So, what is the difference between the three?” was a question that hovered in the air long after the dust had settled on Google’s Android One conference in Delhi. The reason for the query was simple: all three devices (the Karbonn Sparkle, the Spice Dream Uno, and the Micromax Canvas A1) had pretty much the same spec sheet, from processors to display size to camera megapixel count to RAM and storage. They even had prices that were very similar. It was as if they had all adhered to a template. The only area where they seemed to differ was in nomenclature, and ah, design. And the one that really stands out in the threesome is the Micromax Canvas A1.

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From the front, the Canvas A1 seems very similar to its Android One brethren with a 4.5 inch display. That said, the display does seem a whole lot smoother to run one’s fingers across than the displays on the Karbonn and the Spice devices. There is a front facing camera and speaker grille above the display (standard fare again) and the bezel is pronounced, although the phone will fit most palms. The left side is plain, the right side has the volume rocker and display keys, the top houses the 3.5mm audio jack, while the base has the micro USB port. Once again, we are going to stress that the sides ‘feel’ better. Although both the Karbonn Sparkle and the Spice Dream Uno too have curved sides, the finish on the Canvas A1 seems a notch better. Yes, it too is made of plastic like the others, but it just feels like a more thoroughly finished product.

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Flip the device around and the feature that makes the A1 really stand out in the Android One troika hits you. Like the other devices, the A1 too has a 5.0-megapixel camera and a flash on the back. Unlike them, however, it has encased them in a spherical plate with a metallic look. It makes the camera portion of the device jut out a bit, but it also adds a snazzy touch to what is an otherwise routine device. And then there is the metallic clenched first logo of the company just above the centre of the back panel. And it is these two flashes of metal on the back that make the Canvas A1 the most eye catching of the Android One devices. The Sparkle’s colourful backs are the only thing that we see in the Android One range matching this. And even those don’t look as classy as this.

All of which makes us say that based on our VERY initial (and we are going to stress those words) experience, the Micromax Canvas A1 seems to be most striking and well-designed phone of the Android One range, which is perhaps one reason why many think that it was the device used for the Android One on-stage demo (we have no official confirmation of this). Of course, looks are not everything, so stay tuned for our more detailed review which is in the works.

As of now, all we can safely say is: the Canvas A1 CAN look different.


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Associate Editor

Nimish Dubey has been writing for more than a decade now (well, Windows 3.1 was around and Apple was on the verge of being finished when he started). He has been published in a number of publications including The Times of India, Mint, The Economic Times, Mid-Day and Femina on subjects that vary from tech write -ups to book reviews to music album round ups. He managed to interview Michael Schumacher once and write two books for young adults along the way.