09 November 2014

New Phone! :-)

My Nokia had been showing it's age lately and so it was overdue to be replaced by a better device. After much deliberation and reading numerous reviews I finally bought a new phone. It's a Micromax Canvas A1 with Android One (Magnetic Black)It's not only my first Android, but also my first touch-screen phone. I love it.  
It's a definite upgrade from the old Nokia: I'm especially impressed by the design of android user interface. Not to take anything away from Nokia, which made brilliant devices, but this is surely a breath of fresh air, to me. BTW, if you think this is going to be an in-depth review of the phone, I'm sorry to disappoint you: I'm only going to describe some of my likes and dislikes about the phone. If you find any of it helpful, you're most welcome. Now, on with the rest of the review.
This phone is as close to a true google phone as it it gets: the hardware is designed by Google, the android OS is as pure as it comes, and both hardware and software have been optimized to work with each other. It's a big reason I bought an Android One phone. So if you are a Google fanboy like me, look no further, especially if you are on a budget. That said, the phone has too many Google apps that will try to use tons of data: location information, news and weather, playstore, voice commands, photos, gmail, and then updates for the apps themselves. All this need to stay online will drain both your battery and your data usage. Be careful to turn them off if you don't need them. I did and have been happy ever since.

The Android One Experience
Android One was launched by Google with a lot of optimism, and I think they are onto something here. This is a phone by Google: a company that is well respected for its robust and well-engineered products, and the phone costs you just 6.5K. It's a dual-sim device, has a dual camera with flash, a very respectable screen, runs on a quad-core processor, and runs a software package supplied entirely by Google. Not bad for my money! Sure, you could get some Chinese stuff for far cheaper and better sounding specs, but they are not Google, or Android One. :-) I wouldn't touch them. 
Specs aside, regular android users may not be able to tell the difference from other android phones. This is expected. 
The phone truly is very responsive to touch, the camera responds very quickly, has enough features for me to explore and use, the user-interface is just lovely (like almost all Android phones), and the open and close times between apps is surprisingly good. Besides that all you have to do install apps suited to your needs and you are set. All in all, very hard to beat at this price range. Kudos to Google! And yes, the battery lasts a day comfortably for most users, like me. That's probably all you need (unless your usage is significantly more than average). Most phones out there today last more or less the same on a full charge, so splitting hairs over exactly how long the battery lasts is pointless.

What I like in my new phone
Here's are some of the things that I'm really digging in my new device. But they are not specific to this phone; I only discovered them now after my massive upgrade from the E63.
The front cam is a plus as I can use it with Skype. The image quality is as expected for most phone cams, which is fair enough. The touch response is really good: I often barely finish landing my finger on the screen and the phone responds! 
One area/app that Google has really matured in is the voice commands. The engine is excellent at understanding voice inputs. I clearly remember a time when Google's voice input software was frustrating. It has definitely come a long way! So much so that I often use it to input text into whatsapp and sms, since I'm still coming to grips with the touch keypad. 'Nuff said.
Another delightful feature is Quickoffice. There is nothing else that comes close if you care to write or edit notes and documents on such a small device. Before I even opened Quickoffice I started looking for a small, simple app to take down notes. I didn't find anything to my liking. I then decided to give Quickoffice a try and was taken by it instantly: very intuitive, familiar, and beautiful, just like MS Word on my PC. The other apps I tried didn't even have undo/redo if I clumsily deleted a large chunk of text that was produced after 25 mins of hardwork. If you don't have Quickoffice on your phone, or haven't considered using it yet, I'd humbly suggest you give it a try. 

And I can't comment on ...
Gaming performance, as I'm not a gaming fan. Angry birds is good enough for me, so you get the idea.
HD movie playback, as I really can't watch entire movies or any video clips longer than a couple of minutes on such a tiny screen. Besides, I'm not so much of a resolution buff. To put that into perpective, I have a CRT TV at home and I find it adequate.
Camera 'clarity'. Don't get me started on this one. All I can say is that if you don't like the photos that your phone produces, then the ones produced by a digicam or even a DSLR in your hands suck just as much. But you probably don't see it that way, and I don't have the patience to elborate further. Learn your camera before you complain.
Music capability. I'm no audiophile, but I can tell good audio quality from bad reliably enough. This phone's audio quality is good enough for my taste. But you might know better than me, so I'll reserve any claims here.

That's it, folks! I appreciate your time and patience to read my posts. Really. So, Thankyou!


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