After what seems to have been an extended period of hibernation in tech terms, Micromax is set to try to make its way back to the Indian tech center stage on March 29 (a trifle later than what its CEO Rahul Sharma had hinted at), with a new flagship. Embargo terms forbid us from mentioning anything about it in appearance or spec terms – even though the invite itself seems to hint at a dual camera set up and does the name of the series (“Dual”, with one model being called the “Dual 5”) – but one thing we can say about it is: it has a very promising camera.
Which in itself is unusual, because, mention “Micromax” and it is a fair chance that of all the good terms that spring to mind (“Indian brand” “Value for money” et al), “excellent cameras” will not be one of them. For all the volumes it has garnered in the market, Micromax has been notorious for the mediocrity in its camera department (perhaps the first Canvas Knight and the Yutopia from its sister brand YU, being excepted).
However, in the limited time I have had to spend with the forthcoming Micromax flagship (I cannot even name it, damn these embargo clauses), the camera sticks out, not like a sore thumb as in the past, but as a thumbs up. Daylight shots have generally come out okay, but that’s no great achievement in this day and age. Where I was surprised was in the low light performance, where I clicked these two pictures from a cafe in Connaught Place. I switched off the flash and shot the first in auto mode and the second in a mode that is designed to deliver bokeh (read “blurry background”).
To say that I am impressed would be an understatement. Both shots do a decent job of capturing the light bulb in the foreground, but what sticks out is the fact that even in auto mode, a decent amount of detail has been captured in the backdrop. In the bokeh shot, the camera delivers a very good artistic bokeh background as well, although we suspect there was some pretty aggressive software at work in it. And this is not just better than anything we have seen in the past from Micromax but is also pretty much comparable with the performances of cameras from other phone brands.
Of course, it is too early to declare, based on just two exceptional shots, that Micromax has finally broken its camera jinx. The unit we got to use did not have the final software in it and so churned out its share of odd shots too. But what we are going to say is that based on what we have seen, the camera might well be one of the strengths of the forthcoming Micromax flagship.
That is something worth cheering for, certainly. Stay tuned for more and of course our detailed review and impressions of the device as the launch date draws closer.