The Micromax Canvas A110 did create quite a storm in the budget smartphone segment when it launched. The device brought with it a dual-core processor, a 5-inch display, Android 4.0 ICS and good performance overall. All this was available for around Rs. 10,000. You can read our review of the A110 here.
Another company that caught our attention in the 5-inch budget smartphone category is Karbonn. We really liked the Karbonn A18 and the A21 as entry-level Android devices running Android 4.0 ICS. The experience is relatively vanilla, reducing the frustration caused by third party skins.
Yesterday, the Karbonn Smart A111 went on sale online, though Karbonn has yet held any official launch for the device. The specifications under the hood of the device seem at par with the competition, specifically the Micromax Canvas 2 A110. Let us compare the two:
Starting with the pricing and availability, the Micromax Canvas 2 A110 is priced at Rs. 10,299 and is a very popular device. For the past few days the device has become a real jewel, which is to say that it has been hard to find, listed as out of stock.
The Karbonn Smart A111 has not yet been given an official price by Karbonn, but it is listed online for Rs. 10,290, which as you can see, is right around the Micromax Canvas 2 A110’s price.
Both the devices house a 5-inch display. The Micromax Canvas 2 A110 has a 5-inch IPS display with a 480x854 pixel resolution giving it a pixel density of 195ppi. The display of the Micromax has good viewing angles but the lacks sharpness. It is difficult for us to say anything about the display on the Karbonn Smart A111, until we actually see the device. For now, the resolution of the Karbonn A111 is also not known.
In terms of its build, the Canvas 2 A110 has taken design cues from the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. The device has a curvy design and a textured back, which adds to the grip. The Karbonn Smart A111 on the other hand has a slightly rubbery back, very reminiscent of the Karbonn A21. It is safe to say that the Smart A111 looks like the elder brother of the A21 in terms of its looks and build.
In terms of power under the hood, both the devices are nearly at par. The Micromax Canvas 2 A110 has a dual-core 1GHz processor where as the Karbonn Smart A111 has a dual-core 1.2GHz processor. Both the devices have 512MB of RAM as well as 4GB of built-in storage. The Canvas 2 A110 has an 8MP camera whereas the Smart A111 has a 5MP camera.
It is safe to say, that with the exception of the battery capacity, the Karbonn Smart A111 is a 5-inch version of the 4.5-inch Karbonn A21, which is to say that the power under the hood is the same for both. You can read our review of the A21 here.
The Canvas 2 A110 has a head start in capturing the market, giving it the first mover’s advantage. Better late than never, Karbonn has joined this war with the launch of the Smart A111. On paper, the Karbonn Smart A111 looks like a better device, with a larger battery, a slightly faster processor, and in all probability, a higher resolution display. The Micromax Canvas 2 A110 does have a bigger sensor camera however, at 8MP, though we know that a high megapixel count doesn't assure quality - something the Canvas 2 A110 illustrated with its far from usable camera. For now, until we get the Karbonn Smart A111 in our test labs for review, we cannot make a judgement on which is actually the better device, but one thing is for sure - the budget phablet segment is surely heating up.
One question remains, however. Why would a consumer decide to pick up the Karbonn Smart A111 for Rs. 10,290 when he can get the yet-to-be-launched Karbonn Smart Titanium 1 for Rs. 10,990? The Smart Titanium 1 boasts of a 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon quad-core CPU based on the MSM8225Q SoC, and Adreno 203 GPU. Coupled with 1GB of RAM, it bears a 4.5-inch display with a 960x540 pixel resolution. The battery of the device however seems a bit underwhelming at 1600mAh. You take a close look at the details of the device here.
But Karbonn isn’t the only one with a budget quad-core device launching in the market. We have the Micromax A116 Canvas HD that was announced in January and in our first impressions, the device has impressed us quite a bit. The quad-core MediaTek MT 6589 has us quite excited. The MT6589 chipset has four Cortex-A7 cores, clocking in at 1.2GHz, and uses a PowerVR Series 5XT GPU. The combination of the two allows for the processor to provide support for full HD content, along with being able to handle a 13MP camera.
We have compared the specifications of the two budget quad-core phablets, Micromax A116 Canvas HD versus the Karbonn Smart Titanium 1. You can read that in-depth comparison here. Both the devices have been unveiled but are yet to launch in the market.