Micromax, the brand that has seen the big ups and then, the biggest of the downs in the smartphone market in India. At one time, it was the “Indian” tag that gave it the upper hand over the others, but later, the market changed in a way that consumers were happy with the value-for-money handsets irrespective of the brand they are getting it from. One would blame Micromax for its own recent debacle, with uninspiring offerings, not a satisfactory after-sales service, and less of innovation that users started to expect.
But, Micromax is back, with a statement. That is what they would want to tell, at least, with this latest smartphone – the Micromax Dual 5. The phone, in fact, is unlike how Micromax phones used to be and it is a welcome change. And let me be frank here, I haven’t felt as satisfied using a Micromax smartphone, as I have been with this. It does come with a price tag that might seem unrealistic to some, but it is what the company wants to show, that “Premium” is here.
The Dual 5 has it all. Big numbers up there, to begin with, but the big one here is that the numbers are well backed up with the much-need performance. Not the biggest of the chipsets, but one that cannot be called a mediocre one. What did Micromax not offer here? Let’s get on with the review to see what I feel about the Micromax Dual 5 after using it for a good amount of time. I’ll break it down here, and you’ll see what is good, what is decent, and what could’ve been better.
- The Good – Design, Camera, and the Security
- The Decent – Battery, Display, and Speaker
- The Bad – OS, will there be updates?
This is not the Micromax we’ve seen, ever. Starting with the design, the phone has that premium look, and it is equally good to hold as well. A curvy back that has the slimmest points at the sides, and having chamfered edges all around, the thick antenna lines towards the top and bottom cutting the metal backplate and a symmetrical design language is what makes you feel you are holding a premium device in the hand.
The back has the dual-lens camera setup and they both have the same lens and sensor, the size is identical. Vertically arranged are these two cameras along with the Dual-LED flash and the fingerprint sensor. The bottom houses two grills, of which, only one has the speaker housed in, and the other is to blend into the design. The front shows a 13-megapixel camera on the top, the set of sensors, and a soft flash on the other side of the earpiece, and it is seen only when activated.
The front of the Dual 5 also has the set of navigation buttons that should’ve been backlit, but they aren’t. A USB Type-C port is given at the bottom of the device, and Micromax has included an extra physical button on the left frame. This button can be set to perform certain functions that you want it to do.
The 13-megapixel dual lens camera setup is what drew all my attention here. I am all sold for cameras and the recent phones from Huawei and then the Google Pixel made me a bigger critic of every other smartphone camera that I tried. Well, at the same time, I won’t just like the camera for what it has, but rather would want to like it for what it is able to capture. A quick run through the specs would tell you that the Micromax Dual 5 has two 13MP Sony sensors with F/1.8 aperture and Phase detection autofocus. Now, how well does that camera capture photos? Even if the sensors and the entire setup is impressive, is the phone able to process the pictures well?
Maybe, this is the time to say that “Hey, because it is a Micromax phone, it won’t be able to take good photos”, finally. The camera does a brilliant job, and on the bigger note, it does it so well in low light conditions. Not always would you want to have the two cameras work together in blurring the background. The two sensors here are similar to how it was on the Huawei’s flagship P9, a color sensor, and a monochrome one, with one recording the colors and other working at getting the best details. Several photos that I took, at different conditions and with different light sources around, had a very good color detail and enough exposure to call it almost the replication of what we are seeing with the eye.
The camera is capable of taking slow-motion videos, 4K videos, and even 3D videos (if someone actually is still planning to do that), and for the photos, the Dual mode has two options – Blurry, and Night. The camera app also has the PRO mode offering the users with a complete control of almost all the important factors like White Balance, ISO, Shutter Speed, Exposure Value, Focus, Saturation, and Contrast. What else can you do? Slow-shutter photos (long-trail as we call it), Macro shots when you want to take a close-up shot of something as small as an insect, and the Black and White mode would take advantage of the secondary sensor to take black and white pictures without having to get any help from the software.
If what I am saying seems like an exaggeration, you may take a look at the sample shots to see how well they are shot. Just to note, I don’t spend time in setting things up for the camera to do better, and these are just the standard shots taken with no manual control or change in setting (except when I took a few Macro shots).
At the launch event, it was more about the security than anything else. Micromax went on to say that the Micromax Dual 5 could be one of the most secure phones you will see today. Challenging Blackberry, eh? But, it was quite a challenge and what the phone has for security is quite a lot. Secure Vault taking care of the important data, not letting a hacker access those important files that you stored here, Anti-theft taking care of things in such a way that the person who steals it cannot even turn the phone off if the SIM card is taken off. We’ve rather explained them in detail, in case you are one who worries a lot about the data on your phone.
In short, with the number of security features offered, it wasn’t a shot hit off-target but another way of getting the latest secure features to the OS is by sending regular updates in conjunction with Google for the Android OS. That takes me to something that is the only worry about the phone – Software updates. The Micromax Dual 5 runs Android Marshmallow OS. It sure has a much better UI than what was always offered from the brand, but what annoys me here is that the company hasn’t thought about launching the phone with the latest OS, and this is the version that was released back in 2015. Sure, there are much more options than you see on other phones, a lot more gesture features, security suites, and what not. But, if Micromax fails to promise regular software and security updates, I just hope they see a good number of takers for the Dual 5.
With the hardware, at least, Micromax has hit the nail on the head. The Dual 5 has a good Snapdragon 652 chipset with its Adreno 510 graphics card that is known to be good for gaming. The phone also has 4GB of RAM and a whooping 128GB storage. No variants, so every phone has enough storage for the user to not worry about having an extra storage card or so. But, will it be good enough against the likes of Snapdragon 820, 821 or the premium chipset range? I’ve seen games like Modern Combat 5 being run without a hiccup, and it was on Asphalt 8 where I noticed minor lags, which is well expected, to be frank.
For the regular usage, the Micromax Dual 5 has enough power that is required to run it well without a problem, even while multitasking or browsing the web heavily. But, I am guessing Micromax will have to a few who would want to know why they didn’t go with one of the latest best flagship chip when everything else is so powerful in the phone.
For the odd 10-11 days of use, I’ve found the battery to be doing quite well. A 3200 mAh battery is able to give over a day’s use with ease, even with connectivity during over half of the time. There’s also support for Quick Charge 3.0 technology, and we haven’t been given the entire box package, so it is hard to say if there will be a supported charger provided to the customers. Even if it is a single speaker on the bottom of the phone, it is a loud affair.
Did Micromax find the right ingredients this time to make the perfect dish? Can anything go wrong here with what Micromax has launched today? The pricing, well, is what denotes as the biggest factor for one to consider while choosing the smartphone they want to get. With the price tag of Rs. 24999, it isn’t something that you’d want to ignore. Not just the specs but what is actually offered in terms of performance is good. Of course it competes with the likes of OnePlus 3, but it is better with the camera, for sure, and with the security as well.
Micromax has sure made a great phone, the Dual 5 with what is needed to make it a powerful, handsome, and a well-performing phone. But, Micromax has lost a big ground in the recent time and it will be this phone that should help them gain the trust people have lost in them not just because of the phones but also because of what happens next – the after-sales service.