Micromax Canvas 2.2 A114 is an upgrade over the Canvas 2 Plus A110Q with the new MediaTek MT6582M 1.3 GHz quad-core chipset, 1 GB RAM running Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean. The phone is quite a performer and beat almost every phone in its price segment with much higher scores. We found it to be great for gaming as well. But some questions still remain about build, network, multimedia performance, camera and the likes. Therefore, here's our Full Review of the Micromax Canvas 2.2 A114.
- Great Performance
- Good Camera
- USB OTG Support
- Apps Movable to SD Card
- Bright Display
- Quad-band Support
- Build Quality Not Upto Par
- Call Quality Below Average
- Bundled Accessories not Great
- Video Recording Issues
The Canvas 2.2 A114 features a 5-inch qHD IPS display, 1.3 GHz quad-core processor with Mali 400MP2 GPU and 1 GB RAM. The phone runs a rather customized version of Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean with a primarily white UI. The phone also has a 8 MP auto-focus primary camera with a bright LED flash which is capable of 1080p video recording at 30 FPS. There's also a 2-megapixels front-facing camera capable of 720p video recording.
There are three sensors in the phone:
- Ambient Light Sensor
- Gravity Sensor
- Proximity Sensor
The phone supports gestures which makes use of these sensors, we'll talk about these later in the software section. The phone is about 4mm less wider than the Canvas 2 Plus meaning that the bezels around the display are thinner. This makes the phone easier to hold, making single-handed operation possible.
There's a notification LED present in the earpiece grill as well, but it just glows either red or green and therefore isn't configurable to change colors. The Canvas 2.2 A114 is a quad-band phone, therefore you can practically roam anywhere internationally with this phone. The GPS works fine and was able to geo-locate our location within a few seconds. If you open the back-cover you will find two SIM card slots, a micro SD card slot and the battery compartment which houses the 2000 mAh battery of the device.
Apps are movable to the SD card and games/large-apps can be directly installed on the SD card. USB OTG is also supported which is definitely an added bonus. Out of the 4GB ROM, 1.42GB is available as Phone Storage and 1GB as mass storage, making it a total of 2.42GB that's available to the user.
On the left of the phone you'll find the volume rocker and at the same place on the right you have the power lock/unlock button. Both buttons are sturdy and don't make any clicking sounds. But the power button has a small gap just above it making it seem a bit misplaced, however it is not loose.
The Canvas 2.2 A114 has a triple tone finish, the front frame which encases the display is of metallic brown color on the black variant, in the middle you have a matte dark grey band which also makes the material of the volume and power buttons. The third tone is formed by the glossy back-cover.
At the top you have the micro USB data-syncing/charging port alongwith the 3.5mm audio port, while at the bottom of the phone you have the primary microphone and there's no secondary microphone on the Canvas 2.2 A114.
The back-cover on the Canvas A114 is one of my major gripes about the device. Its super glossy, attracts fingerprints and quite frankly makes the device feel a bit cheaper. Its not that well-made either, if you focus on its sides you will find that the glossy material used over the bare black plastic hasn't been smoothed-out properly leaving a gap between the back-cover and the phone.
Although, the back-cover is sturdy and not as flimsy as the one on the Canvas 2 Plus but it doesn't make for easy gripping. Other than the back-cover we didn't have any major issues with the build of the device. There's a 8-megapixels camera at the back which is capable of recording 1080p videos at 30 FPS with a bright LED flash. At the bottom of the back-cover you will find the speakerphone.
Moving to the front you have a 5-inch qHD IPS display, below which you will find three well-lit capacitive buttons for menu, home and back, while at the top you have the main earpiece within which you have an embedded notification LED and right next to it you have the 2-megapixels front-facing camera. The metallic trim which runs on the sides of the front-panel is raised a bit which protects the display from touching a flat surface when the phone is put face down.
There's a qHD display on the Canvas A114, meaning a resolution of 960 x 540 pixels which is higher than the 854 x 480 pixels display on the Canvas 2 Plus. The display therefore looks sharper and is a bit brighter as well. The viewing angles are not that great but the color reproduction is natural.
We did find a bit of a flicker in the display which means that the refresh rate is not consistent, however this only happened a couple of times and is not that noticeable.
Network & Call Quality
Although there was no issue with Network retention, call quality is not upto par. The earpiece sounds a bit muffled and so does the sound from the speakerphone when on call.
There's no issue with voice on the other line, meaning the other person on the line was able to hear us clearly it was just the earpiece that sounded muffled. The microphone worked fine on call but not while recording videos where is added a weird static noise in the entire recording.
The main camera on the Canvas 2.2 is a 8-megapixels unit which is capable of recording full-HD videos at 30 FPS. The camera surprisingly is quite good especially if you factor in the price.
The camera is capable of taking good, sharp images with natural color reproduction in good lighting and low-light performance is also acceptable. Although there's definitely noise and artifacts that do crop up under low-lighting conditions. The flash is particularly useful is such conditions and I am glad to say that it actually works unlike its previous counterpart. Its bright and white in color and therefore does not affect the actual colors of the subject in question.
Video recording is also smooth and sharp, without any issues with auto focus which was rampant in the Canvas 2 Plus. But we did have an issue with the audio that was recorded, there is a continuous static sound in the background which occurs when you record video or even just audio.
Strangely there's no issue when you are on a call using the same microphone. The front-facing camera is fine for taking selfies and you can also make 3G video calls using the phone.
The speakerphone is clear, could have been a bit louder though. Lower tones get muddled in the mix but music playback still sounds fine. The speakerphone grill is flat and makes sound muffled when the phone is put on its back.
Music Playback & Bundled Earphones
Playback is smooth, even high-bitrate content plays smooth, jitter-free without any hiccups. The bundled headset is useless for listening to music and any headset or earbuds, even cheap ones from Sony, Philips, Sennheiser and the likes would be way better. We liked the UI of the Music App and the inbuilt sound effects or equalizer really makes a difference.
FM Radio reception is clear and you also have the option to record FM directly from the interface. Obviously, you need to plug in the headset for the radio to work.
Micromax Canvas A114 supports 1080p video playback natively. AVI, MKV, MP4 and 3GP files are supported natively. Video playback is smooth and there's no jitter or sync issues even when you move around in large video files.
The video player has several functions which make it quite useful. It has a lock feature which locks the touchscreen and the capacitive touch buttons till you click on the unlock icon, therefore preventing anything from happening due to accidental touch while viewing videos. You can also pop-out videos which will overlay over the entire interface. The size of the video pop-up can be increased or decreased and moved around as well without any affect on performance, you can carry out other operations while you watch a video.
Software and Apps
Micromax Canvas 2.2 A114 runs Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean but with a customized skin on top. Everything is white in color, be it the settings menu, popups and the likes. Major app icons as well as most pre-installed system apps have been modified and most of them look good, especially the music and FM Radio apps. But there are a few hiccups here and there, first of which is that the phone uses a dark font which is not visible in apps that use dark backgrounds for text boxes.
We found this issue in the YouTube app. Then if you pull down the notification drawer, you would see that the top part has a slight gap in between and makes the UI look incomplete. The UI is certainly not as intrusive as far as custom skins go, but it definitely needs work.
But there are some good things here, one of them is the default launcher. Its easy to use, you can add upto 9 homescreens and it also has a add to desktop feature using which you can directly add apps , widgets or shortcuts to any homescreen by just tapping on their icons.
The app drawer is customized as well, you have a separate downloads tab and you can choose the sorting order for apps. You can also customize the transitions between the homescreens and app-drawer. There's also an option to use up and down gestures which let you pull the notification drop-down by just swiping down anywhere on the homescreen and brings up the launcher settings menu on swiping up.
Another great addition is Smart Gestures, some of which you most certainly would have seen in the Galaxy S4 commercials. You have the following gestures available, which make use of the various sensors on the Canvas 2.2 A114:
- Proximity Unlock - Lets you unlock your phone by just waving your hand over it, but the display needs to be on.
- Upside Silent - If you are getting a call, it lets you make the phone silent by just turning it over.
- Upside Speaker - If you are already on a call, just turning the phone over transfers the call to the speakerphone.
- Proximity Answer Phone - Lets you answer a call by bringing the phone close to your ear.
- Proximity Dial Phone - Dials the selected contact from the list by bringing the phone close to an ear.
- Proximity Incoming Call - Answers an incoming call automatically by bringing the phone close to your head.
- Proximity Camera Snap - Takes images on waving hand over the phone.
Some of these gestures are truly innovative and useful, no matter who came up with these. But the display needs to be on for these gestures to work and they do tend to use a little battery since they read the sensors which might otherwise be off.
Google apps come pre-installed and there's almost no hint of bloat-ware on the device. You also have M!Security app pre-installed which helps scan for malware in both apps and SD card as well. All social networking apps including Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and the likes work fine on the Canvas A114. There are no major issues with all the apps that we tested.
Canvas A114 showed great performance at gaming, especially since apps and data are movable to the SD card. We played Asphalt 8, FIFA 14, NOVA 3, Modern Combat 4 (MC4), Dead Trigger 2, FrontLine Commando among several other games and the phone never even required a breath between these games. There was no framerate issue, no ghosting or freezing and multi-touch response was also great.
We tried several of the high-end games at highest settings and even then the phone did not let-up. Embedded up is our Gaming Review of the Canvas 2.2 A114.
Performance & Battery Life
In truth there is no phone in this segment that can beat the Canvas 2.2 A114 in terms of performance. It is simply the fastest phone available for the price and much has to be attributed to the new MediaTek MT6582M chipset with Mali 400MP2 GPU.
1GB RAM certainly helps with performance and we never found any lag while using the phone not even after playing high-end games on a stretch. Apps open quickly, the interface is fluid and the touch response is excellent. The display could certainly have been better.
The battery-life on the Micromax Canvas 2.2 A114 is strictly average, and you can get at most a full day on a charge. We got through about a complete day of moderate usage and at night it needed to be charged again.
Micromax Canvas 2.2 A114 performs great and with apps movable to the SD card its good for gaming as well. Where is lacks is build quality and to some extent call quality. But with additional features like Smart Gestures, a good still camera, decent display and native 1080p video playback the Canvas A114 certainly lives upto the promise. The previous-gen Canvas 2 Plus on the other hand had better build but its larger and heavier than the Canvas 2.2. The A114 looks good and is definitely better when it comes to single-handed use.
We could have lived without the glossy backcover and the issue with the mic, while video recording, which adds a static noise in the background. Apart from these the Canvas 2.2 A114 is certainly one of the fastest and better performing phones you can get in this price range. The issue with the mic seems to be a software issue since it works fine during calls, lets hope the issue gets fixed soon. But even then its a good proposition and therefore we give it 8.1/10.