- Android 5.0 Lollipop
- 5-megapixel rear and front camera
- Dual SIM support
- 5-inch display
- Android 5.0 Lollipop
- 5-megapixel front camera
- Fairly decent design
- Low resolution display
- Lack of 4G support
- Above average battery life
Taking self-portraits or ‘selfies’ as they are widely known, is the latest fad amongst youngsters nowadays. Renowned companies like Sony, HTC and Samsung too have taken notice of this trend, and have already started manufacturing devices with front facing cameras to cater to this growing craze. Micromax, the home-grown company, has also joined the bandwagon of companies that are cashing in on this increasing trend by launching the Micromax Selfie series of smartphones. As the name itself suggests, this series is aimed specifically at those who love taking selfies.
The latest device from this Selfie series is the Micromax Canvas Selfie 2. Micromax has made several changes to its latest offering as compared to the previous model in the series, the Micromax Canvas Selfie. For instance, the Canvas Selfie 2 features a 5-megapixel camera instead of the 13-megapixel camera that its elder sibling, the Micromax Canvas Selfie, sported.
We spent some time on the Micromax Canvas Selfie 2 to know if it is capable enough of taking the selfie craze to the next level.
The Micromax Canvas Selfie 2 sees a change in design when compared to its its predecessor. Unlike the curved design on the Canvas Selfie, this device has a rectangular one. The frame of the Canvas Selfie 2, including the bezels, is made of plastic. The front of the device is dominated by a 5-inch FWVGA IPS display and above it comes a 5-megapixel front camera right at the centre. To the left of the camera is an LED notification light to indicate alerts on your device and right above it is the earpiece. Below the display rest three capacitive backlit buttons. At a weight of 145g, the device is slightly on the heavier side, but despite that, it sits well in hand and is quite comfortable to hold.
The Power button is placed on the right edge of the device and has a circular, knob-like shape. At first glance, we mistook it to be a dedicated button for capturing images because Sony uses a similar design on many of its smartphones in which the circular button has two functionalities - it acts as a power button as well as a dedicated button for capturing images. This power button offers good tactile feedback, though. Placed next to the power button is the volume rocker key. A Micro-USB port is present at the bottom, slightly towards the right side of the phone, with a 3.5mm audio port at the top edge, slightly towards the left.
A 5-megapixel camera is located at the top left at the rear. It comes with a slight protrusion, that protects the lens when the device is placed on level surfaces. The LED flash sits right below the camera and the black metallic Micromax logo comes below it, slightly at the centre of the device. At the lower end is an outlet for the speaker.
At first glance, we were quite convinced that the removable back panel was made of faux leather, as seen on the Samsung Galaxy Note 3. But, it is made of plastic with a leather-like finish to it. Additionally, it looks rather frail and is also prone to fingerprints. Beneath the removable back panel are a 2,000mAh battery, two SIM card slots and a microSD slot. Inserting/removing a SIM card in the first SIM slot is hassle free, but you need to remove the battery every time you need to use the second SIM slot or the microSD slot.
Despite the plastic body that it sports, the Canvas Selfie 2 looks fairly decent. In fact, the leather-like back panel adds to its premium quotient. Moreover, you can use the device single-handedly for long periods of time without any discomfort. That said, the display is a fingerprint magnet and accumulates smudges over a period of time.
The Canvas Selfie 2 has a 5-inch FWVGA IPS display with a pixel resolution of 480x854, which translates to a pixel density of 196 PPI (Pixels Per Inch). Although the display of the Selfie 2 is not as crisp as the other ones out there, it does manage to produce some decent colours. This is still quite underwhelming for a device that aspires to be one of the best smartphones for taking selfies. Since the display is reflective, legibility in bright sunlight is not that great, even at medium brightness settings. One will have to bump up the brightness level to the maximum level in order to be able to view the display better. Moreover, the display lacks oleophobic coating because of which it tends to accumulates fingerprints on the screen. It also lacks a layer of Corning Gorilla Glass technology because of which the display is prone to getting scratches.
Under the hood, the Selfie 2 houses a quad-core 32-bit MediaTek MT6582M chipset clocked at 1.3GHz coupled with ARM Mali-400 GPU for graphics. It is packed with 1GB of RAM and 8GB of onboard storage. That said, only 3.95GB is available to users on first boot. However, one can always expand the storage up to 32GB via a microSD card. In addition to that, the phone is loaded with an accelerometer, a proximity sensor, and an ambient light sensor.
In terms of connectivity, the Selfie 2 is powered by Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, and GPS. This device does not support 4G and its absence on the Selfie 2 is quite a disappointment since a majority of phones in its price segment have this feature. Therefore, the device is limited only to 3G networks.
The phone runs a version of Android 5.0 Lollipop, which is close to stock Android. By default, the Selfie 2 comes with the Firstouch launcher, in which the icons are terribly large in size. It also has its own app store called ‘App Bazar’. Additionally, in case you want to change your default launcher from Firstouch to Android launcher, you can do so from the launcher settings. The Firstouch launcher also allows you to choose your preferred language from 11 options.
Apps from Google Mobile Services such as Google Chrome, YouTube, Play Music, and Gmail, are already preloaded on this device. The phone also comes preloaded with a few apps such as the Amazon Kindle, Amazon Shopping, Keep, NewsHunt, Quikr, and M! Live. That said, the phone is loaded with considerable amount of bloatware. Surprisingly, while we were able to uninstall some of the apps such as Quikr and Snapdeal, a couple of other apps like Amazon Kindle and Amazon Shopping could not be uninstalled.
The Canvas Selfie 2 features a 5-megapixel rear camera along with an LED flash. It uses an OmniVision OV5648 sensor that helps capture good images. The rear camera captures some decent images with ample details. Additionally, the colour reproduction is also fair enough. That said, focussing on this camera is a bit of a disappointment because it takes time to focus. In good lighting conditions, images have decent clarity, but in low light, images have a considerable amount of noise in them. In such scenarios, you can make use of the LED flash to help you take better images.
The Selfie 2 boasts of a 5-megapixel front camera which captures some really good images. However, the images were noticeably over-exposed around the edges. The low light performance of the front camera is only mediocre and we really missed a front facing flash above the display.
The camera app offers a Face Beauty mode that enhances your selfies. It also has a couple of features such as Auto Capture which captures images automatically when a smile is detected, and the Voice Capture which takes images when you say ‘cheese’ or ‘capture’.
In terms of video playback, the camera captures 720p videos which lack clarity and can only be termed as average. The camera on the Selfie 2 performs best only when there is ample amount of light. The performance of the camera in low light as well as the lag of the camera app are definitely a setback for this device.
Micromax Canvas Selfie 2 packs a dedicated app for music. The Music app has a plain and simple UI with four categories, namely artists, albums, songs, and playlists. You can also add sound effects from the Equalizer. The Equalizer allows you to choose from presets such as Dance, Flat, Folk, Heavy Metal, Hip Hop, Jazz, and Pop. The audio is loud enough in the device, but crackles at high volume. Also, the audio quality is not one of the best out there.
The video app is not visible in the applications grid, but one can play videos directly from the gallery or from the file manager. The video app supports file formats such as .3gp and .mp4. When we played our test video, the ‘Big Buck Bunny,’ in 1080p HD resolution at 30fps and 60fps, there were no stutters. However, because of the low resolution display, watching videos or movies on this device isn’t enjoyable.
During the time we spent on the Canvas Selfie 2, we barely witnessed any hiccups. Even though it uses just 1GB of RAM and a quad-core MediaTek MT6582M processor, the device runs smoothly. However, the Selfie 2 has heating issues. After playing games and watching videos for an hour, the device turns noticeably warm.
We ran some of the regular benchmarks to test the Canvas Selfie 2’s performance. In the AnTuTu Benchmark test, the Selfie 2 scored 20,514 in terms of overall performance and ranked below Xiaomi MI 2 and ASUS ZenFone 5. To our surprise, the Selfie 2 was able to run graphic-intensive games such as Asphalt 8: Airborne quite smoothly in high graphic settings without any frame drops. Casual games like Subway Surfers also ran smoothly. In the GFXBench benchmark test, the device scored 9.5fps for gaming which is just about average.
As mentioned in the previous section, in terms of audio, although the audio output is loud enough, it crackles at higher volume levels. The voice call quality is above average and we didn't face any call drops either. For the hardware it packs, the Micromax Canvas Selfie 2 comes across as a decent performer that can handle day to day tasks smoothly.
The Canvas Selfie 2 packs a 2,000mAh removable Li-Ion battery. Despite lacking QuickCharge support, it took us only one hour and 50 minutes to charge from zero to 99 percent. That said, the device took another twenty minutes to charge the remaining one percent, thereby making it a total of 2 hours and 10 minutes for a full charge. The battery life dropped from 39 percent to 34 percent over a nine hour standby period. In our daily usage which involved an hour of gaming, a couple of hours of music playback, an hour of video playback, and a few selfies, the battery lasted over 7.5 hours, which is average at best. However, you can increase the battery life by enabling the Battery Saver mode. The Battery Saver mode automatically turns on when the battery level is at 15 percent. You can change this setting though, and set the battery percentage at which you want the Battery Saver mode to be turned on.
The Micromax Canvas Selfie 2 impresses us with its almost lag free performance for day-to-day usage. While the Selfie 2 may not be the best, it is still a pretty good device when it comes to imaging. The low resolution display and an underwhelming battery life is what sets it back majorly.
Launched at a price tag of Rs.6,499, the Canvas Selfie 2 now retails for Rs.5,568. We would recommend the Selfie 2 to only those of you who want a device who love taking selfies, and are on a strict budget. For other, the Coolpad Dazen 1 and the Xiaomi Redmi 2 Prime are much better alternatives which offer a better display, battery life, and performance.