The srt.phone is the second product out from the Indian Manufacturer Smartron and this phone is mainly built and launched keeping the legendary cricketer Sachin Tendulkar's Fans. The phone was launched on May 9th in India and is priced competitively at Rs. 12,999/- for a 3GB / 32GB variant and its priced at 13,999/- for 4GB / 64GB variant. The main highlight of the phone is the impeccable specifications under the hood at this price point. The device houses a Snapdragon 652 Octa-core processor with either 3GB RAM or 4GB RAM, 5.5" Full HD IPS display with Corning Gorilla 3 protection, Finger Print Scanner, Dual SIM 4G capability, 13 MP rear camera and a 5 MP wide angle front camera, NFC support, 3000 mAH battery with Quick Charge 2.0 capability, USB Type C charging/data port etc.,
We got an opportunity to test this device and here is our review and verdict on this smartphone in the market.
Design & Build:
Let's get straight to the design. The SRT phone is not another me too metallic phone but its built using poly-carbonate body and it comes in grey color. Build looks little bland when compared to some of the Chinese brand phones in that range which are made of high quality aluminum etc., to attract their consumers. The phone is named srt.phone as the legendary cricketer Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar has major chunk of investment in Smartron brand and he is also a brand ambassador of Smartron.
The materials used in building the phone is of pretty good quality and the entire phone is designed and engineered in India. On the front side of the phone, there are 3 capacitive buttons located under the display for back, home and recent apps and they have back-lit which is really useful. The buttons are responsive to the presses and it has a simplistic design without any fanciness in it. There is a small visible speaker grill on front of the device next to front camera. On the left side of the device there is a volume rocker and on the right, there is nothing.
Below, there is is USB Type C charging port/data port and beneath that a loud speaker. The lock/power button is oddly placed on top side of the device which is pretty uncomfortable to reach on this massive 5.5" screen device. There was lot of real estate free on the left and right side of the device which Smartron engineers could have utilized. Well, the best alternate which Smartron provided to get around this problem is to use the fingerprint scanner (double tap on it) to lock and unlock by enabling the fingerprint phone lock setting available under Gestures settings. For a user who is switching from other smartphones, they will find little odd and would take some days time to adjust to this phone as they would end up pressing either volume down or up buttons every time they want to lock or unlock their phone.
The fingerprint scanner is located on the back of the device and its placed at the comfortable position and the response time of the fingerprint is pretty decent too. On the top left side of device's back, there is a 13 MP camera placed beneath that is a LED Flash and noise cancellation microphone. There is a orange strip below the camera and above the Smartron logo just to use their signature colour orange on their phones. It indeed increases the look to the device instead of a blank back. Thanks to Smartron, they have also launched the Sachin's memorablia back panels also which would definitely give a better look to the phone.
The device weighs around 150 grams and has the dimensions of 153 x 77 x 8.9 mm. Definitely not a very sleek looking device, but it does have a comfortable hold and not a slippery phone like the full metallic or glass bodied phones out there. One more downside of the design the effort which we have to put to remove the back cover due to the odd placement of the groove/cut to pull out the cover, its placed at the middle of the bottom side of the phone and removing it is not at all so easy and if one doesn't have a nail and use some foreign materials to remove it, we end up spoiling the bottom frame with scratches.
Another downside is the non-availability of Micro SD card slot, which means one cannot expand the storage on this device. But, thanks to the Smartron's t.cloud which offers unlimited storage for lifetime which the users can make use of. Also, the device doesn't offer any notification LED's which is a let down from user's perspective. Overall, the design of the device is not so inviting to the young customers who look for sleek and metallic crazy designs, however the device build is sturdy and it would definitely could handle little falls here and there with hurting the sentiments of end user.
The device comes with a 5.5" Full HD with support upto 401 ppi density and protected with Gorilla Glass 3. The display is crisp and clear while its not so great under the full sunlight though with the adaptive brightness feature, sometimes we need to turn up the brightness to 100% for viewing. Viewing angles under normal light is good and clear. Color reproduction is accurate but its not very vivid. The touch screen is responsive and flawless. Thanks to the bigger display, one can enjoy the movies and entertainment content without much stress on the eyes. For the device at this price right, this display and the quality is definitely worthy of the investment.
Hardware / Performance:
Without even going into the details of specs and other benchmarks, we can easily give a verdict in this department saying srt.phone is a performer just like Sachin Tendulkar in Cricket. The device houses the best specifications and hardware under the hood at the price point it is available. The srt.phone is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragron 652 Octa-core processor clocked at 1.8 GHz and its backed with 3GB/4GB and comes with the storage capacity of 32GB / or 64GB and with Adreno 510 GPU. The performance is slick and fast, we didn't observe slowness or lag during our day to day operations like internet browsing, switching between the multiple applications like social media apps, productivity apps, emails, while playing multimedia content etc., The device takes the load easily and the gaming performance is also very good on it. We could play the racing games with game resolution set to highest possible and it didn't stutter or lag, though we observed slight warmth around the camera position during long hours of gaming, that's natural and not a show-stopper when we analyze the performance of any device. And, considering the fact the device runs on the latest Android which is Nougat, the performance is up-to the mark. The device also has support of NFC to make payments using tap and pay method, file transfers with other NFC enabled devices etc., which is a plus on this device. Also, the USB Type C port supports OTG (On-the-Go) also for storing or copying the content from or to Smartphone. Overall, we are very much satisfied with the performance of srt.phone.
Benchmark Scores when tested using different tools:
The srt.phone comes with latest Android Nougat 7.1.1 out of the box with almost near stock android experience with just addition of their proprietary TronX software added to it which helps the user to sync their device and content over the unlimited cloud storage which Smartron offers, and to get customer support 24x7 via t.care, to shop for accessories, phones and tbook on t.store and finally there is a t.forum which gives access, information and announcements about the latest happenings in Smartron world. Using Forum, the users can get in touch with different Smartron users, company founders also active on the forum answering the queries, suggestions from the end users which is appreciable. There is a dedicated admins, support personnel also available to answer or help on the issues raised by the users. One of the best part is users wouldn't be disappointed with the service offered by the Smartron post sale. I could see many users appreciating the fact that their issues solved when they approached via forum or t.care. The notable features and updates is the gesture controls which helps to take screenshots by swiping the 3 fingers from top to bottom (still need some tuning though as its not 100% perfect yet), fingerprint phone lock, jump to camera by pressing the power button twice from any screen, tap and pay, separate ringtones for two separate sim cards etc., And of course, the device has a inbuilt FM radio for radio lovers however there is no hands-free inside the box, user has to buy one in order to utilize the FM radio functionality. Coming to the UI of the device, as we said, its nothing fancy and no bloatwares installed on the device which is pretty good and gives near stock android experience for end users. Sky is the limit for the users to install and play with the Android Nougat 7.1.1. The device of course comes with trial of Office suite of applications pre-installed which the users has to update it to full version once and register themselves in order to use them.
The srt.phone comes with a 13 MP rear shooter and a 5 MP front camera. The device takes some decent pictures in full bright and clear conditions. The quality of the picture diminishes under the low light, provides not so clear and hazy pictures. The auto-focus is good enough post the patch update which Smartron provided recently. The camera app has decent functions and has capability of clicking pictures using HDR, HDR-A mode. The manual mode in the camera gives options to play around with ISO, Shutter speed, white balance, Manual focus etc., which is a good add on to the device. The app gives around 8 different picture modes like Aqua, emboss, Mono, Negative, Neon, Posterize, Sepia and Sketch. The device also gives option to choose either 4:3 or 16:9 size pictures. The video mode of the camera gives option to record upto 4K video and also provides option to shoot time-lapse and slow motion videos which is a good add-on for the device at this price range. The front camera takes a decent quality pictures under bright lit conditions, good enough for casual selfies during the outdoor trips and for the pictures to post on social media. The wide angle lens is a plus for the device which covers little more width in the selfie mode. Overall, the camera section of srt.phone is pretty decent, but there is a scope of improvements if the algorithm of the camera is tuned a bit in future updates from Smartron. Check out the picture samples clicked on srt.phone here.
The srt.phone comes with a 3000 mAH battery which supports quick charge 2.0 and the device uses USB Type C charger for charging the battery up. We could charge the battery from 0 to 100% in around an hour which gives the backup for entire day of usage with 4G network on all the times and during the casual usage of social media, browsing and some hours of calls. We could get around 3.5 hours to 4 hours screen on time on this device with standard usage as said above. We could observe more than 6.5 hours of SOT when only watched video in loop, and of course with 4G network on and all emails, social media sync. As per our observation the Android operating system uses most of the power and definitely there is a scope of improvement if Smartron optimizes their software and fix the battery performance in future updates which they provide. Power users wouldn't be happy with the battery performance, while for a normal user who just uses for calls, texting and little social media presence, the device may stay up and live for long hours.Conclusion:
The srt.phone is a better smartphone for the specifications it offers in the price range under INR 15,000/- and there is definitely a scope of improvements in terms of camera, software and the build quality in their future devices. Camera and battery performance should be improved, barring that this phone is a powerhouse in performance in this price range. If Smartron fixes these portions in their future phones, definitely they have a way better future and have a capability to give tough competition for the current market leaders. If you are a power user who loves big screen phones and can compromise a little on battery backup and camera quality, this phone could be bought and of course if you have sentiment for the cricketing legend Sachin Tendulkar, go ahead and blindly buy it. Smartron does offer decent back covers with Sachin's cricketing pictures painted on it.