The camera featured on the A100 is a 5 megapixel shooter with an LED flash. It does not have an autofocus on a hardware level, but this is managed by the camera driver automatically. The camera tests surprisingly gave us above-average results. The image quality is better than any Chinese handset with a 5 MP camera. Outdoor shoots were great with a good balance of colours and sharpness. The indoor shoots were a bit disappointing as the images were grainy and dark because of low light. The flash was not as effective as we expected. But looking at the overall quality of the images we shot, the camera definitely performs better than average. The front camera is 0.3 megapixel and is good enough for video calls and such.
Outdoor shoots are good
We did find a big flaw with the camera and it seems to be a software fault with either the camera’s drivers or the operating system itself. We found that every image and video we shot from the rear camera was actually saved upside down. We figured this out only after we actually transferred and viewed the images and videos on a desktop PC. Images and videos from the front camera were rotated by 90 degrees to the right. Every image or video you shoot would have to be rotated afterwards. Doing this for images would be just a right-click away, but videos would be a pain. We hope Micromax considers this flaw and releases a patch to rectify this problem at the earliest, else this will be a nightmare for its own service centres. We did consider this to be a possible factory defect and asked Micromax to send in another piece to confirm whether the issue is with this handset or all of the A100s. At the time of uploading this article, the replacement piece had not reached us but we are soon to get it and shall update you after testing the other piece. Watch out this space for the update within a few days.
Update - 14-Sept-2012: We did get a fresh piece from Micromax and performed the camera test to confirm the flaw. The problem persists and the images and videos shot by the camera are upside down and rotated right respectively.
Indoor shoots are not as impressive
A decently high-capacity battery of 2000 mAh is supplied with the A100. We did not like the idea of the missing LED indication for the battery charging and hence, you won’t know if the phone is being charged or if it has charged completely. You will need to depress the power button to check if the battery has been charged completely.
We tried running our usual tests on the phone to gauge the battery life, but failed to do so because the phone did not manage to keep the video loop test running. The video would randomly stop playing after anywhere between 5–15 minutes of playback. We think this could again be a problem with the operating system or the internal drivers, as YouTube videos played perfectly fine. We hope this issue too is addressed soon by Micromax. We used the phone as anyone would on an average day-to-day basis: calls, SMS, Internet and music. We managed to get this phone running on a single full charge for at least 18 hours at a stretch before finally plugging in the charger. The company claims the phone can give you a talk time of around 5 hours while it can remain on standby for at least 180 hours. Speaking about battery life, we assume smartphones are often charged at office and at home where a charger is available. This also involves charging during data transfers, which keeps the battery life prolonged. It is only when you are outdoors for a longer stretch of time when the battery life will actually be reduced. Do note that if you are constantly travelling, the battery life is constantly being reduced due to varying distances between the cell tower and the phone, and also due to the ambient lighting conditions which adjust the display brightness.
Considering the phone has a 1GHz processor with an Adreno 200 GPU and a large 5-inch display, and selling at a sweet price of Rs 9,900 (MOP), the A100 is an excellent buy. The crisp and large display is good for enjoying videos while on the move, the audio quality of the headphones is decent, the camera quality is above average and the user interface is pretty smooth. If you are to consider this phone and are willing to ignore the camera flaw, we definitely recommend this phone. This is one of the cheapest, branded Android-based handset with the largest screen on the market available for a price below the Rs 10,000 range at this stage. The handset has very good aesthetics and definitely does not look cheap or bulky.
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