Micromax Bharat 5 quick review: Budget smartphone with a massive battery.
Micromax on Friday unveiled the Bharat 5 along with the tagline “The Power Of 5”. Interestingly, this comes a day after Xiaomi launched the “Desh ka smartphone” Redmi 5A. While the Xiaomi budget phone has been launched at Rs 5,999 (Rs 4,999 for the first 5 million customers), the Bharat 5 comes at Rs 5,555. It highlights a 5-megapixel rear camera with Bokeh Mode and a large 5000mAh battery, among other things.
The Bharat 5 is the most expensive budget offering in the Bharat-series yet. The phone is priced competitively and will look to take on the likes of the Redmi 5A. Initially, the Micromax’s phone may see slower sales until Redmi 5A’s price changes from Rs 4,999 to 5,999. The Bharat 5 mostly offers entry-level specifications and a design that has been seen in past Bharat phones. Here’s our quick first impressions.
In terms of design, the Bharat 5 looks similar to the predecessors with bezels all around the display, a selfie camera and earpiece on the top and navigation keys on the chin. The rear panel is made out of plastic and sees the Micromax logo in the centre and a camera with LED Flash on the top left corner. The handset gives a very plasticky feel when holding it and the black panel is quite the fingerprint magnet, which can put you off. Budget phones typically offer an all-plastic back, but if you compare it to the recent Redmi 5A from Xiaomi, the Bharat 5 feels quite a let down. The Redmi 5A has a plastic back with a metal-like finish which gives it a more premium feel.
The Bharat 5 sports a power button and volume controls on the right side of the frame, dual speakers on the bottom with a micro-USB port in between. The left side sees the SIM and microSD card slot and the 3.5mm headphone jack is on the top of the handset. Overall, the phone is compact enough to use with one hand, but it does feel a little thick and a tad bulky to hold, which is probably due to the massive battery pack inside.
The Bharat 5 a 5.2-inch HD display, which is expected from a budget smartphone. The display is colourful and decent indoors, but not the brightest outdoors. You’ll some trouble using the device under harsh sunlight. In my brief time with it I found the general UI had a good amount of colours, but felt a little dull.
Powering the handset is a 1.6GHz quad-core MediaTek processor with 1GB of RAM. At this price point, keeping only a single gig of RAM is disappointing. The Redmi 5A offers 2GB of RAM for around the same price point (lower in fact for initial 5 million customers). The Bharat 5 runs on Android 7.0 Nougat out-of-the-box. Briefly using the device, I found that basic apps like message and gallery open without any hiccups. The user interface is fluid but not snappy and isn’t the most responsive to touch. I didn’t get a chance to use intensive apps or try multitasking at launch, but we’ll have more on that in our full review. The phone is offered with 16GB of internal storage, which is expandable up to 64GB via microSD card.
The Bharat-series has been about offering basic hardware at an entry-level price tag. But the Bharat 5 is priced over Rs 5,500, which means it doesn’t really fall in the entry-level segment now and the company couldn’t afford to offer something similar to its predecessors. So it bumped up the battery to 5000mAh, which promises to deliver around 2 days of usage and 500 hours of standby time. Since this is a quick review, we couldn’t test out the battery life, so you will have to wait for our in-depth review on that.
Micromax at the launch of the Bharat 5 also said that the company wants to focus on the cameras for its budget offering as they are an important aspect for smartphone users. The newest Bharat phone features a 5-megapixel sensor with LED flash on both the front and back. While this is similar to what the Bharat 4 offers, the company has thrown in a Bokeh Mode for the rear camera, but don’t expect this to capture great bokehs. It typically takes an extra telephoto lens for depth-of-field images or Google’s software chops to do it with a single lens. The bokeh images with the Bharat 5 are below average and we’ll have more to talk about the cameras once we’ve played around with them a little more.
Based on my first impressions, the Bharat 5 has essentially one big selling point – its 5000mAh battery. Apart from this, the handset is pretty similar to the Bharat 4. If having a big battery is important to you, then the Bharat 5 will likely not disappoint. Everything else is pretty much standard to an entry-level phone, only the Bharat 5 is no longer priced that way. At Rs 5,555, the phone may fail to impress users who have options like the Redmi 5A, which gives a better build and comes with a little more under-the-hood than the Bharat 5. We’ll have a more detailed review of the Bharat 5 in the coming days.
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