Smartron t.phone P Review: A Promising Work in Progress
With big battery does NOT come a big frame!
A wise man once said, “To be long lasting, you have to be huge.”
While that statement may be entirely made up, its implication is not, at least in the smartphone industry. If you’re looking for an extraordinarily sized battery, you’ll have to settle with an abnormally sized phone.
Smartron, the India-based company which had entered the market with a lot of promises and IoT ambitions, thinks it can surpass those notions. And it’s doing so with a new smartphone it likes to call the t.phone P. The budget handset is priced at an affordable sum of Rs 7,999 and comes with a 5000mAh battery in a compact form factor. But apart from that and the unorthodox moniker, does it has anything to turn heads and trump the existing competition? Let’s find out.
Comfort Over Looks
When I first held the t.phone P, it didn’t feel like an entry-level phone. The all-around aluminum build has a subtle premium feel to it that you usually don’t find in this price segment. The added heft, thanks to the enormous battery, supplements this rich aesthetic further. Smartron says this is the lightest phone to feature that amount of battery and at 162 grams, we’ve no trouble believing it. It’s also surprisingly handy and comes with a textured power button as well which is always a welcome feature.
In terms of design, however, the t.phone P is a tad predictable. It largely resembles its sibling — the srt.phone which is a bit disappointing, honestly. That is, of course, due to the high bar the company has set with its other offerings like the t.book. There’s also only a single color option to choose. The rear is overcrowded with a ton of branding which doesn’t help its case either.
One of the most critical letdowns of the t.phone P is its fingerprint sensor. It can be terribly slow, for starters. Second, it sometimes fails to recognize on the first try forcing me to tap multiple times. The speaker, on the contrary, is rather impressive for a phone of this price segment. It won’t blow you away but it’s undoubtedly better than the others and doesn’t distort at extreme volume levels.
Moving on to the front, the t.phone P features a compact 5.2-inch HD display which is quite astonishing considering that it’s packing a battery of that calibre. In spite of the lower resolution, it’s sharp and vibrant enough for everyday tasks. Unfortunately, it lacks ample brightness to be clearly visible outdoors which is not a deal breaker for me but can be for you depending on how much you are outdoors.
Smartron has bundled a near-stock Android Nougat interface on the t.phone P and has currently no plans for Oreo. Apart from a few additional apps and settings, the t.phone P is mostly bloatware free. There’s also a feature for bringing down the temperature of the battery which is certainly a unique trait to have and works as promised. In addition to that, Smartron offers a thousand GBs of complimentary cloud space for storing any kind of data. If you have a Windows PC, you can even access this on your computer.
An Uneven Equation
Under the hood, the Smartron t.phone P is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 425 octa-core processor coupled with 3GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage which can be expanded and an Adreno 505 GPU. In most scenarios like chatting with your friends, scrolling through articles, the t.phone P just flies. Unfortunately, in the rest of them, the t.phone P’s performance falls to the bottom of the pit. Even when you try to concurrently install applications and for instance, browse your Twitter feed, the t.phone P almost becomes unusable with an awful lot of stutters and lags. Before switching to it as my primary phone, I was in fact quite optimistic considering the presence of stock Android. Moreover, gaming isn’t t.phone P’s cup of tea either which is a shame given how long it can last.
The t.phone P’s cornerstone lies in its battery life and it does prove its worth here. On moderate use, the t.phone P was able to go on for more than a day and produce a screen on time of roughly six hours. Generally, if it were any other phone with around 3000mAh battery, I would have gotten only a bit more than three hours of SOT. It supports a proprietary quick charging standard and can be topped up to 100% in roughly three hours.
Finally, there’s the camera. The t.phone P sports a 13-megapixel f/2.2 sensor on the rear with a single LED flash and a 5-megapixel f/2.2 lens on the front. Both are them are able to capture decent pictures with nearly accurate colors under bright lighting such as outdoors. However, if you’re trying to shoot a complicated scene, you will have to settle for a meager shot as the HDR mode is mostly futile. In dimly lit scenarios and indoors, pictures taken on the t.phone P lack detail and are grainy. That being said, the t.phone P is relatively a lot better than its fellow competitors which more than often produce unsatisfactory outcomes. Same goes for the 1080p videos as well.
The bottom line is that the t.phone P offers a lot of compelling arguments to win you over — the 5000mAh battery, the excellent build quality, all in a body that comfortably fits in your hands. The only major concern I have with it is the performance which becomes highly unreliable under heavy load. Therefore, if you prioritize the rest of the features, the t.phone P is an option worth considering.
But with just a couple of software optimisations, I feel the t.phone P can be a true competitor to the Xiaomi Redmi 4 which has consistently remained one of the best selling smartphones in the country for the past year.