Would you believe if I tell you that InFocus, a US-based firm was present in India for last 15 years? No. Well, you have to because smartphone was not company’s first business. A well-established technology firm was doing the business of video collaboration in the country for more than a decade. Only a couple of months back the company planned to foray into the consumer market with their smartphones.
Long story short, InFocus is a company that wants to continue offering quality products and services with the smartphones and apparently TVs as well. They announced a set off new smartphones during a press event in late July. We were present at the announcement and learned few things about the company.
From what we gathered from there, InFocus seemed a dedicated company with the promise of good smartphones in India. Since, their launch of first smartphone, the M2, company has sold more than 250,000 smartphones in the country. And aims to go bigger in numbers by March next year.
The company has already jumped on the bandwagon of “Make in India” initiative by announcing that they would be manufacturing in India in partnership with Foxconn. Among their new line-up of a smartphone is the M808 that we have been using for a while. We found out what is new and refreshing on this mid-range M808 smartphone in the detailed review.
The first thing that comes to mind when you hold the device in your hands is the solid build quality. In a mid-range smartphone, it is still hard to see such sturdiness. The M808 sports a unibody metal design that reminds me of the iPhone-ish build as the rear side of the device is not slippery, nor leaves any smudges.
The unusual thing that I didn’t like about the design was the placement of volume and power buttons on the left edge. They’re just not convenient for right-hand users, and for a fact there more than 70-95% users in the world are right-hand, users. It’s only practical that design should be made in preference to those users.
Talking further about the ports, the SIM, and microSD card slot are present on the right edge. While on the bottom edge there are dual speakers that should be loud, between them is the microUSB 2.0 port. Moving to the top edge, you’ll find the 3.5mm audio jack and nothing else. There is no microphone present on the bottom half; instead it is placed on the rear top just beside the camera module and LED Flash. Below the camera module, the branding of the company is engrossed.
The device packs a full HD display for a 5.2-inch screen, which makes up to 424 pixels per inch density, that is not bad nor too excellent, you can say this number falls under the standard. The display is quite vibrant when it comes to showcasing the colors. You see not dull but sharp colors while playing a high-resolution video or opening an HD image on the device.
There were no black/white spots on the screen that would ruin your media experience; as a matter of fact there are no pixelated areas on the screen as far as we saw. Display works perfectly and shows what it is programmed to show.
The sunlight legibility on the device is as good as any mid-range smartphone with full HD IPS screen. The brightness level varies according to the need, and they can be put on automatic when you turn ON the adaptive brightness feature.
The display seems to keep fingerprints marks, and it won’t go away until you clean it with a cloth. Those smudges can be a distraction if you’re under sunlight and surfing or watching a video. Because those fingerprint marks would be clearly visible under bright daylight.
The backlight may seem too blue to you while many companies don’t address this issue; InFocus seem dedicated to offer personalization to its users. Under display settings you can filter that Bluelight, the filtering varies percentage wise, you get four options, 10, 30, 50 and 75 percent.
The device runs on latest Android Lollipop version, which is 5.1, although you’ll have totally different interface here. It is likable but very complex for first-time users. After using it for a couple of hours, I found many intuitive things about the interface that are in fact very resourceful. Such as I can enable and disable the layers on the interface. You know what are layers? No. Well, they allow you to switch between having an app drawer or not. Yes, that is apparently possible, according to UI on the M808.
I hear a lot of complaints about why many Chinese smartphone companies don’t offer app drawer on their smartphones. For those people, this is a great solution as you can change your preferences of having one or two layers on the interface.
Coming to the bloatware on the device, there are many apps that have been pre-installed on the device. But out of those apps some apps are very useful in your daily activities. Such as App traffic control, Power Detective and especially the Mobile Assistant app that offers assistance in cleaning up the problems on your device. Though, I wouldn’t recommend you should use all the apps, but some are quite resourceful.
There is a smart folder feature, which allows you to arrange apps automatically based on user frequency. Accessing your frequently used apps would be quite useful, and you’ll also get an idea on what all apps that you use a lot and if you need to reduce usage of those apps. If only InFocus could offer an app that would track your app activities and suggest useful things based on the behavior.
Multitasking on the device was quite snappy and you can even switch between games with zero breaks. Though, if those games are heavy like Asphalt 8, Modern Kombat 5, GTA V, etc. Then it would take quite a toll on the processor, because of low free RAM availability.
The internal storage was around 10GB out of the 16GB, and it’s all thanks to the bloatware pre-installed on the device. Though, don’t worry about storage yet, as it supports microSD card slot where you can expand up to 128GB. Additionally, the device also supports the OTG drive, so you get one more external storage option on M808. More, the merrier, right!
Hardware & Performance
The InFocus M808 packs decent processor that can offer enough power to do your daily tasks on the device without getting lags at every interval. It may not be so swift, but the chipset can manage several tasks at hand, such as switching between apps and opening your maps while you’re texting in the back ground.
One more instance is when you’re on Skype call but also chatting with colleagues on some chatting services (there are like tons of services I use). And most of all the heavy graphic workout with intense games like Asphalt 8 and Mortal Kombat. Ohh, Yeah! The chipset on M808 is MediaTek MT6753, which is not the best in class, but you could easily make means with it.
Though, talking about the gaming experience the device seem to be offering a decent experience. I would not say I loved it but, the full HD display made them at least satisfactory. There were lags at some intervals, but they were manageable.
The heating was the part that I didn’t like on the device. It heated up a lot within the usage of camera app for a couple of minutes, or a gaming of just 5 minutes, the device would heat up a lot.
Talking about the benchmarks, the MT6753 didn’t score off the charts but it was pretty average for a mid-range smartphone. We tested the scores for Antutu benchmark; the device scored 31747 while for Vellamo benchmark the device scored 2064 for the browser, which is close to the minimum score. But for Metal score in Vellamo app, the M808 was ahead of Lenovo A7000 and for Multicore scores we saw it reach up to 1395 that was close to Asus Zenfone 2 score.
To test browsing in the real world, we browsed through a couple of websites including ours testing the rendering capabilities. While it also depends on upon which browser you are using, but we were more interested in the overall response of any browser. Fortunately, it was as good as it can get the Zoom-in and Zoom-out worked perfectly.
The cameras on the M808 are on par with megapixel count as the rear module is of 13-megapixel and front snapper is of 5-megapixel. The color saturation and white balance seemed correct, but at times the camera struggled to give the good colors.
There are various modes available on the device such as HDR, PIP, Live Photo, and a mode that allows you to merge a capture with different angles. But only one mode that you’ll use is the HDR. Though, that too isn’t as good as I thought it would be, the reasoning I come to that it has focusing issues. The Autofocus doesn’t work properly; you have to tap manually to get good focusing. Moreover, the HDR images come out to be more pixelated than non-HDR captures, although, details were clear which is one good thing.
When it comes to zooming capability, the rear camera of M808 is not a great performer either. At full Zoom, it covered less distance and was more pixelated than what we saw on the Xiaomi’s Mi 4i. The thing that I liked about this camera was the color reproduction, the captures were impressive in the artificial light conditions. But i noticed that there was almost no difference between HDR and non-HDR captures under artificial light.
Though, the rear camera offers good images if you’re capturing it to share on the social accounts. More than that you cannot rely on the rear camera. Coming to the interface of the camera app, it is fairly easy to understand the operations. But there are some features that’ll take some time to get used to. So, if you’re wondering how to get perfect in capturing those shots, you have to give them a try. I’m sure that it’s not that hard. If you’re looking for a smartphone photography guide, we have got you covered on that too.
The front camera on the device isn’t any better either, as the captures look grainy and dark most of the time. So, you can’t rely on the M808 to take a good selfie with your family at the dinner table. Overall, the camera modules on the rear and back aren’t on par with the standard of the mid-range smartphones. But I’m not quoting them as really bad choices to take photos in daylight.
The M808 comes with a 2450mAh battery, and we thought it was quite small for the full HD display it packs. Moreover, I can’t emphasize enough that since Xiaomi was able to pack 3120 mAh battery on a 5-inch display, why it was difficult for InFocus!
Talking about the screen-on time (SoT), the device was giving me less than 3 hours of SoT, which is as much you can expect from a small capacity battery. This was when I used the device for around 15 minutes of gaming, couple of calls, and not more than 1 hour of browsing on different apps like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
Battery life is not the best feature of M808, but if you can manage with some power modes that are available in the Settings, then you can surely get some extra time out of that small juice. Note that I’ll not recommend this device if your strongly feel that no compromisation should be done with battery life.
The worst part was that after using the review unit as my daily driver for almost a week. The battery wasn’t charging on the last day, and it got stuck at 19%. Charging device for around 5 hours didn’t increase a single percentage in the battery. I have tried restarting and resetting the device, but the same issue persists. Only after hard reset that I was able to clear out that issue. Obviously, it’s a device specific issue, so I won’t generalize this for all the InFocus M808 that would be retailing in the country.
In terms of the connectivity, the device has many things to offer, first of all, the 4G LTE connectivity. Moreover, the Dual SIM options allow you to keep your personal and professional SIM in one device. Other important connectivity options include GPS, Bluetooth v4.0 and Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n. The 4G LTE data connectivity offered good download and upload speed while the Wi-Fi strength were also good.
Though, there are no NFC, or Infrared Blaster features available on this device while they are not standard features on the mid-range smartphones. But it would have been a good addition, considering how some things aren’t up to the mark on M808.
The M808 is your average joe that is priced little higher for its solid built quality and premium looks. But are appearances enough to master the mid-range smartphones market? Well, no. There has to be a better user experience and quality of features on a device. The competition is stiff in this range, as every day a new device is coming in this market. And we thought M808 is not the device that would offer you all the perfect features that you’re looking in a mid-ranger.
There are models like Xiaomi Mi 4i, Lenovo K3 Note, Huawei Honor 4X and Yu Yureka Plus that can give easy competition to InFocus M808. In fact, there is an InFocus M530 smartphone, which is a much better option at Rs. 10,999 than M808. The only difference worth mentioning is that M808 packs a full HD display while M530 has HD display.