iBall mSLR Cobalt review: A good attempt succumbs to poor performance

  • Overall Rating

  • Performance

  • Features

  • Price

Price: ₹ Rs. 8,499

Key Specs

    5 inch IPS qHD display (540x960 pixels, ~220 ppi)
    1.4 Ghz Octa core Cortex A7 CPU, 1 GB RAM
    8 MP rear camera with LED Flash & 3.2 MP front camera, 8x Telephoto Lens, Fisheye Lens, Macro Lens, Wide Angle Lens
    Android 4.4 Kitkat
    8 GB internal storage and expandable up to 32 GB
    2000 mAh battery

Pros: supports 15 regional languages, bundled lenses to experiment photography, good design

Cons: poor camera performance, non HD screen, mediocre computing performance

Bottomline: iBall has tried to lure customers by making the package look attractive with the bundled lenses, however their approach fails because of the poor quality of lenses and the camera performance. We recommend going for good quality individual lenses from online stores rather than the iBall mSLR Cobalt. Besides this, the smartphone is low on specifications and performance than the other budget smartphones in the same price bracket.

Considering the cut throat competition in the budget smartphone landscape, manufacturers tends to implement new features and top notch specifications in their products. We have seen a wave of Chinese brands in Indian market with high end processors, camera units and innovative software tweaks. But lately every smartphone falls in the never stopping war of specifications where innovation gets a back seat.

Having said that, iBall has introduced its budget offering mSLR Cobalt with a twist. the smartphone features four separate lenses that can be mounted to the rear camera unit  to give a professional touch to your photography.

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The four lenses in the package

The bundled lenses in the package includes: a zoom lens with 8x zoom, a fisheye lens with a 175-180 degree viewing angle, a macro lens with 10x magnification and minimum object distance of 10-15mm, and a wide-angle lens with a 130-degree viewing angle. You can either use the clip or the customised back cover with a camera ring to attach the lenses.

The lenses works fine (as per their functionality) however the integrated camera hardware is not impressive and lacks behind other competitors such as Redmi 2, Lenovo A7000, Yureka, etc that falls in the same price bracket. Without a decent camera module, the bundled lenses just look like a gimmick.

Sample pictures with different lenses:

iBall mSLR Cobalt

Shot with 8x zoom lens

 

iBall mSLR Cobalt

Shot with Fish Eye lens

 

iBall mSLR Cobalt

Shot with Macro lens

 

iBall mSLR Cobalt

Shot with Wide angle lens

Display

iBall has entirely focussed on the extra lenses in the package and has failed to meet the other important requirements. For instance; the 5” display just has a qHD resolution (not even HD) and delivers a meagre pixel count of 220ppi. The screen has poor viewing angles and is not very bright to use in out-door conditions. There are better options in the market with crisp HD displays at a lower price.

Performance

The1.4 GHz octa-core Cortex A7 CPU serves all the computing tasks well however the multitasking gets a blow as the smartphone comes equipped with 1 GB RAM. There are frequent stutters and smartphone feels clumsy with 5 to 6 applications in the background.

You can easily get a smartphone with double the RAM at a lower price. For instance, Redmi 2, Yureka, Lenovo A series packs amazing specifications and clearly beats the iBall mSLR Cobalt in day-to-day performance.

The smartphone runs on an older version of Android OS (4.4 Kitkat) and is backed by a 2000 mAh battery unit. The battery back-up is not at par with the competition as it lasted for 4 hours 20 minutes in our video playback test (HD video playback with brightness & volume at maximum on Wi-Fi). Other budget smartphones such as Redmi 2, Yureka, Moto E, etc. easily touched a mark of 5 hours in the same.

On the storage front, you will get 8 GB in-built memory out of which only 3.49 GB is available for actual usage. You can extend the memory up-to 32 GB via micro SD card.

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