We found Gold!

There are cell phones that can carry off a certain colour and look and then there are those that cannot. The Intex Aura Gold is one that cannot. Unfortunately, we have to make this clear up front simply because the phone is jarring to look at. It will definitely get second and third looks, but not for the right reasons, we suspect. There is also a black variant and we can’t help but feel that it looks far better. Now that we are past this gripe, let’s look at the phone.

The Aura packs in a lot of features into its compact and lightweight body, and this is good. MP3 player, Camera, even a web camera that will allow you to use whatever you can get out of your GPRS connection in addition to basic features like T9 and connectivity options like Bluetooth. It is important to put down these features, although basic, since this is the first time Intex has entered the field of cell phones.

On the whole, the Aura Gold (not Black) is good to hold in its form factor but the build quality does leave some loopholes. For instance, the unit we received for review had a loose battery cover that would slide off even as we pulled out the phone from a pair of jeans. Not comfortable because you are then worried about making sure the entire phone is in hand instead of answering the call!

The user-interface of the phone is average at best and the response time for most commands is sluggish. The ergonomics are quite okay except for the call and end call keys that seem to take more effort, but this is more personal preference and how you use your phone. Menu navigation is not tough, but it’s not as intuitive as a Nokia or even a Sony Ericsson. Intex does indeed have a long way to go in making its phones user-friendly.

One of the features that are missing is the FM Radio. The phone has an MP3 player and comes with a pair of earphones so the lack of an FM receiver is indeed puzzling. Especially when it is available in two of the other phones in a lower price bracket. The Aura also holds 500 entries in the phone book and it is a totally baffling fact when you consider this is the costliest offering from Intex. The camera, a 1.3 megapixel one is let down by the screen quality (262,000 colours, 2” TFT Screen) and despite video features being available, the screen just doesn’t do its job.

Audio quality is good and signal-catching strength is also good. As a phone, the usability is okay and minor things like making a call searching for the name in the phonebook can take longer than on other phones. There are many niggling things one can find with the phone, and with a price tag of Rs 9,300 (for the Gold; Rs 9,000 for Black) the feature set just doesn’t impress.

All phones have some content preloaded from Buena Vista Entertainment and the Aura comes preloaded with ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ wallpapers, screensavers and more. The positioning of this phone is totally baffling on many fronts.

There are some good features and some okay ones. But the thing that is baffling is who is the phone targeted at? It isn’t trendy enough to appeal to the younger buyers and it isn’t sleek enough to appeal to business users. The features overlap what either group may want and the competition in this price range is just too intense. Nokia, Motorola, Sony Ericsson and even Samsung offer better feature sets and functionality at the same price or even less. We would be hard pressed to recommend this phone highly despite some obvious positives like audio quality. But in today’s market, you need to get the whole package right.

Price (MRP): Rs 9,300 (Gold) and Rs 9,000 (Black)

Rating: Never mind!

Tags: Intex, Mobile Phones, Aura Gold, Black


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