Overview
Introduction
Design
Display
Hardware
Software and apps
Camera
Audio and video
Performance
Battery life
Conclusion
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Micromax Canvas Nitro 4G review

A budget 4G smartphone which falls behind its rivals.
By Sukesh Mudrakola on 2015-09-25
Key Features
  • 5-inch HD display
  • Android 5.0 Lollipop
  • 2GB of RAM
  • 13-megapixel rear camera
What we like
  • LTE support on both SIM cards
  • Good for one-handed use
  • Near-Stock Android 5.0 Lollipop 
What we don't like
  • Camera lags
  • Not up to the mark in terms of battery life
6.6
Our Score
Introduction

The Canvas Nitro 4G, was introduced by Micromax in August this year as yet another device in the battery-focused Nitro series. Touted to be the first phone in the Nitro series to support 4G LTE, the Nitro 4G  packs new octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 415 System-on-Chip (SoC) which promises high-end features to budget devices. The Nitro 4G comes with some interesting set of hardware such as a 13-megapixel rear camera, 2GB of RAM, and 16GB internal memory. 

Micromax Canvas Nitro 4G Intro

The Canvas Nitro 4G was launched at Rs 12,499, and competes with devices such as the Moto G3, Lenovo K3 note and Samsung Galaxy J5. Lets find out whether Micromax’s latest launch, the Canvas Nitro 4G, with the new Snapdragon 415 SoC inside it, is able to withstand its competition.

Design
7

Styled in an all new, sleek and angular design, the Canvas Nitro 4G has rounded corners, and a light sandstone-like, textured back for better grip. In fact, while the textured back panel resembles a smoother version of the sandstone finish that is seen on the OnePlus handsets, it is actually called the ‘Moonstone’ finish. The rear panel does not attract any fingerprints.

Micromax Canvas Nitro 4G Design view1

The front panel of the smartphone is dominated by a 5-inch 720p display, which makes the device compact enough, so that you can easily carry it in your pocket as well as use single-handedly. The Canvas Nitro 4G looks much more premium when you actually hold it in your hands, than from what it looks like in photos. The smartphone weighs 135g, which is lighter than several other phones in the same price bracket. The edges are accented with glossy finish. The power button and the volume rocker key sit on the right side. Although these keys are made of plastic, they offer good tactile feedback. A 3.5mm audio port is located on the top edge and a micro-USB charging port comes on the bottom.

Micromax Canvas Nitro 4G Design view2

Above the display, you'll find a 5-megapixel secondary camera and an earpiece, which is similar to what’s seen on the Micromax Canvas A1. Below the screen, the device has three on-screen software buttons for navigation. On flipping the phone the other way round, you find a 13-megapixel primary camera right at the centre at the top and an LED flash below it. The device comes with machine drilled holes for audio speakers at the bottom, which adds to its form factor. On removing the back cover, a 2500mAh removable battery, two Micro-SIM card slots and a slot for the microSD card are revealed.

Micromax Canvas Nitro 4G design view3

Despite the stylish design, the device feels plasticky to hold. However, we found the overall finish of the device to be good. The Canvas Nitro 4G is a device that is easy to handle and use. The Moonstone back panel adds to the premium look and feel of the handset, as do the glossy edges at the side

Display
6.5

The Canvas Nitro 4G sports a 5-inch IPS LCD panel which is protected by the Corning Gorilla Glass 3 technology. Sporting a 720x1280p resolution, the screen offers a decent pixel density of 294 PPI. The device also comes with an additional screen guard to protect the screen. The front of the smartphone is sure to attract fingerprints, which is bound to affect the viewing angles. Although the icons and the text on the display are relatively clear, the edges lack the sort of crisp clarity one would expect from a phone at this price point. 

Micromax Canvas Nitro 4G display

The display exhibits warmer colour temperatures, but still manages to provide decent viewing angles. It produces vivid colours and thankfully the colours aren't oversaturated. Readability in direct sunlight is good, but only when the brightness is set to the highest level. We were able to play games, watch videos and photos, with the screen looking quite bright and showing vibrant colours. 

Hardware
6.5

The Canvas Nitro 4G houses the Qualcomm Snapdragon 415 SoC with four ARM Cortex-A53 cores clocked at 1.4GHz and the remaining four ARM Cortex-A53 cores clocked at 1GHz. This chipset is aimed at enhancing connectivity and offering high performance. It has an Adreno 405 GPU for graphics. This smartphone comes equipped with 2GB of LPDDR3 RAM under the hood, out of which 1.4GB is available on the first boot. The smartphone features 16GB internal storage out of which only 11.6GB is available to the user. Thankfully, the storage can be expanded up to 32GB using a microSD card.

Micromax Canvas Nitro 4G hardware

As the name itself suggests, the Canvas Nitro 4G comes with 4G LTE support on both the Micro-SIM slots, and supports LTE networks at Band 3 (1800MHz) and Band 40 (2300MHz). Besides, the Canvas Nitro 4G supports Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n and Bluetooth v4.0 for fast file transfers. To our surprise, this handset also supports USB OTG, which means that one can always access files from a pen drive or any other portable storage medium. For navigation purposes, it features GPS with A-GPS support. It comes with a bunch of handy sensors such as the electronic compass, gravity sensor, proximity sensor, and ambient light sensor. The smartphone also comes equipped with an LED notification light at the top.

Software and apps
7

The Micromax Nitro 4G runs closer to stock version of Android 5.0.2 Lollipop. It provides you with Google's standard lineup of apps, such as Chrome, Gmail, Hangouts, and YouTube. Moreover, by swiping up from the central home key, you get access to the digital search assistant, Google Now. The on-screen button on the right shows the recent apps, whereas the one on the left acts as a back button.

The Android software on board is barely distinguishable from Google’s stock version, except for the fact that the OS on this device has several preloaded third party apps such as newshunt, app centre, chaatz, quikr, snapdeal and hotstar. However, one can always uninstall these apps without any hassle. 

Micromax Canvas Nitro 4G Software

The software is not very smooth, though. The animations and transitions had a couple of hiccups, and we found that the device also took some pauses while browsing and zooming in through images. We also noticed a few frame drops and that the device would hang at times. However, it delivers good touch response.

The smartphone provides an option to cast screen, in which the device’s screen can be cast on an external display using Bluetooth. The drop-down notification menu is quite similar to the one on stock-Android, in which one can access all the notifications. By sliding to the left, you get access to shortcuts such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, brightness control and cast screen.

Overall, the device makes use of decent software that is quite reminiscent of stock Android. 

Camera
6.5

Micromax Nitro 4G features a 13-megapixel rear camera with an LED flash. The camera app has a lot of options, which include filters, panaroma, continuous shot, fast video recording, voice commands and face detection. Although, the camera manages to capture images with decent details, the slow shutter speeds is what makes it displeasing to use.

Micromax Canvas Nitro 4G Camera

Both the cameras on the smartphone focus quite quickly during daylight shoots, but are not as fast in low light shooting conditions. There is also a drastic lag in the camera app, when the device is moved in any direction. The camera takes a considerable amount of time in adjusting the image on the frame and there is a lag in the camera’s shot-to-shot time as well. The HDR mode, though present, isn’t quite impressive, as we noticed that it tends to blow up the highlights in the images. The front facing 5-megapixel camera works well for taking selfies that can be shared over social networks.

Micromax Canvas Nitro 4G Camera Sample1

The video camera can capture up to Full HD videos. While it did skip a few frames, it was still good enough to be used for casual shooting purposes. The interface of the camera app is quite neat and all the options are available right at the top of the screen. 

Micromax Canvas Nitro 4G camera sample2

Overall, the images taken in good lighting conditions are bright and colourful, though there’s a slight tendency for these to look over-sharpened. The base quality of the images is just average.

Audio and video
7

The default music player on the Canvas Nitro 4G is pretty outdated and resembles the one found on Android 2.3 Gingerbread. Thankfully though, the device also comes with Google Play Music. The device has machine drilled holes at the bottom of the device for the speaker as seen on the iPhone. The audio output is not so loud and crackles a bit at higher volumes. The audio quality on the device is only average. 

The earphones which are bundled along with this smartphone are well built and come with a flat sturdy cable. The audio quality on these pair of earphones is good and produces a well-balanced sound output. The device comes with a built-in FM Radio which worked fine, without any signal issues. The device also allows you to record programs from the FM Radio. 

Micromax Canvas Nitro 4G Audio Video

In terms of its multimedia capabilities, the device scores the most points for video playback. The device plays Full HD videos without even a minute’s lag. We tested this by playing Full HD videos at both 30fps and 60fps, and the device handled both with ease.

Performance
6

The Micromax Canvas Nitro 4G comes with Qualcomm Snapdragon 415 paired with 2GB of RAM. While the OS is smooth is most cases, we noticed that it would stutter at times while using a few apps such as Chrome, Facebook and the native camera app. The SwiftKey keyboard also tends to lag a bit at times. We noticed that it would lag when we were typing in input as well as deleting chunks of text. However, this wasn't the case with Google’s stock Android keyboard, which worked fine. The call quality on this handset is loud and clear. The speaker output though, is not up to the mark. The volume isn’t loud and the audio quality is strictly average.

Gaming on the phone is good as long as you have the graphics set to low or medium settings for games such as Asphalt 8 and Dead Trigger 2. These same games lagged considerably and also had significant frame drops in high-end graphic mode. After a prolonged gaming session, we noticed that the device would warm up a bit. One has to compromise with the sound from the loudspeaker when playing games in landscape mode, as the speakers placed at the bottom edge are likely to get obstructed when you hold the 4G in your hand. 

In terms of benchmarks, the Nitro 4G managed to score 28,418 when tested with AnTuTu Benchmark. For the graphics, we tested it with 3DMark and the device scored a good 4787. In terms of browsing experience, metal, and multicore, the Nitro 4G has been tested with Vellamo Mobile Benchmark and scored a decent number. 

Micromax Canvas Nitro 4G performance

Overall, the performance of the handset can be termed as average. It fails to handle graphic-intensive games, and heavy apps. Though the handset is driven by a Snapdragon 415 paired with 2GB of RAM, the device barely manages to perform resource heavy tasks. But, this smartphone can handle all the basic applications with ease.

Battery life
6.5

Micromax Nitro 4G packs a 2,500mAh removable Li-Polymer battery, which takes up to three and a half hours to charge from 0 to 100. During our review, we were able to get 5-6 hours of battery life with an hour of gaming, half an hour of phone calls, an hour of 1080p video playback, along with browsing through the web and using social networks in the background. With a relatively milder usage, the device can easily last a day.

Micromax Canvas Nitro 4G battery

When using the battery saver mode, the device’s performance is reduced with limitations in a few features. This battery saver mode turns off automatically when the device is put to charge. Overall, the battery life of this device can be considered decent.

Conclusion

Micromax Nitro 4G comes with the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 415, that is known for enhancing a device’s connectivity. Therefore, the Canvas Nitro 4G boasts of offering dual LTE for better connectivity. Launched at a price tag of Rs.12,499, this handset is available in the retail market for about Rs.11,000. At this price point, the device feels like a good overall package in terms of offering a sturdy build quality with good aesthetics and good connectivity. However, in terms of overall performance and battery life, the Nitro 4G falls behind its contenders. Unless you have a really good reason, we would advise you to opt for a better device in its price range such as the Moto G3, Infocus M530 and Lenovo K3 Note.

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