Review: Videocon Ultra 50 misses out on basics

Videocon’s new smartphone has some good features but they are not enough to negate its shortcomings


Priced at Rs9,990, Videocon Ultra 50 faces competition from Xiaomi Redmi 3s Prime.
Priced at Rs9,990, Videocon Ultra 50 faces competition from Xiaomi Redmi 3s Prime.

Videocon Ultra 50 is an affordable smartphone that works well, but isn’t at par with rivals.
Videocon Ultra 50 is an affordable smartphone that works well, but isn’t at par with rivals.

Indian smartphone makers have been facing tough competition from their Chinese counterparts. According to a report published by research agency IDC (International Data Corporation) in February, no Indian phone maker made it to the list of the top five phone vendors in India in the quarter ending December 2016. Even the likes of Micromax, Intex and Lava, which enjoyed the second, third and fifth spots, respectively, in the same period in 2015, have lost their market share.

Videocon has tried to up the ante to take on Chinese phone makers with its new smartphone Ultra 50. Priced at Rs9,990, the smartphone faces competition from Xiaomi Redmi 3s Prime (Rs8,999).

The glossy back finish and the shiny metal frame along the side panel gives the Ultra 50 a shiny appearance.
The glossy back finish and the shiny metal frame along the side panel gives the Ultra 50 a shiny appearance.

Design: Big and bulky

The glossy back finish and the shiny metal frame along the side panel gives the Ultra 50 a shiny appearance. Though it looks good, it doesn’t feel very handy. At 148mm, it looks as tall as some 5.5-inch-screen phones. The bezels on the front look too wide. All this adds to the phone’s weight (184g), making it one of the heaviest 5-inch-screen phones we have come across recently. The home button on the front also serves as the fingerprint sensor. It is a bit slow but accurate.

The Redmi 3s Prime weighs just 144g and has a more premium looking metal finish.

The 5-inch screen on the Ultra 50 has a resolution of 1,280x720p.
The 5-inch screen on the Ultra 50 has a resolution of 1,280x720p.

Display: Low resolution but colourful

The 5-inch screen on the Ultra 50 has a resolution of 1,280x720p, which is what most compact screen smartphones, including the Redmi 3s Prime, have. Though the display doesn’t feel striking, there are no visible flaws in it which make it inferior to the Xiaomi smartphone. Colours in games and videos look good and the text in news apps and web pages look crisp. Visibility from wide viewing angels is better too. The display allows some colour customisations too.The only issue with the display is that it picks smudges frequently.

The Ultra 50 runs Android 6.0 with two user interfaces on it.
The Ultra 50 runs Android 6.0 with two user interfaces on it.

Software: Runs Android 6.0 with dual launchers

The Ultra 50 runs Android 6.0 with two user interfaces on it. There is a plain Android UI which looks and works just like stock Android. Then there is a custom UI which looks like Samsung’s TouchWiz interface. The shape of the app icons also look different in this UI and also has a hidden page on the home screen where users can add their favourite apps for instant access.

The smartphone comes with a few pre-loaded apps and games such as Asphalt Nitro, Eros Now (free access for 12 months), SOS be Safe and Videocon Parallel (allows two WhatsApp accounts on the same phone).

The Redmi 3s Prime runs on a slightly complex but more polished MIUI over Android 6.0.

Performance: Lags at times

The Videocon smartphone runs on MediaTek’s low power MT6735 quad-core processor with 3GB RAM. Though not the most powerful combination at this price, it turned out quite adequate for most day-to-day tasks. We noticed an occasional lag while switching between apps, but overall the phone was able to handle individual tasks and games comfortably. The phone offers 32GB of internal storage and up to 64GB via microSD card. It is a dual SIM phone and supports 4G VoLTE calling.

The Redmi 3s Prime runs on more powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 octa-core processor with 3GB RAM. It also offers a superior battery backup of about a day. In comparison, the 3,000mAh battery on Videocon Ultra 50 which provides only a day’s back-up on a single charge.

The 13-megapixel camera is backed by a dual tone flash, phase detection auto focus feature and some cool live filters.
The 13-megapixel camera is backed by a dual tone flash, phase detection auto focus feature and some cool live filters.

Camera: Modest picture quality

The 13-megapixel camera is backed by a dual tone flash, phase detection auto focus feature and some cool live filters. The camera is a bit sluggish and its picture quality, even in day time, looks modest. Colours look a bit washed out, but, the amount of detailing is good. Low-light results without flash look blurry and washed out. The camera is not the strongest feature of Redmi 3s Prime, but it delivers better results in outdoor conditions.

Verdict

Videocon’s new smartphone has some good features but it misses out on some basic elements. It is too big and bulky for a small-screen smartphone. The Redmi 3s Prime has a bigger 4,000mAh battery yet it is lighter and more compact. Its metal finish and superior performance makes it a much better bet than the Ultra 50. The only niggle with the Xiaomi phone is that it is available only through e-commerce websites, while the Ultra 50 is available in retail stores as well.

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