Is the Micromax Canvas 2 2017 a credible follow-up act?

Can good sunlight legibility and a fast fingerprint sensor compensate for a laggy user experience?

We often associate Micromax with low-end budget smartphones. After the mixed reception the Canvas 2 received, the Haryana manufacturer looks to build on the series with a follow-up in the Micromax Canvas 2 2017. But how much value for money are you getting from it?

Design and build

It’s fair to say that at this price range, you cannot expect a premium build. For the most part, the phone is constructed out of a glossy plastic. While not terribly bad, it has a cheap feel to it. The power and volume buttons are mushy to press and do not provide the satisfactory tactile feedback. Over prolonged use, you will definitely start to see wear and tear on the Micromax Canvas 2 2017 so a case is recommended.

The glossy back on the Micromax Canvas 2 2017 is prone to fingerprints

However, in spite of its low price tag the phone packs a good fingerprint scanner on the front. It is fast, accurate and easily accessible. Building on the positives, the front glass panel also has Gorilla Glass 5 protection, which means it will not be prone to scratches from keys or coins. However, my only gripe with design is the microUSB port placement. It is placed at the top of the phone, which is not only weird but also takes some time to get used to.

Multimedia

On the front, you will find a 5-inch 720p or HD capacitive display. Having used many high-resolution screens recently, pixels are easy to see. But that doesn’t make the display unusable. Colours on it are fairly accurate but only if you’re viewing the display straight on. Viewing angles are not great but surprisingly, usability under the sun is not a major issue.

For a 720p panel at this range, sunlight legibility was impressive

For audio, I’m glad Micromax retained the 3.5mm headphone jack and didn’t hop on the trend of removing it. If you’re the type who enjoys serious audio consumption, using headphones will be your best bet because the mono speaker output from the phone doesn’t quite cut it. It struggles to get loud and details are lost at higher volumes. The fact that the speaker can easily get covered when in use doesn’t help either.

User experience

The deal with budget smartphones is that on paper, they seem great. The Micromax Canvas 2 sports a MediaTek MT6737 quad-core processor clocked at 1.4GHz with 3GB RAM and 16GB of default storage expandable via microSD. But barring the fast fingerprint scanner, the phone tends to be sluggish and unresponsive.

The user experience is not heavily skinned and will be familiar to anyone who has used Android in the past

If you’re planning to run graphic-intensive apps on the phone, it may not be the choice for you. Hints of stutter are seen when scrolling, browsing webpages or using maps. Much of this may be accredited to the processor on board, which takes away from the 3GB RAM that the phone packs. If you can get past the stutters though, RAM management by itself is not so bad.

3D games such as Asphalt 8 are quite choppy on the phone

As far as gaming goes, the phone heats up quickly during play. While the phone’s power is adequate for casual gamers, those who play 3D games frequently, the Mali-T720 GPU doesn’t cut it. Frame drops can be seen throughout the experience and personally, I would not recommend it.

Camera

To be critical about the Micromax Canvas 2 2017’s camera would be unfair. At this price, the company has managed to cram in a 13MP primary shooter with an f/2.0 aperture. To me, it feels like Micromax worked too hard on software features rather than perfecting the hardware.

The camera’s user interface comes laced with tons of different options such as a bokeh effect, but most of them are half-baked. This makes using the camera normally a bit of a struggle. Even in ideal light, the unit takes long to focus and the detail in pictures is only adequate. It suffers a lot from motion blur and when used in darker scenarios, pictures struggle to capture details and are at many times unusable.

Over on the front, there is a 5MP sensor for your casual selfies. I felt this was better than the primary camera because it produced more natural-looking pictures. But if you are planning to record some video on the Micromax Canvas 2 2017, the 1080p quality is pretty mediocre and with no stabilisation, it is hard to capture smooth looking footage.

Battery life

With this phone comes a 3,050mAh battery. Combined with the internals and the display on board, standby times for the phone are really good. Using it sparingly could get you around two days of operation, especially with the standby intelligent power saving function turned on.

Standby times for the phone are excellent but on-screen usage times could have been better

But for heavy users, battery life may be a bit disappointing. Screen usage times I registered were around the three to four hour mark. And that was only when using Wi-Fi and the built-in Bluetooth 4.1 with the screen set to half brightness. By around midday, I found myself looking for a socket if the phone was to survive until the night.

As far as recharging goes, there is no support for fast charging via the microUSB port. Charging times are quite slow and a full recharge took approximately three hours.

Conclusion

There is a lot to be desired with the Micromax Canvas 2 2017. While the phone is not aiming to be the best in the market, it is plagued by quite a few flaws. In this era, budget smartphones are expected to be the jack of all trades. And unfortunately, the Micromax Canvas 2 2017 doesn’t quite live up to that.