Indian smartphone maker Intex’s latest smartphone, the Aqua Ace ( 12,999), is a brave attempt at making its mark in the crowded affordable price bracket. But it goes up against the Motorola Moto G 3rd generation (also 12,999), which pretty much sets the user-experience benchmark in this segment.

The glass finish on the back and metal frame adds a touch of premium-ness
The glass finish on the back and metal frame adds a touch of premium-ness

Design: premium design but smudges easily

The flat back and sharp corners give the Aqua Ace a slab-like appearance, while the glass finish on the back and metal frame adds a touch of premium-ness. While the phone looks good, it catches fingerprints easily, with smudges showing up within minutes of use. The good bit is that it doesn’t affect one’s grip over the phone. Its light weight (121g) and impressively thin (6.7mm) form further improves usability. The front bezels in the Aqua Ace are wider than usual, which is surprising because the navigation keys are integrated into the on-screen interface and don’t need space below the screen.

Though the Aqua Ace certainly looks good, we cannot ignore the Moto G’s rugged build, curved design and waterproof features. But, remember, it weighs 143g and is 11.6mm thick.

The display is a bit oversaturated
The display is a bit oversaturated

Display: adequate but too colourful

The Aqua Ace has a 5-inch AMOLED display with a screen resolution of 1,280x720pixels. There is a layer of Gorilla Glass for protection against scratches. The text looks sharp, and is good for reading. The display, however, is a bit oversaturated, which makes the colours look brighter and richer than they actually are. Brightness levels are on the higher side compared to most other phones, at the same settings. The combination actually starts hurting the eyes, but the positive is that visibility in bright sunlight is extremely good.

Intex Aqua Ace runs on Android 5.1
Intex Aqua Ace runs on Android 5.1

Software: Android 5.1 with slight modifications

The device runs on Android 5.1 (Lollipop), with a slightly modified custom interface that offers some customization. The icons have been modified, which lends a bit of vibrancy to the otherwise dull app drawer. The user can also change the colour of the background in the app drawer and hide apps, something not many phones offer. The software runs smoothly and there is no sluggishness.

The Moto G, on the other hand, runs on Android 5.1 with a plain Android interface that looks more pleasing to the eye.

Performance: fast and consistent

Powered by a 64-bit octa-core processor and paired with 3 GB of RAM, the Aqua Ace handles most heavy tasks, including games such as FIFA 15 and high-definition (HD) movies, without any hiccups or heating up on the back panel. The latter is indeed a big positive, considering the phone’s slim profile and glass back. The apps open quickly and run fluently even when more than 10 of them are open at the same time. This is a 4G device with 16 GB of internal storage and 128 GB of expandable storage. It has a 2,300 mAh battery, which provides a full day’s backup with ease.

Moto G, with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 410 quad-core processor and 2 GB RAM, can handle most tasks with equal ease.

The camera works well in bright light, however, when it comes to capturing objects in dark and non-focus areas, it falls a bit short.
The camera works well in bright light, however, when it comes to capturing objects in dark and non-focus areas, it falls a bit short.

Camera: works well in daylight

Intex has packed in a 13-megapixel camera with features like face detection, gesture capture and multi-angle, which shows different angles in the same image. The camera works well in bright light, where it clearly captures colour and detail. However, when it comes to capturing objects in dark and non-focus areas, it falls a bit short. It also struggles in low light even if there is some amount of artificial light. The front camera is good enough for group and individual selfies, but only if the light is good.

Verdict

The Aqua Ace is a good-looking, powerful smartphone. The Moto G is similar to it in terms of performance and camera quality, but has a clear edge when it comes to the display quality—it also has a slicker interface.

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