Creo Mark 1 first impressions: Innovative software, uninspiring design

Bengaluru-based Creo is the latest to join the value for money Android smartphone bandwagon. The Creo team, known for its Teewe HDMI streaming stick, is testing waters with its Mark 1 smartphone priced at Rs 19,999 with the promise of monthly software updates.
Following the online-only trend, it has partnered exclusively with Flipkart to sell its offering and is yet to announce the availability of the same.
Creo Mark 1 will face immense competition from almost every brand for the price of Rs 20,000. It is also playing the same ‘more hardware for less price’ game by relying on tweaks like monthly software updates, useful in-built apps and allowing buyers to engrave their names on the device.
After spending some time with the device, here are our first impressions of the Creo Mark 1.

Creo Mark 1 comes in a metal frame with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 on both sides and 2.5D curves. It is available in Gun Metal Black colour and flaunts a 5.5-inch screen. While the build is solid, the phone is heavy and difficult to grip with one hand. Most brands have made an effort to make 5.5-inch smartphones less bulky with design innovations. For the bulky Mark 1, Creo has done little. With glass on both sides, the device is a fingerprint magnet. Talking of which the fingerprint scanner is absent in the Mark 1.
The smartphone features a 5.5-inch Quad HD display with a resolution of 1,440 x 2,560 pixels with a density of 534ppi. The screen has Gorilla Glass 3 protection. The display quality initially appeared better than what competitors are offering for the same price. Colours were vivid with good contrast and viewing angles. However, an oleophobic coating could have prevented smudges from appearing almost instantly while using it.

The camera specifications of Creo Mark 1 will amaze anyone who is looking to buy a flagship Android smartphone. It comes with a 21MP Sony IMX 230 Exmor PDAF rear camera and an 8MP front camera. It has borrowed features like Slo-Mo and Live Photos from iPhones. It is capable of shooting 120 FPS Slo-Mo videos in Full HD and record 4K videos. Also, there is a 3D Photo feature that allow users to shoot GIFs with both cameras.
In its next update, Creo will provide selfie screen flash, like in the iPhone 6S along with a photo editor app.
Overall, the camera performed well under low light. However, it is too early to comment. Wait for the final review.

The 4G smartphone is powered by a 1.95GHz octa-core Helio X10 processor coupled with 3GB RAM. Powered by a 3,100mAh fast-charging battery, the Mark 1 comes with 32GB storage and microSD card support up to 128GB. In terms of connectivity, the smartphone comes with 4G LTE, dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11ac (Dual Band), Bluetooth 4.0 and GPS.

This is the Mark 1’s real strength. Creo has really introduced some innovative and useful features on its proprietary stock Android based FUEL OS. Here are some of the features.
*Sense – A double-tap on the home button from anywhere enables users to search for settings, apps, messages, contacts, photos, files to calendar events.
*Echo – It is basically a free answering machine which works seamlessly without internet connectivity.
*Retriever – It’s an improved Android device manage and detects theft. It automatically triggers alerts to the registered Email ID anytime a new SIM is inserted. It works without an active internet connection and even after a factory reset. Also, along with the location, it is capable of providing the mobile number of the thief too.

*Smart Roaming for Dual Sim – Designed for frequent travelers, Smart Roaming automatically makes sure that the local SIM is set as the primary SIM and the roaming Sim is made secondary.
*Smart Forwarding – A feature that auto-diverts calls from ‘SIM 1’ to ‘SIM 2’and vice-versa when the network on either of the SIM cards is unavailable or unreachable.
Creo will continue to add more features with its monthly software update.