The Intex Aqua Curve Mini – Tackling the Midrange

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We spoke about the Intex Aqua Y2 in our previous article. Today we’ll be looking at its’ older brother: the Aqua Curve Mini.

The Aqua Curve Mini is a surprisingly elegant candy bar design sporting a 4.5” FWVGA (480×854 pixels) IPS touch screen.

The front is a curved black surface, and both looks and feels decidedly premium; the specs don’t mention any kind of Gorilla-ish glass surface, but it certainly feels like there is one. The back panel, made of plastic, slightly conflicts with this look.

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The front of the device consists of the loudspeaker, front camera and ambient light sensor at the top. The bottom consists of navigation (Recents, Home, Back) keys and the microphone. One interesting feature we noted about the navigation keys is that they switch off when not in use and then illuminate again when the bottom part of the device is tapped. The volume rocker and power/lock buttons are housed on the left side of the device. The top of the device house both the 3.5mm audio jack and microUSB port respectively. The Aqua Curve Mini weighs 179g, and the weight helps it feel quite like a premium device. It’s not expensive, though: Rs. 15,999/-, available at all Singer showrooms island wide.

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Similar to the Aqua Y2, the first thing you notice again is the accessories – a screen protector and a protective housing that snaps around the phone to protect it. In addition, you also get a second back panel that you can use to spice things up a bit. The model we got has a red back cover which can be swapped for a black one.

A user manual, warranty card (again complete with details of e-waste collection centers), a special apps manual, and a coupon for TATA DoCoMo that provides the user with 1GB of data for 3 months is also included. We don’t know why.

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The screen as a whole is offers a warm color gamut that’s easy on the eye. Pixel density is a bit on the low side; given the existence of 720p displays only a couple of thousand bucks removed from this price point, it’s a bit of a touchy point. What you get is functional.

Aqua Curve Mini (2)

As with most mid range smartphones these days, the Aqua Curve Mini has slots for 2 SIM cards (if you have multiple connections) and the basics such as 3G support and WiFi are present too. Internal storage is 4GB with up to 32GB supported via MicroSD. Many of the same observations that were applied to the Y2 apply here.

The device comes with a number of apps re-installed from Intex – Real Football, OLX, Opera browser and a few more. It even has a nice file manager included. It has FM Radio and a soft loudspeaker. It has quad core 1.3 GHz Mediatek processor 1GB of RAM and ships with Android 4.4 KitKat. Homescreen switching is fast and smooth and navigating within the app drawer is equally fast. App switching is also pleasantly spiffy: unlike its younger brother, we installed Facebook, Whatsapp, Viber and Messenger and kept switching between the apps without issues. This really is what you pay more for.

Onto the camera

The photo quality is where the Aqua Curve Mini falls behind. Technically, it’s a 8 MP camera with an LED flash in the rear (and a 2MP front facing camera). Photo quality is actually let down by extreme lag and the lag of an autofocus feature. While it shoots video at 720p (1280*720), we wouldn’t recommend this to anyone looking for a good snapper. What’s excusable in the Y2 doesn’t quite work out there.

Antutu’s score was within the expected range, consistent for Mediatek-powered devices of this category.

Aqua Curve Mini

Curiously, the Aqua Curve Mini also sports a 1500 mAh battery. This again should theoretically give you around a day of usage given the low screen resolution and pixel density of the display. If you notice, it’s almost the same phone as the Y2, except with two more cores and more RAM; that one lasted a little over 12 hours within 1.5 hours of YouTube playback on WiFi. This performs almost the same.

Bottom line: for almost just a little under Rs. 17,000/-, you get a quad-core smartphone that can run most of your apps and look good (we’re really not kidding about this part).

The IPS display, Android 4.4 KitKat and additional apps really are the icing on the cake. The camera is sub-par. There are a few devices that match up to this in terms of price-to-performance – the Nokia Lumia 525 and Dialcom’s Huawei Honor Holly (which is almost Rs 5,000 cheaper than the standard price). Overall, this is a good Android contender to the Lumia 525. That camera, though, may not be doing this phone justice.

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