Well there has been a lot of innovation happening with mobile handsets with a new feature being added to these devices every now and then. The year 2011 saw a slew of projector phones hitting the market with a slew of Indian manufacturers jumping the bandwagon. Earlier it was the Chinese manufacturers and then the Indian manufacturers followed suit with the likes of Micromax X40, Spice Popkorn, G’Five G5 and others.
Maxx has also taken a plunge in the projector category with Focus. Though, this one has a distinction from the rest of being the first projector phone with a touch screen. So let us go ahead and see if this latest touch screen projector phone offering by Maxx does make any difference to this niche segment and make it any more appealing.
In the Box:
- Maxx Focus handset
- Micro USB Charger & Cable
- Tripod stand
- 2.8” TFT Resistive Touch screen
- 5 MP Camera
- Built-in Projector
- 1200 mAh Battery
- Wireless FM radio
Build & Design:
The Maxx Focus MTP9 has a full plastic body with dual color combination of black and silver, which makes the phone look cheap unlike the Micromax X40 which looked fairly decent with a rubberized coating and metal body.
The front of the device has an earpiece, a 2.8” resistive (very resistive indeed) touch screen and a back button in the bottom center with two touch buttons on either side. Also the microphone for calls is located right next to the end button.
On the right of the device you have the volume keys, camera short cut button which also activates the projector on long pressing and a micro-USB slot for charging and connecting the earphones. The left side of the device is blank.
The top of the device mounts the projector along with a power switch and an antenna for the wireless FM radio.
On the back of the device you have a roll wheel for adjusting focus of the projector, 5MP camera (no flash) and the speaker towards the bottom. The camera is surrounded with a silver bezel like plastic which opens up to become a mini stand for the projector and also helps ventilation through the grills right next to the camera.
Interestingly, at the bottom of the phone you have another charging point, which Maxx calls as the “Nokia Pin Charging slot”, though there is no pin charger provided in the box.
Overall the build of the Maxx Focus is compact and feels pretty solid in the hand though a bit heavy for our liking. But the cheap plastic build of the phone is a major letdown.
The Maxx MTP9 Focus is laden with a 2.8” resistive screen which in today’s times is a bit outdated. Also you would badly miss a Stylus considering the resistive screens in general and also the Maxx Focus is not really that responsive either. Unlocking the screen on the phone can be a nightmare at times. You are best advised to use your nail all the times when interacting with the screen in order to have a decent & more importantly hassle free experience.
Though I must add that the view ability under the sun is much better than any of the other projector phones we have seen till date.
The UI on the Maxx Focus is not something very beautiful and attractive though it is still refreshingly different filled with nice little animations and sound effects. There are atleast four different ways you can view your menu and arrange the short cuts on your home screen as well.
The Maxx Focus also boasts of apps usually seen on smartphones like the Talking Tom and includes other social networking apps like Twitter, Facebook etc though as expected the experience is completely lacking as the apps lag most of the times and are unresponsive at times.
Other gaming apps like City Bloxx seems as if they were designed for a device with a keypad as the game suggests keypad numerals in order to control the game.
The 5 MP camera on the Maxx Focus is disappointing to say the least. Forget detailed images or focus on the camera, all the images clicked with this shooter gives you dull and washed out images. Considering the price tag and a 5MP camera we expected a much better performance.
Coming to videos, you don’t see any improved performance here as well with the videos recorded not being very clear and dull. Also the audio recording somehow doesn’t seem to be very clear. The color reproduction just like the stills feels washed out.
The speaker on the phone is loud and clear enough for one to enjoy music on the speaker itself. Though at high volumes there is slight distortion and there is blaring music at full volume. So it is advisable for you to operate the speaker at around 75% volume for optimum listening experience.
The earphones are not really loud and at the same time they lack completely in bass. The audiophiles will not really enjoy music on these earphones or the device as well.
The music player on the Maxx Focus is pretty neat with a lot of options which also includes EQ. So when it comes to the music player one would like the interface. But it’s the lack of support from the earphones which makes the music experience on the go a let down on the Focus.
Being branded as the projector phone this is one of the most important features on the Maxx Focus. And by the looks of it, the MTP9 promises a better projector experience than the other ones we have seen till date.
The projector is placed on the top of the phone and has heat ventilation grills on the three sides in a pretty similar manner to the rest of the projector phones.
Though you have a mini projector stand integrated below the camera which also helps in heat ventilation when the phone is placed on any surface with the projector on. This we feel is a pretty neat innovation which helps it differentiate from the rest as well.
The Maxx Focus is the only projector phone that bundles the projector stand separately and we must add that it is far more superior in quality and has a host of features to facilitate easy installation mount the projector on the stand and ensures smooth adjustments as well while operating the same.
Everything from the clamp holder for the phone to the air vacuum holder at the bottom is just plain simple and adds to the experience of using the projector. In fact it’s easily the best projector stand in the projector phones category by miles.
Coming to the performance of the projector itself; though its operations are not very different from what we have seen on the other projector phones. It gets activated by simply long pressing the camera button on the right of the device.
At the same time it suffers from the same problem as the other projector phones in that you get the projection in the landscape mode with the 90 degree anti clockwise orientation. Thus making the operation in the projector mode difficult. Add to it the complicated touchscreen functionality for controlling the device with the projector on and you have a very sophisticated system to deal with.And it might take some getting used to for most most of the people.
Moving on further from the controls part, we found the projector to be much brighter than the other projector phones we have used. As a result the projector is more than handy and can be used to watch movies even during the daytime without having to worry much about blocking out the daylight from the room it is being used. Also the speaker on the phone is pretty loud which help in case you are watching a video in an open space. Hence we felt that finally the projector phone made some sense considering the fact that it is much more usable even during the day, combine that with the very innovative projector stand and we have a clear winner in the (by miles I must say) projector department in Projector phones.
We know that projector phones are not really the in thing for now and never might be. But after taking a look at the Maxx Focus MTP9 we certainly feel that this is the right direction for a projector phone to progress.
Maxx Focus has a good projector but being a projector Phone, it needs to be a decent phone as well and which is where we found it lacking in terms of usability and experience. Though the projector performance is much better than any of the other projector phones we have encountered so far it is still not enough to influence a movie buff to use it to watch movies on it. It is still decent enough to use on the go, especially when one wants to catch a movie outdoors on a trip.
Also considering the price tag of Rs. 6,999 we feel that its a tad bit too high considering the fact that these days we have smartphones from respected international players like Samsung and Huawei in that range.
We would recommend the Maxx Focus only in case you are looking for a projector phone with a good audio output as well. In case you are not one of them we suggest you to look elsewhere.