Comio P1 first impressions: Another budget smartphone from China

The Indian smartphone market, which is largely dominated by Chinese players has a new entrant – Comio. Backed by Topwise Communications, Comio announced three smartphones on Friday at an event in New Delhi. The company says its focus will remain on the budget segment for now, and the price of Comio’s new devices range from Rs 5,999 to Rs 9,999.

Comio P1, which is the flagship smartphone, will be available at Rs 9,999 and it packs a massive 5,000mAh battery. Comio S1 and C1 come at Rs 8,999 and Rs 5,999 respectively. All the three smartphones run Android 7.0 Nougat, which is great given the price-point. We spent some time with Comio P1 at the launch event, and here’s our first impression of the phone:

Comio P1 sports a metal unibody design and textured frames. The device is a bit bulky at 177 grams, but then let’s not forget it packs a huge 5,000mAh battery. Comio P1 looks a lot like other sub-Rs 10,000 phones in the market or Xiaomi Redmi series devices to be specific.

There’s a circular fingerprint scanner at the back, and the bottom houses the speaker grille. Comio branding is right below the fingerprint sensor. Rear camera and LED flash are present on the top left corner of the smartphone. Overall, don’t expect much in terms of aesthetics as P1 follows pretty much standard design language that we see on most budget phones these days.

Comio P1 gets a 5.5-inch HD IPS display with a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels. A HD screen at Rs 9,999 is definitely a let down, especially when competitors in the budget category like Xiaomi Redmi Note 4, Lenovo K6 Power, Yu Yureka Black all pack a Full HD display. The display looks washed out, and viewing angles aren’t great either. Even with brightness at maximum level in bright sunlight, I struggled with the display.

Comio P1 is powered by a 64bit Quad-core SoC coupled with 3GB RAM and 32GB ROM. The storage is expandable up to 256GB via a microSD card, which is great. The smartphone comes with a hybrid dual SIM slot.  Comio is claiming two days of talktime with P1 thanks to 5,000mAh battery. We’ll have more on that front in our detailed review. We’re not sure if Comio P1 supports fast charging technology, but the lack of it is definitely going to be a hassle for most users.

Comio P1 has a 13MP rear camera with autofocus and flash. It did a pretty good job of capturing photos in great details in bright outdoor. The colour reproduction was also great and pictures looked close to natural.

The rear camera is Comio P1 supports ‘bokeh’ feature as well. Now bokeh is supposed to focus on a subject while the background is blurred. However, what P1’s camera does is it focuses on the subject while artificially blurring or softening the background, which looks far from natural. So no, I didn’t quite like the ‘bokeh’ effect on Comio P1.

The camera struggles to focus at places with low light. Though not grainy, the results are quite average. The front camera is 8MP with screen flash. There’s Beauty feature and effects to choose from before taking a picture, which are again pretty much the standard on phones these days. I could choose from a range of filters like old photo, focus, dew, cool colour etc.

Comio P1 ships with Android 7.0 Nougat, which is great. This means that people can run two apps side-by-side on the P1, and resize windows using divider. There’s quick notifications feature as well, and Nougat allows users to directly reply from notifications without actually opening the message.

Comio P1 looks like an ideal standard Rs 10,000 phone with just the right specifications on paper. However, it will have a tough time making a name for itself in the crowded smartphone segment, especially in this competitive price brand. Comio claims it already has over 400 service centres in place across the country, but delivering well on after sales will be one of the crucial challenges for the brand.

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