The CREO Mark 1 tries to make its mark in a crowded, competitive and compact space. It is indeed unconventional and bold of Teewe manufacturers to test water at, what can be deemed as, higher mid-range price so early on, but at the same time this very free-spirited approach is what Cero is betting on. We examined the Mark 1 at the launch event today and here is what we think.
Key specifications and features of CERO Mark 1:
|Model||CREO Mark 1|
|Display||5.5-Inch, LTPS Display, Quad HD resolution|
|Processor||Octa-core MediaTek Helio X10; PowerVR G6200 GPU|
|Internal Storage||32GB, microSD card supported up to 128 GB|
|Software||Android Lollipop based Fuel OS|
|Primary Camera||21MP, f/2.2 aperture, 5P lens, LED Flash, 80.6-degree wide-angle lens, 4K video recording|
|Secondary Camera||8 MP front-facing camera, f/2.0 aperture, 78.1-degree wide-angle lens|
|Battery||3,100mAh with fast charge|
|Others||4G LTE (Both SIM), OTG|
Plays safe with glass and metal, but is unconventionally heavy
Cero plays it safe with metal side frame sandwiched between glass front and rear surface. After all, how could you go wrong with a metal and glass combination? The Cero Mark 1, however, won’t blow your socks off.
Yes, there is 2.5D glass on the front, and the glass surfaces feel good (albeit prone to smudges, as expected), but overall the handset is chunky (8.7 mm thick) and heavy (190 grams), and is thus not very comfortable to wield. The 3100 mAh battery doesn’t fully justify Mark 1 lying on the heavier side.
Cero allows for a little hardware customization too! You can get a 40 character something engraved on the left edge, if you order from the official CERO website.
On the front, there is a large size QHD display, lined with capacitive navigation keys below it (they are backlit and you can customize them). The display is sharp and bright, but contrast could have been better. Also there is no fingerprint sensor support, which could be a deal breaker for many.
The Software is the key
CREO Mark 1 is running Android 5.1 Lollipop based Fuel UI. Contrary to what we expected, the software interface is remarkably close to stock Android in terms of design. Of course, Creo has baked some extra features on top which constitute the main talking point here.
The ‘Eco’ feature is an inbuilt answering machine. This means call that you miss go to an answering machine and the caller can record whatever message he wishes to pass on. These can be conveniently retrieved from a separate tab in dialer app. You can also divert calls to Eco if you are busy.
Another highlighted feature is retriever app. The app notifies you with an alert every time a new SIM card is plugged in Mark 1. Even a factory reset or rooting wouldn’t affect the outcome. You can always turn the safety plug off if you sell your phone.
Also, you can double tap the home key to open ‘Sense’ search page where you can simply type for an instant system wide search for contacts, apps, or type and search the word in particular apps. You could type Faridabad and then tap on Google Maps app to locate the city on Map or could type ‘Support’ and find Creo customer care number at the top of the list.
Similarly, there are several handy features like OTPs being copied to clipboard automatically, a spam free and well organized SMS inbox, granular control over notifications and more.
There are many such handy tricks backed in the UI, but basics like theme store or one handed mode are still missing. By far, CREO isn’t the first manufacturer to provide customized Android experience. Arguably, every kid on the blog is doing just that. However, some CREO customizations go deeper than just software and are thoughtfully implemented. Besides, new features will be added every month via OTA updates.
The 21 MP rear camera is loaded with expected bells and whistles like 4K video recording, and on the front side, the selfie camera isn’t skimping on megapixels either. We didn’t get to test camera performance extensively, so won’t be passing any sort of verdict just yet. Camera specs seem good, but time and again we are reminded that these numbers can be deceptive.
The camera software includes option for live photos (or short videos), 3D photos and normal photos. All modes seem to work without any lag. The focus seemed quite snappy too.
The Creo Mark 1 is powered by Helio X10 octa-core chipset, aided with 3GB RAM and 32GB internal storage. This is about same chipset as what we experienced in Le 1s. The Helio X10 was one of the best offerings from MediaTek camp in terms of performance but isn’t very judicious with battery. Here, the SoC has to push added 2K resolution on the display and thus we are a little skeptical about the battery backup. In our hands-on time with Creo Mark 1, UI transitions felt smooth.
The CREO Mark 1 isn’t skimping on hardware (save for the fingerprint sensor), but primarily focuses on software tweaks to improve user experience. The new features it brings to the table are more than gimmicks and appear thoughtfully implemented.
Having said that, it is still very difficult for a new brand to convince buyers to shell out 20K in price sensitive Indian market. Let’s see if CREO can successfully market their efforts to Indian buyers.