Technophile

Wide of the mark

Jinoy Jose P | Updated on January 20, 2018 Published on May 18, 2016

CREO-Mark-1-Angled-Front.jpg

Creo's first phone is ambitious but rough around the edges



Creo seems to be an interesting startup. The Bangalore-based company's website and press releases are sprinkled with lots of cool, unique-sounding promises. Foremost among them is the company’s claim that the Creo Mark 1, its debut smartphone, will redefine the smartphone experience by offering a "new phone every month". That's good copy. But on the ground, things do not seem that rosy as the phone struggles to make the cut and loses out on several quality parameters.

Design

To be fair, the Mark 1 – priced at ₹19,999 — has stunning looks. In chiseled black it appears to be a classy product with smooth, flowing edges and metal ridges. The phone has a 155.4 x 76.1 x 8.7 mm structure that weighs 190 gm.

That's slightly obese for a phone these days and the form factor causes a fair bit of discomfort while making long calls. Though the home buttons on the bottom panel eats up considerable screen real estate, the 5.5-inch screen is impeccable. That said, the screen does not retain fingerprints even during extended use. The phone has a Gorilla Glass 3.0 screen and the LCD display has a 1440x2560 px resolution; colour reproduction is on par with most mid-range phones, but there is room for a lot of improvement.



The glass panel on the rear is dangerously slippery and one cannot use the phone without a back cover, which Creo thankfully supplied. The phone charges faster than many of its peers, provided you use the default charger.

However, while charging, gaming or even if you’re using the flashlight, the Mark 1 heats up so much, that if you unwittingly decide to make a call during these actions and place it to your ear, the hot glass panel can shock you by delivering a faint burn to your temple. This is a major hiccup the promising startup must address in the next version of its phone.

Specs and performance

The phone doesn't hang or stutter even when using weighty games thanks to the laudable performance of the MediaTek Helio X10 chipset equipped with eight A53 processing cores clocked at 1.95GHz and 3GB RAM. The phone has 32GB Internal storage which can be extended to 128 GB.

The 3100 mAh battery is just average,. Blame it on the power-guzzling Fuel OS, Creo's customised Android variant. It drains out in just a few hours of gaming or video-viewing.

And if you have over a dozen apps, you surely need to reach for a power bank at least once in a day.

The audio quality on calls is impressive. The external speakers produce clear sound while playing normal or low-quality audio, but it fumbles a bit when high-quality audio is played. The dual-SIM phone accommodates micro and nano SIMs, and quite conveniently has a hybrid nano SIM slot which can house a micro SD card as well.

Software

With its famed monthly OS updates to Mark 1, Creo wants to renew the phone every month. But the first month's updates — photo enhance tool, cellular data manager, etc. — which we received while testing this gadget do not look very promising.

To be frank, most handsets carry these features in the first-cut itself. Why delay them just for the sake of a surprise? As of now, the monthly update scheme looks just old wine in a new bottle, and hence don't seem particularly amusing.

Camera

The Mark 1 has a 21-megapixel main camera, which has an IMX230 sensor. Photos come out fine in daylight while they need vast improvements in low-light. Strangely, the camera controls started getting dizzy after a week of use with the shutter touch hesitating to wake up when in need.

The dual-tone LED flash does its job, but heats up the edges. The handset takes quality videos – the ability to record 4K video at 30fps is a particular highlight. The 120fps Slo Mo video in Full HD is also an interesting feature.

The 8MP front camera too had issues with delayed response, but its 86 degrees field of view and video recording up to 1080p @30fps came in quite handy, especially for making home videos.

Verdict

In sum, Creo Mark 1 is a well-intended phone which aims to reach for the sky but falls short of targets, and if it needs to take on the likes of the OnePlus Two or Xiaomi’s Mi 5 it has a pretty long way to go.

Price: ₹19,999

Love: 4K video, stunning looks, display

Hate: Battery, heating, slippery back, camera

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Published on May 18, 2016
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