A modest beginning: Review of new smartphone launched by Swipe

Indian start-up Swipe recently unveiled their new handset, Elite with a new customised OS. And while it deserves applause for the effort, poor battery and over-the-top branding play spoilsport

  Swipe Elite

Design: Indian start-up Swipe recently unveiled a new handset, Elite. Visually, there’s nothing extraordinary about the device, but its slim and all black body gets your attention. The back cover has a matte finish, which aids the grip. Overall, Elite is a decent offering, but don’t expect to be wowed.
Rating: 6 /10

Display: The device gets a 5-inch 720x1280 HD display with nearly 320ppi pixel density, which merges into the body, giving it a curvy look. There are no colour filters, but the screen is comfortable to work around. The touch sensitivity is good too, however, the screen is prone to smudges. We are not sure what screen protection is used in Elite, but our scratch tests revealed no noticeable scratches.
Rating: 7 /10

Connectivity: The Elite is a dual-sim phone that supports both 2G as well as 3G cellular bands (GSM and WCDMA) along with Wi-Fi b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.0. Though the company says it  supports GPS, we had no luck with offline navigation. Online navigation that relies on cellular towers and Wi-Fi networks, however, worked well. The device comes with HotKnot that allows data exchange when the screen touches another device. There’s support for Cast Screen too.
Rating: 6 /10

OS and User Interface: Swipe uses Freedom OS, on top of Android Lollipop. We didn’t find anything special in the OS itself, except for over-the-top branding, which finds its way to the search widget too. However, we like the Swipe Launcher (available only after update), which allows one to tweak almost every element. There are a few bugs, but considering it’s still new, we expected these. There is also a tiny app launcher at the bottom right corner, which comes handy, but an option to temporarily switch it off/on is missed. Besides, we feel it also drains the battery. The Elite has several unnecessary pre-installed (and uninstallable) apps eating up memory. There is also a third-party app store, Swipe Store, which, we wouldn’t recommend, especially looking at recent security concerns raised towards third-party app stores.
Rating: 7 /10

Camera: The device gets 13MP rear camera with flash and a 5MP front camera. The picture quality is average; it appears a bit overexposed  and grainy.
Rating: 6 /10

Battery: The biggest flaw in the Elite is its battery. Though it comes with quick charge, the 2,500 mAh battery drains out to single digits on regular usage, in less than seven hours (on 3G) with Wi-Fi turned on all the while. We have seen better performances in phones with weaker batteries.
Rating: 4 /10

Hardware: The Mediatek MT6582 SOC with its 32-bit 1.2 GHZ quad core processor with Mali 400 GPU and 2GB RAM works well. Though slight heating is noticed during gaming, we were happy with the performance even during multi-tasking. The built-in storage is 16GB, and is expandable upto 32GB.  However, it has its own set of issues such as text overlays and frozen screen, but they are mostly because of the Swipe Launcher. We didn’t face any issues while using the Google Now Launcher.
Rating: 6 /10


DISPLAY: 5-inch 1280x720, 320 ppi
PROCESSOR: 1.2 GHz quad core MTK6582 with Mali 400 (GPU)
MEMORY: 2GB RAM, 16GB ROM, expandable up to 32GB
CAMERA: 5MP (front), 13MP with flash (rear)
CONNECTIVITY: 2G, 3G, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi
PRICE: Rs 5,900

Overall rating: 6.0/10

The guide VERDICT Despite being a budget phone, Swipe’s Elite falls into a very competitive category that is ruled by brands like Xiaomi, Motorola and Lenovo. While its heart is in the right place, and it does get the hardware specs right, crucial aspects, like poor battery and software bugs disappoint. Let’s hope they get it right the second time, or even better, fix such issues with an update.

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