We have said it time and again and we would like to repeat those words again, “Indian smartphone market is the most exciting market in the world right now”. It holds true for the smartphone manufacturers, telecom operators, e-commerce portals and of course the consumers. With the influx of Chinese OEMs, our very own Indian OEMs have upped their game and Intex is one of them who have performed well recently. So, lets check out the Intex Aqua Trend Review.
Intex Technologies launched Aqua Trend in India, priced at Rs 9,444 on August 3rd. It is the company’s second smartphone that comes with 4G LTE on board. They have also roped in signer Tollywood actor Mahesh Babu as their brand ambassador for Andhra Pradesh and Telangana region for 1 year. Lets talk a look at some stats on Intex. The biggest testimonial of them performing really well in the Indian smartphone market is the fact that they have a market share of about 11% and has also managed to become the second largest smartphone marker of Indian origin. Anyway, let’s have a look at the Aqua Trend and decide if the company is making good phones or not.
Intex Aqua Trend Review : Hardware & Build Quality
To have a quick recap of the specifications, the Aqua Trend features a 5-inch (1280 x 720 pixels) HD IPS display that is powered by a 1.3 GHz quad-core MediaTek MT6735 64-bit processor with Mali T-720 GPU. It has 2 GB of RAM and comes with 16 GB of internal memory which can also be expanded via microSD card. The device runs on Android 5.1 Lollipop out of the box. It comes with a 13 megapixel rear primary camera with LED flash, Sony sensor. On the front, there is a 5 megapixel front-facing camera for selfies and video calling. The smartphone supports Dual SIM and also comes with 3.5 mm audio jack, FM Radio. It is 8.9 mm thick and weighs 152 grams. The Aqua Trend includes 4G LTE, 3G HSPA+, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.0 and GPS as connectivity options. The smartphone packs in a 3,000 mAh battery under the hood. It is available in Black, Silver, Gray and Champagne color variants.
Now, coming to the build quality, the smartphone feels quite solid in hand. The back is made out of plastic and have a sort of faux leather finish. It feels slightly heavier (152 grams) in spite of being a 5″ device mainly due to the large battery (3000mAh) but the weight is evenly distributed. Thus, it is the perfect size for anyone, even with a small hand. The only difficulty you will face is that the volume rocker and power button are placed on the left side instead of the usual right side. Overtime, you get used to it but we still cannot figure out the reason of it being changed by Intex.
Lets start from the front top, we find the earpiece at the middle, followed by the 5 megapixel front-facing camera to its left and a couple of sensors as well. The display sits below them in the middle followed by three touch capacitive buttons that are not backlit. At the top, we get only the 3.5mm audio jack placed slightly towards the right and at the bottom, the microUSB port sits exactly in the middle. There is nothing on the right side and we find the volume rocker on the top right, followed by the power button below it. Going to the back, the 13 megapixel primary camera sits on the top left corner with the LED flash beside its right. There is the Intex badging on the top half (middle) followed by a speaker grill at the extreme right bottom. The back panel is slightly tight but after opening it up for couple of times, it gets better. We find the big removable Li-polymer 3000mAh battery with the big ‘Intex’ badging, after opening up the back panel. Also, there are two SIM card slots and a microSD card slot inside. It has a SAR value of 1.438W/Kg.
Intex Aqua Trend Review : Display
The Intex Aqua Trend comes with a 5-inch HD IPS display with a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels. It has a pixel density of 320 ppi according to CPU-Z. Coming to the touch performance, which is often an issue with Indian OEMs, we found it to be very good on the Aqua Trend. It is not the best display in the market in this price range, however, it is very decent and does a good job. It is very bright, if we crank it up to full brightness but the colors are a bit over saturated, to my liking. However, you will like consuming rich content on it. Color reproduction is on the better side as well. The biggest bummer of that display is that it is a fingerprint magnet and if you’re very picky about your phone, you will see yourself wiping off those smudges all the time. Overall, the display is not the best in class but way better than others in the market.
Intex Aqua Trend Review : Performance & Gaming
The Aqua Trend is powered by a quad-core MediaTek MT6735 64-bit processor clocked at 1.3 GHz and on the GPU side, we have the reliable Mali T-720. To complement the processor and the GPU, we have 2 GB of RAM as well that helps is better multitasking. The chipset along with the RAM and GPU performs very well and is sufficient for most day-to-day activities. The UI is smooth and we did not suffer any lags or frame drops while navigating around the UI, browsing on the web, taking photos or swapping between multiple apps. This is due to the hardware and software and this kind of performance on a 10K phone was not even imaginable couple of years back. The 2GB RAM really shines in the multitasking department and driving those pixels of the 5″ HD screen. Mostly, around 800-1000 MB RAM was idle while multitasking. It is able to playback 720p videos but most of the times it cannot playback 1080p videos which is a set back.
Coming to the gaming performance, this is not a hardcore gaming smartphone but does the job very well. It holds up really well for most games that the ‘average’ crowd will play at the end of the day. However, if you throw in the high-end games at high settings, it drops a frame or two sometimes and that is expected and fine too. We tried Subway Surfer, Mortal Kombat X, Modern Combat 5, Marvel Future Fight, Temple Run 2, Real Racing 3 and Asphalt 8 on the Aqua Trend and it did quite well to our liking. Also, it did not heat up too much. There was occasional heating near the rear camera but that is normal when you play high-end games. Hence, we are quite satisfied with its performance.
Intex Aqua Trend Review : Camera
There is a 13 megapixel rear primary camera with LED flash and Sony sensor. On the front, we get a 5 megapixel front-facing camera for selfies and video calling. Once again, we did not expect them to be the best in class and they aren’t either, but both of them do a decent job. The rear camera takes clear images that are crispy but too crispy to our liking. It throws in over saturated colors but many people are habituated with them and tend to like them more. They do not represent the object correctly but actually makes it look even better sometimes. Hence, consumers think they have a great camera but in theory, they don’t. But users mostly click to share with their friends and families on social media and this camera does a pretty good job for that. We do not expect a camera buff to buy this device either.
Looking at the default camera UI, there are four different modes – Normal, PIP (Picture-in-Picture), Live Photos and Motion Track. Well, Live Photos are nowhere near the ones found in the new iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, but you get a 6-7 second video after the shot is taken and it takes a lot of time for the picture to get saved, since the live video is taken after the shot. PIP mode is also a gimmick since the front image comes out to be very dark and we did not test the motion track mode but it looks to be useless as well. However, the HDR pictures turn out to be very good.
In the camera app settings, we can adjust exposure, white balance, anti-flicker, scene mode, image properties and face beauty. You can also set GPS location info to ON or OFF. The video recording feature is not much to talk about as its very bland as on most budget Android devices. It takes 720p videos and not Full HD videos. Coming to the front-facing camera, it takes good enough selfies for those ‘pout’ poses but again, not the best in its class.
Take a look at the camera samples of the Intex Aqua Trend taken in various lighting and modes:
Intex Aqua Trend Camera Samples
Intex Aqua Trend Review : Software, battery life & Connectivity
The Intex Aqua Trend runs on Android 5.1 Lollipop out of the box but it’s not absolutely stock Android. It comes with a lot of pre-installed apps which we call bloatware. Otherwise, it is close to stock Android and only time will tell if it will receive the Android 6.0 Marshmallow update in the future. We are not fond of the default app icons pack and it sort off looks cartoonish. However, you can change it. The notifications pop up menu is similar to stock Android. It supports HotKnot feature that allow users to share anything. The software also supports gesture and smart wake features starting from double-click to wake screen to drawing letters to open specific apps. Also, we found an option to Schedule power on & off. Overall, the software was smooth with no noticeable glitch. There are three capacitive soft touch buttons that are not backlit but are painted (in this case – golden). The left button is for ‘back’, the middle one is to go back to home screen and long pressing it opens the multitasking window for switching apps or killing them. The right button is for navigating options. This is pretty standard stuff for an Android device and nothing fancy here.
Check out the screenshots of UI, apps, settings and more below:
A 5-inch display with a 3000mAh battery under the hood is a great combination and an instant winner. If you’re not a wall hugger, this phone is for you. It easily gives more than a day of battery life under moderate to heavy usage. SoT (Screen on Time) varied between 5 to 6 hours. With low to moderate usage, you might even get around 1.5 to 2 days of battery life. Also, the Standby time on this phone is seriously impressive. There is a standby intelligent power saving mode and if enabled, can give around 10 days or more of standby time.
Coming to connectivity, it supports 4G LTE (Band : 3 & 40) and 3G HSPA+ on dual SIM slots. We did not have any issue with data connectivity and got pretty good speeds overall. Also, we did not face any call drop, the volume and clarity of the calls were great as well. The usual Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0 and GPS are on board as well but we faced some WiFi drops. It might be due to the “standby intelligent power saving mode” being enabled. It comes with 16GB of internal storage out of which around 11.67GB is available. The memory can be expanded via microSD card and the phone supports USB OTG as well.
Intex Aqua Trend Review : Final Conclusion
The Intex Aqua Trend is overall a decent smartphone priced at Rs 9,444. It is not a typical phone competing with its Chinese counterparts that are online exclusives. It is made for the offline market and is a good option for someone looking to buy a budget 4G device. It has a good display with adequate performance, above average cameras, software and connectivity, and has a great battery life. The Intex Aqua Trend is available in Black, Silver, Gray and Champagne color variants and has been priced at Rs 9,444 (MRP) but you can get it at a cheaper price in the retail market. It comes with 1 year screen breakage warranty and also a free Smart (sensor based) flip cover out of the box.
After using the Intex Aqua Trend, we have realised Indian OEMs have come a long way (but still a long way to go) and overall budget Android smartphones perform 10 times (or more) better than they did, a couple of years back. Also, Intex Technologies capturing 11% market share in India is commendable. They did not achieve this feat due to plain luck but by churning out pretty good phones and the Aqua Trend is an example of what the company has achieved and are capable of in the coming years. We give it a thumbs up but the market is heavily crowded and there are better options in this price range.