he new notchy design might be appealing for the demographic Micromax is targeting, but the features that Micromax is offering at the price range of Rs 8999 to Rs 9999 might not be so.
Micromax sprung out of the dead and announced two new phones at the fag end of 2018. The Indian phone maker remained mostly silent the entire year launching phones few and far between. The new Infinity N12 and the N11 launched on Tuesday are the only two exciting phones to come from Micromax’s stable, and that very fact is quite disturbing for a brand that once ruled the Indian smartphone market. The Infinity N12 and the N11 are Micromax’s way of keeping up with changing times. Both the phones have a notch cut out on top of the display and that’s Micromax’s way of remaining up to date with changing design.
I wouldn’t blame Micromax for trying, but the company seems to be living under a rock to not notice the flak users and critics gave to OEMs for shoving the notch down people’s throats. The company had the perfect opportunity to leapfrog over others and design a phone that’s more acceptable, if that’s the term we should use. Phones with smaller, water drop notches are actually more acceptable and even if Micromax couldn’t have really come out with mechanised sliders and everything else, asking for a smaller notch (or no notch at all) wouldn’t have been all that much.
Notch is the way of keeping up with changing times (Not hardware under the hood)
Nevertheless, precisely for the gamble Micromax decided to indulge in (or shall we call it desperation?), the Infinity N12 and the N11 are much more exciting than all the vanilla phones the company launched this year. We used the phones for a few minutes at the launch event and here’s what we thought:
Both the Micromax Infinity N12 and the Infinity N11’s biggest feature is the notch. It’s like Micromax woke up late this year and quickly tried to imitate whatever was trending in the smartphone world, with little regard to what users are actually demanding. The notch, after dominating the smartphone space for the better part of 2018 is finally on its way out. It’s being replaced by smaller cut-outs in the shape of a water-drop while phones like the Samsung Galaxy A8s and the Huawei Nova 4s (both unreleased in India), have opted for a punch-hole sized cut-out for the front camera on the top corner of the panel. None of these piqued Micromax’s interest, unfortunately. The 6.19-inch panel on the N12 and the N11 seemed average to say the least. It has HD+ resolution and a 18.9:9 aspect ratio. The notch too is quite wide and houses just the single front camera and the ear-piece. More we looked at it, more we thought the notch was placed just for novelty than any practical use.
Micromax Infinity N11 with a dual-tone finish
The rest of the body, on the other hand, seemed quite attractive. While we remain apprehensive of the build quality to the chassis being built completely out of plastic, it does look good. The phones have a glossy finish and the Micromax Infinity N11 even has a dual-tone colour treatment. The phones will be available in blue, black and red colours, all of which looked far too glossy for our own taste.
The Micromax Infinity N12 and the Infinity N11 are both powered by the MediaTek Helio P22 SoC. It’s an entry-level chipset manufactured on a 12nm process. It has eight low-power Cortex-A53 cores with peak clock speeds of 2.0GHz and has a dedicated AI co-processor. The phone itself doesn’t really rely on any AI, at least Micromax doesn’t explicitly say so. The K12 has 3GB RAM and 32GB storage while the K11 has 2GB of RAM and the same 32GB of storage.
The phone also runs on stock Android 8.1 Oreo. Micromax was prompt to address the fact that it doesn’t have the latest Android build. The company made a tall claim of pushing out the update to Android 9 Pie within 45 days of launch. It’s a lofty claim and we hope Micromax lives up to it.
The phone in general felt quite smooth, although the limited time we had it in our hands wasn’t really enough to stress out the performance. We will be putting the phone through our batch of intensive performance tests for the detailed review later this month, so stay tuned for that.
Both the Micromax Infinity N12 and N11 come with dual cameras at the back. There is a 13+5MP setup where the secondary lens is used for depth sensing. Micromax claimed one of the sensors had a wide-angle field-of-view and we presumed that’s what the second lens is for. Turned out, the primary lens itself has a relatively wider field-of-view, which isn’t a bad thing. The camera UI seemed much more refined than what it used to be before, although the text in the UI appeared to be too small. Nevertheless, the photos seemed decent enough but it requires more testing for a definitive verdict.
Unique (read: Weird) dual camera arrangement
On the front of the Infinity N12 is a 16MP sensor for selfies while the N11 makes do with an 8MP sensor. Micromax also boasted of a host of camera modes including a portrait mode, but only for the rear camera. Particularly noticeable was a feature called ‘Face Cute’ and for the limited time we had the phone, we couldn’t really figure out what it stood for.
What Micromax has been really consistent with so far, is the battery capacity in their phones. Thankfully, that doesn’t change with the Infinity N12 and Infinity N11. Both phones have hefty 4,000mAh battery that the company claims delivers up to 30 hours of talk-time. It’s something we will test out ourselves in our lab once the phones are in for review.
Despite pulling everything Micromax could out of the hat, the Infinity N12 and Infinity N11 just feels like too little, too late. The company which used to dominate the Indian smartphone market once upon a time, has been steamrolled by Chinese incumbents. It still holds appeal in the rural sectors of India and that’s exactly the audience Micromax is aiming at with the two new phones. The new notchy design might be appealing for the demographic but the features that Micromax is offering at the price range of Rs 8999 to Rs 9999 might not be so. There are far too many options to choose from in that price range and phones like the Realme 1, Redmi Y2 and the likes which are also sold offline across the country, might once again, spoil the party for this Indian smartphone maker.
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