Smartron today launched its first budget phone, the srt.phone that’s supposed to be an ode to the cricketing legend, Sachin Tendulkar. Master blaster took great pride in backing the nascent Indian brand that’s also the only Indian brand to design and engineer its devices. The specs are indeed quite enticing here for the price, but they hardly tell you much about a product.

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Smartron SRT Phone Specifications and Price

Model Smartron srt.phone
Display 5.5-Inch, Full HD, IPs 2.5D Corning Gorilla Glass
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 Processor
RAM 4GB
Internal Storage 32GB/64GB, unlimited tCloud storage
Software Android 7.0 Nougat
Primary Camera 13MP, PDAF, LED Flash
Secondary Camera 5MP
Dimensions and Weight 153 x 77x 8.9mm and 155 Grams
Battery 3000mAh, quick charge 2.0
Others 4G VoLTE, WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, 3.5mm Audio Jack, microUSB 2.0, Fingerprint Sensor, NFC
Price Rs. 12,999 and Rs. 13,999

Before we dive into the first impression that Srt.Phone cast on us, let’s go through the enticing claims Smartron is making for its new phone.

  • srt.phone is guaranteed to get at least 2 to 3 major Andriod version upgrades. Not only that, the company claims that it will deliver them before everyone else. And it will also push security patches quarterly.
  • Smartron claims this is 30 percent more likely to survive drops compared to other phones in this budget. Or it’s super durable.
  • You get more free storage than devices with comparative native storage options. And you get unlimited T.cloud storage.
  • The fingerprint sensor is supposedly the fastest in its class (0.9 seconds to unlock, claims Smartron)
  • And it’s got SAR value of 0.6 W/kg

And now let’s discuss how much value these assertions might or might not add to the consumer experience.

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Design isn’t impressive or ergonomic

The srt.Phone hasn’t tried to inculcate latest design trends (read: metal unibody, 2.5D glass) which, in our books, isn’t a bad thing at all. We would take a good looking plastic phone that breaks design monotony over the conventional and ubiquitous “metal unibody design” (which are neither truly metal nor unibody) any day.

But the problem is, that the end product here isn’t good looking. It feels rather cheap and flimsy. The back cover is removable and, from what we have heard, customizable. Moreover, the power button is placed on the top, which is perhaps absolute worst place to place it. This would have been ok if the phone had double tap to wake gesture but we couldn’t spot it under gestures or anywhere else in the menu.

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So, your only option is to unlock it with the fingerprint sensor on the rear. The sensor felt reasonably fast in our initial testing (didn’t feel like the fasted one we have used, though). But given the wide footprint srt.Phone occupies and the odd power button placement, a front-mounted one would have made more sense here.

The 5.5-inch Full HD display on the phone has generous bezels on all side. The dynamic range and contrast didn’t feel like much to write home about. At the same time, display brightness, sharpness and viewing angles felt pretty decent.

Siding with Stock Android was a wise choice

It takes lots of time and effort to nurture and optimize a custom UI. Investing in a new UI at this stage, when stock Android is in itself pretty good, doesn’t make much sense. So, Smartron’s decision to side with stock Android Nougat software on the device is a wise one. Using native Android software will also make it a lot easier to push Android version updates.

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The prospect of timely version updates is also something that is bound to attract tech-savvy young consumers but won’t mean much for others.

Performance expectations

The handset is powered by Snapdragon 652 octa-core processor that’s assisted by generous helpings of RAM and storage. We are inclined to believe Smartron’s performance claims as the interface was light and extremely fast.

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The phone could keep several apps cached in RAM with ease and apps were opening pretty quickly. Out of 64GB, about 58GB was free on the device but out of these 58 gigs, 5GB was already in use on the hands-on prototype, which is to say, Smartron isn’t undercutting other players by a wide margin with respect to free storage at the consumer end.

Most people don’t prefer living on the cloud in India as of yet but with internet access increasingly becoming easier and inexpensive, this is likely to change in the near future. The srt.phone does not have a microSD card slot.

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The unknowns

What Smartron didn’t talk about much was the camera performance and battery life. The camera hardware is pretty standard. Due to the poor lighting in the demo area, we aren’t in a position to comment on the camera quality just yet, but it felt fairly standard.

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The handset comes with a 3000mAh battery, which again sounds adequate as of now. We will have to spend more time with the handset to have a fair estimate of the exact mileage consumers will be able to draw from it.

Also, the SAR value isn’t a very conclusive figure while comparing radiation friendly aspect of two phones, but lower SAR value of srt.phone could definitely count as an advantage.

First Impression

The srt.phone does a lot of things right. It should definitely appeal to people who value performance might over all else. For instance, this could potentially be a good device for gamers. Also, Sachin Tendulkar fans might find emotional fulfillment by associating with the brand. On the downside, the aesthetics mars the overall experience. We will also have to test for the battery backup and camera performance before we can pass it on as a recommendable phone for anyone.

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