Indian phone makers have upped their ante to make up for better numbers in the smartphone market share in India. Micromax has the data security-oriented Dual 5, while Karbonn released the Aura Note 2 which offers the fun and comfort of a big screen in the entry-level segment. Now Intex is firing a salvo at the Chinese phone makers in the form of Aqua Lions 3. Priced at Rs6,499, the smartphone is competing with the Redmi 4 (Rs6,999).

The Lions 3 has a no-frills design, but it is solidly built and snuggles well into small hands.
The Lions 3 has a no-frills design, but it is solidly built and snuggles well into small hands.

Design: Slightly heavy, yet handy

The Lions 3’s compact form factor and brushed matte finish makes it comfortable to hold, even though it weighs 167g, which is a bit on the higher side for a 5-inch screen smartphone. The navigation keys are placed on the lower bezel and not integrated within the interface. The upper bezel of the front panel includes a camera and a flash for well-lit selfies in low light. The back is removable and made of good quality plastic. The dual SIM slots have been kept separate from the microSD slot, unlike Redmi 4, where the microSD slot is built on one of the SIM trays.

The Lions 3 has a no-frills design, but it is solidly built and snuggles well into small hands. There is no fingerprint sensor in it. The Redmi 4A scores in terms of both style and comfort. It weighs 156g, has a metal exterior and a fingerprint sensor.

Aqua Lions 3’s 1,280x720p resolution gives the display a sharp look which is rare at this price point.
Aqua Lions 3’s 1,280x720p resolution gives the display a sharp look which is rare at this price point.

Display: Small but handles colours well

The Lions 3’s 5-inch screen doesn’t suffer from any of the foibles which are common in smartphones at this price point. The 1,280x720p resolution gives the display a sharp look which is rare at this price point. Colours in games and videos don’t look rich but they are not washed out either. Watching movies or brewing through webpages was a very satisfying experience. Visibility from wide angles and under bright light is spot on too. The only letdown is that it smudges a lot.

The phone gives the option to enhance colour in display settings and the difference is visible right away. The Redmi 4 has a 5-inch screen with similar resolution and it looks at par with the Lions 3 in terms of colour and detail reproduction.

Aqua Lions 3’s is one of the 13% of Android smartphones that come preloaded with Android 7.0 (Nougat).
Aqua Lions 3’s is one of the 13% of Android smartphones that come preloaded with Android 7.0 (Nougat).

Software: Runs clean and new Android

This is one of the 13% of Android smartphones that come preloaded with Android 7.0 (Nougat). What makes this even better is the pure Android interface which doesn’t look cluttered or confusing to use, like the MIUI 8 on the Redmi 4, which runs Android 6.0.

Though clutter-free, the UI in Lions 3 is not entirely free from bloatware. There are some third-party apps such as SwiftKey, Gaana, Xender and Amazon Prime. Then there is a news and services aggregator called Lyft. It is similar to HTC’s Blinkfeed page and shows apps, videos, music, news, weather update and social media posts by swiping left to right on the home page.

Performance: Ideal for casual users

Like most budget smartphones, the Lions 3 has a modest hardware. It runs on MediaTek 6737 quad-core chipset with 2GB RAM, which is good for casual use only. It struggles with games but was able to handle web browsing, video playback, email and Facebook without any hiccups as long as there were not many apps running in the background.

The Redmi 4 is driven by a superior Qualcomm Snapdragon 435 octa-core chipset which is better at processing apps and can handle games better too in the higher 3GB RAM variant. The variant which is competing with Lions 3 has only 2GB RAM which is not good news for multi-taskers. Internal storage stands at 16GB and is similar in both smartphones.

Intex packs in a 4,000mAh battery which, on modest use, can easily give one and a half days of backup between two charges, which is at par with the backup you get from Redmi 4’s 4,100mAh battery.

Aqua Lions 3 comes with an 8-megapixel camera which supports touch to focus .
Aqua Lions 3 comes with an 8-megapixel camera which supports touch to focus .

Camera: Average and slow

The smartphone comes with an 8-megapixel camera which supports touch to focus and has a few modes such as face beauty, night, panorama and HDR. It’s slow and picture quality is average. In closeup shots, colours and details look good, while in landscape shots, the picture is marred by a significant amount of noise. Low-light shots look blurry despite the night mode. The front camera is also an 8-megapixel affair with flash. It works best in bright light. Redmi 4 has a 13-megapixel camera but the picture quality is not superior to the Lions 3.

Verdict

The Redmi 4 offers some extras such as fingerprint sensor and metal body. Intex Aqua Lions 3’s charm lies in its solid build quality, clean and simple Android interface, dependable battery and a good-looking display.

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