India based Creo launched its first ever smartphone, the Mark 1, in India in April this year which is available exclusively on Flipkart for Rs 19,999. The phone was launched with much fanfare with its makers promising regular software updates. The phone has also few innovative features including an answering machine.
I was using the phone for about a month and here is my review of Creo Mark 1.
The phone has a glass body while broad metal plates protect its sides. As you have guessed it by now, the glass body is quite slippery but at the same time it has the glossiness that makes it quite attractive. The glass body is not a dust of fingerprint magnet either.
The Creo Mark 1 is quite thick and bulky. To be precise, it measures 76.1×155.4×8.7 mm and weighs 190 grams.
The phone has one dedicated SIM slot while another slot has dual purpose which can hold either a SIM card or a micro SD card. The 3.5 mm jack is at the top while a micro USB port is at the bottom along with two speaker grills. Another speaker grill is just above the display alongside the front camera. There are three circular buttons in the right hand side; the top two of them are volume buttons while the bottom one is the power key.
The back panel has a neat look with the Creo brand name and logo engraved in the middle while the rear camera sits at the top left corner alongside two LED flash lights.
The front 5.5 inch display has superb Quad HD or 2560×1440 pixels making it the cheapest phone with such high end resolution. Obviously, it looked great and has great touch response.
OS and User Interface
The user interface and regular software updates are the key propositions of the Creo Mark 1. Note that currently it is based on Android 5.1.1 Lollipop operating system and the modified interface is known as Fuel 1.1 OS.
So what’s innovative the UI brings to the table?
The most noted feature is its answering machine. There are several pre-recorded messages; else you can choose your own voice recording. You can record several messages for each group like family, friends, colleagues etc. Called as Echo mode, you can change its settings from the dial page (on the extreme right its icon of a voice recorder appears) to enable or disable it from this setting. Check the below screenshot to see all the options of the Echo mode.
It offers a picture editor, data manager, and a phone tracking app called Retriever. The Fuel OS does not look much different from the default Android UI so you won’t find much difficulty in adjusting to the new UI. Another good thing is that the UI doesn’t have much bloatware. Also, Creo promises to bring new features and updates for the phone every month. During the review itself, I received one update.
The Mark 1 has the 1.95 GHz of Mediatek Helio X10 octa core processor and 3 GB RAM. The combination works well as you might have expected. It however heats up a bit during intense tasks, which was expected as it has a glass body. The phone offers superb storage also â€“ 32 GB internal and a micro SD card slot allowing you to expand its memory by another 128 GB.
The Creo Mark 1 has a 3100 mAh battery and it comes with Standby Intelligent power saving feature. The battery size is decent even for this phone with a 5.5 inch display and it offers decent back up. With one SIM slot, constant WiFi/3G connection, it used to give stay alive for the whole day, ofcourse during that I used to make about 30 minutes of calls. And in half an hour of video playback with one SIM, no WiFi and medium brightness, it consumes about 10 per cent of charge. In half an hour video browsing on YouTube, it lost another 10 per cent. So it is decent in terms of battery back up but certainly not the best in this category.
There was no issue vis-Ã -vis calling though. A lone microphone in the back did a good job in noise cancellation.
The Creo Mark 1 has a 21 megapixel rear camera and an 8 megapixel front camera. The rear camera is backed by dual LED flash lights. It has phase detection auto focus, slow motion (120fps) video recording feature, panorama, HDR, auto exposure, 0.5 second quick focus features. The front camera has F2.0 aperture and it can record full HD videos.
As you might also agree, the Mark 1 has really good cameras and it should have been one of its USP. Sadly, it was not. Infact, I found it to be its greatest weakness.
In all circumstances, both front and rear cameras were average and it micro shots I found the rear camera quite poor. The 21 megapixel camera had a hard time in focusing on objects and provided few detailing. Check the picture below which clearly shows what its problem in macro shots. I had tried to capture the same picture several times but always failed to get the detailing.
Hopefully, some camera update is coming in the future.