India is one of the most vibrant smartphone markets in the world right now and that’s the reason, any and everybody is rushing in to introduce their devices in the country. One of the recent entrants to the country’s smartphone market is InFocus – a US-based display technologies provider, which also dabbles in smartphones.
The company unveiled its first smartphone in India in March via e-retailer Snapdeal.com. Dubbed as InFocus M2, the smartphone is aimed at the entry-level price-segment. By pricing the phone at INR 4,999, the company has done at least one thing right, but rest will depend on the performance of the actual device. I spent almost a fortnight with the M2 recently to find out whether it is capable of taking on budget smartphone stalwarts like Xiaomi, Motorola and Asus in the country. Read on to find out my take on the phone.
As I have written in my previous reviews of the affordable smartphones, it can be hard to design a good-looking smartphone in a tight budget, but the least a vendor can do is come up with a utilitarian design and InFocus has tried to do the same with M2.
The InFocus smartphone is no beauty, but it sports a functional design with curved back. The only issue that I have with design is huge top and bottom bezels present on the front of the phone, which look quite odd.
The build quality is good and the phone feels solid in hand. The volume rocker and power button provide sufficient feedback in a new unit, but it seems possible that volume buttons will become damp after a few months of usage.
Despite the sub INR 5K price-tag, InFocus has included a 4.2-inch HD display in the phone, which packs an uncommon 1280x768p resolution. The display is good and offers nice and sharp output. The viewing angles as well as under sun-visibility are also decent.
The M2 smartphone is powered by MediaTek’s MT6582 quad-core processor, which is a common processor in this price-bracket. It can be found in many devices currently on sale in the country. It offers great performance and is a tried and tested processor. The presence of 1GB of RAM as well as Android 4.4 also helps in overall functioning of the M2. The phone is not as snappy as you would find a more expensive device, but it isn’t exactly laggy either. If you are coming from more powerful smartphone, you might notice a slight delay in opening and closing of the apps on M2, but the first time smartphone users won’t feel anything.
During specific tasks like playing 1080p videos, graphic-intensive games as well as web browsing, the phone worked without issues, but it did get hot after long periods of video playback. The phone also came out on the top in basic functions like calling, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity.
InFocus has included its own custom UI on top of KitKat in the smartphone, which packs several tweaks over the stock Android like inbuilt backup tool, an encryption feature for smartphone contents, data access controller for apps, and more.
Similar to the Chinese devices, M2 launcher houses everything on the home-screen and there is no app-drawer, but it can be easily rectified by installing a home-screen replacement from Google Play like Google Now Launcher. Unlike most vendors, who rarely provide software updates, InFocus seems to care about the software and during my test period, the review unit received a bug-fixing update as well as updated versions of two system apps. There is no word on the release of Lollipop update for M2 though.
The feature, which really shines in the InFocus M2, are the phone’s imaging capabilities. The smartphone sports 8MP sensors on both front and back along with LED flash. These camera sensors are surprisingly good for this budget and capture nice shots with decent detail, colours and sharpness. The images captured in low-lighting are average with the obvious noise, but they were still better than most phones in this price-segment. In terms of the front shooter, it is most likely the best selfie phone in its category.
I did find the auto-focus performance in both cameras to be sub-par, but thanks to the support for touch-focus, one can take decently focused images. The company has also included support for volume rocker as shutter button as well as smile-capture, while the former works nicely, the latter is wonky and will trigger image capture more times than you would want.
The camera app is functional and offers the usual tweaking options.
On the battery front, the M2 comes with 2010 mAh battery, which offer average back-up. While moderate users might be able to get through the day with a fully-charged phone, heavy users will have to plug the device at least once. During out video playback test, the phone lasted just 4 hours and 25 minutes with full brightness and always on Wi-Fi.
Despite the problems that I have mentioned in the review, InFocus M2 is still a great value of money smartphone in under INR 5,000 price-bracket. It offers a good display, decent performance, and the segment-best imaging experience. It is important to note here that after sales service and support for InFocus smartphones is untested at this point.
Other options: If you are looking for a better design and software experience, you can go for Moto E (2nd Gen) or Asus Zenfone C, but you will have compromise on the pricing, display and camera front. You can also consider Xiaomi’s Redmi 2, but get ready to pay extra INR 2K.
Price and availability: INR 4,999 at Snapdeal. The availability of the phone is an issue right now. It can only be purchased from Snapdeal.com and the initial stocks have depleted quite fast.
After sales service support: According to InFocus, it has partnered with Accel Frontline Limited to offer after-sales service & support. There are currently 35 service centres, which will entertain M2, but most of these are located in tier 1 and 2 cities. You can find the full list here.
Colours: White, Black
Dimensions: 135mm(H) x 64.5mm(W) x 11.1mm(T)
OS: Android 4.4.2, KitKat
Battery: 2,010mAh Li-Ion Polymer (non-removable)
SIM card slots: Dual SIM
Processor: MediaTek MT6582, quad-core, 1.3GHz
Display: 4.2-inch LCD, WXGA, 1280×768 (355PPI)
Memory: 8GB internal, 1GB of RAM, microSD card slot
Cameras: 8MP rear and front with LED flash
Connectivity: Wi-Fi b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0+LE, 3G