TechReview | Micromax Dual 5 – the phone with a promising camera

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Nowadays when daily there are new phones in the market, it is difficult to be get excited about a new Micromax phone. This also particularly rings true because Micromax has been a many things, but never a company from which you would expect a phone is remarkably unique. Yet, the Micromax Dual 5, a phone that launched on Wednesday, is exactly that. A unique — and premium — phone, which although shares its design and feature set with a few other devices in the market but still manages to hold its own in a way no other Micromax has managed until now in this price segment.

The Micromax Dual 5 marks a new beginning for Micromax and whether this new beginning will bring better rewards for the company or not is something we will have to wait and see, the phone on its merits seems good enough to be a winner in its class. Now, before you read further, let me reiterate that this not the full review of the Dual 5. That will come once I have used the device more thoroughly. But I am using the Dual 5 for the last four days and it is good enough, in almost all areas, to be one of the top devices under Rs 25,000. Yes, there is lot to like in the Micromax Dual 5.

Sharp looks, but old design

The Micromax Dual 5 is the best looking phone from the company. Period. Although that doesn’t mean it is the best looking phone. Or very original. The design is something that we have seen earlier in premium phones. The chamfered edges are quite common nowadays. And so is the brushed metal. Or for that matter the curved back that we have seen in phones again and again, starting with device like HTC 10. Although Micromax has worked hard enough to refine the design. The end result is that even the Dual 5 looks familiar, it is also slick enough to appeal to most consumers. The edges of the phone are extremely thin. They measure less than 5mm. At the same time, the curved back makes the phone fit well in hands.

Then there is the workmanship, which too adds to the premium appeal of the phone. The 5.5-inch screen has a layer of 2.5D curved Gorilla Glass 3, which melds gently into the metal frame. The quality of metal is really good. Unlike many other “metal body” phones, the Micromax Dual 5 doesn’t have any plastic inserts in the back cover. Although, it does have the rubber lines that helps the phone get better network performance. Finally, it is ergonomically a good design. The phone fits well in hand, the fingerprint scanner is on the back, exactly where it should be.

The phone has good hardware inside it. And that again goes a long way in ensuring that my early impression of the device is positive. The 128GB internal storage is generous. Users don’t realise the importance of more internal storage until they use a phone with one. In this age of WhatsApp, 32GB is bare minimum. In fact, the more is always better. The 4GB RAM in the phone seems plenty. And the Snapdragon 652 processor seems fast enough. In my brief use I didn’t see any noticeable lag in this phone. Although, the software, which is Android Marshmallow customised by Micromax, has some inconsistencies. For most part though the software is slick, and full of some cool features. Of particular note are the security features like ability to freeze apps or set up different zones on the phone. These features, says Micromax, are actually powered by a dedicated military-grade chip inside the phone. Although I have a feeling that not everyone will use all of these features.

The software on the Dual 5 also looks quite slick, with translucent layers and clean icons. But I still prefer the stock Android and given how good is the overall hardware of the Dual 5, would have loved to see Pure Android, preferably Android Nougat, on it. As I use the device more, I will dig deeper into the features and software of the Dual 5 and will talk about it more in the full review.

Brilliant screen and cool camera

But forget the software for a while. It gets the job done, anyway. And in a fairly good manner. The area where the Micromax Dual 5 really comes into its own, and in good way, is its screen and the camera. Both of these are important components. And on both the Dual 5 seems very competent.

The Micromax Dual 5 has a 5.5-inch screen with AMOLED panel. This is a good quality screen that shows rich colours, the way AMOLED panels tend to do. The blacks on this screen are deep black (see the image with lizard above) and all colours pop out. The Dual 5 screen also shows good contrast and is bright enough.

The camera, meanwhile, is a big focus for the Dual 5. And it seems to deliver on the promises it makes. The Dual 5 has three cameras with the 13-megapixel Sony-made image sensors. Two of them — one full colour and one monochrome — are on the back while one of them is one the front. The main rear camera is accompanied by a dual-tone flash and a F1.8 lens. On its own the 13-megapixle main camera is quite good. But when used in combination with the other lens, it really clicks some cool photos. I will have more to say about the 3D photos etc in the full review.

But there are two modes I have tried with the dual-camera functionality and both of them work very well and make clicking photos fun. One of these modes is Blurry mode, which uses the second camera for depth sensing make clicking portrait photos with blurred background quite easy. It also works well enough, and seems quite similar to what Apple offers in the iPhone 7 Plus. Although, in Apple’s case the Portrait mode benefits from a longer focal length. The second mode is the Night mode and this too markedly improves quality of photos clicked in low light. See the examples below.

So, worth Rs 24,999?

I will have more to say on this in the full review but overall the Dual 5 looks like the best phone Micromax has made so far. But there are some things still unknown. I need to figure out the battery life of the Dual 5 and whether it heats up or not when you are playing games on it. I need to see how it works with networks, including Jio’s VoLTE. And, as noted earlier, the software is another area that I need to explore further.

But at the price of Rs 24,999, and this is the offline price so the selling price could be lower, the Dual 5 looks like one of the most well-rounded phones in its category. In fact, if you combine Micromax promise of replacement warranty of one year for the Dual 5, this is the kind of phone that ticks a lot of right checkboxes. Keep it on your shortlist if you are out shopping for a new phone.