Micromax is currently sitting pretty in the number two slot as far as
total shipments go in the Indian smartphone market, which goes to show
that the company has managed to make a name for itself in a relatively
short period of time despite being up against major established brands
such as Samsung and Nokia. That in itself reveals that Indian smartphone
buyers are motivated by price, looks and features, and are willing to
spend reasonable amounts of money on a smartphone even if it doesn't
come with the assurance of a huge international conglomerate behind it.
compared to devices from major manufacturers, Micromax products haven't
always come out looking good. They're undeniably aimed at budget-minded
buyers, and thus things like construction quality and raw performance
tend to suffer. That said, things have been improving slowly over time
and the company has begun to move more into the mainstream, shedding its
"China-made" image along the way.
Micromax plays in the sub-Rs.
20,000 category, and offers quite a diverse range of smartphones. The
Canvas Turbo Mini is comfortably priced at Rs. 12,000 (street price) which clearly positions
it below the company's (relatively) premium offerings. Several manufacturers have
come out with "mini" versions of their flagship products, offering
smaller screen sizes and more modest specifications for a little less
money. Micromax has matched the trend with this device.
while Indian brands are slowly experimenting with more expensive
products, Motorola has attacked the Rs. 12,000 - 15,000 space that these
companies have done so well in of late. The Canvas Turbo Mini is priced
in line with the recently launched Moto G. Given how happy we were with
that phone's price, performance and features, the Canvas Turbo Mini
will have to put up a very strong fight.
Look and feel
The Turbo Mini is meant to complement last year's Canvas Turbo, which
had a 5-inch full-HD screen and 1.5GHz quad-core processor. Even though
4.65 inches isn't exactly a huge step down, we found this phone earns its "Mini" tag by being light and small enough to be comfortable in one hand, while still
offering a decent-sized screen.
There is definitely a family
resemblance between the Canvas Turbo Mini and its bigger sibling. They
both share the same overall shape and very similar front faces. Little
touches such as the front and rear speaker grilles and the ring around
the rear camera lens also feel familiar on the Turbo Mini.
even though these two models feel like part of a family, Micromax on the
whole doesn't seem to have its own design style. This phone isn't an
outright copy of a major manufacturer's design, but there are definite
cues from Samsung's style on the front panel, while the rear echoes of
some of HTC's older products. Just for good measure, the Canvas Turbo
Mini also comes in a rounded plastic box that seems directly inspired by
Apple's iPhone 5c and iPod touch packaging.
In fact the front and
back aren't alike at all. While the front panel is all white, the rear
is made of a grey plastic that might be supposed to look like metal. The
unit we received for review was quite badly scuffed and scratched, and
even though we don't know how it was treated before it got to us, this
doesn't bode well for the long-term life of this phone.
panel is made of a large central panel with smaller strips along the top
and bottom. Of these, only the top one is meant to come off, but we
found that the lower one wasn't very well fastened and didn't line up
with the rest of the body properly. You won't see any branding in the
front, but Micromax evidently deemed it necessary to put two logos on
the rear panel. While the company's punching-fist M! logotype is a very
clever bit of design, we would have been happy enough with just one copy
For some reason, the primary (Micro-) SIM card goes into a
tray on the phone's left edge while the secondary (regular) SIM and
microSD cards fit into slots under the upper back panel, flanking the
raised rear camera. You can pop the SIM tray out using a neat-looking
eject pin with Micromax's logo embossed on it that you'll find packed in
the box. There's nothing on the bottom, and you'll find both the
Micro-USB charging port and 3.5mm headset jack on the top edge. The
power and volume rocker buttons are on the right edge, but we weren't
happy with the fact that they're quite sharp-edged and also raised from
the phone's surface, making it the phone a little uncomfortable to hold.
in all, we're not entirely happy with the Canvas Turbo Mini's
construction quality. Comparisons to the Moto G are inevitable, and
there's just no doubt about which one we'd consider the better of the two. When we said the Moto G had
rewritten the rules of this price band, we weren't kidding. Micromax has
a lot to learn if it wants to catch up.
Features and specifications
with most budget Android phones that boast of "quad-core" processors,
this one is built around a Mediatek CPU. The MT6582 is not exactly a
speed demon, even with four cores running at up to 1.3GHz. The GPU core
is a Mali-400MP which is also commonly found in low-end devices. There's
1GB of RAM and a paltry 4GB of built-in storage, less than half of
which is available to the user for apps and data. You'll need to invest
in at least a 16GB microSD card if you want to use this phone for pretty
much anything other than making calls and sending text messages.
the screen isn't bad at all. You won't get the widest viewing angles or
most accurate colour reproduction, but 720x1280 at 4.65 inches comes to
a crisp, sharp 320dpi. Text is easy to read and the Android interface
The battery is non-removable, and at 1800mAh is
definitely not on the higher capacity side. The rear camera takes
8-megapixel shots while the front camera is good enough for 5-megapixel
selfies. Beyond this, there isn't much to say about the Canvas Turbo
It comes as no surprise that this phone runs
Android 4.2.2, but we're going to point out that the Moto G runs the
latest version, 4.4. Micromax has customised the interface a little bit,
but nowhere near as much as Samsung and HTC do, for example. The icons
in the main menu are all different, and certain screens, such as the
notification flyout and settings app have been given white backgrounds
instead of black. Rather than a button for quick settings at the top of
the screen, Micromax has used two buttons at the bottom to divide the
flyout into two sections, "Notification" and "Switch". Beyond that, it's
pretty much vanilla stock Android.
Micromax has thrown in a few
apps and games, which you might or might not find useful. The three
games are all rather basic and allow you to play only a few times before
you're asked to pay Rs. 99 to "unlock" them. M! Live is a link to an
online app store that opens in your Web browser. The apps look rather
spammy and even though there are a few big names such as The Sims 3 and
Plants vs Zombies, clicking them led nowhere. When we tried clicking on
the name of a free game for more information, an APK file download began
automatically. This is a bit of a security risk, since there's no
information about where it came from or what it might want to do with
Luckily, the Canvas Turbo Mini is set to block
installation of apps obtained from outside the Google Play store by default. If
Micromax wants users to use their own M! Live website, it makes no sense
for them to block APK installations. On the other hand, we're glad that
this basic security measure is in place and have no problem ignoring
the existence of M! Live altogether.
Micromax also advertises Rs.
99 worth of free content from its store to users. You have to sign up
with your phone number, and you'll receive an SMS with a code. From
there, you're prompted to fill out a survey or download a promotional
app, which is the height of spammy behaviour and totally belies
Micromax's promise of free content. You can apply for a credit card,
download a branded promotional app (which is otherwise totally free in
the Play store) or part with your personal information - none of which
are appealing options. The screen of options claims you don't have to
register for anything, you only have to provide information - which
means giving your personal details to unknown telemarketers who will
then pester you to sign up for a credit card or insurance policy. We're highly
disappointed to see Micromax putting its name on such a shady
money-making scheme and even worse, trying to pass it off as a benefit for
Micromax continues its intrusive behaviour by preloaded
custom branded versions of Spuul, a video streaming service, Hike, a
messaging app, the Opera Mini web browser, and Kingsoft Office. Of
these, only Opera and Kingsoft are genuinely useful. Kingsoft in
particular deserves a mention for its excellent handling of heavily
formatted Word and Excel documents, along with PDFs, plain text files,
and a variety of other formats.
The camera app has
also been customized, and we liked the way controls such as the panorama
mode and ISO settings are easily accessible. The custom app also has
two little tricks built in, both of which sound good on paper but are
utterly useless in practice. The first is GIF animation. It sounds
simple enough, but the app tries to go for a cinemagraph effect where
you can make part of a frame move while the rest stays static. The effect is extremely crude, and the resultant GIF file itself is grainy and
low-quality. We'd be much happier trimming clips from a video.
second trick is called Remove Object, and it tries to take multiple
shots in order to track objects moving between them, and then remove them
from a frame. On the rare occasion that something moving was actually
detected, we were left with poorly defined blurs instead of clear
We quickly dispensed with the special effects and
found that for all its other shortcomings, the Canvas Turbo Mini
actually has a pretty decent camera. We were pleasantly surprised to see
that images taken in all sorts of lighting conditions were clear and
detailed. In daylight, colours were vibrant and textures on things like
tree bark were captured decently well. There definitely is noise and
compression, but for this price, we aren't complaining.
(Click to see full size)
camera does fairly well at night too, both with and without the flash.
Videos were more than adequate at 720p, though you don't get any sort
of stabilisation. However it was the front camera that most impressed
us. We found shots of people were a bit washed out and overexposed, but
even then the quality is better than many other phones' front-facing
There isn't much good news as far as
performance goes. There were regular slight but noticeable lags
throughout our time with this phone, especially when switching between
apps and jumping in and out of menus. HD video playback was a mixed bag -
some of our 720p test files played just fine, but in most cases the
phone stuttered badly during intensive scenes and when we tried jumping
up and down the timeline. 1080p video playback depended entirely on the
codec and bitrate used.
In terms of benchmark tests, we ran our
usual suite of CPU and GPU tests. While general processing tasks weren't
too terrible, the Canvas Turbo Mini fell quite short in the graphics
department. We saw scores of 16,786 in AnTuTu and 5,737 in Quadrant, but
only 6.5fps in GFXbench's gaming simulation and 2,001 in 3DMark's Ice
Storm Extreme graphics runthrough.
Simple games such as Temple Run
2 worked perfectly well and we had no complaints. If you like this type
of game to while away the time while commuting, you won't have any
problem with this phone.
The battery lasted for 5 hours, 41
minutes in our video loop test, which was less than we would have liked.
Even with casual usage, the percentage meter seemed to drop awfully
quickly. We're not confident of getting a full day's work done on a
With an MRP of Rs. 14,490 (but a
street price closer to Rs. 12,000), the Canvas Turbo Mini goes right up
against the Motorola Moto G in the market. We had only two issues with
the Moto G; its camera and non-expandable storage. These are two areas
in which the Canvas Turbo Mini has the advantage, but in every other
aspect, the Moto G is hands down the superior product. It isn't just
about performance: the Moto G is built better, looks better, and feels
like it will last much longer.
The Canvas Turbo Mini is a nice
enough phone, but like we said in our Moto G review, that product has
changed the game. Micromax, which struck fear into the hearts of the
world's biggest brands by selling good-enough products at low enough prices,
now finds itself on the other side of that coin.
Micromax Canvas Turbo Mini in pictures