Recently, it was said that Chinese smartphone market is seeing a downfall in terms of sales and India is outsmarting the country with ease. For the same reason, various Chinese brands are invading India and the recent one to join the bandwagon is iVoomi.
Back in March 2017, iVoomi launched its first smartphone named iV505 smartphone in India, which is one of the cheapest Android smartphones right now with VoLTE support. Last month, iVoomi launched two new smartphones announced two smartphones- namely- iVoomi Me and Me 1+ at Rs. 3,999 and Rs. 4,999 respectively.
iVoomi initially has plans to launch smartphones ranging between Rs. 4,000 and Rs. 10,000 as Indian consumers are budget-conscious people. iVoomi's premium smartphone, the iVoomi Me 1+ costs Rs. 4,999 and carries decent specifications on paper.
The device competes with the Xiaomi Redmi 4A in the entry-level segment. The Redmi 4A is a great device, and the iVoomi Me 1+ has a huge mountain to climb to become the best entry-level smartphone of India.
Will the iVoomi Me 1+ has enough firepower to become the best entry-level smartphone of India? Let's find out in my full review.
Design: Not an eye-popping design
As I have written in my first impressions article of the phone, the iVoomi Me 1+ doesn't turn any heads in the design segment. However, it offers decent build quality, especially for the asking price of Rs. 4,999. It is entirely made of plastic, and the back cover along with the battery is removable, where we can see the two micro SIM card slots and a dedicated microSD card slot.
From the front, the device looks like any other entry-level smartphone with a 5-inch display and hardware capacitive navigation buttons below the display. The hardware keys are not backlit, which makes it difficult to use the smartphone during night conditions.
Furthermore, there's a 2.5D curved glass over the display, making the device stand out from other phones in the same price segment. The volume rockers and the power button are placed on the left side of the phone. Both the buttons offer decent tactile feedback, but the let down is there's less space between the volume rockers and power button, and at times, I mistakenly press the volume down button, imagining it as the power button. The micro USB port and the 3.5mm headphone jack is placed at the top
Besides the less space between the volume rockers and power button, there's not much to complain about the phone. Also, it has the best build quality in its price range.
Display: The best in the price range
The marquee feature of the iVoomi Me 1+ is its display. Offering an HD and that too a 2.5D curved glass on top at a modest price tag of Rs. 4,999 is an incredible task as other Chinese brands such as the Vivo and Oppo are offering the same for around Rs. 15,000 price tag.
It is a nice trick played by iVoomi to attract the customers, and the display is decent in real life as well. However, the viewing angles are affected because the panel is a reflective one.
The colour reproduction is far from better, but the device struggles under direct sunlight. Even at maximum brightness levels, you can't read the text with this display under bright light. The display on the Redmi 4A is slightly better than the Me 1+, even though it lacks the 2.5D curved glass because it offers punchy and vibrant colours and excellent sunlight legibility.
Hardware and Performance: A decent performer!
iVoomi has packed suitable hardware in the Me 1+. It comes with a 32-bit quad-core Spreadtrum SC8830 chip with all the four cores clocked at 1.5GHz. The chipset in the Me 1+ will work in tandem with 2GB of RAM and Mali-400 GPU.
First up, the chipset used in the phone is an entry-level one, and you should not expect any spell bounding performance. Nonetheless, the device ran all the day-to-day apps with ease such as the WhatsApp, Instagram, etc. Games such as Beach Buggy Racing, Riptide GP2 also ran well, but not without occasional frame drops.
Coming to the intensive usage of the iVoomi Me 1+; the device struggled with ten apps opened in the background, which is an expected thing with the low-end processor.
The device has 16GB of internal storage with support for storage expansion up to 32GB via a dedicated microSD card slot. A thumbs up for iVoomi for not opting the hybrid card tray setup like other smartphone brands. Out of 16GB; 11GB is available for end-user, which would be more than enough for basic applications such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Messenger, etc.
Another highlight of the Me 1+ is the support for VoLTE. I used the phone with Reliance Jio 4G SIM card for the entire review period. There were occasional call drops, but the call quality was completely fine. In fact, better than other phones in its price range. Other connectivity options in the phone include Wi-Fi 802.11/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, and GPS.
In terms of audio, the loudspeaker in the phone has placed awkwardly at the rear bottom. This resulted in low sound when the device is positioned with the speaker facing down. The audio through earphones in acceptable as well.
Camera: Captures more than decent shots
The iVoomi Me 1+ comes with an 8MP autofocus rear camera with f/2.8 aperture, and a single tone LED flash. The camera performance on the Me 1+ impressed me, in particular for the asking price. The images captured in day conditions with the rear camera came out with natural colours.
However, the camera starts struggling with the light going down. The LED flash doesn't come any good while capturing pictures during night times as it sharpened the images and as a result, the image were on the colder side. Also, there's noticeable noise in the low-light shots, and even the daylight shots came out blurry when I shake the device while capturing.
The phone has a 5MP front-facing camera which doesn't even has support for autofocus. The front camera turned out to be a disappointment even in daylight and night conditions as the images appeared washed out along with a considerable amount of noise.
On the whole, the rear camera impressed me with natural colours, but only in the daylight scenario. That said, the Redmi 4A also doesn't boast of a great camera, but is one step ahead of Me 1+, especially in the selfie image segment.
Software: Stockish Android With Little Customisations
iVoomi surprised everyone at the launch event claiming that both the Me and Me 1+ will receive Android 7.0 Nougat in the near future. While the company did not give any expected time for the update, the phone has picked up a software upgrade in the review period. The update has improved the overall performance of the phone along with few tweaks to the camera app.
For now, the iVoomi Me 1+ boots Android 6.0 Marshmallow with zero customizations on top. These days, every smartphone brand is coming with their own Android skin, but iVoomi has released the phone with near stock Android. This is also a reason for the device' stable performance.
As said earlier, the device has near stock Android UI, but the app icons are modified slightly- they are squared ones, rather than the circled ones seen on stock Android. There are little additions such as the double tap to wake, and gesture controls which open a dedicated app when a letter is drawn on the home screen. These features can be seen in the Settings app under Gestures section.
There are some bloatware apps such as the Xender, Poboo, Quick Touch, etc. The disappointing fact is that these apps cannot be uninstalled, but they can be disabled.
I did not face any software issues in the phone, and it also has features such as Call Firewall for call blocking, Super MyCallRecord for call recording, etc. These features come in handy at times.
Battery Life: Lasts a Complete Day With Moderate Usage
The iVoomi Me 1+ comes with a 3000mAh battery unit with no support for fast charging technology. The device took almost three hours to fully charge from zero to 100 percent with the bundled charger. When I tried to use a fast charging supported charger, the device tends to overheat.
The Me 1+ lasts for one complete day with moderate usage involving few hours of WhatsApp and Instagram, an hour of gaming, two hours of music listening, and two hours of voice calls. With this usage, the device offered me a complete day battery life. Also, the less powerful chip doesn't consume more battery juice. The smartphone also has standard battery saving mode which automatically turns on when the battery level reaches 15 percent.
Conclusion: A Good Outing for iVoomi
The iVoomi Me 1+ doesn't stand out with its design, but the specifications inspire confidence along with the real life performance. The phone has an HD display, which is a rarity in the sub Rs. 5,000 price bracket, a large 3000mAh battery which lasts for one day, and a decent rear camera producing good shots in daylight.
All the pros make the device a king in the entry-level offering, but it has its own set of drawbacks. It has a mediocre front camera, tiny loud speaker, and no fast charge support. Expecting a fast charge supported smartphone for Rs. 4,999 is a fool's errand, but you can't keep the phone to charge overnight.
Furthermore, iVoomi is promising Android Nougat update to the phone, but no estimated time has been given currently. Having said that, the iVoomi Me 1+ is an excellent option in the entry-level segment to consider.
The smartphone's major contender is the Xiaomi Redmi 4A, but it costs Rs. 1000 more and brings in a Snapdragon SoC, better cameras, and slightly larger battery to the paper. The Me 1+ is for people looking for an affordable 4G VoLTE supported smartphone in a tight budget. The iVoomi Me 1+ is selling exclusively via Shopclues.