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Micromax Canvas 3D A115

There’s a new phone in town. You can watch 3D videos and images on it. Without 3D glasses!

The Micromax Canvas 3D A115 sports a 5-inch (12.7 cm) display and runs on Android Jelly Bean operating system. This dual-sim smartphone is powered by a 1GHz dual-core processor and RAM of 512 MB. It has 0.93 GB internal memory and supports a 32GB memory card. It is priced at Rs 9999 at the Micromax store.

The really big, advice mind boggling question for me was: Does the 3D really work, health without glasses?

First let’s look at what 3D sans glasses really means.  Such phones have autostereoscopic (adding perception of 3D depth) displays. The display has a layer of material, generic called a parallax barrier, with a series of precision slits which allow each eye to see a different set of pixels, creating a sense of depth. Each eye sees a different image creating the illusion of 3D.  The glasses free/parallax barrier technique works better on mobile devices like phones and handheld games (like the Nintendo 3DS) than TVs due to the narrower viewing angle.

We played a 3D movie trailer on the phone and waited with bated breath. A rollicking dance sequence from ‘Anybody Can Dance 3D’(ABCD-3D) played out on the 5-inch screen. The 3D effect was initially a little disorienting, but we moved to a darker room, and voila! – the video was in all its 3D glory! There is definitely a perception of depth in the display, a clever illusion that led us to examine whether the phone was thicker than other standard cellphones. It isn’t. It is just 13.7 mm thick at the camera location.

The Canvas 3D A115 shoots and converts standard images and video to 3D display format. Connectivity options include 3G , Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi and USB 2.0.  The smartphone’s 2000 mAh battery claims a standby time of 225 hours and talktime of 4.5 hours. Access to Micromax 3D Space is also provided, with a menu of 3D videos and games. The camera has a 5 MP camera at the back and a 0.3 MP camera at the front for video chats.

Video formats supported are 3GP, MP4 and AVI which supports 3D video. The video resolution is 480 x 800 and the video frame rate is 30 fps. The phone supports MP3, Midi and Wav audio formats. Sensors for proximity, motion and gravity are provided, to take care of touch and swipe gestures and image orientation and other ‘appy’ stuff.

Gaming, photos and videos are obviously the hot areas for the 3D feature, but Micromax has even turned its user interface into a 3D delight, with a feature carousel spinning out from the screen. A screensaver has a pool of water with a fish swimming. I touch it and the water ripples realistically and the fish darts off. This may be around on other phones, but the 3D effect here is lovely.

Photos and video taken on the phone didn’t appear as dramatically three dimensional as the 3D movie trailer, but then a Jessica Alba screensaver always looks better than your roomate’s picture, doesn’t it? There is certainly a simulated 3D feel to the stuff we shot. Again it’s a matter of shooting in good light, composition and contrast, etc, that all goes to make a good picture or movie.

Micromax, an Indian consumer electronics company located in Gurgaon, Haryana has enjoyed considerable growth since its entry into the Indian mobile devices market in 2008, emerging as one of the largest selling phone manufacturers in India.

Comments in cyberspace rage on about Micromax phones. Some urge to buy Micromax and support homegrown Indian phones. Others wonder what’s Indian about phones that have Chinese components. Yet others point out that nearly all phone manufacturers use parts from all around the world.

But Micromax has certainly created a sensation with this spectacular 3D phone. We don’t know how it will fare in the stamina stakes, but right now we can watch 3D movie clips on this reasonably priced phone, and for that we are pleased.