review

Micromax Canvas Infinity Review: The Joker in the 18:9 Display Pack

Who said 18:9 is the preserve of the premium?

Do I really look like a guy with a plan, Harvey? I don’t have a plan … The mob has plans. The cops have plans. I just do things. I am just the wrench in the gears. I hate plans. Yours, theirs, everyones… Schemers trying to control their worlds….Introduce a little anarchy, you upset the established order, and everything becomes chaos… I am an agent of chaos. Heath Ledger (aka the Joker, the Dark Knight)

That monologue by Heath Ledger playing a very demented Joker in The Dark Knight is one of the most famous monologues of our time. It has become – rather ironically (considering it came from a master criminal) – a rallying point for those who oppose the ‘regular’ way of things. And well, we could hear it playing right through our heads when we used the Micromax Canvas Infinity.

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For actually, that is exactly what the Micromax Canvas Infinity is. An agent of chaos. At a time when a number of brands are trying to make the 18:9 aspect ratio display a premium offering, others are doggedly trying to make it available at lower prices. And while the likes of LG (with the Q6) and Honor (9i) have done well in this latter objective, nothing has yanked the new display into the mainstream as the Micromax Canvas Infinity has.

When the Canvas Infinity was unveiled, we had said that it was the first indication – REAL indication – that the company that was once a formidable competitor in the Indian smartphone market was going back to basics. Basics that revolved around offering features that were seen on high-end devices at surprisingly affordable prices. With the Canvas Infinity, the company took aim squarely at the 18:9 aspect, almost bezel-less (on the side) display, which at the time of its release was largely limited to Samsung and LG’s flagships, which came with premium price tags. With the passage of time, other players have joined the 18:9 bezel-less race, but the Canvas Infinity remains the most disruptive of the lot.

“Why so serious about the specs, check the display”

And the reason for this is its price tag, which at Rs 9,999, makes it by far the most affordable of the 18:9 display group (the LG Q6 comes second at a price that is almost 50 percent higher at Rs 14,999 – read our review of that worthy here). No, its spec sheet – Qualcomm Snapdragon 425, 3 GB RAM, 32 GB storage (expandable, with a dedicated memory card slot), 13.0-megapixel rear camera, 16.0-megapixel selfie camera, dual-SIM connectivity, 4G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, all topped off with Android Nougat (7.1.2) with Micromax’s relatively bare UI on top – is not going to make eyebrows rise. But yes, even at a relatively modest 1440 x 720 resolution, that 5.7-inch 18:9 aspect ration display will grab attention.

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It is that display that gives this device a premium feel (check our initial impressions to know more about its appearance). Yes, there will be those who will turn their noses up at the removable plastic back, but honestly, the Canvas Infinity punches well above its weight in the looks department, thanks to that display. No, it is not as poppy and bright as some displays we have seen in this price segment and at 1440 x 720 resolution is not the sharpest we have seen (the LG Q6 and Honor 9i have a 2160 x 1080 displays), but it is the most distinct at its price point, and is good enough for watching videos, social networks, and Web pages. And that aspect ratio makes the Canvas Infinity surprisingly compact (it is more easy to handle than the iPhone 8 Plus which has a smaller display) and easy to use even with one hand. This is the most distinct – if not the best – looking phone with a four-figure price tag, laying siege even to the dark and lovely Redmi Note 4’s black avatar.

The camera is no joke! The rest…ah

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But if the display is the apparent star, the dark horse is the rear camera. Ironically, Micromax talked more of the 16.0-megapixel selfie shooter with a flash on the device, but we found the rear camera often surprising us with some very good photographs. No, it is no low light star but in good light conditions, it time and again surprised us with its detail and color reproduction. The front-facing camera, on the other hand, is a bit of a disappointment with plenty of noise entering the equation. Micromax has thrown in a portrait mode in both selfie and normal photograph mode, but the results are nothing to rave about. But yes, as a simple point and shooter, the Canvas Infinity is a contender.

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Which is about the end of the good news. With the specs it possesses, the Canvas Infinity is more of a steady performer than a superb one. It is good enough for basic tasks, social networking, games like Candy Crush Saga and browsing the Web, but push it into heavy gaming and frame drops and lags do not just creep in, but actually, make themselves at home. Call quality is good, though, although we would have appreciated louder sound off that loudspeaker, which is right at the back of the device (so keeping it on a table mutes the sound a little). Battery life is about middling – even with a relatively smaller 2900 mAh battery, the phone is able to see off a day of routine to heavy usage (high-end gaming not being an option, we used the phone mainly for watching videos and lots of surfing), thanks we suspect to the display not being a full HD affair. Those spoiled by the massive batteries of the Redmi Note 4 and Redmi 4 will, however, feel a trifle disappointed. We liked Micromax’s relatively unobtrusive UI, though (no app drawer), notwithstanding a few crashes – the settings panel takes some getting used to but all in all, it is straightforward enough and not blessed with as much bloatware as some of its predecessors. We do hope it gets the Android O update soon.

That price: “I took a white knight, and brought him to our level”

Which brings us to the big question? Should you be thinking of investing Rs 9,999 in the Micromax Canvas Infinity? Well, if Rs 10,000 is where your budget ends and you want a device that looks good and has a decent camera, the answer is yes. It definitely looks way more futuristic than anything in its price range and will not look out of place with even higher priced contemporaries. Those looking for sheer performance might find the Lenovo K8 Plus (our current sub-Rs 10,000 favourite) and the Redmi Note 4 to be much better propositions. But for those seeking just a good looking device with middling performance and a good camera, the Infinity is a heck of an option. And it certainly throws a spanner in the works of every manufacturer who is bringing an 18:9 aspect display phone in the market at a higher price tag – it just ripped the premium price tag off that display.

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It is not perfect but punches above its weight in price terms. And in best Micromax tradition, the Canvas Infinity makes a perceived premium feature (the 18:9 display) fair game for anyone on a tight budget.

And in best Joker tradition too. Do you know how he ends the monologue we referred to at the outset of this review?

And you know the thing about chaos, Harvey? It is FAIR.

Micromax Canvas Infinity

Rs 9999
Micromax Canvas Infinity
8.1

Build & Design

9/10

Performance

7/10

Camera

8/10

Software

8/10

Price

9/10

Pros

  • 18:9 aspect display
  • Rear camera
  • Dedicated microSD camera slot

Cons

  • Relatively low display resolution
  • Selfie camera
  • Middling performance