If there was a gadget that needed an introduction with something not to do with tech, it was this. The SRT Phone, or the srt.phone from Smartron.
Sir Donald Bradman was one name in the world of Cricket that was ahead of any other for decades. One man who Sir Bradman thought reminded him of himself in the past is Sachin Tendulkar. The nickname Master Blaster wasn’t just given without a reason. As he retired from International cricket, there was a wave of sadness that followed with words like “Cricket is dead to me if Sachin isn’t in it”. Some might just say it appreciating the fact that Sachin contributed to the game for more than two decades, but there are many die-hard fans who mean it literally and for whom, it was always “If Cricket is my religion, Sachin is my god”.
The legendary cricketer wasn’t one who would sit silent after his retirement. But the path he might take away from sports was not expected. One of the big news was in the field of technology when it was known that Sachin Tendulkar had invested in a Hyderabad-based IoT company called Smartron. Being a brand ambassador is one thing, investing is another and the latter makes it clear about the interest that person has on the business side of it.
After the first two products from Smartron were not so well received critically, the third one focuses on one particular aspect – Sachin Tendulkar! Right from the name to its marketing, it is Sachin Tendulkar. But fortunately, Smartron has not carried away with it and kept it sane and good on the interface part in the Smartron srt.phone, which is launched at a price of Rs. 12999 and Rs. 13999 for variants based on the storage.
Smartron has done quite well with the design even though it takes you back to 2015 with the removable back cover, the plastic back plate, and a standard bar design. No pointy edges, the phone is quite comfortable to hold with the 5.5-inch screen but would’ve been more so if the bezels around the display were made slimmer. Nevertheless, that is not something big to complain about and the design is just fine, with the company retaining its signature colors, the gray and orange with the former having it all around, and an orange line towards the top separates the camera area from the remaining area of the backplate.
Another positioning that you might want to take some time getting adjusted to is the power button. It is located on the top of the device, something that was quite common with the HTC phones but recently, there was almost no device with that positioning and even the iPhones before the iPhone 6 model had the power button on the top. The volume rocker ones are present on the right frame and the buttons are tactile and well responsive.
On the rear is also a fingerprint sensor for, well, unlocking the screen as you would expect it to do. Smartron has placed the set of sensors within the section of earpiece itself, beside the front camera above the display. It’d have been great if the navigation buttons on the bottom showed what they represent but these are just backlit dots, with the home button in the center, recents and back functions to the left and right of it respectively.
The 1080p display on the srt.phone has the Gorilla Glass 3 protection that should keep the scratches away but not strong enough to resist falls. The resolution is good, the screen is bright enough to be readable in bright conditions and the color output is near perfect. Viewing angles are great as well and that ends about how well the display performs, with a great output of graphics and colors while gaming as well.
If there’s one thing that many don’t leave untouched but Smartron managed to do so, is the interface. For a device inspired by a celebrity, it is nowhere showing that signs when it comes to the interface. The srt.phone has the TronX platform that Smartron had included in its first smartphone as well and it will continue to do so, if we have to believe the company’s strategy ahead.
It is Android 7.1.1 Nougat on the device although the security patch dates back to Feb 2017. There’s the standard interface and the settings that you can easily get familiar with and the phone doesn’t offer much in terms of enhancement of the user experience as there’s just one gesture offered here – Jumping to camera with the double press of the power button.
A couple of other things that you can change is to let the display wake up whenever there is a notification, and have a set of soft navigation buttons on the display if you don’t want to use the capacitive ones that are placed outside of the display area. But that is it. Apart from the Google Play app set, there is also a set of Microsoft apps including Excel, PowerPoint, Word, OneNote, and even Skype. Google Assistant comes out of the box and it works perfectly.
The Snapdragon 652 processor does a splendid job in keeping the performance top-notch. I’ll repeat this since we have seen some phones doing well in the past with the same chipset powering them and that makes the srt.phone no exception when it comes to good performers. It is also ensured that the device has enough RAM to keep the multitasking smooth, with 4GB of RAM out of which about 2.6GB is available after a fresh reboot.
I did play a few games to see how it holds up in generating high-end graphics and that too came out to be good. The only concern here was with the heating, which, even though the company claimed to have handled well, did seem like an issue that was bothering me because the device went up to 43-degree after some time of gameplay.
SRT couldn’t do well in hitting big sixes all the time, and the same way, the srt.phone seems like a let down when it comes to imaging. Not everything can be perfect in a player, can it? The 13-megapixel rear camera with the F/2.0 aperture here is not doing so well in keeping up with the colors and sometimes, the landscapes captured seem to lack depth and information when you zoom into the pictures to see how well is it recorded.
For Full Size camera samples, click here.
In the low light, things get worse with the noise that is seen in almost every picture and the focusing is a big issue in any condition. Exposure is not at accurate level even under bright sunlight and it seems that the software isn’t able to optimize the picture well after it looks quie well in the preview of the same. The camera app has a lot to offer in terms of the features and there is a live preview of how the picture will look like when the HDR mode is activated.
There is 4K video recording possible with the rear camera and while that is not so great in quality, the 1080p videos are a little better with the presence of electronic stabilization. Overall, the camera is something you should be expecting to do a lot in this phone.
Another important aspect for a smartphone is its battery life, as much it is the stamina in a cricket player. We do know how well did the master blaster stand on the ground during test matches, and if you are expecting the same with the srt.phone, you aren’t doing anything wrong. The device has a 3000 mAh battery that is said to offer about a day’s usage with ease and that is true in this case because the battery did last easily for a day on standard usage and the screen-on time was over four hours on average with occasional data usage and continuous Wi-Fi reception.
To add to that, the srt.phone supports Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0 that offers a faster charging than the regular devices and it also has the compatible charger in the box. Not too much to complain about or really ponder on when it comes to the connectivity as the reception of signals, latching onto the networks was quite good.
Final Verdict – Does the srt.phone stand good to justify the legend it is inspired from?
Firstly, Smartron has done a great comeback after how it was not so good a state with the tphone. The srt.phone is a surely good performer thanks to what comes packed in. A good build quality, decent performance and a good battery life comprise the good in the phone while on the other side, the cameras are something you should ignore if you are buying one for your usage as well as a tribute to the master blaster Sachin Tendulkar.
In this price range, there are some competitors that will hit the device hard, with their own strengths and you can call them the batsmen in-form, including the Moto G5 Plus, Honor 6X, and Xiaomi Redmi Note 4. But while it might be a bit overshadowed by these phones, there’s no much wrong with the srt.phone and it does stand tall to call itself a decent phone for the price, especially with the fact that it is from a brand that is not just endorsed but also invested by the person himself, Sachin Tendulkar.
Also, if you are planning to get one, it should be good to pick one of those back plates with the picture of Sachin, one of those which are selected by Sachin to be printed there.