Micromax launched the Canvas Doodle 3 among much fanfare but the specs disappointed a lot of folks. It comes with a 6-inch display with a paltry FWVGA (480x854 pixels) resolution. MediaTek's ubiquitous MT6572 runs Android 4.2 Jelly Bean on the Doodle 3 with just 512 MB RAM. It does come with a smart cover, but does that rescue it from the pixelated display and moreover you are getting a 6-inch device for about Rs. 8500. Let's have a look if the Doodle 3 revived Micromax's first successful smartphone series.
- Good Build Quality
- Elegant design
- Included Smart Flip Cover
- Good overall performance
- Display is bright
- Camera is average, images under-saturated
- Display is pixelated
- Gameplay is not smooth
- Speakerphone should've been louder
The Canvas Doodle 3 A102 comes with a 6-inch FWVGA (480x854 pixels, 163 PPI) display, 1.3 GHz dual-core processor running Android 4.2 Jelly Bean with 512 MB RAM. There's 4 GB ROM out of which 1.27 GB is available as Internal Storage and 656 MB as Phone Storage which is expandable upto 32 GB using microSD cards. Apps and app-data are movable to the SD card but USB OTG is not supported.
Connectivity options include 3G, WiFi, Bluetooth, Dual-SIM support with Regular SIM Card slots. 3G is supported on 1st SIM card. There's a 5 MP AutoFocus camera at the back with a single LED flash and a VGA front-facing unit. The rear camera is capable of recording 720p videos. We will deal with the camera in just a while. In terms of sensors you have the common ones including Accelerometer, Proximity and Light Sensors. There's a 2500 mAh battery powering the Doodle 3.
Hardware Benchmarks of the Canvas Doodle 3 A102 were rather average. You can see the benchmark scores as well as comparison here.
- Antutu: 11166
- Quadrant: 3210
- Vellamo HTML5: 1694
- Vellamo Metal: 471
- NenaMark 2: 40.1 FPS
There are three capacitive buttons at the bottom of the display for Menu, Home and Back. They do bleed a bit of backlight which is especially visible at night. There's a small notification LED next to the earpiece but its really small and is barely visible if you don't know where to look for it.
Location settings include GPS with aGPS and EPO support. You do have FM Radio on the phone as well.
At first look the Doodle 3 seems a premium smartphone especially with its leather-like smart-cover. In the front you have a 6-inch display which is a bit deep-set into the frame. The bezels are quite large making the phone seem larger than it is. Its not exactly pocketable by any stretch of the word. The Doodle 3 weighs in at about 202 grams and is 9.8mm thick. The length of the phone is 166.4 mm and 84.5 mm wide, making it quite a large phone even for a 6-inch device.
You have three capacitive buttons at the bottom of the display which look sharp. But you can see a bit of light bleed at night. The side frame is raised a bit over the front-panel so that the display never comes in contact when face down.
On the left there nothing apart from the faux-metal trim which runs on all sides. The metallic strip makes the phone easy to hold as well even though its quite large. Thankfully its not glossy and reminds me of the XOLO Q1000 Opus in terms of overall design. The volume rocker and power button can be found on the right, they provide adequate feedback but do wobble a little bit.
The 3.5mm audio jack and the microUSB data-syncing/charging port can be found at the top. The microUSB port is a bit weird to plug a cable into, seems a bit loose. At the bottom you just have a space to open the back-cover.
Moving to the back, you have a 5 MP AF camera capable of recording 720p videos alongwith a LED flash, Micromax logo as well as the speakerphone at the bottom which is a bit flush with the back-cover making it sound muffled when the phone is put on its back.
The backcover itself has a matte finish which adds to the overall sturdiness of the phone as it does not bend or flex much especially when on the phone. On opening the backcover you are greeted to two full-size SIM card slots with the microSD card slot on the left. Then you have the battery compartment to house the 2500 mAh battery.
Overall the build is quite solid without any creaking or flex anywhere. The Canvas Doodle 3 has an elegance about it which is generally missing from Micromax phones.
Doodle 3 comes bundled with a Smart flip-cover within the box. First of all, it looks great and the additional functionality is much welcome.
Its similar to LG's quick-window and Samsung's S-View case but not that feature rich. It is able to show you the number of pending notifications for calls and messages as well as the name of the track you are playing. But the music title only comes when playing music through the default player.
You can also accept or reject phone calls from within the window in the front without the need to open the flip-cover. It gives you the name of the person calling or the phone number if unknown.
You would think that at 163 PPI the 6-inch display would really pixelated on the Canvas Doodle 3. Its true, the display looks pixelated especially text and icons. Even in gaming you can see jagged edges in every graphic element.
That being said, the display is actually not that bad, it has decent color reproduction and acceptable viewing angles. The horizontal viewing angles are wider than the vertical viewing angles.
The display is quite bright and visible in direct sunlight. Its a bit deep set into the frame but still has excellent touch response. Although it does need a bit of help with accuracy.
Network & Call Quality
We didn't have any issues with network on the Canvas Doodle 3. WiFi and Network reception is average. Call quality is average as well with the earpiece loud enough for calls in a noisy environment. But the speakerphone is low in volume.
WiFi Tethering, USB Tethering and Bluetooth Tethering are available on the phone as well. Rounding up connectivity options is dual-SIM support with regular SIM cards, WiFi b/g/n, Bluetooth, FM Radio as well as GPS with aGPS support which works quite well and is able to triangulate location quickly.
There's a 5 MP Auto-focus camera on the Doodle 3 A102 which is unable to take good shots in even ambient light. Images turn out to be lacking in sharpness, under-saturated with a bluish tint over them.
The interface is pretty straight-forward with normal, HDR and panorama modes. Even the HDR mode doesn't have any redeeming qualities about it, images still turn out dull. Videos too have issues with color reproduction and there is continuous auto-focusing going on there.
Low-light imaging is poor and the flash does not help much. The performance of the camera is definitely sub-par.
Here are some of the image samples taken with the Canvas Doodle 3's camera, you can have a look at the rest of them in our Google+ albums.
As I said earlier, the speakerphone is not that loud. Although its clear and doesn't crackle, but it should have been louder especially because you would want to watch videos on that large display.
Then its flush with the backcover as well, so if the phone is flat on its back, sound gets muffled.
Music Playback & Bundled headset
The bundled headset looks cheap but sounds alright for listening to music. There are no issues with high-bitrate music playback and no stuttering. The speakerphone should've been louder.
There is an equalizer to customize sound preferences and it does work well but I would recommend keeping it off if you are listening to music over the speakerphone as it fluctuates sound output.
FM Radio reception is clear and you also have the option to record FM. The volume through the headset increases exponentially when listening to FM Radio.
The Canvas Doodle 3 is capable of playing 720p videos smoothly. There's no ghosting or freezing. YouTube plays well is HQ mode without any lag at 480p which is restricted based on the display resolution.
The M!Doodle app which is another social network in itself but not that popular. You can create and share animated doodle's with your friends even if they are not using the app.
You can also share an image of the doodle you created alongwith a link using email, facebook, twitter or any other social networking app installed on your phone or even through an email. Ear
Its a nifty feature, but the app is not restricted to the Doodle series its also available under the name of "Doodly Doo" on the Play Store.
Software & Apps
You have a generic build of Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean running on the Canvas Doodle 3 with a customized launcher. In the new launcher you can add upto 9 homescreens and set anyone as the default home. The lockscreen is quite bare as well with the exception of notifications and widgets which can be added.
There are no new options in the notification shade, but the multitasking UI has been customized. The new multitasking UI which can be launched by long tapping on the home button in shown below, instead of showing app thumbnails it just shows the icon and is weird to use, but does allow you to close all open apps together.
More importantly there is almost no bloatware installed on the phone except for a few Micromax apps and games. All apps we tested work fine on the Doodle 3.
Coming to web browsing, both scrolling and text re-flow is slow. Pinch-to-zoom is jittery sometimes plus text looks pixelated on the low-res display. Images too lack sharpness and load slowly. Web-browsing performance is definitely sub-par. You also get free 6-month subscription on BigFlix with the Canvas Doodle 3 to watch the latest movies.
Apart from regular options like Pattern, Pin and Password you also have Voice Unlock which works quite well.
You can also sideload apps, encrypt your device and choose Android Device Manager as the device administrator to find, lock, erase or ring your device.
Apps and app-data are movable to the SD card so gaming could have been a forte of the Doodle 3. But its not, gameplay is laggy in most games. Framerates are lower than expected in high-end games but are still playable.
The Doodle 3 doesn't get hot while playing games. Graphics generally look jagged due to the low-resolution display.
Performance & Battery-life
In terms of general performance in everyday use there is no lag in the interface and apps open-up quickly. There are a few hiccups here and there but that's just about it.
Coming to battery-life you can easily get more than a day's worth of usage with the Canvas Doodle 3 even with some gaming and music playback. Camera however does drain the battery faster.
The Canvas Doodle 3 A102 comes with good build quality, an excellent smart cover with additional functionality but with a pixelated display. The 6-inch display which is supposed to be the hero of the device turns out to be its weakest point. The sub-par resolution makes it pixelated with jagged edges in icons, gaming graphics as well as text.
However, the display still has some redeeming qualities in terms of brightness, color reproduction and acceptable viewing angles. The camera is another sore-point alongwith laggy gameplay.
Still, if you are looking for a device with a large display in this price-segment, the Doodle 3 is still your best bet. If might not check all the marks but for the general user, its not a bad deal for about Rs. 8500.