Yes, the Canvas Selfie is Micromax getting into Selfie land – as is fairly obvious from the name. And with a proper vengeance too. The company has launched phones with very powerful front facing cameras before (the Canvas Nitro had a 5.0-megapixel front facing camera while the Canvas Knight had a 8.0-megapixel one), but the company has pretty much thrown the selfie kitchen sink at the Canvas Selfie, if specs are anything to go by – like the HTC Desire Eye, the Canvas Selfie sports 13.0-megapixel cameras at the front and the rear, with accompanying flashes to boot.
And it certainly does not look like a Micromax Canvas device. Of the many accusations that have been levelled at Micromax (and we stopped counting a while ago), one of the most common has been that the company has not been innovative in terms of design and has preferred to play it safe. Well, if the likes of the Canvas Knight and the Canvas Turbo had not proved the contrary, then the Micromax Selfie certainly sets matters to rest. The phone is an eye-catcher all right, with a distinctly different shape from anything we have seen in the market of late, leave alone Micromax.
The convex top and base of the Canvas Selfie remind us a bit of the Sony Xperia Vivaz (yep, that one that was released in 2010), which also had a similar design. Whether you like it or not is going to be a matter of taste, but we certainly can assure you that it will turn heads, as it is not your run of the mill candybar Android.
The front of the device seems a trifle odd, simply because of the large bezels around the 4.7-inch 720p IPS display. And unlike most other devices, the display is not the star of the front – the large 13.0-megapixel camera accompanied by a flash on top of it are! The sides are metallic, with the volume rocker on the left and the display/power button on the top (right next to the 3.5 mm audio jack), and the micro USB port on the base.
It is the right side of the device that is interesting, as it houses a SIM card/ memory card expansion tray and a camera shutter button. While we do welcome the presence of camera shutter buttons on phones (beats tapping on the screen every time), we must confess that we found the positioning of this one odd – it is almost bang in the middle of the side, which makes it handy for selfies but of very limited use while shooting from the rear camera. Worse, we still end up pressing it accidentally, thinking it is the power/display button, which is often located there on other Android devices.
The back has a faux leather finish – we got the Angelic White model and while it looks decent enough, we suspect the Mystic Blue would look better. Once again, the star here is the camera – a 13.0-megapixel affair with a wide metal band around it and dual LED flashes (one on either side of the lens, which is again not a usual arrangement). There is a speaker grille at the base.
The convex top and base make the Canvas Selfie appear longer than it actually is, but the phone itself should fit into most palms without too much trouble, and it has a reassuringly solid feel to it. The specs are respectable – 720p display with Corning Gorilla Glass 3, 2GB RAM, 16 GB storage, dual SIM connectivity (one of the SIM card slots can also be used for a microSD card – a feature we had seen in the Vivo X5 Max phone – of upto 32 GB). MediaTek 6592 true octa core processor, 3G, Bluetooth, GPS and Wi-Fi, with Android 4.4 running on top of it all, and a 2300 mAh battery (seemeth a tad small for a phone with so much camera muscle, but we could be wrong) to ensure it all keeps ticking over. For Rs 15,999, it is not a bad deal at all.
What really sweeten the deal are the cameras – those two cameras are definitely not your run of the mill shooters. Both have auto focus, and both have Largan lenses with a Sony sensor. And the flash on the front facing camera is what Micromax terms a ‘soft flash’ evidently designed to be at its best in selfie mode.
The cameras are also where Micromax has also thrown in a fair dollop of innovation – the interface is more reminiscent of a salon or beauty parlour rather than a studio, with modes for tweaking eyes, slimming your face, smoothing skin, whitening skin (oh and teeth), fading dark circles and a bit more. There are also options for adding mascara, lip gloss, blush and eye shadow (enough to have us wondering if we should do a review of the selfie camera itself!). Small wonder, Micromax has been using the tagline “get ready to Instaglam” with the device, and flyers about the device hint more at cosmetic makeovers than about tech specs. It is a line that will make macho geeks wince but is likely to be very popular with the ladies. As is likely to be its eye catching shape. Which makes us suspect that Micromax has pretty much aimed this device at the fairer sex.
Just how well it all works will be revealed in our review. Is it a ‘beauty salon’ in your pocket? Stay tuned.