Micromax has come a long way from the launch of its first Tab series called the Funbook – marketed as an edutainment device primarily aimed at students. The fresh offering from Micromax, the Canvas Tab P650 – first tab under the brand’s flagship Canvas series – packs enough juice to take on the likes of Samsung Galaxy Tab 3, a recent entrant in the market as well.
Unlike the Tab 3 which features a plastic chasis, the Canvas tab is packaged in a sleek but slightly heavier aluminium body, which comes in two colours – Marine Blue and Pristine White.
The textured finish helps mask the fingerprints that will inevitably grease up the tablet’s back, embossed by the Micromax branding right in the middle of the non-removable back cover.
In the front, the 2-megapixel camera can be found on the top right, while the screen rests in the middle of the broad bezel, similar to what we saw in Samsung’s Tab 2. It also lacks a physical home button and can be unlocked with the power button on top, flanked by a micro-USB port and the headphone jack. The volume rocker sits on the right edge, alongside a slot for both micro-SD and the SIM card. And just like the Tab 3, a 5-megapixel rear camera is placed on the upper left of the back panel.
The tab also packs a flip cover in the package. On the website of Micromax the company seems to promote it as a back stand. Our advice: you are better off without the cover. It rather gives the well designed aluminum body a cheap look and doesn't quite work as a good back stand as well.
Display and Audio
Micromax has used a 1024x768 8-inch IPS display in the tab. Compared to the HD screens donned by the brand’s recent smartphones, images and text aren’t that crisp, although the colours are reasonably vibrant. On top of that, viewing angles are nice and wide, though you'll have a harder time using the tablet in direct sunlight. Apart from lack of glare shield, low brightness of the screen adds to your problems. Galaxy Tab 3 when compared to P650’s screen turned out to be around 70% brighter.
Audio speakers are a letdown though. The speaker on the tab delivers average quality sound even at full volume and the headphones that come with it doesn't offer a good alternative as well. However, the call volume and clarity was good when tested.
The Micromax P650 Canvas Tab runs on Android 4.2.1 (Jelly Bean) OS. It is powered by MediaTek MT8389, quad-core 1.2 GHz processor and 1 GB RAM. There is 16GB of internal storage for you to store music, movies and documents, which is expandable up to 32 GB.
Qudrant: CPU, I/O and 3D graphics benchmark
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Battery Test: Playing a video on loop with WiFi on and brightness set to 50%
The new tablet from Micromax's stable does seem fast — with almost no hesitation while opening apps, switching views, or playing graphic heavy games. A couple of laps in Asphalt 8 will leave you convinced that the device can handle some pretty serious gaming as well. Both light and heavy games ran smoothly, however, we noticed a slight lag in opening some of them. In one of the games, Tetris Blitz, the device failed to even launch the app.
Audio and video clips played without any hesitation or problem. Browser speed when tested with Google Chrome looked decent but struggled to play videos online. The screens responsiveness seemed a bit dodgy while using both the inbuilt and Swype keypad — a slight improvement in the latter.
A trial of the 5 megapixel rear camera in low light gave some pretty decent results. Sample photos taken by its camera in daylight delivered accurate images minus the vibrant colors expected. In addition, Micromax has its own camera app that has shooting modes ranging from HDR, Face Beauty, Panorama to Smile detection shots. Considering that both Canvas HD and 4 adds more life and color to the images with their better camera, this Canvas tab falls short.
It’s of no doubt that the latest offering from Micromax is a powerful successor to their earlier series of Funbooks. A trial with graphic heavy games, multiple windows of apps, and several rounds of music being played in the background, the Canvas Tab P650 did well beyond our expectations.
Major downsides that we faced were with low audio output and touch responsiveness. We believe that if Micromax manages to fix these issues soon, it won’t be a surprise if it beats the likes of Galaxy Tabs. Plus side, it’ll cost you less. A 16GB Micromax Canvas Tab with 3G and WiFi (Rs.16,500) will go easier on your wallet than an 8-inch, 16GB Tab 3 with 3G and WiFi, which retails around Rs 24,500 in the online market. The older Samsung Tab 2 is perhaps more comparable in price with the Canvas Tab, but the specs are better in the Micromax device.
Finally, with Samsung’s Tab 3 already on the bad side of critic-meter, Micromax has an opportunity to snatch pie in a tab market that is dominated by Samsung and Apple, while offering a Tab performs equally well – if not better.