Micromax Andro A60: Should it be your ‘first Android?’

Thursday, February 3, 2011, 11:03 by ishveena

We review the Micromax Andro A60: The most affordable Android phone in India

At a price tag of Rs. 6,500, Micromax Andro A60 is the least expensive Android phone in India. The light-weight phone with unusual looks packs in a host of features like Android 2.1 operating system, 2.8-inch touchscreen, 3.2-megapixel camera, 3G, GPS, accelerometer and gravity sensor.

The company is targeting first-time Android users with the phone who will find themselves in a virtual Disneyland with the choice of a million Android Market apps for networking, gaming, utility and much more. The phone has been out in the market for a little while and from what we hear, the response is quite good. We dissect the Andro A60 to find if it’s worth your money.

micromax andro a60 review

Photo: Micromax Andro A60

Unboxing the Andro A60

Micromax Andro A60 comes with a 2GB microSD card free in-box. There is a mini-USB charger and a USB cable for connecting the phone to a computer or laptop. A headset is also present along with the instruction manuals and warranty card.

Design and build quality

When we first laid our eyes on the Andro, we weren’t sure whether we were looking at a smartphone or a blood-pressure monitor. Some said it looked like a paddle, some saw a shoespoon in it. However, once you scoop it up, the Andro A60 feels quite comfortable in your hands. The little Android figure on the back adds a nice touch to the phone. Related: Android phones in India guide

A bit of trivia: Micromax Andro A60 is the re-branded Penguin phone from Chinese manufacturer ZTE (now you know where it gets that shape from!).

micromax andro a60 back photo

Photo: The back panel of the Andro is all plastic

Coming to the build quality, the back panel is a bit plasticy and we were afraid of snapping the cover into two while trying to open it to insert the SIM, but thankfully that didn’t happen! Overall, the construction doesn’t seem too weak.

There’s a micro-USB port at the bottom and a 3.5mm headset jack on the top. The Andro A60 comes with a volume rocker key on the left and three hardware buttons below the touchscreen. Also present are three touch-sensitive buttons which are, sadly, not backlit and leave you groping in the dark. Absence of a dedicated camera key may also irk some. Also read: Cheap Android phones in India

Software and interface

Micromax Andro A60 comes with Google Android 2.1 OS aka Eclair. While many phones in the Indian market are now running Android 2.2 aka FroYo but at this price, you will be more than content with your Eclair’s sweetness. A word of caution: You can’t install apps to the microSD card with Android 2.1; the phone’s 200MB internal memory isn’t too shabby though.

Micromax has not customized the stock Android 2.1 UI, but the vanilla version runs pretty smooth and navigating through apps is not an issue. Since the RAM is limited, Micromax has pre-installed many apps like RSS Reader, Speed Forge 3D, Root Explorer and Google Apps suite.

The 600MHz processor is powerful enough to deliver the goods. We tried the processor-hungry Speed Forge 3D and found the Andro’s gravity sensor fairly responsive during the review. Android Market-downloadable Angry Birds and Paper Toss game apps also performed with zero-lag.

However, Andro’s touchscreen kills the joyride for normal functions. Read on.

Touchscreen and display

micromax andro a60 side profile

Photo: The A60 is stylus-friendly

Micromax obviously made some compromises to keep the Andro’s price down. The 2.8-inch resistive touchscreen is a pain to use even after multiple calibrations. The A60 is more stylus-friendly than finger-friendly. And it doesn’t come with a stylus, mind you, so you find yourself gingerly tapping on the icons hoping something would happen.

The scroller has a life of its own and may move in the opposite direction to where you want it to go.

Messaging can be particularly annoying, especially in the portrait mode where we constantly faced the problem of non-desired characters being selected. The Andro comes with Swype-like technology, but there also you end up using a stylus (or your fingernails). Heavy texters are advised to keep a safe distance.

However, some of this is due to the small screen, which limits the size of the keyboard. During our review, we found that those with thicker fingers had a tougher time, while others found it easier. Another important fact is that we are all a bit too used to capacitive screens which require a light touch; but remembering that this was a resistive screen and pressing the icons firmly made things smoother. What we would advise you is to test out the touchscreen thoroughly. You might find it getting easier as you get the hang of it. Related: Upcoming Android tablets

micromax andro a60 review pic

Photo: The Andro offers a host of connectivity options

Overall, the display of the Micromax Andro A60 is bright and crisp with vibrant colors. The Andro’s performance in the sun wasn’t too good, as is typical to a phone in this price range.

Call quality and connectivity

The call quality we experienced with Micromax Andro A60 was about average. The headset is fine (could’ve been better) but the in-call loudspeaker feature isn’t too great.

The A60 comes with a host of connectivity options like Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and (surprisingly) 3G.

Connecting to Internet apps is a breeze though and the set-up process is easy. We logged in to GMail and Facebook in a flash. New e-mails are conveniently displayed under the notifications tab with text messages and call logs. Also, the Calendar syncs with your GMail and Facebook accounts, making birthdays and reminders easily accessible.

Multimedia and camera

micromax andro a60 camera review

Photo: Micormax Andro has a 3.2-megapixel camera

Micromax Andro features a 3.2 megapixel camera which comes without a flash. The picture quality is quite decent outdoors when there’s ample light available. Indoor shoots would be about average. Let’s not forget that there’s no dedicated hardware camera key, though a touchcsreen shortcut menu can be assigned on the homepage. The Andro is also capable of video and sound recording.

The music player comes with standard features and is nothing above average. Moreover, there is no FM radio in the Micromax A60. Let’s just say that this phone won’t be replacing your MP3 player.

Battery life

The Andro is powered by a 1280mAH that comfortably lasts more than a day with moderate usage (calling, texting, checking e-mails, etc.). If you’re planning to binge on power-hungry Android games, the phone’s battery will scream for a recharge in about 4 hours.

Alternatives

If you are a heavy text user or want your first Android phone experience to be even better, we say invest about Rs. 2,000 more and go for Samsung Galaxy 5 which comes with a capacitive screen and much better Swype input. It will also give you quad-band support instead of Andro’s dual-band.

There are other competitors also out there and Andro’s ‘cheapest Android’ title is set to be taken away by Intex which has promised India an Android for Rs. 5,500. Huawei Ideos Android phone has also been launched and comes with a price tag of Rs. 8,499.

Final verdict

Micromax Andro A60 would have been an awesome phone had it incorporated a capacitive touchscreen. But, for all it’s worth, the Andro gives you good value for your money and we know that first time Android users won’t complain.

That said, if new users can wait for sometime before making the switch, they will find a host of inexpensive Androids to choose from soon.

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