by vishal sundararajan on May 11 2015 12:30 PM IST
REASON FOR BUYING AND REVIEWING THIS SMARTPHONE
With the rise of Chinese manufacturers stepping in our country, the price of smartphones has been getting ever cheaper and easier to get, whether it’s the range of choice or the price may be the parameters, both are almost equal or beyond our expectations which was not the case 2 years back.I still remember when i was planning to buy a smartphone in mid 2013 for a budget of up to 18k i had only three choices.The micromax canvas HD ,Nokia lumia 720 ,Samsung Galaxy Grand and the Sony Xperia L. I looked so many reviews over the Internet with the Review sources set to Random and i came to a conclusion that the Sony xperia L will be the best choice for me which on the end seemed to be a bad choice as a phone but a great choice to learn the Smartphone tech because from the available choices this was the only phone from that was able to get so much of 3rd party developers attention .i learned the back end process of the smartphone apart from using the smartphone itself.Things such as how a ROM is developed, how a chip is fabricated and how the spectacular images that we take on our smartphone are created .This also made me to learn in-depth how important the software Image processing and the Image Signal Processor (ISP) is ,apart the camera sensor itself and why Apple phones can take such good photos when compared to the other one’s .
When this phone , the Infocus M2 3G was brought we had reasonable amount of choices. There was Android one devices and some other Generic local manufactured devices,But we were clear about our requirements ,Good front facing camera (It’s the main reason why we chose this phone ) , a decent rear facing camera,decent performance and a Good battery life .
I actually need to say that before buying this phone most of them hasn’t heard about this phone at all, we were planning to go with the Android one devices from micromax but i’m happy to say that how micromax or all other local manufacturers exactly sell their smartphones. For all those who think the local manufacturers such as LAVA ,IBall ,Micromax,Spice and others design and produce their product on their own, then well you are wrong. very few companies such as Samsung ,Nokia (now Microsoft ),lenovo,Gionee design and manufacture their phones to a greater extent. Even these phone manufacturers does not entirely design and manufacture their products, certain processes are outsourced to companies like Foxconn for production and assembly then Sony for the camera sensors.From above manufacturers i mentioned Samsung has the highest degree for In-House production due to their excellent R&D output which lead them to design and manufacture most of the components on their own. Apple who is the leading seller outsources almost its entire production process only the design process lies with the Apple .
Now, getting to why this phone was brought from the other available choices. This phone the Infocus M2 3G which can be brought only through snapdeal through a flash sale . The phone looked good on paper as far as the specifications are concerned . so before the phone is brought is need to conform about the quality and after sales support of this phone .Going through the Internet i did find these facts about this phone .
Infocus is an American company known for it’s display modules and projector business. Though the company is not known for it’s smartphone division we were compelled to buy this phone after knowing that the phone is made by Foxconn (FIH) which predominantly manufactures Apple iPhone.we were sure that compared to the other brands this phone would serve us better and so we brought this phone for a price of 5k. Although i recommend the readers to select the Xiaomi Redmi 2 or the Lenovo A6000 plus if they can spend a little more and get a better CPU, a larger display and a better camera, but for the price of 5k there is nothing to hate with this phone .
Enough of stories ….let’s get down to the actual review.
Here are some of the overall specifications of the device
From the above specifications one can see the regular sensors not being missed out except for the fact that there is one more additional sensor which is the gyroscope, On most occasions gyroscope will not be much useful but for gaming and mapping purposes this hardware is very much useful in delivering accurate operations .for MORE DETAILED SPECIFICATION breakdown visit this link Hardware info or look at the official website of the phone manufacturer .one thing to note with the SIM slots are both the SIM’s are not 3G compatible.one SIM supports 3G and the other one supports only 2G. personally i would still use 2G for mobile data since there is so many drop calls occurring when using 3G radio and 2G is way more cheaper and battery efficient compared to the 3G.
The Infocus M2 is similar to the design of the current motorola phones such as Moto E and Moto G. Although there was so much bezels above and below the phone i didn’t feel the phone to be very big due to it’s curved back .the similarity between Moto E and the Infocus M2 is found when we look at its back panel which represents the curved back in which the Infocus M2 curve is much more pronounced than the Moto E. This makes the phone easier to handle than the Moto E regardless of it’s larger size.The Moto E supports a 4.3 inch 640×960 pixels whereas the Infocus M2 supports a 4.2 inch 768×1280 pixels screen .the power buttons and the volume buttons are made of metal and offers good tactile feedback.The phone has two SIM card slots with a micro-sd card slot for media storage which can be expanded up-to 32gb.
The phone is made up of a good quality plastic whose back cover doesn’t bend like the Samsung phones. There are two color variants White and Black and both are matte finished to resist fingerprints .Based on the daily usage pattern the matte finish does resists the fingerprints to some level .Overall, I’m happy with the design and the build quality of the phone the only con that i find with the design of this phone is the use of excessive bezels .
Like most of the midranged phones offered by the chinese and local manufactures(There is a catch between chinese and local chinese phones ),the Infocus M2 has a Mediatek MT6582 SoC with four cortex A7 cores clocked at 1.3 Ghz and Mali 400 MP2 GPU clocked at 500 mhz with ARMx7 ISA fabricated with 28nm process . This was the go to SoC chip for most of the chinese based phones during the period of 2013 . At present this is a totally outdated CPU but still we can’t complain anything due to the price point at which the phone is sold .At present the cortex A7 is replaced by the newer cortex A53 which features a 64-bit architecture with improved branch prediction algorithm offering slightly better performance when compared to the cortex A7 . specification don’t matter as long the phone offers smooth operation in daily usage .This was my way of testing smartphones and i hope all agree to it.
Benchmarks at this point of time doesn’t really matter since software optimizations does a better job on making a smartphone experience better than the hardware inside but still for those who are fond of benchmark results here are some CPU benchmarks .
GEEKBENCH 3 for CPU TEST(Higher scores are better)
As we see from the above test results the four cortex A7 @ 1.3 Ghz did a better job than most of it’s similarly priced competitors and even with some higher priced phones such as the original moto G itself .for more detailed report of this Geekbench results download the report here
The test results show the benchmark score of 80652.7ms which is better than it’s competitor , the Redmi 2 which scored 13694ms, but when compared to the Moto E i’m surprised how Motorola has optimized the chrome browser even with a dual core cpu , the Infocus M2 falls by a large margin as moto E scored an excellent 784ms making a good browsing experience with chrome browser . i’m sure that with the new Moto E 2nd gen 3G and 4G version the Infocus M2 will lag by a huge margin. i recommend switching to an another browser such as opera or UC browser which can yield better results . on the whole the Infocus M2 scored a decent score for browsing experience.
ANTUTU FOR OVERALL CPU SCORE (higher is better)
The Antutu scores were better than the Moto E 1st gen which scored 12880 and the marginally below the Redmi 2 which scored 20616 which is mainly due to the powerful GPU Adreno 306 when compared to the less powerful mali 400mp2.
ANRO BECHMARK FOR NAND PERFORMANCE (higher is better)
Many of the reviewers don’t bother about the how fast the storage is in the smartphone,but the truth is ,the performance of the storage is one important factor which decides the phone’s overall responsiveness.The time to open and load Applications from either background process or fetching it new from the storage is dependent on a how fast the NAND is,poor NAND flash will lead to heavy bottle necking of the phone’s performance even though the SoC and the RAM are capable of handling the given task.
Since this phone supports a microsd card i recommend the readers to atleast use a class 6 card for a better performance during gaming for reduced load times since the phone offers installing apps on sd card.
the phone did decent when compared to the 1st gen moto E beating the moto E in few caes scenarios . users would not have any major problems when browsing through apps and the loading time of the apps will not be much slower as expected from the phones sold at this price point .
The display is one of the strong point of this device and i’m happy to write that the display of this phone is the best among this price point . The device has a display resolution of 768×1280 pixels with a pixel density of 355 ppi. you will not be able to see the individual sub pixel or any sharpness problem with the text even if you zoom the text to the maximum or view the phone by keeping it almost near to your eye . this type of display will be hugely useful if you plan to buy VR card board such a Google card board or boxit VR which is actually awesome . The phone has a refresh rate of 63.33 Hz and therefore you will not have the ghosting effect when watching fast paced videos .
I’m surprised by the settings that are offered for the display tweaking under the settings->display tab. There are 3 options blue light filtering ,color temperature ,screen mode .the blue light filtering setting which reduces the eye strain by reducing blue light emission from, this is an useful feature that i find when reading in night conditions and there are two usual setting such as settings of setting the color temperature and screen mode setting such as standard or dynamic which boosts the saturation of the display . one odd thing that i found with these settings is that when the blue light filtering is enabled you cannot change the color temperature .
The phone has a auto brightness sensor and i found it to be working normal and the brightness of the display is fair enough outdoors enabling me to read the display easier .one important feature when talking about the brightness of the display is how Dim the display can get and i’m happy to write that the display can reduce it’s brightness to a very low level especially when the blue light filtering is used . the display doesn’t damage the eyes during night times with Ambient lights switched off .There are three capacitive buttons which are unfortunately not backlit but i reckon that the user will be used to the positioning of the capacitve keys as he uses the phone . the glass over the display is reflective for sure but not worse .the outdoor visibility is not affected by a huge margin due to the reflective screen and i recommend the users putting a matte finish screen protector as the display is a finger print magnet . there is some kind of glass protection to the display but i don’t have any information whether it’s corning gorilla glass or Dragon tail or any other specific type of glass protection .All i know is that the display has some kind hardened glass which will resists scratches to an extent but i recommend the users to put a screen protector to prevent the phone from scratching or even sometimes breaking .
CAMERA ARCHITECTURE AND UX
currently the camera is one hardware which is considered as the most important factor for choosing a device . the front camera supports an 8 MP shooter with diffused flash and the rear camera supports the same 8 MP camera with LED flash .The details about the camera sensor are not known and so lets get down to the camera interface .
The camera interface is a simple one but it’s no worse than the stock google camera App or the camera app that comes with motorola phones .there are considerable amount of customization such as AUTO SCENE DETECTION ,ZERO SHUTTER DELAY (i recommend to enable this feature since it prevents the photo’s from getting blurry) ,SCENE SETTINGS and a BEAUTY MODE which basically creates a softer look of the picture giving you a make-up like output .One thing odd that i find with the camera app is that when auto scene detection is enabled you can’t switch to the front camera, i think this is a software bug that you will have to live with.and you can’t set the default save location to an sd card even though the apps can be moved to the sd card . This is not a software bug but a limitation of the Android kitkat itself . Even though we install 3rd party camera apps we cannot set the location to sd card nor take a photo with the save location set to sd card.The camera offers tap to focus and tap to exposure control. I recommend doing both when taking a photo since the automatic focus is a hit or miss and the exposure is not the best when it comes to automatic mode.
Of course, the biggest part of a smartphone’s camera is not the camera app but the photos themselves. That’s what I’ll be looking at next.
The specification of the camera depicts only half of the story about the image quality , the rest is based on the software image processing .while there are more complicated methods to test a camera’s performance, with the available resources i was able bring out how this camera performs under daylight and challenging low light situations.
STILL CAMERA PERFORMANCE
while taking the photos i enabled the auto flash and zero shutter lag . The result of the images taken with this phone is decent and i was happy on the quality of photos taken in both daylight and under artificial light at the indoors .there was good amount of detail on the photo’s that are taken on broad day light but due to the over sharpening artifacts the image has a fair amount of noise higher than the expected level but it does not mean that the photos are not usable, they are good enough until you don’t do pixel peep with the photos .Under indoor and low light scenarios the results become slightly worse. the noise began to creep up and even with the zero shutter lag “ON” the photo’s were blurry which made me to keep the phone steady for few more seconds even after taking the photo nevertheless the photos that are taken with this phone are surely capable of sharing through social media’s and they were so much better than the photos taken using the moto E (both 1st gen and 2nd gen in low light ).redmi 2 has a much better camera due to the fact that it has a well known omnivision sensor with a larger F/2.2 aperture and 1.4 microns pixel size which helps in absorbing a larger amount of light.
Talking about the front camera ,it is an autofocus with face detection camera with max resolution of 8MP ,the performance is decent and i feel the diffused flash is of no use since it fails to light up the subject even to a minimum extent . selfie’s taken on daylight are good and indoor shots are nothing to write off but still using the front camera for skype calling is a decent experience and i had no issues with the video call.
VIDEO CAPTURE PERFORMANCE
sadly the video performance is a downside and the video format at which the phone is recorded is just .3gp which ruins the quality of the video’s even though the camera sensor is capable of doing a better job than the current one .the videos that are taken with the rear camera are of decent detail in broad day light .on the whole , the photos that are taken with this phone are good enough to share through social media’s since they downscale the photos and videos to reduce the size of the file.
The video footage can be downloaded here
WIFI AND GPS PERFORAMANCE
When a budget device is built ,the first sacrifice that will be made on the WiFi chip is the omission of the 5Ghz band and that tradition is followed with this device.The WiFi coverage of this phone is good but nothing great , the signal strength were good as expected when i was near the WiFi access point and when i move away the signal decreases gradually. The WiFi reception was consistent with no sudden signal drop .
Here are some information about the WiFi reception of Infocus M2
Generally, mediatek chipsets has the habit of giving a poor GPS experience but fortunately this device doesn’t fail to impress, With the phone on airplane mode and only the gps switched on,i was able to lock to the GPS satellite within 20 seconds on outdoors which is as impressive as the GPS receivers used in qualcomm chipsets .
The phone is powered by the last generation Android kitkat 4.4.2 which is not surprising being the fact that still there are lot of bugs that needs to be resolved by the Google on thelollipop AOSP sources . i would have still wanted atleast the final version of Android kikat 4.4.4 since it has the security fixes with the most important bug fix being the heartbleed bug which is important for those who prefer privacy with their phones.
Looking at the software interface , it has two launchers by default, Ez launcher and Launcher + ,from these options we get to select any one . Till now i can’t find an app drawer with both of the launcher similar to the iPhones but i think it’s hidden somewhere inside in the settings which i need to find it , this is not a worrying factor as there are always third party launchers to fix any problems with the existing launcher.There is a default file manager app for managing files and i found it adequate for general use but when transferring large files i found the phone to not switch on when the phone is put to sleep . after many attempts the phone suddenly wakes up which is a down factor for me. if you need more advanced file managers there are ton out there ( that’s the reason we buy Android phones right ? i mean about the alternatives ).The default keyboard is good enough but the lack of prediction Algorithm makes me to jump to the ever reliable Swiftkey which is free to download from playstore.
The device has a default gallery with ample of options for adding effects,sharing and editing the photos . i found the default gallery app to be more than enough when compared to the Photos app from Google which has the only addition of backing up the photos to the G Drive if you needed .
There is a default video player app which was capable of playing general video formats.but i would still recommend going for a third party app like MX player or VLC player if you want to play more formats and need support for H.265(HEVC) decoding which both of the player does and the quality for the size of the video is awesome .
Overall with the default video player , i had no issues with the playback with 480p,720p and even 1080p videos . With an excellent screen and loud sound ,the watching experience was a touch above even compared to the phones that are priced higher.
I tested the device with some popular games such as candy crush,subway surfers,temple run and asphalt 8 . none of them had issues during game play with the exception of Asphalt 8 being slightly laggy experiencing some dropped frames when there are some background process running such as facebook and whatsapp.It should be noted that the graphics settings were set to medium in Asphalt 8 and even reducing the quality of the graphics would lead to a better game play.
I experienced no excessive issues during heavy load which i find one of the positives of this device where devices like redmi 1s and redmi 2 heats up more and drains battery very quickly.
The device features a stock music player as well as the Google play music. i found the stock music player looked similar to the Apple’s music player and it was functioning with no issues.There are various sound Enhancements for you to adjust the sound output according to whatever headset or headphone you are used with .
With the loudspeaker the experience was decent with a decent amount of loudness and a decent amount of bass added to the music whereas with the headphone the experience was very good . i tested the audio quality through my Sennheiser cx 175 with a custom EQ and some effects turned on. the results were very good as the bass was punchy and the mid’s were clearly shown .kudos to Infocus for making a good music player too.
I used my WiFi as the access point and with a speed of 512 kbps i had a decent browsing experience. i didn’t experience any severe stutter or lag during scrolling of webpages . i felt that the time of loading webpages was bit more when compared to other devices .Overall you will be satisfied with the Browsing experience through Google Chrome browser
The device has a Noise cancellation mic for helping out suppressing noise under noisy Environments and it did work well .The earpiece volume is loud enough to tackle the problem in noisy areas and the person at the other end reported fine as he heard my voice clear.The loudspeaker is adequate to make you hear the Ringtone even in louder environments .One thing that i noticed odd with the mic is that when i call in noisy environments the other person heard me as if i was talking through an obstacle ,maybe the noise cancellation mic is doint it’s work. The other device that was used here to check the call quality was the one plus one with latest cm12s installed in it .
The Dialer is a custom skinned one with intuitive Interface .The signal reception was very good and i faced no issues as far as the signal reception is concerned.
BATTERY LIFE AND CHARGING TIME
The most important parameter that i look for a smartphone is the battery life. With good battery llfe i can be sure that i don’t need to turn off location services or carry a charger or a power bank with me .The requirement for a good battery according to me is that the phone should last me for a full day, say from morning 9 am to night 11 pm ,so that i can go to sleep after putting the phone to charge and repeat the same the next day.
The battery on this device is a 2010 mAh battery which looks good enough considering how efficient the SoC and the display on this device is .The battery life on my testing which includes browsing for the most,gaming for 15-20 minutes and talking for 30 minutes for the whole day. The test results were good .i did not face a situation to charge the phone at evenings and the battery stand by time was very good with only 5 % going down all night with WiFi turned on.overall the battery experience was good enough to last you a full working day with normal usage.The screen on time was from 3-3.5 hours .
In case you forget to charge the phone and need some battery for say half a day .The power saver option is present to get you some extra battery life which eventually turns off location services and under-clocks the processor .i did not find a need to turn on since i charged my phone when needed .but this feature will give some extra battery life for sure with a hit on performance of the phone.
There is a common misconception that charging a phone too long will damage the phone’s battery, by the way i’m here to prove that it’s not a problem anymore . when the battery percentage reaches 100% the phone’s battery circuit automatically rejects any incoming charge to protect the battery from deteriorating and this device does that well.
The default charger that is provided with the device is a 1000 mA charger and with this charger i was able to charge the phone from 30% to 100% within 45 minutes to 1 hour , which is not that bad considering that this phone doesn’t have any Quick charge tech loaded in it .Again this depends on how you charge the phone. i usually don’t use the phone when charging with WiFi turned on.
With plenty of options available on that 4k to 8k bracket. i did find the Infocus M2 to be pretty good for its price especially with it’s excellent screen ,decent camera and good battery life .i hope with the next variant the phone would have a larger screen size of at least 4.5 inches using the excessive bezels efficiently without increasing the size of the phone.If you are on a tight budget of max 5k and need a good quality phone i recommend the Infocus M2 over the other alternatives with the Android one devices being my second option.
I thank my Sister for giving me this unit for testing and my brother for buying me the camera for shooting the phone externals .more reviews to come…