Micromax A90 review – Superfone pixel is the price justified?

The Micromax A90 Superfone pixel handset has amazed me, its light weight and power packed. For a price of Rs. 12,990 is it worth with all the extra features, let’s find out.

The box pack
The pack was smaller than my previous Spice handset, well it got to, as A90 is slimmer than Mi-425 and light weight too. Inside the box was the 4.3 inches Superfone pixel, battery adapter, USB to Micro USB cable, warranty / user guide and earphone.

On the box pack it is mentioned as Super AMOLED screen where as on the back side on the same box the Super word is missing. But anyway the screen quality is simply ‘superb’.

Design
I have been using the Spice Mi-425 for few months and the moment I got hold of the handset, ‘wow’,  so light. The A90 is almost 30% lighter than the 425. And there is more, the slim design and the 4.3 inch display gives it a premium look. The rear side is matte finish with slight embossed deign that gives a very comfortable grip.

The power button (placed on right) and the volume rockers (on left) are slightly curved. There is the 3.5 mm jack and next to it the micro USB port, in fact it is with a slide in/out cover – when port is not in use just cover it up (check the video).  There is a front camera of 0.3 MP on right top corner with in call speaker and proximity / light sensors.

The screen AMOLED or Super AMOLED whatever you call it goes very well with the black design. In fact when you switch on the phone and are exploring the menu option (which is with a black background) it blends perfectly with the black body, hard to make out the touchscreen area.

Micromax A90 box pack

Operating System
The Micromax A90 comes with ICS OS which loads pretty smooth. There are few pre-installed apps however I could not find the Google Talk app. It seems Micromax has removed and replaced it with MiBuddy messenger. This is disappointing, I am now forced to use third party app – WhatsApp.

AMOLED Screen and resolution
The screen quality no doubt is superb, the pixels are crystal clear, fonts are sharper and no matter from whatever angle you try viewing the display area, you can clearly view/read the content – excellent viewing angle. The resolution of 800×480 pixels with 256K colours looks very good on the 4.3 inch screen. It is not mentioned on the box pack but the display glass looks scratch resistant, it is very smooth and sharp objects just slip away without leaving any impression.

MM A90 handset

On an AMOLED display if the screen has any black content, the pixels (for the black content) are turned off, on normal screen even the black pixel are turned on (this is the reason why black part seems lightened up on a normal display). And since on the AMOLED screen the black pixel do not lighten up, it consumes less energy and what you get is pure back output – something hard to get on a normal screen.

The touch is silky smooth, better than what I have experienced on Mi-425. There are 3 dedicated on-screen buttons. Some of the buttons respond with haptic feedback – you can disable it using the settings menu option. I tried scratching the front glass using a pin and a coin, and it is scratch resistant (though I applied less pressure), but I think it can provide a good level of scratch resistance.

The Spice Mi-425 was with 5 point multi touch option, however the A90 is just 3 point multi touch. Should not be much of an issue though.

MM A90 with 3 point multi-touch screen

Memory and storage
The Micromax A90 comes with 512MB RAM and of the 4GB internal storage 503MB is allocated for internal storage (for apps etc) and 2.09GB is allocated for phone storage. The rest is used by the Android ICS OS.  There is the microSD slot which can be used to add up extra storage of up to 32GB. The RAM used 231 MB and free RAM is 242 MB (this is after I installed about 5 games and few apps).

Performance
The overall performance was smooth without any lags. Even the quadrant benchmark score was pretty impressive at 2370. The A90 comes with ARMv7 processor (1GHz) – Hardware MT6575 (this is  single core) with imagination technologies PowerVR SGX 531 GPU (Series 5).

There was a rendering lag when zooming in while using the stock browser; this is a common issue with almost all handsets. I did not find any other issue with the hardware.

Gaming
I tried some HD games which worked well. It seems as you play more levels it gets a bit slow (lags). You can check the Games video at the end of the article.

The 8MP Camera
The 8MP camera is really good but not excellent. The picture quality is amazing but it will take time to get used to it. For perfect shot you need a still subject. The video recording is also good at 720p in 3gp format, though the mic recording was a bit low.

The camera is auto focus and you can also tap the screen (on a particular subject) to focus it. The LED flash is no good, ok in zero light conditions. The still camera also has the HDR (High Dynamic Range) option which provides greater dynamic range between darkest and lightest area. Basically it works by taking multiple pictures at different exposure and then combining them together to product the perfect picture with both bright and dark areas.

Once you click an image using HDR option it takes time to store/process the image about 2 to 5 seconds. You also need a very still subject.  Pictures speak a thousand words, so check out the same images and also watch the 720p video taken from the Micromax A90.

Camera performance

  • Very good closeup and good long shot (Outdoors).
  • Indoors the quality is not so good. The shot with flash is hopeless. (update) in dark environment tap the screen to focus, this is switch on the flash for few seconds while the camera does the focusing, then the flash switches off, now press the camera button again the flash will trigger and the shot will be taken. This will give you a better output.
  • I will upload 720p video in direct sunlight to see if any improvement as compared with the already uploaded video (cloudy weather).
  • Camera mode face beauty, smile shot, best shot, EV bracket shot.
  • Burst Mode: 4, 8, 16 shots.

Battery Life
I have fully charged the 1600 mAh battery and now after almost over 24 hours the battery level is at 41%. Moderate usage, 3G on for quite some time, used Wi-Fi, downloaded apps, in fact all the games that you may have seen in the gaming video. Will update more on the battery.

2nd battery test: Fully charged, GPS off, Bluetooth off, Wi-Fi off, 3G on 247 which checks email every now and then, played games for 20 minutes, watched videos for 30 minutes, few phone calls, checked emails and now after 32 hours battery is at 42%.

Micromax A90 review
This phone is really good, light weight, slim and excellent screen quality / resolution. Add to it the ICS display and 4GB internal storage. The 8MP camera is pretty good, the auto focus takes some time but you can get really good pictures outdoor. Indoors the quality if ok.

The GPS got a fix in less than 30 seconds and the built in FM radio gives you an option to play live music without the earphones. Sound quality is really good. Sadly Google Talk is missing. Skype video calls does work. The weather widget on the home screen does not look so good, I tried going through the options but it could not connect to the net, even when the net was working, there is an update available on Google play will try that and see, I think that will fix the issue.

There is the Video call option but it did not work for me – don’t think video call is supported but you can use Skype etc for that. The in call / sound quality etc., everything works perfectly fine.  Overall when compared with Micromax A100 this is a good phone and the price may seem a bit on the higher side. The A90 at under 11,500 could have make a huge difference. However for the price this isn’t that bad.

Micromax A90 single core key features and specifications

  • 1GHz single core processor MT6575 ARMv7 with Series 5 PowerVR SGX 531 GPU.
  • 512MB RAM, 4GB internal storage (503MB for apps & 2.09GB as internal storage) and microSD card slot.
  • ICS Android 4.0.
  • 4.3 inch Amoled Screen display with 800×480 pixels resolution (728×480 pixels / 72 pixels used by dedicated on screen button).
  • 8MP auto focus camera with 0.3MP front camera. 720p video recording / playback supported.
  • 3G, Wi-Fi, micro USB, Bluetooth and GPS. Wi-Fi / Bluetooth / USB tethering supported.
  • Multi format media player, FM radio and 3.5mm jack.
  • Sensors : Proximity, Light, G-Sensor and Magnetic sensor (compass).
  • 1600 mAh Battery – Standby time is about a week and talktime about 4 to 5 hours.

A90 Gallery

A90 sample images

I have uploaded images taken from A90 on Flickr here is the link http://www.flickr.com/photos/gogirana/sets/72157631274491528/

The Micromax A90 Video review

Games and Movie demo

Sample 720p unedited video shot from A90

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