We’ve sliced and diced two of the hottest handsets of February and now that we’ve finally reviewed them both, it’s time to declare a winner once and for all. The battle in question is between the Micromax Canvas HD A116 and the Samsung Galaxy Grand Duos. After taking a poll, hearing what you have to say and even pitting both the handsets in an "on-paper" grudge match, the Micromax Canvas HD has always managed to come out as the crowd favourite. We all love rooting for the underdog and this time, it seems like the underdog has brought its A-game to the table—something that Samsung (or anyone for that matter)did not anticipate. Let’s walk through all the important aspects of a smartphone and see which handset ends up as the definitive winner.
Design and build
This is a completely subjective area and all things considered, we would give Samsung the upper hand. Both handsets make heavy use of plastic for the chassis, but we found the fit and finish of the Grand to be a bit better than the Canvas HD. We also liked the fact that it’s a bit thinner than the Canvas HD. Both handsets have a 5-inch display, but the Galaxy Grand is wider whereas the Canvas HD is longer, so it sits comfortably in most hands. Even though the Grand may score a point in this segment, we would just like to add that the Canvas HD is a huge improvement over the A110 and does not feel like a typical budget handset, so props to Micromax on that.
Has an edge in the design and build department
The Canvas HD does however score a big point for the display. At 5-inches, having a 720p display is the bare minimum and we feel this is one area that’s going to hit the Grand duos really hard. If Micromax can pack in a 1280 x 720 IPS display on a phone that costs almost Rs. 6,000 less, what’s Samsung’s excuse? We didn’t expect an AMOLED HD display at this price, but at least don’t skimp on the resolution. Miraculously, the Grand Duos does not have a terrible display despite the skimpy WVGA resolution. However, it’s nowhere near as crisp and sharp as the Canvas HD.
Both the handsets have an extremely smooth UI thanks to Project Butter from Jelly Bean. The Canvas HD sticks closely to the stock look and feel of Android, whereas Samsung applies their own touch (wiz). In terms of functionality, we have to give it up to Samsung once again as childish as it may seem, TouchWiz does offer added feature and options like deeper social media integration and sharing options for many of the stock apps. This makes it much easier to share content without having to open individual apps directly. Plus, you get added features like split-screen view, various gestures support and much more.
In terms of raw horsepower, there’s simply no comparison as the Canvas HD simply blows everything in its price range, and slightly above, out the water. The four cores and powerful GPU easily pull through any heavy duty tasks with ease. That’s not to say the Galaxy Grand is a slouch. With 1GB of RAM on both handsets, it’s smooth sailing for most routine tasks. The Canvas HD does give some added assurance of extra power as and when you need it, which is always nice.
No amount of TouchWiz can make up for lack of resolution
Media capability is quite similar as well, as both handsets support popular codecs like FLAC and MKV and will decode 1080p video with ease. Audio quality is good out-of-the-box for the Galaxy Grand, whereas the Canvas HD will need some tweaking before it sounds good. With a decent pair of IEMs though, you’d be hard pressed to tell the difference with players like Poweramp. The Galaxy Grand Duos offers double the onboard storage (8GB) as compared to the Canvas and also has support for up to 64GB microSD card instead of 32GB on the Canvas HD.
The Galaxy Grand Duos trumps the Canvas HD by offering quad-band GSM support and tri-band 3G support. Dual-band Wi-Fi and GLONASS are the other two features lacking in the Canvas HD. Both handsets lack NFC, which still has to be put to better use, so it’s not something you’ll miss dearly. Both handsets have dual-SIM support along with dual-standby.
Both handsets have an 8MP snapper and have similar options for tweaking your photos as well. As far as image quality goes, both are once again very similar as we did not find many huge differences when it comes to level of detail. The Galaxy Grand is faster when it comes to focusing on an image and is able to capture candid shots better as it’s quicker in that respect. The Canvas HD makes up for that by offering burst mode. Harnessing the power of the SoC, this function works surprisingly well. Dare we say, better than Samsung’s implementation on the S III! The burst photos are mostly blur free and with good focus and colour. Both also feature 1080p video recording.
Raising the bar for budget smartphones
With similar capacity batteries in both handsets, the Canvas HD is only slightly behind the Galaxy Grand, despite having a quad-core SoC versus a dual-core. This could be due to the smaller 28nm fabrication that makes the MediaTek SoC more efficient. Both handsets will easily get you through an entire day without having to run for a charger.
Like all buying decisions, price is always the deciding factor and here, Micromax is ahead by a mile. With a price difference of nearly Rs.6,000, which is a lot, the Canvas HD A116 makes a much better purchase overall. It has a denser and better looking display, scores well in terms of build and finish, has the latest Android flavour, very good multimedia capabilities, good front and rear camera, powerful processor and, to top it all off, has very decent battery life. The only major things going against the Canvas HD are the lack of timely updates (if any) and the fact that you can’t use it anywhere in the world if you travel a lot. Samsung takes care of these shortcomings in the Grand Duos, but we feel the premium is not worth paying since the rest of the feature simply don’t match and are rather inferior to the Canvas HD. Also, once we start getting custom ROMs from the good folks at XDA, it’s not going to be so much of a problem.
If you are still scratching your head about which one to pick, we recommend the Canvas HD over the Galaxy Grand.