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BSNL Champion SM6513 review: the Doodle 3 killer

|May 30 2014 |Android Phones, Android, Micromax, Affordable Tablets, Comparisons

“Although Champion might not be as big a brand as Micromax but with its SM6513 phablet, it's offering some serious completion to the Doodle 3”

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In India, there is a definitive inclination of Android fans towards big-screen devices, and budget smartphones as well. Now combine the two and you get devices such as the Champion SM6513. It's a large-screened Android phablet, bigger than any other device the brand has launched in the Indian market so far, and at the given price, it offers an impressive set of hardware specifications as well. While the device sounds good on paper, the actual worth would only be known once we are done with a comprehensive review of this phablet. Interested in a budget Android phablet? You might not want to miss this one.

Smaller than an average tab but more comfortable to hold

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One of the biggest USPs of the Champion SM6513 is its size, which falls somewhere in between the biggest phablet out there, the Sony Xperia Z Ultra and a conventional 7-inch tablet, only with a narrower profile, making one-handed utility possible. Now, from the utility point of view, the Champion SM6513 offers functionality similar to a 7-inch tablet, while offering the comfort of a smartphone.

In terms of look and feel, the Champion SM6513 only comes in white, which is a good move by the company since it gives a distinctive look to the device. The phablet sports a glossy back, which helps improve the look to some extent. Its overall width is about 8mm, at which it's definitely not among the slimmest of devices... but at the same time, it's not too bulky either.

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Marginally thinner bezels on the Champion SM6513 are the reason behind its narrow profile. In contrast with the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 P3100, the most popular calling tablet in India till date, the Champion SM6513 boasts an overall reduction of not less than 6 to 7mm in just bezel size.

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However, the designers have not been able to offer a perfect device considering the odd placement of keys and even the connectivity ports at the bottom of the device. Due to this the phablet's bottom looks crammed and for users, the bottom placement of the keys is not the most comfortable of experiences when it comes to usability.

The Champion SM6513 features single-SIM connectivity ,and to accommodate the SIM, there's an open-type SIM slot placed on the lower right side of the device. Not to mention the plight of open ports, but surely it could be a prime reason for accumulation of dust inside the device along with the connectivity ports located at the bottom.

6.5-inches of visual happiness

One of the prime concerns with budget Android devices is their poor display quality, and  if you add a bigger display size to that, and the result is utter disappointment. Luckily, the display on the Champion SM6513 is among its strong points. Its 6.5-inch LCD display might not flaunt tech like AMOLED or IPS, but has ample brightness and colour variance to offer.

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However, there is an issue with the viewing angles, and while holding the device in portrait mode to be particular, the image seems a bit distorted while viewing it from the right. The same angle in landscape mode becomes the top-angle and most low-cost devices have some minor issues with this. Nevertheless, the loss of viewing angles is not that acute so as to cause problems or to cause eye strain.

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The Champion SM6513 sports a plastic touch sensitive layer on top of the display, which also doubles up as the screen's protection layer. This helps reduce the cost and justifies its existence, but doesn't affect the touch sensitivity in any way. The touch is quite sensitive, responds to most gestures and action quickly, and reciprocates in the form of instant actions at all times.

Android 4.2 Jelly Bean in its original wrapper

Apart from adding a few additional apps and a few wallpapers, the brand hasn't altered the OS on the Champion SM6513 much. The device offers Android in its very basic and generic form, which is highly-appreciated as opposed to flawed, buggy builds of custom user interfaces built upon Android.

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One of the noteworthy additions come in form of the Champion Market, a place for users to get apps that are specifically curated for use on Champion’s devices. The storefront offers both apps and games, but still users need to be cautious while installing from it, since it's a third-party store which is powered by Aptoide. Nevertheless, if you do not wish to use the Champion Market for downloading apps, you can just stick to the Google Play store.

The core functionality and utility of Android Jellybean 4.2 has been kept intact and users who are migrating from other devices on to the Champion SM6513 will not notice any differences as far as usability goes.

A speedy set of hardware specs on a budget

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The Champion SM6513 is an interesting product by the virtue of its price, and more so because of its powerful set of hardware specifications as compared to other devices in the same price range. It's powered using a 1.3 GHz dual-core MediaTek processor, coupled with 512MB of RAM. Now that might sound low, but the no-frills software helps in offering good performance for most day-to-day tasks like web browsing, video playback, instant messaging and even basic gaming.

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In terms of internal storage, the Champion SM6513 offers a paltry 4GB onboard memory, out of which a little over 2GB is available to use. Though users can easily expand this to an additional 32GB using a microSD card, it's still too low since it won't let you install games with large download sizes.

And there's multimedia support too

In terms of multimedia, the Champion SM6513 comes with a multi-format audio-video player and features FM radio as well with the capability of recording the transmission on-the-go. While the player supports most generic formats, there is nothing much to talk about totherwise. Most users should be happy with the support offered by the onboard player in terms of playback. However, for advanced users, there are plenty of third party solutions available through both the Play Store as well as the Champion Market as well.

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The 5-megapixel fixed-focus camera provided on the back of the Champion SM6513 is a handy addition and offers reasonable quality images in brightly-lit conditions. However it suffers in low light, and there's no flash available too. At the front, there is a 2-megapixel camera provided, and it comes in handy while making video calls. For video recording, the Champion SM6513 can capture 720p videos through the primary camera at the back, and supports VGA resolution recording from the front-facing camera.

Well worth the price it comes for

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While the Champion SM6513 might not have features to awe users, it certainly is a capable budget Android phablet, offering a decent 6.5-inch screen along with a reasonable set of hardware specs that can do justice to most present day apps and tasks with ease.

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The Champion SM6513 offers a full-day battery backup for heavy users while it can easily last for a couple of days for users who have light usage. In our battery drain test, the Champion SM6513 returned a backup time of about 6 hours where a 720p video was played in loop at 50 percent brightness and volume level, which is not too bad for a big-screen Android device.

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Overall the Champion SM6513, offers both utility and features, and its low price makes it a good option for those who covet a big-screened Android device. In terms of its closest competitor, the Champion SM6513 beats the Micromax Doodle 3 by a good margin.

Price: Rs 5,999

Editor’s rating: 8 / 10

Pros

  • Massive display
  • Reasonable performance for regular tasks
  • 3G capable

Cons

  • Meagre 2GB onboard storage
  • Feels quite plasticky



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