We all saw the Dell Streak fail in the market because of the large 5-inch display. Users were not very impressed with the large size; it was meant to be a cross between a tablet and a phone but proved to be too bulky for convenient usage. However, recently, large screen smartphones are in demand again. The reason: more viewing area for essential apps, such as Internet browsing, emails, entertainment and others. Large screen phones have been hitting the market with manufacturers such as Samsung, Sony, LG and a few others successfully building similar mammoths. We have seen a number of such devices such as the Samsung Galaxy Note, LG Optimus Vu, HTC One X and a few more. The iBall Andi 5c is a cheaper option, but even then are these phones actually worth their price? A large display does not necessarily mean that the device is a good performer.
Video review of the Superfone A100 from Micromax
Design and build quality
The A100 is the latest from Micromax. The moment we opened the package, the phone reminded us of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, as the A100 closely resembles the latter. The only way one would make out that the phone is from Micromax is the sober looking Micromax logo on the rear panel. The A100 is slightly thicker at 11.9 mm and weighs around 167 grams. Though a tad thick, the phone does not feel bulky. The phone has good looks and earned full points for its aesthetics.
Looks similar to the Galaxy Nexus
The A100 has a superb look and a sturdy build quality. The entire front face is highly glossy and mishandling the phone could lead to bad scratches and shabby looking dents. The back panel is no different—though it sports a good matte finished exterior, the curved back can get scratched easily if not kept on a flat, clean surface. The front face has absolutely no buttons, either capacitive or physical. The Home, Menu, Search and Back buttons are all on-screen (similar to a tablet interface) as part of the operating system interface. This may be considered a good feature as the entire phone looks like a display panel and you get a larger display area with no distracting button backlights especially when watching a video. But third party ROM developers will have to make sure these buttons are included in the ROM itself. The front also features a VGA camera for video chatting, a speaker for voice calls and a few usual sensors such as light and proximity. The right side has the power button while the left features the volume rocker. The top and bottom feature the audio jack and microUSB connection respectively. Microphone grills, one each on the top and the bottom, are featured for noise cancellation and voice calls respectively. The rear panel sports the 5 megapixel camera, an LED flash and a speaker.
5MP camera with LED flash
Features and performance
We did think this smartphone would sport a dual core processor as the recent trend is towards phones with dual core and quad core processors. But sadly, we found it to be a single core ARM v7 processor clocked at 1GHz. It also uses an Adreno 200 GPU and the RAM supplied is just 512MB. The internal storage is said to be 4GB, but we found the capacity is to be shared between the ROM, app storage and user data. The storage can be expanded using an external microSD card. The microSD card is hot-swappable, which means you can conveniently remove or change it without having to switch off the phone and remove the battery.
11.9 mm thick
The display is large at 5 inches and sports a resolution of 480 x 782. It is a multi-touch capacitive screen and can simultaneously recognise up to 5 fingers or touch points. The display is regular and has a scratch guard pre-installed with the product out of the box. The display is not scratch-resistant and you need to be careful about the handling and while tugging it away in your pocket or bag. Images are pretty good and are clear, bright and crisp. The viewing angles are also very good and one can watch videos without any glitch from almost any angle. We witnessed a flaw with the light sensor though. When watching a movie, image or even whilst using the phone, the light sensor seems to be a bit too sensitive and changes the display brightness immediately. This is disturbing, especially while watching a movie or reading something on the Internet, as even a slightest tilt with a varying ambient light changes the brightness of the display. Keeping the display brightness to max did not help either. It could be an issue with the operating system itself.
We ran our usual benchmarks on the phone and were impressed—thanks to the built-in Adreno 200 GPU, the phone does not lag anywhere or falter too much. Linpack gave us results such as 39 MFLOPS in single thread and 37.5 MFLOPS in multi-thread tests. AnTuTu scored 2773 while Quadrant scored 2430. Matching this phone with the latest review of the iBall Andi 5c, we did find this phone to be faster than the latter in most of the tests, but also fell behind in a few of them. The overall experience with the phone was fantastic and we would definitely recommend this phone for those seeing an Android handset with a large-sized crisp display screen, good build quality and great looks.
About phone and Dual SIM settings
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