At Rs 4,999 Intex Aqua 5.5 VR Plus is the best bang for your money. Except the little camera disappointment and if you choose to overlook the plastic design of this phone, it is a winner all through. It has an updated software backed by decent hardware specs which will ensure its seamless performance. Added to this are the exciting gaming experience, which is better than its contemporaries, and the virtual reality option too, which is pretty basic but is worth trying for at this price.
If you are looking for miracles in smartphones at a minimal cost Intex Aqua 5.5 VR Plus could do the trick for you. Priced at Rs 4,999 and available only on Flipkart, this smartphone is here to rival some of the Chinese brands that seem to take over Indian market. Intex has delivered some of the most desired features in this handset and with praiseworthy performance. Aqua 5.5 VR Plus is a good quality entry-level smartphone not just for seamless basic tasks but also some real entertainment and zing. When Virtual Reality is making serious buzz around, Intex has prudishly incorporated the VR experience in this budget phone, making this technology easily available at a minimal cost to the masses.
Design & Display:
The Intex Aqua 5.5 VR Plus runs on 1.25 GHz Quad-core, Cortex A53, MediaTek MTK6737V chipset that is coupled with Mali-T720 GPU and 2 GB RAM. It measures 153 x 77.5 x 10.3 mm and weighs 176 grams. The handset is a 10.3 mm thick plastic body. The groovy texture of the back guard is scratch free and does little to add to its finesse. The back cover peels off to give way to dual SIM slots and microSD card and a battery slot. On the back is the rear camera with dual flash and speaker grille at the bottom. The left edge of the phone has an odd button to put the phone on silent mode, I wonder how useful will that be for users. The right edge has the usual volume rocker and lock button. The top edge has the microUSB charging port and the microphone is at the bottom edge. The phone has an internal memory of 16GB which is expandable up to 64GB with no OTG support. The front camera with the flash is located on top of the screen. The phone supports Bluetooth and WiFi. It is compatible with any GSM network provider and supports 4G/LTE and 4G VoLTE. Do not expect any beveling or sleek round edges from this design. The neat design and sturdy construction is good enough to get on with.
The phone package come with several VR accessories that I will talk about in detail later. The box also provides a screen guard, headphone jack and charging plug.
The 5.5-inch HD IPS panel has a resolution of 720 x 1280 pixels at 245 pixels per inch with 2.5D curved glass edges. The TFT capacitive touchscreen is justified at this price. The screen is aptly bright and the texts are readable under sunlight and at different viewing angles but tends to be reflective. The touchscreen is not as smooth as one would expect and over some time it gets iffy to get along. These are oddities of entry-level smartphones and I am sure one will not mind them considering the stakes are not high. The touch buttons below the screen does not have backlit and hence cannot be viewed in dark. The software provides Miravision app from settings menu to alter screen brightness and one can choose among standard, vivid, and user mode. You can also switch to Dynamic Contrast for more depth. The screen appears clear and somewhat sharp with some cool themes and wallpapers to choose from.
Intex Aqua 5.5 VR Plus is powered by Li-ion 2,800 mAh battery. On a single charge this phone can run throughout the day. The phone is good in performing basic actions day to day and it will serve you well without any hiccups. The video watching is good with loud volume and clarity and sharpness of sound. One can multi-task with basic applications like Gmail, Chrome, Maps, messages and You Tube in this handset.
Intex Aqua 5.5 VR Plus has a camera that puts you off and Intex could have pushed a little more in this sphere. The 8-megapixel rear camera has dual flash which annoyingly does not do anything to the pictures. The front camera with 5-megapixel has flash too but is remarkably unimpressive. Mostly shots are muddy and lacks clarity. The camera app comes with normal mode, beauty mode, and panorama mode. If you toggle left there appears several options like GPS, color balance, white balance, and anti-flicker. The camera option too has settings like zero shutter delay, face detection, anti-shake, smile shot, self-timer etc. You can also set the capture number of pictures from 40 to 90 shots. The video option has time lapse mode which is popular these days. You can capture pictures while shooting videos.
Under daylight pictures are clear and has average sharpness, but results vary when light starts fading or is less intense. The bad news is videos are shot in 3gp mode which is dated, MP4 is the latest format and is pretty popular in most phones. You can record HDR videos only in rear camera and not in front. Overall, the phone has typical MediaTek camera interface with no tweaks.
Software & Ui:
The phone runs on Android 7.0 Nougat with no skin on top and that is a relief. The stock Android is good enough for smooth user experience. The phone comes with a couple of pre-installed apps which you cannot get rid of and make room for your own favorite applications. Out of 16GB you get approximately 10GB of effective memory space The hardware has the ability to ensure a seamless software performance with a dozen apps installed. The phone has remarkable gaming experience considering its price and specifications. Compared to my experience with other phones in this price range Intex Aqua 5.5 VR Plus does a commendable job.
Let’s talk about the VR experience after which the phone is named. The box of this phone comes with DIY instruction on the box and following that you can turn the package into a VR box with no hurdle. There is always an initial question about how this will be and if it is just a marketing gimmick. The phone does not have high end hardware specification to ensure a VR experience which is undoubtedly graphics intensive. The pre-installed VR app in this phone provides with three VR experience videos. As you fix the box up and hold the phone over to your eye the VR experience neither disappoints nor jolts you over. It is somewhere in between and not a bad deal given its price. But for starters this could be a nice experience to see what a VR is and how it feels. Compared to the VR boxes available in the market for 200 to 300 bucks this phone can give you better results with VR.