“The Verico Shape 5 V3 has potential, but the dated Android version makes it tough to recommend”
Just a week into 2015, we saw Taiwan-based company Verico making its maiden entry into the Indian market with the Shape 5 V3. The smartphone was launched in an exclusive tie up with Snapdeal. Priced at Rs 8,990, the device is currently selling for Rs 7,919. It features a touch-sensitive rear panel, the second smartphone with this feature following the OPPO N1 (review). Can the inclusion of this unique feature be the driving force for its sales? Let's find out in our review.
Design-wise the smartphone uses a full plastic body, and sports a conventional design. With its dimensions of 132.8 x 66.5 x 8.2mm, it weighs approximately 151g. The back panel is resistant to scratches. The volume rocker and the power key are placed on the right side which can easily be accessed with one hand thanks to the optimal width of the device. At the top sits the 3.5mm audio jack and micro-USB port. The device also gets a rear touch panel and is termed as Q-touch by the company. The rear touch panel can be used to capture pictures by single tap or flick through them in the gallery. It can also be used to scroll home screens or menus. With the addition of these features, the rear touch panel is meant to make one-handed navigation easier, but due to its small size, it's cumbersome to use. For taking selfies though, the rear touch panel comes in handy.
The device gets a 5-inch display with a resolution of 960 x 540 pixels, summing up the pixel density to 220ppi. The viewing angles and brightness are apt and enough for decent sunlight readability. We did see some visible pixelation due to its lower pixel density... as visible in the image above. The touch response of the display is good, and is at par with devices in the same price range. Unfortunately, the display lacks any protective coating and is prone to scratches.
The device sports a 8MP primary camera which is software interpolated to 13MP. The front snapper is a 5MP unit. While the megapixels might impress you, in real life the performance had another story to tell. The rear snapper did not perform well while taking images in low light, probably due to its weak flash. Landscape shots were also low on detail. Close-ups turned out reasonably well though. Switching to the front camera, we found that it is only usable for video calls, with selfies too grainy to be used for sharing. The primary camera records video in 1080i. While recording video, the camera occasionally required us to adjust the focus manually. The camera app has rich options such as voice capture, face detection, colour effects, smile capture and others. Overall, we were left wanting in the camera department.
The smartphone is powered by a 1.3GHz quad-core MediaTek MT6582 processor which is clubbed with 1GB of RAM. Out of 4GB, the Shape 5 V3 has close to 2GB of available space for loading applications and personal content. The storage can also be expanded by using a microSD slot upto 32GB. The device uses a Mali-400 GPU, and doesn't display any lag or stutters while playing graphics-heavy games. The dual-SIM device has support for dual standby with the help of a pair of standard sized SIMs. For connectivity, it has the regular options such as 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and a micro-USB 2.0 port. Sending a 35MB file using Bluetooth from the HTC Desire Eye to this device took approximately seven minutes. On the software front, the device runs the outdated Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean, and that is a major bone of contention. The interface is stock Android, without any pre-loaded content. We're still waiting to hear from Verico about future updates.
The handset is fuelled by a 2,100mAh battery, which gives you a battery life of close to a day and a half with average use. It is charged by a 1A charger which is enough to fully charge the device in approximately two hours. The phone does not support any power saving modes, and that could be a problem if you want to keep yourself connected to your loved ones in need.
Given the price at which the Shape 5 V3 comes at, there are better options available in the market. The Verico Shape 5 V3 stands nowhere in front of rivals like the Xiaomi Redmi 2 (review) and the Lenovo A6000 (review) which give us better screens, processors and batteries - all at a lower price. The YU Yureka (review) is another good option if shelling out a little extra doesn't hurt you and you are okay with the larger screen size. The YU Yureka, which is priced at Rs 8,999, features a 5.5-inch, 720 x 1,280 display, powered by 1.5GHz processor alongside 2GB RAM, 13-megapixel rear camera and a planned upgrade to Android Lollipop. While all these three devices are 4G enabled, the Verico Shape 5 V3 sticks with 3G. The inclusion of a rear touch panel may be something new in the Indian market (at least at this budget) but in terms of ease of use, it is far behind what the company claims. Verico will need to work on equipping its future devices with better specifications and pricing if it wants to make a stand in India's fiercely competitive budget smartphone category.
Photos by Raj Rout