Smartron has been making all the right noises and launching the right devices so far in their quest to be the early mover in the IoT space in India. They have recently added a new budget offering called the srt.phone where srt stands for the initials of Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar who is an investor and a brand ambassador for them. I spent some time with the device. Here is my review of this phone
Here are the Key Specifications of the review unit I got
- 1.8GHz Octa-Core Snapdragon 652 Processor
- 4GB RAM With 64GB ROM
- 5.5 Inch FHD IPS LCD Display
- 13 MP Auto Focus Camera With Dual LED Flash
- 5MP Front Camera
- Dual Micro SIM
- Android 7.1.1 (Stock Nougat)
- 4G VoLTE
- USB Type-C
- 3000 MAh Battery.
Let’s talk about the build and design first. Smartron has not set out to win design awards with this one and that is very clear. It is a practical design that does not scream out anything. The phone has a plastic body with a rear cover that can be opened to put in the two Micro-SIM cards that it supports. Yes, there is no SIM tray to be pushed open, this design also ensures that you can swap the default back cover with one of the Sachin Tendulkar autographed ones that you can buy from Smartron. The device does not weigh much, it is not very thick or heavy. All in all, very easy to hold and grip. The edges are curved and not sharp. One peeve that I have with the phone is the placement of the power/lock button very awkwardly on the top, we are not used to that and almost always end up looking at the side or hitting the volume rocker by mistake. I also feel that Nano-SIM support would have been better as most of us have Nano SIMs and we need to find adapters to chuck them into this phone.
Coming to the user experience, I must say that I am very happy that an Indian company has consistently delivered a smooth and seamlessly easy experience consistently on all their devices. The srt.phone comes with Stock Android Nougat 7.1.1 with just the addition of the Tron cloud apps from Smartron. Powering up and setting up was a breeze with no major concerns. Since it is a stock OS image, the navigation and menus are exactly what you would see on a Pixel or a Nexus phone running the same version of android. The company has also promised users that the phone will get the next three versions of android without any delays. This is a big plus given the price of Rs 13,999/- for the 4GB/64 GB version and 12,999/- for the 3GB/32GB version. This means that whenever there is an update in the near future, you can be sure to get it. Not many Indian device makers guarantee this.
The processor, memory, display all come together very well to give a very smooth and lag-free experience. I tried an aggressive mix of multi-tasking with videos and graphically heavy games with social media apps all running parallel and there was not even a single stutter. There were no frame drops, screen freezes or force stops. The performance optimization by Smartron seems to be hitting all the tick marks. The fingerprint scanner on the rear of phone is very fast and unlocks were very clean and without issues.
The phone comes with a combination of a 13 MP rear camera and a 5 MP front sensor for selfies and video chats. Camera has traditionally been a bit of an Achilles heel for Smartron with their t.phone, but I must say that the rear camera is decent and is capable of capturing amply rendered and fleshed out colors in well lit outdoors and indoors. Low light is a tad bit of a challenge as are moving objects, but then these are challenges for every other mobile camera out there so I am not going to complain too much about it. Here are some pictures I took with the phone.
The 3000 mAH battery on the phone serves it very well. On average use, the phone lasted a little more than a day on a single charge and on heavy use it lasted around 7 hours on a single charge. The heavy use included rather long video loops and streaming sessions on a mix of both WiFi and 4G data.
The call quality was very good. The phone support 4G VoLTE in India and hence you can use your Jio SIM without any hassles. The loudspeakers on the device are adequate and serve their purpose. The headphone output was also pretty decent. There was no heating issue that was noticeable in my duration of using the phone.
Smartron could have done a tad bit better with the Sachin branding beyond the back covers and the wallpapers. I was expecting a Sachin app from them that enabled some interaction with the God of Cricket. They will do well to think of that going forward.
It is really good to see an Indian company stepping up to compete at a very aggressive price range with chinese and other global players who have taken over the segment. The srt.phone ticks all the right boxes and given the price, it is a very good option. It is a very smooth performer that is affordable to the average Indian buyer. Is it perfect? No device is! But it is definitely a good option. It is also good to see Smartron stay focused and continue their stated path to create touch points into their IoT platform with good devices. In my books, the srt.phone is a good device. Waiting so see what it next from their stables now.