome grills or frame and the back cover sports a soft leather finish. The back features the 13MP camera and an LED flash, along with the Micromax logo. The speaker outlet is also located at the back. 

Removing the back cover is easy thanks to a small opening at the right edge. The cover hides a 2500mAh removable battery, two micro-sim card slots and a slot for the microSD card. 

 

We found the fit and finish to be really good and there were no squeaks or wobbles. However, we're not really fans of the faux-leather back. 

Display 

The phone has a 5-inch HD display (720x1280p) and is good to look at. Graphics and text appear sharp and viewing angles were pretty good. Sunlight legibility was also satisfactory. Touch sensitivity was also very good with the phone being able to register the slightest of touch strokes. 

Software
The Canvas Nitro runs Android 4.4 KitKat, the latest iteration of the OS and Micromax has included a number of new software features including 'Quick Look' - an HTC BlinkFeed-like home screen feed that displays news, weather and social updates, a camera widget for quick access to different camera modes and enhanced lock screen notifications. 

The Quick Look feed lets you select topics of your interest and populates content from select websites on that basis. You can't select individual publications unlike HTC's BlinkFeed. The reader view is also not as attractive as that of BlinkFeed and has a strange blue tint. It does let you share stories though. 

Quick Look also allows you to access your Twitter and Facebook feeds and displays the time and weather.

 

The smartphone also offers 'Smart Alerts' that offer a colour coded band for different notifications (including for SMS, calls, Facebook, Gmail, Whatsapp and Hangouts) on the lock screen. We found the feature to be useful. The software also supports on screen finger gestures that can be enabled by long pressing on the home screen and tapping on the Gestures button. you can program different gestures to initiate different actions. For instance, a two finger flick can open the messaging app. The gestures feature worked as promised. 

The phone software also features some preloaded apps including BookMyShow, Clean Master Getit and Where's My Water. Unfortunately, these can not be uninstalled from the phone. 

Camera
Micromax Canvas Nitro sports a 13MP rear camera with LED flash and a 5MP front-facing camera. 

The big sensor size doesn't really translate into great camera performance. The phone takes decent images in day light but the default white balance was a bit off resulting in some pictures appearing as if a sepia filter has been applied.

 

Colour reproduction was accurate though the level of detail was certainly not very high. 

Pictures taken in low light and dark conditions did not turn out well. These pictures were noisy and lacked detail.

 

The 5MP front camera is good for video chats and casual selfies. 

Performance
Micromax Canvas Nitro is powered by a 1.7GHz Mediatek MT6592 octa-core processor, along with 2GB RAM. Thanks to all the power under the hood, the phone performs smoothly in day to day operation. 

We did not notice any lag whatsoever while navigating through the phone's menu, launching apps, browsing websites, scrolling inside apps like Twitter and Facebook, and switching between apps. 

In synthetic benchmarks, the phone scored 29,882 in Antutu, 13,266 in Quadrant, 1938 in Geekbench 3(Multi-core) and 60.6 in Nenamark 2 benchmark tests. Some of these benchmark scores are slightly less than the Xiaomi Mi 3's but are considerably higher than the new Moto G's scores. 

But we'd not recommend a phone based solely on benchmarks as real world performance is different, at times. 

The phone comes with 8GB storage out of which 5.68GB is available to the user, and also sports a microSD card slot to store more content. 

The Canvas Nitro has a 2,500mAh battery and lasted us a full-day with mixed to heavy use including about one to two hours of making calls, playing games, clicking some pictures, listening to music and browsing the web. 

The phone offers decent call quality and signal reception. It was able to lock to GPS without any hiccups. 

It supports most popular video formats and plays full-HD videos without hiccups. 

The external speaker on the phone offers loud sound output but there's some distortion at high volume levels. However, the sound gets muffled when the phone lies on its back, which is a problem with all such designs that place speakers at the back. 

Gaming 

We were able to play games like Temple Run 2, Subway Surfers, and Asphalt 8 without encountering frame drops or freezes. 

Verdict
At Rs 12,990, Micromax Canvas Nitro is without doubt a good budget offering. However, the phone's camera is underwhelming. We found the new Moto G's camera to be better than that of the Nitro. 

To us, the faux leather back also doesn't feel as good as the Moto G's soft, matte finish back. 

While we do like Micromax's new software tweaks (which are essentially inspired from the likes of HTC), we're not too sure if the phone will receive timely software updates. The new Moto G, on the other hand comes with a no-frills, close to stock Android software and the promise of timely updates (including the forthcoming Android L). 

If you're looking for a budget phone that covers all bases, we'd recommend the new Moto G over Canvas Nitro. Having said that the Nitro offers slightly better performance.
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