Technophile

Micromax is back with a pretty and secure phone

Mala Bhargava | Updated on March 10, 2018 Published on April 12, 2017

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The Dual 5 may be named for its cameras, but it also boasts of high grade security to keep your data safe

The local brand that once challenged Samsung is back after a quiet period — this time with a not-so-budget ₹24,999 phone called the Dual 5. This phone isn’t from the Canvas series one may have become accustomed to seeing, nor is it one of the Yu phones, but a new one altogether.

Smooth finish

The back of the Dual 5 spells premium at one glance. Two camera lenses are immediately obvious as is a large round fingerprint sensor. A black Micromax logo – the famous punching fist – stands out on the smooth champagne gold surface. The usual antenna lines are prominent. All this looks familiar except for the exceptionally smooth matte feel, a prominent curvature, and the chamfered edges that users are so fond of. So yes, overall it’s better looking than the average budget phone you see these days.

On the front, the Dual 5 doesn’t look too different. Mercifully, the bezels on this phone are not too broad, but otherwise you have the usual 2.5D curved glass with Gorilla Glass 3 protection (not 4 or 5) and no physical home button. In fact, you don’t even see the virtual buttons because they’re not back-lit and that’s a downer. What would have been so remiss with navigation buttons that were easier to spot quickly?

On the ergonomics front, the device may be all rounded on the back but it has hard edges. This doesn’t make it uncomfortable to hold, luckily. The phone is a little weighty, but not objectionably so and is the standard 5.5 inch screened device. Overall, it left that cheap budgety look behind.

Apart from the usual buttons lined up on the right edge, there’s a customisable button on the left but I lost patience trying to figure out how to assign it a function.

Has the hardware

If the Dual 5’s processor had been from the 800 series, this device would have been at the top of the food chain. In fact it runs on the 1.4GHz octa-core Snapdragon 652, which is a stable performer though in the mid-range. The rest of the specs are not to be sneezed at. There’s 4GB RAM, a whole 128GB of internal storage plus a micro-SD card slot for more, a brilliant AMOLED 1080x1920 pixels display and a 3,200mAh battery with fast charging. The cameras are 13MP.

The display on this phone is actually crisp and vivid and bright enough to be visible in the sun. Colours look great on it and you can play around with themes to make it look even better. In fact, I’d say the display looks a lot better than on most mid-range phones.

Performance is smooth all the way. No problems with processor intensive tasks on this phone, but it does heat up a bit. To address this, Micromax has put in an option to cool the phone down. A setting called Heat Source lets you see, which apps are causing the phone to heat up and you can shut them with one tap, whereupon you get an amusing message: “The temperature is proper. You are relieved to use the phone”.

Military grade security

Micromax is particularly bullish about the security on the Dual 5 and they say it’s the most important aspect of the device, apart from the camera. In fact, they say the phone is unhackable.

The fingerprint and password are encrypted and saved on a dedicated hardware chip they say has passed a CC EAL5 + security certification. The device has a safe switch with a password, which prevents anyone else from unlocking or wiping out your phone.

In fact, taking the SIM card out will result in a picture of the person being taken on the phone. No luck for thieves here. Also, the Dual 5 has a Secure Vault with which you can set up different accounts for Whatsapp, Facebook etc... These can only be unlocked with a fingerprint.

Confusing softwares

But there are annoyances with the software too. It’s bad enough that the Dual 5 doesn’t come with the latest Android version and is instead still on Marshmallow, but someone has taken a great deal of trouble to stuff the device with confusing sounding settings.

Take the Heat Source just mentioned. I think Cool Down would have been self explanatory for users who are anyway too intimated to experiment with settings. There are odd things like an Intelligent Assistant, which is not, as some may think, a virtual assistant, but all about setting gestures such as drawing a C on the sleeping screen (why?) to open up the dialling pad.

Dual cameras

The two 13MP cameras, one monochrome and one RGB, for which the phone is named, are average but gimmicky. The dual mode, which is supposed to give you that much sought-after blurred background, takes ages and sometimes just plain gets stuck while processing. In fact, I had to reboot the phone to coax the camera into responding again. There were other glitches I encountered such as flashes of lines on the screen while trying to focus.

The cameras take average images blurry indoors even in passable light. It’s an adequate camera for someone who isn’t demanding, but at the price, should have been much faster and better. Obviously there’s no optical image stabilisation, but that’s missing in even more expensive phones at times. Video is stable enough however. The all important selfie camera does a good enough job. It has the usual Beauty mode, which lets you soften the look. Even though the phone is named for the cameras, I wouldn’t buy it for that reason but more for the way the phone looks and the smooth performance.

Published on April 12, 2017
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