The battle of budget smartphone especially in the sub Rs.10,000 segment has grown intense in the last few months. The arrival of Redmi 3s Prime, priced atRs. 8,999, has tilted the balance in Xiaomi’s favour. Intex has taken the challenge head-on, with an equally robust phone Aqua S7, which is priced at Rs. 9,490.
Design: Handy and well-built
Intex Aqua S7 belongs to that rare breed of budget Android smartphones which not only looks good buy feels reassuring to use too. The matte finish on the back offers a nice grip over the phone. The side panel has been nicely rounded so the edges don’t feel sharp. It has also been beefed up with a metal frame which adds to the phone’s looks and build-quality
The back cover is removable but the battery isn’t. The two SIM slots and microSD slot are placed separately. The phone also has a finger print sensor which is placed on the back. It feels a bit deeply carved but works well. Despite the compact form factor the phone weighs 150g, which is slightly lower than the Redmi 3s Prime’s 144g form factor.
Where Redmi 3s Prime has a clear edge is its looks. It is the more good-looking of the two due to its full metal unibody design.
The Aqua S7 has a slight edge when it comes to card slots. In the Redmi 3s Prime there is no separate microSD card slot. It comes with a hybrid SIM slot which can accommodate only one SIM card and a microSD card at a time or just two SIM cards simultaneously.
Display: Small and good-looking
The 5-inch LCD display has a screen resolution of 1,280x720p which puts the Aqua S7 at par with every major sub Rs.10,000 smartphone with this screen size.
The display looks sharp and colourful, can handle reflections and visibility form wide angles very well too. The picture mode in the display settings allows user to enhance colour effects by switching on the vivid mode which makes the screen a little brighter. The Redmi 3s is a 5-inch phone with 1,280x720p display. It is pretty much on the same footing with the Aqua S7 when it comes to colour reproduction and sharpness.
Software: Language centric features steal the show
The Aqua S7 runs Android 6.0 with a slightly modified version of plain Android. App icons looks a bit more colourful and the background in the app drawer looks transparent instead of white. The rest of the elements look just the same.
There are hardly any customisation options here. Intex has also added a few third party apps. We liked the Swalekh keyboard (a regional language keyboard that supports typing in upto 20 Indian languages), multi lingual phone book (it shows your contact book in up to 11 Indian languages) and the auto call recorder app.
One of the highlights of the phone is the panic button feature which works by pressing and holding the volume up and down keys together for 5 seconds to send out SOS messages to friends and family members whose phone numbers have been listed as emergency contacts in the phone. Redmi 3s Prime also runs Android 6.0 but with a heavily customised MiUi on top. It feels a bit overwhelming to use but offers lots of customisation options and features.
Performance: Not very powerful but works smoothly
Though it runs on MediaTek’s basic MT 6735 quad-core processor with 3GB RAM in tow, the phone managed to get on with most tasks and games without any heating or performance issues. It offers 16GB of internal storage which can be expanded to another 64GB via microSD card. The phone also has a slightly bigger battery for a small screen phone. The 3,200mAh battery can see through a whole day on a single charge. Both SIM slots support 4G networks and VoLTE calling. The Xiaomi phone is little better equipped in terms of hardware. It runs on a more powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 octa-core processor and feels a lot nippier to use. It is also paired with 3GB RAM, but offers 32GB internal storage and 128GB of external storage via microSD card.
Camera: A mixed bag
The Aqua S7’s 13-megapixel camera is a mixed bag. Pictures shot in daylight looks bright and crisp. Even on bigger screen the amount of noise is minimal. It struggles when it comes to lighting up the darker areas in the background. Low light results look dark and nose ridden. The Redmi 3s Prime’s 13-megapixel camera is a bit better in terms of richness of the shot and the ability to light up darker areas.
Intex’s new smartphone is solid addition to the budget segment. Even though it is not as powerful as the Redmi 3s Prime, it can handle most tasks with equal grace. The Redmi 3s Prime has an upper-hand due to its more interesting UI, premium looks, higher storage, and superior processor. The Aqua S7 makes sense for users looking for multi-lingual phone, the panic button feature or those who want to use both SIM slots and microSD card side by side. The Aqua S7 will be available on both offline and online stores.