Micromax has come a long way since its first Android device, Andro. Since then the company has focused on saturating the market with several very similar smartphones at different price bracket. Today we bring to you the Full Review of the Canvas Fun A74, which is the middle child in the Canvas Fun series between the A63 and the larger A76. We found this device to have the right balance of specs, performance and style. Here's the PhoneBunch in-depth review of the Micromax Canvas Fun A74.
Good Build Quality
Good Gaming Performance
Almost Stock Android 4.2 Jelly bean
A bit heavy
Fixed Focus camera
Physical buttons hard to press
Display seems a bit pixelated
Micromax Canvas Fun A74 comes with a-inch FWVGA display, 1.3 GHz dual-core processor with 512 MB RAM. The graphics of the device are powered by the Mali 400 MP GPU which proved its mettle in our Gaming Review. There's 4 GB of internal storage out of which about 2.5 GB is available to the user. But storage is expandable and apps/games can be moved to the SD card.
The entire front is covered by glass, which encloses the 4.5 inch display alongwith three capacitive buttons which thankfully do light up. At the top you have the main earpiece alongwith the secondary front facing camera as well as the light and proximity sensors.
The top of the device is comprised of the 3.5 mm headphone jack and the micro USB data syncing/charging port. On the left you have the volume rocker and at the same position at the right you have the power button. Both these buttons fall on the curve of the smartphone, making them a bit hard to press.
On the back you have the 5 megapixel fixed focus camera with the single LED flash which is quite bright. If you open the backcover you are greeted with the 1500 mAh battery, two full-size SIM card slots and a micro SD card slot. To have an overview of the included accessories, including the free screenguard, just head over to the unboxing of the Micromax Canvas Fun A74.
There are 3 sensors available:
GPS works great on the Canvas Fun A74, it was able to get a lock on our location within a few seconds.
The front of the device is covered with hardened glass with a raised enclosure on the sides to protect the display if it ever may fall on its face. The build quality is pretty sturdy, especially the back cover which covers the sides of the device as well and includes the buttons as well.
The device is completely build from plastic, but that doesn't mean there is any compromise in quality. This is one of the best constructions we have seen from Micromax, especially since it has a removable battery. If you look at a distance the Canvas Fun A74 shares its design with the HTC 8X, and the blue color truly reminds you of the similarity. The speaker grill and earpiece are covered in black mesh which give the device a very premium look.
The backcover has a soft touch finish which makes it easier to hold. The colorful backcovers also add a sense of style to the Canvas Fun A74. Micromax could have included a few backcovers or given the possibility of purchasing backcovers for the smartphone. But you can't have everything.
The only issue we have with the build is that the buttons are a bit hard to press, which we have already said earlier. Then there's the capacitive buttons below the display, sometimes they just freeze when long tapped. There's no rhyme or reason to this but it definitely is noticeable.
Network and Call Quality
Lets begin by saying that there are no Network issues with the Micromax Canvas Fun A74. Network connectivity was spot on even when both SIM cards were inserted in the device. We always had about 80- 90% signal level even indoors, and the call quality was excellent.
There were no dropped calls throughout the review period. The earpiece is loud and clear, and the person on the other side of our calls too did not have any issues in hearing us clearly. The Canvas Fun A74 is a dual-SIM dual-Standby device, therefore you cannot get a call on the other SIM while talking on one. It also supports video-calling over 3G using the front facing camera.
The display on the Canvas Fun A74 is a difficult proposition. Most of the time, it looks great since it has good color reproduction and good viewing angles as well. But sometimes the display seems a bit pixelated. Its not a deal breaker, but a better panel would have been certainly welcome.
There were no issues with freezing or ghosting while playing games. The touch response is quite good as well, although the capacitive touch buttons leave something to be desired. They work fine on normal touch but long tapping them does seem to falter a few times, but we would attribute that to the ROM rather than the hardware.
Camera and the LED Flash
So we have a 5 megapixel primary camera but its fixed focus, therefore you would need very steady hands to take decent images. The LED flash is quite capable and provides a clear white light. Images under ambient light look decent, but its a totally different take when it comes to low light.
Under flash images seem alright, but good lighting is a must if you want good images.
The camera on the Canvas Fun A74 allows you to take Panorama as well as HDR images. One of the unique things about the camera app in the A74 is that it allows for dual-shot using which you can capture photos/videos from both cameras at the same time overlapping each other. Its similar to what Samsung did in the Galaxy S4. What is does is, allow the person taking the shot to be in the final photo/video as well.
Our gaming experience with the Canvas Fun A74 was flawless. We played both basic games as well as the latest high-end games including FIFA 14 on the Canvas Fun A74, and the phone never let up. It performed great through our entire review.
The accelerometer worked great, and was able to register even our slightest movement.
The speakerphone sounds good, it is loud and clear as well. If you place the phone on its back, the sound gets muffled and but not that you would be unable to hear it. Sound does not distort even at the maximum volume. The sound is not tinny, it does have a hint of bass to it.
We have been saying this for a while, the speakerphone should be either on the front or the sides, and even if its on the back then too there should be some raised enclosure so that sound doesn't get muffled. On the Canvas Fun A74 the speakerphone is flush with the backcover, and therefore volume is diminished considerably when the phone is put on its back on a solid surface.
Music and Bundled Earphones
For the first time we can say that the bundled earphones with the Canvas Fun A74 are actually alright. You can even listen to music on them, although they are a bit bass heavy. The speakerphone is quite loud and clear as well with a hint of bass, which makes it sound way less tinny.
There are some equalizer settings in the default Music app, which you can customize according to your liking. FM Radio reception was good and as you can see in the review video it picks up channels very quickly. FM does require a headset to be put in for it to work, but that's same for most phones.
Video Playback too was flawless on the Canvas Fun A74. It can only play 720 videos natively, but you can play 1080p videos using MXPlayer. Videos worked flawlessly, with no lag or sync issues, you can fast forward, seek around a video and there is no slowing down. The display shows no ghosting even with high framerate videos.
You can directly play AVI, MP4 as well 3GP files from the default video player app, for more formats, you can choose from several video players available in the Play Store.
Software and Apps
Similar to other smartphones with the MT6572 chipset, the ROM seems to be stock Android for the most part. Lockscreen shows both missed call and message notifications. You also have iOS like notifications on the Message and Phone icons in the launcher.
The new quick toggles come standard with User profiles where you can customize ringtones, volumes among other things. The app drawer and launcher are stock without any customization, although we would have liked for atleast an option to sort apps.
You also have OTA updates enabled on the Canvas Fun A74, but USB OTG does not work. Actually that's a limitation of the hardware and the MT6572 chipset does not support USB OTG. Most Google apps come pre-installed including Chrome, GMail, GTalk, Google+ as well as YouTube.
Talking about compatibility:
Flipboard app and its widgets work great.
Google Now works fine and displays all possible cards anticipating your requirements, however when it comes to the voice part it suddenly stops midway. We faced the same issue with the Iris 402, but we can't ascertain whether its a ROM or a chipset issue.
WhatsApp, Skype, Facebook and all other major social networking apps work without any issues on the Canvas Fun A74.
Google Chrome too works flawlessly.
Apps can be moved to the SD card and data for large games automatically installs on the SD card which you can enable from Storage options in Settings.
General options are available including Pattern, Pin, Password etc. but you also have the option to unlock the device with Voice Unlock or Face Unlock, both are a bit unreliable.
We would recommend using a pattern or a pin as its safer. The Canvas Fun A74 also supports Android Device Manager which allows you to Remotely Wipe, Ring or track your mobile online.
Performance and Battery Life
We have a detailed benchmarking review of the Canvas Fun A74 alongwith comparison with other dual-core smartphones including the Xperia M.The Canvas Fun A74 performed great in our tests and proved to be quite a performer especially in gaming.
Battery life is decent with the 1500 mAh battery pack, which easily lasts more than a day on a single charge. In our tests the Canvas Fun A74 lasted for about one day of usage which consisted of 2G internet always on, with background sync on for all Google Apps, WhatsApp and Facebook, gaming for about 30 minutes, browsing internet for about an hour on Wi-Fi, listening to music and watching local videos for about an hour along with streaming video from YouTube for about 30 minutes. Our usual day parameter also consists of 20 minutes of voice calls without the use of the speakerphone. During this time GPS was always on.
The Canvas Fun A74 has excellent construction, its solid and looks good. The colored backpanels give a sense of style and distinction in a world of black & white phones. At this price point its a great device, although the display panel could have been of a better variety, maybe an IPS panel. The camera too is fixed focus, which requires for very steady hands but it does take decent shots in ambient lighting.
The Canvas Fun A74 is the middle child between the Canvas Fun A63 and the Canvas Fun A76, which makes it the perfect choice in terms of specs. We were really impressed with the gaming performance of the device, which makes it a great candidate in the entry level segment. Therefore, we are giving the Micromax Canvas Fun A74 a score of 7.2/10.
Abhinav Pathak likes all things tech, with major focus on smartphones and mobile computing. He has a profound interest in music, movies, gadgets and good food. His passion for coding translates into developing web-services and apps for android.