With ten or more smartphone companies fighting it out in the Indian marketplace, we have another newcomer named TENOR (see what we did there ?!) That name is not apparent when you look at the brand logos or packing. An Amazon exclusive phone it is and tries to take on the entry-level phones that come below the Rs 10,000 mark. That space is ruled by the likes of Redmi Note 4, Redmi 4, and Lenovo K6 Power. There are other offerings from Indian brands such as Swipe, Kult and so on. While we dig deeper into the performance of the phone, we at this moment bring you our first cut of the Tenor E after using it for a couple of days. It should be interesting to see how another Indian company (some people say it’s backed by Amazon India itself) fares amidst the Chinese big guns.
There are two variants of Tenor E based on the storage and the RAM capacities. We have the higher variant that costs Rs 8,999. For its price, the 10.or E is a well-built phone with polycarbonate unibody design. The edges are curved, and they fit well into your hands. The overall design is reminiscent of the Redmi Note 3, and one cannot deny the resemblance especially on the back. With 8.5mm thickness, and weighing around 150 gms, the phone does feel sturdy. But the back and the screen are smudge magnets. The right side of the phone has volume rockers and a power button above it. We wish the power button was placed below the volume rockers as it is very hard to reach. The other side has a dedicated dual sim slot and a micro SD slot. Speaker grille and a micro USB charging port sit at the bottom while the 3.5mm audio jack is at the top. The front side of the phone has big chin and shoulder, making it taller than the others for a 5.5-inch screen phone. There are no hardware buttons. The front camera sits on the top while the circular fingerprint scanner and the primary camera with a single LED flash sit on the back.
The 5.5-inch screen is a full HD affair protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3, packing a decent 401 pixels per inch. The screen having a 2.5D curved edge has a good touch sensitivity as well. While the viewing angles are very good, outdoor visibility is not the best. Even at the brightest levels, you’d struggle. Adding to the misery is the dust hungry screen that picks up a lot of disturbances.
Under the hood, the Tenor E packs a Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 430 SoC which is an Octa-Core processor. Coupled with it is a 2GB/3GB RAM and 16GB/32GB of internal memory (the one we have the latter). Adreno 505 caters to the GPU needs. The memory can be bumped up to 128GB via the micro SD slot.
The phone runs on a stock version of Android 7.1.2 with a hope to be upgraded to Android O – we will wait to see. While there is nothing but the bare vanilla Android OS, the E has a lot of Amazon in it. When we were setting up the phone, it prompted us for our Amazon credentials to complete the process, and there is an Amazon shopping widget in one of the homescreens. We expected flawlessness in the usage but encountered the fraction of second jerks while moving across screens (no extra apps installed). We will test this out thoroughly in the coming days. All of this is powered by a nonremovable 4000 mAh battery.
The primary camera is a 13MP one with f/2.0 aperture. It also comes with PDAF and has decent focusing. In our initial tests, it reminded us of the Cyanogen’s camera app. It has the same sound when it clicks, also has many different modes for shooting conditions like the beach, sunset and so on. The secondary camera is a 5MP and comes with a flash!
The phone also has LED for notifications and supports USB OTG. It brings in many sensors such as Accelerometer, Proximity, Gyro, E-Compass, Ambient Light and of course the fingerprint scanner. The fingerprint scanner was rather slow as compared to others and at times didn’t work.
For an asking price of Rs 8,999, the Tenor E gets many things right on paper – big 4000 mAh battery, latest Android OS, protection for the display, flash for the front-facing camera, dedicated dual sim slot, notification LED and decent set of sensors – some of these are the usual suspects that go missing in entry-level phones. But how will it perform on the gaming, multitasking, camera and battery life? How does it compare to the ones in the competition? Wait for our detailed review to know all about it.