Review of the rare Indian smartphone Creo Mark 1

In April 2016, the little-known Indian company Creo introduced its first (and concurrently last) smartphone - Mark 1. This release could have gone completely unnoticed if not for a couple of features of the device, which were very actively promoted all over the Indian Internet . Due to the fact that in India the Internet is mostly English-speaking, the news was actively distributed to all other English-speaking countries. A typical "middle-sized" device, of which there are now a dime a dozen, distinguished (on paper) from the mass of competitors by the main advantage - a firmware updated every month based on the Android OS called Fuel OS.

Creo Mark 1

We will definitely remember the firmware in the corresponding part of the article, but for now we will limit ourselves to the fact that the development team did not keep the promise to update it every month - more precisely, they did, but throughout the entire six months (half of these updates did not carry new functions, but only fixed bugs). Just six months later, Creo was bought out by the large Indian messenger HIKE, after which it was announced that they would stop producing electronics (in addition to smartphones, they produced television dongles) and focus on their own OS, which allegedly will be adopted by third-party gadget manufacturers in the near future.Alas, it’s already 2018, and Fuel OS is still not officially installed in any smartphone, except for Mark 1, whose software support, by the way, was also closed, and even the official website with a forum where early versions of firmware were posted does not carry now no functionality, but only displays a simple stub. Fuel OS-based firmware has reached some smartphones simply because it has the same hardware platform with these smartphones: AMOI L861, Santin Dante, Stonex ONE - all these are little-known smartphones released by the same OEM factory. contracts for different companies, which once again shows the "uninterest" of the hero of the review.

One way or another, the smartphone, despite the fact that its manufacturer has sunk into oblivion, works and fulfills the duties assigned to it, and today we will find out how well it succeeds.

Creo Mark 1

Specifications

  • Operating system: OS Android 5.1
  • Standards support: GSM, 3G, LTE (B3, B8, B40)
  • Processor: 1.95 GHz, octa-core Cortex A53, MediaTek Helio X10
  • RAM: 3 GB (LPDDR3)
  • ROM: 32 GB
  • Display: 5.5", 2560 x 1440 dots (WQHD), 534ppi
  • Main camera: 21 MP, 4K video recording, 120fps, phase detection autofocus, dual LED flash
  • Front camera: 8 MP, Full HD video recording
  • Memory card support: microSDXC up to 128 GB
  • GPS, GLONASS, Beidou
  • Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac
  • Bluetooth 4.0 (LE)
  • FM radio
  • OTG
  • 3.5mm headphone jack
  • Quick charge function (not compatible with QC)
  • Battery: Li-Ion, 3100 mAh
  • Dimensions: 155.4 x 76.1 x 8.7 mm
  • Weight: 190 g
  • SIM slot: microSIM + nanoSIM (shared with memory card slot)

Delivery set

The device came to our editorial office in its original box, but without accessories. As they say, it's not a big problem - in addition to the smartphone, the box should contain a power supply, a micro-USB cable and a paper clip to remove the SIM card and memory card slots.

Creo Mark 1

The power supply is non-standard, it outputs 5V and 7V (current 1.5 - 2 A), thus confirming the fact that the device supports fast charging, but not the usual QC (which would be strange for a smartphone based on the MediaTek chipset) , but the less common, and even outdated PumpExpress + from MediaTek itself.

Creo Mark 1

The box itself differs little from the boxes of numerous small manufacturers, and the overall pleasant impression is created only by the “branded” color scheme.

Creo Mark 1

Appearance, impressions

If you look at the Creo Mark 1 only in the pictures or without taking it in hand, then we can say that it leaves a pleasantly neutral impression of its appearance. The glass at the back and front, coupled with a rounded metal frame, gives the impression of something that vaguely resembles the Sony Xperia Z3, but the Indian smartphone of Chinese origin is far from Japanese design, albeit disgusting.

Creo Mark 1

All the brevity and accuracy of the appearance is mercilessly broken on the stones of everyday use. The glass on both sides is instantly covered with fingerprints, the metal frame, for all its aesthetics, does not protect the smartphone from shock in any way, and if in the same Xperia Z3 Sony engineers added practical nylon “corners” for a softer landing, then there are no dampers in the Mark 1 is not provided, and when falling on a hard surface, there is a high probability that any of the glasses will crack (and most likely both). This probability is increased by the considerable weight of the smartphone - almost 200 grams. And in addition to gravity, the body is also extremely slippery - even the slightest angle of inclination of the surface is enough for it to move out of it. Once he managed to move out of my thick notebook lying on the table, very slowly, by a millimeter, but he finally got to the tabletop.

Creo Mark 1

I understand that “there is no friend for the taste and color”, but still I can’t understand people who like glass smartphones. The beauty in the advertising picture turns into the need to constantly wipe the device from traces of palms and fingers, into excessive non-grasping and, most unpleasantly, fragility. Yes, be it at least the 28th generation Gorilla Glass, glass will never be stronger than plastic and metal. You can, of course, look for a suitable case or bumper, but then what is the point of a beautiful case if it is still covered by an ugly plastic case? In the same Sony, only by the fifth (or whatever) generation of their flagships, they figured out that the glass of the back cover can be made matte so that it at least does not slip in the hands, but their attempts turned out to be isolated - everywhere we see the returned fashion for shiny glossy glass in smartphone design.

Creo Mark 1

One way or another, we deal with what we have. On the front panel, above the display, there is a speaker made in the form of three round holes, to the left of it is the front camera, which just asks to become the fourth circle in this row, and even to the left - light / proximity sensors and an LED indicator, skillfully hidden under the front panel . They are visible only in bright light, in the normal state they do not give themselves away. Below the screen are three touch buttons, also made in the form of circles and also do not give themselves away without the backlight on. The central key, of course, is the "Home" button, but the two side ones can be changed - by default, the left button is responsible for calling the menu of the last running applications, and the right one is the "Back" button, but in the settings they can be changed among themselves, and also assign different actions to long press or double press.

Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1

On the top edge there is an "outdated" mini-jack connector for connecting headsets and headphones. On the bottom is a really outdated micro-USB surrounded by a multimedia speaker (on the right) and a conversational microphone (on the left), covered with symmetrical cutouts.

Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1

On the left - two trays that jump out of the phone when pressed with a paper clip into specially selected holes. The upper one is combined, for a microSD or nanoSIM memory card, and the lower one is only for a microSIM card. The question is, is there really no place for a dedicated slot for a memory card in such a huge phone? Such a decision can be forgiven for devices with a large amount of internal memory (from 64 GB and above), but here it looks like a completely unjustified decision.

Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1

On the right side are the traditional power and volume buttons. This is the only part of the exterior that I even liked in this smartphone - despite the fact that the buttons are almost indistinguishable from each other (the power button has only a small red dash), after a couple of days of use, a habit is already developed and you remember the location of all three buttons by touch. But they have a very pleasant and clear pressing, not too tight, but not too light, and even with warm gloves, the buttons are groped right away. A pleasant tactile feedback, like a cherry on a cake, adorns these controls. Such a seemingly trifle draws attention to itself, because you use your smartphone many times every day and inconvenient buttons can become a rather annoying moment of everyday use.

Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1

The rear panel sports the Creo logo in the center and the main camera at the top, next to a dual flash and a second noise-canceling microphone.

Creo Mark 1

Display

Another point that pleasantly surprised me in this smartphone is its screen. No, he's not "chic" here, but if we apply a five-point rating scale, then I would boldly give him a "four plus". Or even "five with a minus".

The WQHD screen resolution, although not at all necessary for a device from the middle class, still amazes with the clarity of the picture, the pixels cannot be seen here from the word “completely”, and the picture looks more like an expensive glossy magazine than an LCD screen. That's just the stained glass does not allow you to fully enjoy the image - when viewing dark scenes in a video or photo, fingerprints are terribly annoying. Thanks at least, the oleophobic layer is not the worst here - traces are easily removed by wiping on a soft cloth.

Creo Mark 1

The viewing angles here are quite decent, the picture practically does not fade even at a strong tilt, and thanks to OGS technology, it seems that the image is right on the glass, and the visibility in the sun remains good (though without a margin of brightness).

Creo Mark 1

Battery

Such a high screen resolution could not but affect the power consumption. A 3100 mAh battery will not impress anyone at the present time, and even with such a huge number of pixels, even more so. The smartphone lasts exactly for a day if you use it in moderate mode - without fanaticism when watching videos (whether online or offline) and playing games. As soon as you start to “rape” a smartphone, the battery immediately melts before your eyes, and in addition to high power consumption, there is also strong heating, which also does not have a positive effect on battery life.

Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1

I didn’t manage to test fast charging due to the lack of a charging block in the kit, and I didn’t manage to quickly find a charger with support for PumpExpress + (not the second or third version), so I’ll have to take it on faith - after all, just put such a block in the kit the manufacturer wouldn't, I suppose. From a conventional 5V charger, the smartphone takes no more than 1.6 A and charges for a little more than two hours with noticeable heating at the bottom of the back cover.

Communications

No communication problems have been identified during use. The smartphone perfectly catches the cellular networks of Russian operators, including LTE. Due to the limited ranges supported (B3, B8, B40), it is necessary to check the support of the B3 range (only it is relevant for Russia) from a specific operator in a specific region. For example, in Rostov-on-Don, my device caught the Danycom LTE signal (MVNO based on Tele2) - in this region, Tele2 just broadcasts in the 1800 MHz band (Band 3). As is always the case with smartphones not intended for sale in Russia, access points (APN) for your operator will have to be entered manually. The reception quality is quite adequate - the interlocutor hears normally, the earpiece has a good volume margin.

Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1

There were no particular problems with the rest of the wireless modules either. The Wi-Fi module works without hesitation, in terms of reception it is at an average level: the signal still passes through two concrete walls, after three it no longer. The smartphone finds both 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi networks. Bluetooth version 4.0 is already noticeably outdated, however, all current devices are connected using the Low Energy protocol, and this is the most important thing. The operation of the Miracast protocol amused me - not only can a smartphone transmit a picture without a wire (not without delays, of course), it can also receive it itself, acting as a Miracast monitor for other devices. Why and to whom this may be needed, I do not know, but the chip is interesting. Satellites are caught perfectly, even indoors, including the Glonass system. There is no NFC antenna, which (for me personally) immediately lowers the smartphone to the same level as budget Chinese smartphones: contactless payment and easy connection of accessories is the thing that I will not refuse for any price.

Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1

Memory

A fairly standard amount of ROM is compensated by support for microSD cards up to 128 GB. MicroSD, however, can be inserted instead of a second SIM card, and nothing else, so the user must decide what is more important to him. As I mentioned above, this position is completely incomprehensible to me, but such is the fashion of Chinese manufacturers. The smartphone supports connecting drives via OTG.

Creo Mark 1

3 GB of RAM is enough back to back, taking into account the resolution of the smartphone screen, and therefore 4 GB would be much more appropriate here. But let's make a discount on the age of the smartphone, and the available memory is minimally enough for normal everyday work, except that heavy applications like games or a browser with a large number of tabs “fly out” of memory immediately after they are minimized.

Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1

Cameras

The main camera in Creo Mark 1 is a perfect example of how you can ruin even a very good module of poor software component. Theoretically, the Sony Exmor RS IMX230 module is capable of taking excellent pictures: a high resolution of 21 MP and a built-in phase detection autofocus system (an innovation for its time), in theory, should help the user in his photography endeavors, but in practice, Creo programmers did something with it terrible (even Sony themselves, famous for the mediocre photographic abilities of their flagships, have never broken everything so hopelessly). The camera loses focus in simple conditions, it’s almost impossible to take macro shots, and in order for a regular shot to turn out to be unblurred, you need to hold the smartphone on firm hands, or rather rely on something (a tripod is also suitable, although hardly anyone wears it with a smartphone) . It makes no sense to talk about pictures in dark places - as soon as the Mark 1 camera becomes insufficiently light (and this happens almost always, except for a street lit by the sun), it starts making wild noise even where you don’t expect it from it. And if it doesn’t make noise, then it blurs with noise reduction so that it would be better if there was noise. The application cameras - it is slow and annoying with constant microlags. I had hope that the situation would be fixed with the installation of updates, but no - even on the version Fuel OS 1.6.0 (originally the smartphone was tested on version 1.0.0), the camera continued to be weird and spoil the nerves.The latest firmware version (1.7.0) adds a second camera application to the system (some kind of beta version with a different interface), but I did not to test it due to the buggy of the entire firmware as a whole, so I rolled back to version 1.6.0.

Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1

By the way, installing third-party applications like Open Camera or Camera MX saves a little by the fact that they have the ability to tweak many settings manually (unlike a stock camera, in which the settings only select resolution, adjust exposure and ISO, turn on HDR and viewfinder grids), but overall photo quality remains barely tolerable. The choice of modes in the settings does not help in any way, and all sorts of “fashionable” modes like 3D Photo or the use of useless filters are not needed at all - it would be better if ordinary shooting was brought to mind.

Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1

Sample photos

Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1

Slow-Mo (120 fps) video shooting at FullHD resolution is available, as well as regular shooting at 4K resolution. I can’t say anything bad about the video part, as well as nothing good - the video camera shoots mediocre, it feels, only at a slightly higher level than the photo.

The front camera is here - and that's all I can say about it. The "beautify" function of the faces is naturally present and simulates a smooth matte skin color, blurring the pictures even more.

Performance and Software

I think that few who have read up to this point (hold on, there is still a little left) have already understood in general terms how the situation with the software part of the smartphone is. If you don’t understand, then here’s a spoiler for you - everything is sad.

It's worth starting with the fact that the MediaTek Helio X10 hardware platform, which became the ancestor for the entire subsequent Helio line, was the first truly flagship platform from MediaTek, and it had some bumps that were fixed in subsequent versions . But even despite the more or less adequate operation of the chipset (I did not notice any serious failures), such a huge number of screen pixels that it has to move had a very strong effect on performance. If there were no special problems in everyday use, then it was only necessary to turn on the game or online video with a resolution of 1080p and higher, and the phone immediately began to slow down and warm up like an iron. In firmware version 1.6.0, the heating has noticeably decreased, but performance has not increased - it is simply impossible to play serious 3D titles. I am not a fan of games in general and games on smartphones in particular, but sometimes you want to pass a minute killing some zombies or racing, but with Creo Mark 1 you didn’t even have to puzzle over what to play, because puzzles are everything for us.

Although the results of the benchmarks are not direct indicators of the normal operation of the smartphone, nevertheless, they quite clearly show how hard it is for the processor to get such a high screen resolution.

Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1

Factory firmware, despite the name Fuel OS, is nothing but an add-on to the familiar Android OS, and a fairly modest add-on that does not change the look and logic of the operating system, such as, for example, MIUI or Flyme, which have more right to be called the loud title of the operating system.

Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1

In the introduction, I already described the main "trick" of this firmware - monthly updates and the addition of new functions, and the slogan of the Creo Mark 1 advertising campaign immodestly sounded like "A new smartphone every month." What happened to this firmware in fact, you also already know. There were 7 updates in total (and not every one really introduced new features), but the seventh, as I understand it, never left the beta testing stage, because it was godlessly buggy. In it, for example, a curtain with shortcuts for quickly turning on wireless modules and other things did not open, and the Home button did not work either for its main function or for additional ones. Most of the time, my copy worked on firmware 1.0.0, since the built-in firmware update application stubbornly refused to find newer versions of the OS, and I was too lazy to look for images on third-party sites and bother with installing them, but still some time later I found the image of the latest version, to which it was updated. Realizing that this was done in vain, I rolled back to the previous, more stable firmware, which eventually partially fixed the lags of the original version, but did not completely eradicate them. In general, the software is far from the Mark 1's strong point.

Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1

I'll briefly go over the features of Fuel OS that are not found in regular Android Lollipop. The first is to search by Sense device. It's sort of like Google Now, only more flexible and offline-focused, searching within the device itself - photos, videos, contacts, messages, apps, and so on. Although this tool can also search for information on the web. Sense has one fun feature: it can perform arithmetic operations right in the search bar - not that this is necessary, but quite convenient.

Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1

Second - wireless connection to a PC through the application Fuel PC-Connect. The thing is interesting (in theory), it allows you to connect your smartphone to a computer without a wire to transfer files, backup data and synchronize contacts. But since the Creo website is no longer available, it is not possible to download the client part of the application (directly for the PC). Therefore, this "trick" remained only in promotional materials.

Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1

The next feature was the ability to block selected applications for a given pin code or pattern. You can block any application from prying eyes, as well as hide certain contents of the gallery (but only built-in), and access to them will open after entering the password. Maybe for someone it will be a really useful feature.

Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1

But a really useful feature for many will be the built-in answering machine, which does not depend on the operator's settings. The function is called Echo, you can access it directly from the dialer application (which, unfortunately, is only with Latin letters), and in its settings you can choose when

Review of the rare Indian smartphone Creo Mark 1

In April 2016, the little-known Indian company Creo introduced its first (and concurrently last) smartphone - Mark 1. This release could have gone completely unnoticed if not for a couple of features of the device, which were very actively promoted all over the Indian Internet . Due to the fact that in India the Internet is mostly English-speaking, the news was actively distributed to all other English-speaking countries. A typical "middle-sized" device, of which there are now a dime a dozen, distinguished (on paper) from the mass of competitors by the main advantage - a firmware updated every month based on the Android OS called Fuel OS.

Creo Mark 1

We will definitely remember the firmware in the corresponding part of the article, but for now we will limit ourselves to the fact that the development team did not keep the promise to update it every month - more precisely, they did, but throughout the entire six months (half of these updates did not carry new functions, but only fixed bugs). Just six months later, Creo was bought out by the large Indian messenger HIKE, after which it was announced that they would stop producing electronics (in addition to smartphones, they produced television dongles) and focus on their own OS, which allegedly will be adopted by third-party gadget manufacturers in the near future.Alas, it’s already 2018, and Fuel OS is still not officially installed in any smartphone, except for Mark 1, whose software support, by the way, was also closed, and even the official website with a forum where early versions of firmware were posted does not carry now no functionality, but only displays a simple stub. Fuel OS-based firmware has reached some smartphones simply because it has the same hardware platform with these smartphones: AMOI L861, Santin Dante, Stonex ONE - all these are little-known smartphones released by the same OEM factory. contracts for different companies, which once again shows the "uninterest" of the hero of the review.

One way or another, the smartphone, despite the fact that its manufacturer has sunk into oblivion, works and fulfills the duties assigned to it, and today we will find out how well it succeeds.

Creo Mark 1

Specifications

  • Operating system: OS Android 5.1
  • Standards support: GSM, 3G, LTE (B3, B8, B40)
  • Processor: 1.95 GHz, octa-core Cortex A53, MediaTek Helio X10
  • RAM: 3 GB (LPDDR3)
  • ROM: 32 GB
  • Display: 5.5", 2560 x 1440 dots (WQHD), 534ppi
  • Main camera: 21 MP, 4K video recording, 120fps, phase detection autofocus, dual LED flash
  • Front camera: 8 MP, Full HD video recording
  • Memory card support: microSDXC up to 128 GB
  • GPS, GLONASS, Beidou
  • Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac
  • Bluetooth 4.0 (LE)
  • FM radio
  • OTG
  • 3.5mm headphone jack
  • Quick charge function (not compatible with QC)
  • Battery: Li-Ion, 3100 mAh
  • Dimensions: 155.4 x 76.1 x 8.7 mm
  • Weight: 190 g
  • SIM slot: microSIM + nanoSIM (shared with memory card slot)

Delivery set

The device came to our editorial office in its original box, but without accessories. As they say, it's not a big problem - in addition to the smartphone, the box should contain a power supply, a micro-USB cable and a paperclip to remove the SIM card and memory card slots.

Creo Mark 1

The power supply is non-standard, it outputs 5V and 7V (current 1.5 - 2 A), thus confirming the fact that the device supports fast charging, but not the usual QC (which would be strange for a smartphone based on the MediaTek chipset) , but the less common, and even outdated PumpExpress + from MediaTek itself.

Creo Mark 1

The box itself differs little from the boxes of numerous small manufacturers, and the overall pleasant impression is created only by the “branded” color scheme.

Creo Mark 1

Appearance, impressions

If you look at the Creo Mark 1 only in the pictures or without taking it in hand, then we can say that it leaves a pleasantly neutral impression of its appearance. The glass at the back and front, coupled with a rounded metal frame, gives the impression of something that vaguely resembles the Sony Xperia Z3, but the Indian smartphone of Chinese origin is far from Japanese design, albeit disgusting.

Creo Mark 1

All the brevity and accuracy of the appearance is mercilessly broken on the stones of everyday use. The glass on both sides is instantly covered with fingerprints, the metal frame, for all its aesthetics, does not protect the smartphone from shock in any way, and if in the same Xperia Z3 Sony engineers added practical nylon “corners” for a softer landing, then there are no dampers in the Mark 1 is not provided, and when falling on a hard surface, there is a high probability that any of the glasses will crack (and most likely both). This probability is increased by the considerable weight of the smartphone - almost 200 grams. And in addition to gravity, the body is also extremely slippery - even the slightest angle of inclination of the surface is enough for it to move out of it. Once he managed to move out of my thick notebook lying on the table, very slowly, by a millimeter, but he finally got to the tabletop.

Creo Mark 1

I understand that “there is no friend for the taste and color”, but still I can’t understand people who like glass smartphones. The beauty in the advertising picture turns into the need to constantly wipe the device from traces of palms and fingers, into excessive non-grasping and, most unpleasantly, fragility. Yes, be it at least the "Gorilla Glass" of the 28th generation, glass will never be stronger than plastic and metal. You can, of course, look for a suitable case or bumper, but then what is the point of a beautiful case if it is still covered by an ugly plastic case? In the same Sony, only by the fifth (or whatever) generation of their flagships, they figured out that the glass of the back cover can be made matte so that it at least does not slip in the hands, but their attempts turned out to be isolated - everywhere we see the returned fashion for shiny glossy glass in smartphone design.

Creo Mark 1

One way or another, we deal with what we have. On the front panel, above the display, there is a speaker made in the form of three round holes, to the left of it is the front camera, which just asks to become the fourth circle in this row, and even to the left - light / proximity sensors and an LED indicator, skillfully hidden under the front panel . They are visible only in bright light, in the normal state they do not give themselves away. Below the screen are three touch buttons, also made in the form of circles and also do not give themselves away without the backlight on. The central key, of course, is the "Home" button, but the two side ones can be changed - by default, the left button is responsible for calling the menu of the last running applications, and the right one is the "Back" button, but in the settings they can be changed among themselves, and also assign different actions to long press or double press.

Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1

On the top edge there is an "outdated" mini-jack connector for connecting headsets and headphones. On the bottom is a really outdated micro-USB surrounded by a multimedia speaker (on the right) and a conversational microphone (on the left), covered with symmetrical cutouts.

Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1

On the left - two trays that jump out of the phone when pressed with a paper clip into specially selected holes. The upper one is combined, for a microSD or nanoSIM memory card, and the lower one is only for a microSIM card. The question is, is there really no place for a dedicated slot for a memory card in such a huge phone? Such a decision can be forgiven for devices with a large amount of internal memory (from 64 GB and above), but here it looks like a completely unjustified decision.

Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1

On the right side are the traditional power and volume buttons. This is the only part of the exterior that I even liked in this smartphone - despite the fact that the buttons are almost indistinguishable from each other (the power button has only a small red dash), after a couple of days of use, a habit is already developed and you remember the location of all three buttons by touch. But they have a very pleasant and clear pressing, not too tight, but not too light, and even with warm gloves, the buttons are groped right away. A pleasant tactile feedback, like a cherry on a cake, adorns these controls. Such a seemingly trifle draws attention to itself, because you use your smartphone many times every day and inconvenient buttons can become a rather annoying moment of everyday use.

Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1

The rear panel sports the Creo logo in the center and the main camera at the top, next to a dual flash and a second noise-canceling microphone.

Creo Mark 1

Display

Another point that pleasantly surprised me in this smartphone is its screen. No, he's not "chic" here, but if we apply a five-point rating scale, then I would boldly give him a "four plus". Or even "five with a minus".

The WQHD screen resolution, although not at all necessary for a device from the middle class, still amazes with the clarity of the picture, the pixels cannot be seen here from the word “completely”, and the picture looks more like an expensive glossy magazine than an LCD screen. That's just the stained glass does not allow you to fully enjoy the image - when viewing dark scenes in a video or photo, fingerprints are terribly annoying. Thanks at least, the oleophobic layer is not the worst here - traces are easily removed by wiping on a soft cloth.

Creo Mark 1

The viewing angles here are quite decent, the picture practically does not fade even at a strong tilt, and thanks to OGS technology, it seems that the image is right on the glass, and the visibility in the sun remains good (though without a margin of brightness).

Creo Mark 1

Battery

Such a high screen resolution could not but affect the power consumption. A 3100 mAh battery will not impress anyone at the present time, and even with such a huge number of pixels, even more so. The smartphone lasts exactly for a day if you use it in moderate mode - without fanaticism when watching videos (whether online or offline) and playing games. As soon as you start to “rape” a smartphone, the battery immediately melts before your eyes, and in addition to high power consumption, there is also strong heating, which also does not have a positive effect on battery life.

Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1

I didn’t manage to test fast charging due to the lack of a charging block in the kit, and I didn’t manage to quickly find a charger with support for PumpExpress + (not the second or third version), so I’ll have to take it on faith - after all, just put such a block in the kit the manufacturer wouldn't, I suppose. From a conventional 5V charger, the smartphone takes no more than 1.6 A and charges for a little more than two hours with noticeable heating at the bottom of the back cover.

Communications

No communication problems have been identified during use. The smartphone perfectly catches the cellular networks of Russian operators, including LTE. Due to the limited ranges supported (B3, B8, B40), it is necessary to check the support of the B3 range (only it is relevant for Russia) from a specific operator in a specific region. For example, in Rostov-on-Don, my device caught the Danycom LTE signal (MVNO based on Tele2) - in this region, Tele2 just broadcasts in the 1800 MHz band (Band 3). As is always the case with smartphones not intended for sale in Russia, access points (APN) for your operator will have to be entered manually. The reception quality is quite adequate - the interlocutor hears normally, the earpiece has a good volume margin.

Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1

There were no particular problems with the rest of the wireless modules either. The Wi-Fi module works without hesitation, in terms of reception it is at an average level: the signal still passes through two concrete walls, after three it no longer. The smartphone finds both 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi networks. Bluetooth version 4.0 is already noticeably outdated, however, all current devices are connected using the Low Energy protocol, and this is the most important thing. The operation of the Miracast protocol amused me - not only can a smartphone transmit a picture without a wire (not without delays, of course), it can also receive it itself, acting as a Miracast monitor for other devices. Why and to whom this may be needed, I do not know, but the chip is interesting. Satellites are caught perfectly, even indoors, including the Glonass system. There is no NFC antenna, which (for me personally) immediately lowers the smartphone to the same level as budget Chinese smartphones: contactless payment and easy connection of accessories is the thing that I will not refuse for any price.

Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1

Memory

A fairly standard amount of ROM is compensated by support for microSD cards up to 128 GB. MicroSD, however, can be inserted instead of a second SIM card, and nothing else, so the user must decide what is more important to him. As I mentioned above, this position is completely incomprehensible to me, but such is the fashion of Chinese manufacturers. The smartphone supports connecting drives via OTG.

Creo Mark 1

3 GB of RAM is enough back to back, taking into account the resolution of the smartphone screen, and therefore 4 GB would be much more appropriate here. But let's make a discount on the age of the smartphone, and the available memory is minimally enough for normal everyday work, except that heavy applications like games or a browser with a large number of tabs “fly out” of memory immediately after they are minimized.

Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1

Cameras

The main camera in Creo Mark 1 is a perfect example of how you can ruin even a very good module of poor software component. Theoretically, the Sony Exmor RS IMX230 module is capable of taking excellent pictures: a high resolution of 21 MP and a built-in phase detection autofocus system (an innovation for its time), in theory, should help the user in his photography endeavors, but in practice, Creo programmers did something with it terrible (even Sony themselves, famous for the mediocre photographic abilities of their flagships, have never broken everything so hopelessly). The camera loses focus in simple conditions, it’s almost impossible to take macro shots, and in order for a regular shot to turn out to be unblurred, you need to hold the smartphone on firm hands, or rather rely on something (a tripod is also suitable, although hardly anyone wears it with a smartphone) . It makes no sense to talk about pictures in dark places - as soon as the Mark 1 camera becomes insufficiently light (and this happens almost always, except for a street lit by the sun), it starts making wild noise even where you don’t expect it from it. And if it doesn’t make noise, then it blurs with noise reduction so that it would be better if there was noise. The application cameras - it is slow and annoying with constant microlags. I had hope that the situation would be fixed with the installation of updates, but no - even on the version Fuel OS 1.6.0 (originally the smartphone was tested on version 1.0.0), the camera continued to be weird and spoil the nerves.The latest firmware version (1.7.0) adds a second camera application to the system (some kind of beta version with a different interface), but I did not to test it due to the buggy of the entire firmware as a whole, so I rolled back to version 1.6.0.

Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1

By the way, installing third-party applications like Open Camera or Camera MX saves a little by the fact that they have the ability to tweak many settings manually (unlike a stock camera, in which the settings only select resolution, adjust exposure and ISO, turn on HDR and viewfinder grids), but overall photo quality remains barely tolerable. The choice of modes in the settings does not help in any way, and all sorts of “fashionable” modes like 3D Photo or the use of useless filters are not needed at all - it would be better if ordinary shooting was brought to mind.

Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1

Sample photos

Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1

Slow-Mo (120 fps) video shooting at FullHD resolution is available, as well as regular shooting at 4K resolution. I can’t say anything bad about the video part, as well as nothing good - the video camera shoots mediocre, it feels, only at a slightly higher level than the photo.

The front camera is here - and that's all I can say about it. The "beautify" function of the faces is naturally present and simulates a smooth matte skin color, blurring the pictures even more.

Performance and Software

I think that few who have read up to this point (hold on, there is still a little left) have already understood in general terms how the situation with the software part of the smartphone is. If you don’t understand, then here’s a spoiler for you - everything is sad.

It's worth starting with the fact that the MediaTek Helio X10 hardware platform, which became the ancestor for the entire subsequent Helio line, was the first truly flagship platform from MediaTek, and it had some bumps that were fixed in subsequent versions . But even despite the more or less adequate operation of the chipset (I did not notice any serious failures), such a huge number of screen pixels that it has to move had a very strong effect on performance. If there were no special problems in everyday use, then it was only necessary to turn on the game or online video with a resolution of 1080p and higher, and the phone immediately began to slow down and warm up like an iron. In firmware version 1.6.0, the heating has noticeably decreased, but performance has not increased - it is simply impossible to play serious 3D titles. I am not a fan of games in general and games on smartphones in particular, but sometimes you want to pass a minute killing some zombies or racing, but with Creo Mark 1 you didn’t even have to puzzle over what to play, because puzzles are everything for us.

Although the results of the benchmarks are not direct indicators of the normal operation of the smartphone, nevertheless, they quite clearly show how hard it is for the processor to get such a high screen resolution.

Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1

Factory firmware, despite the name Fuel OS, is nothing but an add-on to the familiar Android OS, and a fairly modest add-on that does not change the look and logic of the operating system, such as, for example, MIUI or Flyme, which have more right to be called the loud title of the operating system.

Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1

In the introduction, I already described the main "trick" of this firmware - monthly updates and the addition of new functions, and the slogan of the Creo Mark 1 advertising campaign immodestly sounded like "A new smartphone every month." What happened to this firmware in fact, you also already know. There were 7 updates in total (and not every one really introduced new features), but the seventh, as I understand it, never left the beta testing stage, because it was godlessly buggy. In it, for example, a curtain with shortcuts for quickly turning on wireless modules and other things did not open, and the Home button did not work either for its main function or for additional ones. Most of the time, my copy worked on firmware 1.0.0, since the built-in firmware update application stubbornly refused to find newer versions of the OS, and I was too lazy to look for images on third-party sites and bother with installing them, but still some time later I found the image of the latest version, to which it was updated. Realizing that this was done in vain, I rolled back to the previous, more stable firmware, which eventually partially fixed the lags of the original version, but did not completely eradicate them. In general, the software is far from the Mark 1's strong point.

Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1

I'll briefly go over the features of Fuel OS that are not found in regular Android Lollipop. The first is to search by Sense device. It's sort of like Google Now, only more flexible and offline-focused, searching within the device itself - photos, videos, contacts, messages, apps, and so on. Although this tool can also search for information on the web. Sense has one fun feature: it can perform arithmetic operations right in the search bar - not that this is necessary, but quite convenient.

Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1

Second - wireless connection to a PC through the application Fuel PC-Connect. The thing is interesting (in theory), it allows you to connect your smartphone to a computer without a wire to transfer files, backup data and synchronize contacts. But since the Creo website is no longer available, it is not possible to download the client part of the application (directly for the PC). Therefore, this "trick" remained only in promotional materials.

Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1

The next feature was the ability to block selected applications for a given pin code or pattern. You can block any application from prying eyes, as well as hide certain contents of the gallery (but only built-in), and access to them will open after entering the password. Maybe for someone it will be a really useful feature.

Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1

But a really useful feature for many will be the built-in answering machine, which does not depend on the operator's settings. The function is called Echo, you can access it directly from the dialer application (which, unfortunately, is only with Latin letters), and in its settings you can choose when

Review of the rare Indian smartphone Creo Mark 1

In April 2016, the little-known Indian company Creo introduced its first (and concurrently last) smartphone - Mark 1. This release could have gone completely unnoticed if not for a couple of features of the device, which were very actively promoted all over the Indian Internet . Due to the fact that in India the Internet is mostly English-speaking, the news was actively distributed to all other English-speaking countries. A typical "middle-sized" device, of which there are now a dime a dozen, distinguished (on paper) from the mass of competitors by the main advantage - a firmware updated every month based on the Android OS called Fuel OS.

Creo Mark 1

We will definitely remember the firmware in the corresponding part of the article, but for now we will limit ourselves to the fact that the development team did not keep the promise to update it every month - more precisely, they did, but throughout the entire six months (half of these updates did not carry new functions, but only fixed bugs). Just six months later, Creo was bought out by the large Indian messenger HIKE, after which it was announced that they would stop producing electronics (in addition to smartphones, they produced television dongles) and focus on their own OS, which allegedly will be adopted by third-party gadget manufacturers in the near future.Alas, it’s already 2018, and Fuel OS is still not officially installed in any smartphone, except for Mark 1, whose software support, by the way, was also closed, and even the official website with a forum where early versions of firmware were posted does not carry now no functionality, but only displays a simple stub. Fuel OS-based firmware has reached some smartphones simply because it has the same hardware platform with these smartphones: AMOI L861, Santin Dante, Stonex ONE - all these are little-known smartphones released by the same OEM factory. contracts for different companies, which once again shows the "uninterest" of the hero of the review.

One way or another, the smartphone, despite the fact that its manufacturer has sunk into oblivion, works and fulfills the duties assigned to it, and today we will find out how well it succeeds.

Creo Mark 1

Specifications

  • Operating system: OS Android 5.1
  • Standards support: GSM, 3G, LTE (B3, B8, B40)
  • Processor: 1.95 GHz, octa-core Cortex A53, MediaTek Helio X10
  • RAM: 3 GB (LPDDR3)
  • ROM: 32 GB
  • Display: 5.5", 2560 x 1440 dots (WQHD), 534ppi
  • Main camera: 21 MP, 4K video recording, 120fps, phase detection autofocus, dual LED flash
  • Front camera: 8 MP, Full HD video recording
  • Memory card support: microSDXC up to 128 GB
  • GPS, GLONASS, Beidou
  • Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac
  • Bluetooth 4.0 (LE)
  • FM radio
  • OTG
  • 3.5mm headphone jack
  • Quick charge function (not compatible with QC)
  • Battery: Li-Ion, 3100 mAh
  • Dimensions: 155.4 x 76.1 x 8.7 mm
  • Weight: 190 g
  • SIM slot: microSIM + nanoSIM (shared with memory card slot)

Delivery set

The device came to our editorial office in its original box, but without accessories. As they say, it's not a big problem - in addition to the smartphone, the box should contain a power supply, a micro-USB cable and a paperclip to remove the SIM card and memory card slots.

Creo Mark 1

The power supply is non-standard, it outputs 5V and 7V (current 1.5 - 2 A), thus confirming the fact that the device supports fast charging, but not the usual QC (which would be strange for a smartphone based on the MediaTek chipset) , but the less common, and even outdated PumpExpress + from MediaTek itself.

Creo Mark 1

The box itself differs little from the boxes of numerous small manufacturers, and the overall pleasant impression is created only by the “branded” color scheme.

Creo Mark 1

Appearance, impressions

If you look at the Creo Mark 1 only in the pictures or without taking it in hand, then we can say that it leaves a pleasantly neutral impression of its appearance. The glass at the back and front, coupled with a rounded metal frame, gives the impression of something that vaguely resembles the Sony Xperia Z3, but the Indian smartphone of Chinese origin is far from Japanese design, albeit disgusting.

Creo Mark 1

All the brevity and accuracy of the appearance is mercilessly broken on the stones of everyday use. The glass on both sides is instantly covered with fingerprints, the metal frame, for all its aesthetics, does not protect the smartphone from shock in any way, and if in the same Xperia Z3 Sony engineers added practical nylon “corners” for a softer landing, then there are no dampers in the Mark 1 is not provided, and when falling on a hard surface, there is a high probability that any of the glasses will crack (and most likely both). This probability is increased by the considerable weight of the smartphone - almost 200 grams. And in addition to gravity, the body is also extremely slippery - even the slightest angle of inclination of the surface is enough for it to move out of it. Once he managed to move out of my thick notebook lying on the table, very slowly, by a millimeter, but he finally got to the table top.

Creo Mark 1

I understand that “there is no friend for the taste and color”, but still I can’t understand people who like glass smartphones. The beauty in the advertising picture turns into the need to constantly wipe the device from traces of palms and fingers, into excessive non-grasping and, most unpleasantly, fragility. Yes, be it at least the "Gorilla Glass" of the 28th generation, glass will never be stronger than plastic and metal. You can, of course, look for a suitable case or bumper, but then what is the point of a beautiful case if it is still covered by an ugly plastic case? In the same Sony, only by the fifth (or whatever) generation of their flagships, they figured out that the glass of the back cover can be made matte so that it at least does not slip in the hands, but their attempts turned out to be isolated - everywhere we see the returned fashion for shiny glossy glass in smartphone design.

Creo Mark 1

One way or another, we deal with what we have. On the front panel, above the display, there is a speaker made in the form of three round holes, to the left of it is the front camera, which just asks to become the fourth circle in this row, and even to the left - light / proximity sensors and an LED indicator, skillfully hidden under the front panel . They are visible only in bright light, in the normal state they do not give themselves away. Below the screen are three touch buttons, also made in the form of circles and also do not give themselves away without the backlight on. The central key, of course, is the "Home" button, but the two side ones can be changed - by default, the left button is responsible for calling the menu of the last running applications, and the right one is the "Back" button, but in the settings they can be changed among themselves, and also assign different actions to long press or double press.

Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1

On the top edge there is an "outdated" mini-jack connector for connecting headsets and headphones. On the bottom is a really outdated micro-USB surrounded by a multimedia speaker (on the right) and a conversational microphone (on the left), covered with symmetrical cutouts.

Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1

On the left - two trays that jump out of the phone when pressed with a paper clip into specially selected holes. The upper one is combined, for a microSD or nanoSIM memory card, and the lower one is only for a microSIM card. The question is, is there really no place for a dedicated slot for a memory card in such a huge phone? Such a decision can be forgiven for devices with a large amount of internal memory (from 64 GB and above), but here it looks like a completely unjustified decision.

Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1

On the right side are the traditional power and volume buttons. This is the only part of the exterior that I even liked in this smartphone - despite the fact that the buttons are almost indistinguishable from each other (the power button has only a small red dash), after a couple of days of use, a habit is already developed and you remember the location of all three buttons by touch. But they have a very pleasant and clear pressing, not too tight, but not too light, and even with warm gloves, the buttons are groped right away. A pleasant tactile feedback, like a cherry on a cake, adorns these controls. Such a seemingly trifle draws attention to itself, because you use your smartphone many times every day and inconvenient buttons can become a rather annoying moment of everyday use.

Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1

The rear panel sports the Creo logo in the center and the main camera at the top, next to a dual flash and a second noise-canceling microphone.

Creo Mark 1

Display

Another point that pleasantly surprised me in this smartphone is its screen. No, he's not "chic" here, but if we apply a five-point rating scale, then I would boldly give him a "four plus". Or even "five with a minus".

The WQHD screen resolution, although not at all necessary for a device from the middle class, still amazes with the clarity of the picture, the pixels cannot be seen here from the word “completely”, and the picture looks more like an expensive glossy magazine than an LCD screen. That's just the stained glass does not allow you to fully enjoy the image - when viewing dark scenes in a video or photo, fingerprints are terribly annoying. Thanks at least, the oleophobic layer is not the worst here - traces are easily removed by wiping on a soft cloth.

Creo Mark 1

The viewing angles here are quite decent, the picture practically does not fade even at a strong tilt, and thanks to OGS technology, it seems that the image is right on the glass, and the visibility in the sun remains good (though without a margin of brightness).

Creo Mark 1

Battery

Such a high screen resolution could not but affect the power consumption. A 3100 mAh battery will not impress anyone at the present time, and even with such a huge number of pixels, even more so. The smartphone lasts exactly for a day if you use it in moderate mode - without fanaticism when watching videos (whether online or offline) and playing games. As soon as you start to “rape” a smartphone, the battery immediately melts before your eyes, and in addition to high power consumption, there is also strong heating, which also does not have a positive effect on battery life.

Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1

I didn’t manage to test fast charging due to the lack of a charging block in the kit, and I didn’t manage to quickly find a charger with support for PumpExpress + (not the second or third version), so I’ll have to take it on faith - after all, just put such a block in the kit the manufacturer wouldn't, I suppose. From a conventional 5V charger, the smartphone takes no more than 1.6 A and charges for a little more than two hours with noticeable heating at the bottom of the back cover.

Communications

No communication problems have been identified during use. The smartphone perfectly catches the cellular networks of Russian operators, including LTE. Due to the limited ranges supported (B3, B8, B40), it is necessary to check the support of the B3 range (only it is relevant for Russia) from a specific operator in a specific region. For example, in Rostov-on-Don, my device caught the Danycom LTE signal (MVNO based on Tele2) - in this region, Tele2 just broadcasts in the 1800 MHz band (Band 3). As is always the case with smartphones not intended for sale in Russia, access points (APN) for your operator will have to be entered manually. The reception quality is quite adequate - the interlocutor hears normally, the earpiece has a good volume margin.

Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1

There were no particular problems with the rest of the wireless modules either. The Wi-Fi module works without hesitation, in terms of reception it is at an average level: the signal still passes through two concrete walls, after three it no longer. The smartphone finds both 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi networks. Bluetooth version 4.0 is already noticeably outdated, however, all current devices are connected using the Low Energy protocol, and this is the most important thing. The operation of the Miracast protocol amused me - not only can a smartphone transmit a picture without a wire (not without delays, of course), it can also receive it itself, acting as a Miracast monitor for other devices. Why and to whom this may be needed, I do not know, but the chip is interesting. Satellites are caught perfectly, even indoors, including the Glonass system. There is no NFC antenna, which (for me personally) immediately lowers the smartphone to the same level as budget Chinese smartphones: contactless payment and easy connection of accessories is the thing that I will not refuse for any price.

Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1

Memory

A fairly standard amount of ROM is compensated by support for microSD cards up to 128 GB. MicroSD, however, can be inserted instead of a second SIM card, and nothing else, so the user must decide what is more important to him. As I mentioned above, this position is completely incomprehensible to me, but such is the fashion of Chinese manufacturers. The smartphone supports connecting drives via OTG.

Creo Mark 1

3 GB of RAM is enough back to back, taking into account the resolution of the smartphone screen, and therefore 4 GB would be much more appropriate here. But let's make a discount on the age of the smartphone, and the available memory is minimally enough for normal everyday work, except that heavy applications like games or a browser with a large number of tabs “fly out” of memory immediately after they are minimized.

Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1

Cameras

The main camera in Creo Mark 1 is a perfect example of how you can ruin even a very good module of poor software component. Theoretically, the Sony Exmor RS IMX230 module is capable of taking excellent pictures: a high resolution of 21 MP and a built-in phase detection autofocus system (an innovation for its time), in theory, should help the user in his photography endeavors, but in practice, Creo programmers did something with it terrible (even Sony themselves, famous for the mediocre photographic abilities of their flagships, have never broken everything so hopelessly). The camera loses focus in simple conditions, it’s almost impossible to take macro shots, and in order for a regular shot to turn out to be unblurred, you need to hold the smartphone on firm hands, or rather rely on something (a tripod is also suitable, although hardly anyone wears it with a smartphone) . It makes no sense to talk about pictures in dark places - as soon as the Mark 1 camera becomes insufficiently light (and this happens almost always, except for a street lit by the sun), it starts making wild noise even where you don’t expect it from it. And if it doesn’t make noise, then it blurs with noise reduction so that it would be better if there was noise. The application cameras - it is slow and annoying with constant microlags. I had hope that the situation would be fixed with the installation of updates, but no - even on the version Fuel OS 1.6.0 (originally the smartphone was tested on version 1.0.0), the camera continued to be weird and spoil the nerves.The latest firmware version (1.7.0) adds a second camera application to the system (some kind of beta version with a different interface), but I did not to test it due to the buggy of the entire firmware as a whole, so I rolled back to version 1.6.0.

Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1

By the way, installing third-party applications like Open Camera or Camera MX saves a little by the fact that they have the ability to tweak many settings manually (unlike a stock camera, in which the settings only select resolution, adjust exposure and ISO, turn on HDR and viewfinder grids), but overall photo quality remains barely tolerable. The choice of modes in the settings does not help in any way, and all sorts of “fashionable” modes like 3D Photo or the use of useless filters are not needed at all - it would be better if ordinary shooting was brought to mind.

Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1

Sample photos

Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1

Slow-Mo (120 fps) video shooting at FullHD resolution is available, as well as regular shooting at 4K resolution. I can’t say anything bad about the video part, as well as nothing good - the video camera shoots mediocre, it feels, only at a slightly higher level than the photo.

The front camera is here - and that's all I can say about it. The "beautify" function of the faces is naturally present and simulates a smooth matte skin color, blurring the pictures even more.

Performance and Software

I think that few who have read up to this point (hold on, there is still a little left) have already understood in general terms how the situation with the software part of the smartphone is. If you don’t understand, then here’s a spoiler for you - everything is sad.

It's worth starting with the fact that the MediaTek Helio X10 hardware platform, which became the ancestor for the entire subsequent Helio line, was the first truly flagship platform from MediaTek, and it had some bumps that were fixed in subsequent versions . But even despite the more or less adequate operation of the chipset (I did not notice any serious failures), such a huge number of screen pixels that it has to move had a very strong effect on performance. If there were no special problems in everyday use, then it was only necessary to turn on the game or online video with a resolution of 1080p and higher, and the phone immediately began to slow down and warm up like an iron. In firmware version 1.6.0, the heating has noticeably decreased, but performance has not increased - it is simply impossible to play serious 3D titles. I am not a fan of games in general and games on smartphones in particular, but sometimes you want to pass a minute killing some zombies or racing, but with Creo Mark 1 you didn’t even have to puzzle over what to play, because puzzles are everything for us.

Although the results of the benchmarks are not direct indicators of the normal operation of the smartphone, nevertheless, they quite clearly show how hard it is for the processor to get such a high screen resolution.

Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1

Factory firmware, despite the name Fuel OS, is nothing but an add-on to the familiar Android OS, and a fairly modest add-on that does not change the look and logic of the operating system, such as, for example, MIUI or Flyme, which have more right to be called the loud title of the operating system.

Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1

In the introduction, I already described the main "trick" of this firmware - monthly updates and the addition of new functions, and the slogan of the Creo Mark 1 advertising campaign immodestly sounded like "A new smartphone every month." What happened to this firmware in fact, you also already know. There were 7 updates in total (and not every one really introduced new features), but the seventh, as I understand it, never left the beta testing stage, because it was godlessly buggy. In it, for example, a curtain with shortcuts for quickly turning on wireless modules and other things did not open, and the Home button did not work either for its main function or for additional ones. Most of the time, my copy worked on firmware 1.0.0, since the built-in firmware update application stubbornly refused to find newer versions of the OS, and I was too lazy to look for images on third-party sites and bother with installing them, but still some time later I found the image of the latest version, to which it was updated. Realizing that this was done in vain, I rolled back to the previous, more stable firmware, which eventually partially fixed the lags of the original version, but did not completely eradicate them. In general, the software is far from the Mark 1's strong point.

Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1

I'll briefly go over the features of Fuel OS that are not found in regular Android Lollipop. The first is to search by Sense device. It's sort of like Google Now, only more flexible and offline-focused, searching within the device itself - photos, videos, contacts, messages, apps, and so on. Although this tool can also search for information on the web. Sense has one fun feature: it can perform arithmetic operations right in the search bar - not that this is necessary, but quite convenient.

Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1

Second - wireless connection to a PC through the application Fuel PC-Connect. The thing is interesting (in theory), it allows you to connect your smartphone to a computer without a wire to transfer files, backup data and synchronize contacts. But since the Creo website is no longer available, it is not possible to download the client part of the application (directly for the PC). Therefore, this "trick" remained only in promotional materials.

Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1

The next feature was the ability to block selected applications for a given pin code or pattern. You can block any application from prying eyes, as well as hide certain contents of the gallery (but only built-in), and access to them will open after entering the password. Maybe for someone it will be a really useful feature.

Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1 Creo Mark 1

But a really useful feature for many will be the built-in answering machine, which does not depend on the operator's settings. The function is called Echo, you can access it directly from the dialer application (which, unfortunately, is only with Latin letters), and in its settings you can choose when

Review of the rare Indian smartphone Creo Mark 1

In April 2016, the little-known Indian company Creo introduced its first (and concurrently last) smartphone - Mark 1. This release could have gone completely unnoticed if not for a couple of features of the device, which were very actively promoted all over the Indian Internet . Due to the fact that in India the Internet is mostly English-speaking, the news was actively distributed to all other English-speaking countries. A typical "middle-sized" device, of which there are now a dime a dozen, distinguished (on paper) from the mass of competitors by the main advantage - a firmware updated every month based on the Android OS called Fuel OS.

We will definitely remember the firmware in the corresponding part of the article, but for now we will limit ourselves to the fact that the development team did not keep the promise to update it every month - more precisely, they did, but throughout the entire six months (half of these updates did not carry new functions, but only fixed bugs). Just six months later, Creo was bought out by the large Indian messenger HIKE, after which it was announced that they would stop producing electronics (in addition to smartphones, they produced television dongles) and focus on their own OS, which allegedly will be adopted by third-party gadget manufacturers in the near future.Alas, it’s already 2018, and Fuel OS is still not officially installed in any smartphone, except for Mark 1, whose software support, by the way, was also closed, and even the official website with a forum where early versions of firmware were posted does not carry now no functionality, but only displays a simple stub. Fuel OS-based firmware has reached some smartphones simply because it has the same hardware platform with these smartphones: AMOI L861, Santin Dante, Stonex ONE - all these are little-known smartphones released by the same OEM factory. contracts for different companies, which once again shows the "uninterest" of the hero of the review.

One way or another, the smartphone, despite the fact that its manufacturer has sunk into oblivion, works and fulfills the duties assigned to it, and today we will find out how well it succeeds.

Specifications

  • Operating system: OS Android 5.1
  • Standards support: GSM, 3G, LTE (B3, B8, B40)
  • Processor: 1.95 GHz, octa-core Cortex A53, MediaTek Helio X10
  • RAM: 3 GB (LPDDR3)
  • ROM: 32 GB
  • Display: 5.5", 2560 x 1440 dots (WQHD), 534ppi
  • Main camera: 21 MP, 4K video recording, 120fps, phase detection autofocus, dual LED flash
  • Front camera: 8 MP, Full HD video recording
  • Memory card support: microSDXC up to 128 GB
  • GPS, GLONASS, Beidou
  • Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac
  • Bluetooth 4.0 (LE)
  • FM radio
  • OTG
  • 3.5mm headphone jack
  • Quick charge function (not compatible with QC)
  • Battery: Li-Ion, 3100 mAh
  • Dimensions: 155.4 x 76.1 x 8.7 mm
  • Weight: 190 g
  • SIM slot: microSIM + nanoSIM (shared with memory card slot)

Delivery set

The device came to our editorial office in its original box, but without accessories. As they say, it's not a big problem - in addition to the smartphone, the box should contain a power supply, a micro-USB cable and a paperclip to remove the SIM card and memory card slots.

The power supply is non-standard, it outputs 5V and 7V (current 1.5 - 2 A), thus confirming the fact that the device supports fast charging, but not the usual QC (which would be strange for a smartphone based on the MediaTek chipset) , but the less common, and even outdated PumpExpress + from MediaTek itself.

The box itself differs little from the boxes of numerous small manufacturers, and the overall pleasant impression is created only by the “branded” color scheme.

Appearance, impressions

If you look at the Creo Mark 1 only in the pictures or without taking it in hand, then we can say that it leaves a pleasantly neutral impression of its appearance. The glass at the back and front, coupled with a rounded metal frame, gives the impression of something that vaguely resembles the Sony Xperia Z3, but the Indian smartphone of Chinese origin is far from Japanese design, albeit disgusting.

All the brevity and accuracy of the appearance is mercilessly broken on the stones of everyday use. The glass on both sides is instantly covered with fingerprints, the metal frame, for all its aesthetics, does not protect the smartphone from shock in any way, and if in the same Xperia Z3 Sony engineers added practical nylon “corners” for a softer landing, then there are no dampers in the Mark 1 is not provided, and when falling on a hard surface, there is a high probability that any of the glasses will crack (and most likely both). This probability is increased by the considerable weight of the smartphone - almost 200 grams. And in addition to gravity, the body is also extremely slippery - even the slightest angle of inclination of the surface is enough for it to move out of it. Once he managed to move out of my thick notebook lying on the table, very slowly, by a millimeter, but he finally got to the tabletop.

I understand that “there is no friend for the taste and color”, but still I can’t understand people who like glass smartphones. The beauty in the advertising picture turns into the need to constantly wipe the device from traces of palms and fingers, into excessive non-grasping and, most unpleasantly, fragility. Yes, be it at least the 28th generation Gorilla Glass, glass will never be stronger than plastic and metal. You can, of course, look for a suitable case or bumper, but then what is the point of a beautiful case if it is still covered by an ugly plastic case? In the same Sony, only by the fifth (or whatever) generation of their flagships, they figured out that the glass of the back cover can be made matte so that it at least does not slip in the hands, but their attempts turned out to be isolated - everywhere we see the returned fashion for shiny glossy glass in smartphone design.

One way or another, we deal with what we have. On the front panel, above the display, there is a speaker made in the form of three round holes, to the left of it is the front camera, which just asks to become the fourth circle in this row, and even to the left - light / proximity sensors and an LED indicator, skillfully hidden under the front panel . They are visible only in bright light, in the normal state they do not give themselves away. Below the screen are three touch buttons, also made in the form of circles and also do not give themselves away without the backlight on. The central key, of course, is the "Home" button, but the two side ones can be changed - by default, the left button is responsible for calling the menu of the last running applications, and the right one is the "Back" button, but in the settings they can be changed among themselves, and also assign different actions to long press or double press.

On the top edge there is an "outdated" mini-jack connector for connecting headsets and headphones. On the bottom is a really outdated micro-USB surrounded by a multimedia speaker (on the right) and a conversational microphone (on the left), covered with symmetrical cutouts.

On the left - two trays that jump out of the phone when pressed with a paper clip into specially selected holes. The upper one is combined, for a microSD or nanoSIM memory card, and the lower one is only for a microSIM card. The question is, is there really no place for a dedicated slot for a memory card in such a huge phone? Such a decision can be forgiven for devices with a large amount of internal memory (from 64 GB and above), but here it looks like a completely unjustified decision.

On the right side are the traditional power and volume buttons. This is the only part of the exterior that I even liked in this smartphone - despite the fact that the buttons are almost indistinguishable from each other (the power button has only a small red dash), after a couple of days of use, a habit is already developed and you remember the location of all three buttons by touch. But they have a very pleasant and clear pressing, not too tight, but not too light, and even with warm gloves, the buttons are groped right away. A pleasant tactile feedback, like a cherry on a cake, adorns these controls. Such a seemingly trifle draws attention to itself, because you use your smartphone many times every day and inconvenient buttons can become a rather annoying moment of everyday use.

The rear panel sports the Creo logo in the center and the main camera at the top, next to a dual flash and a second noise-canceling microphone.

Display

Another point that pleasantly surprised me in this smartphone is its screen. No, he's not "chic" here, but if we apply a five-point rating scale, then I would boldly give him a "four plus". Or even "five with a minus".

The WQHD screen resolution, although not at all necessary for a device from the middle class, still amazes with the clarity of the picture, the pixels cannot be seen here from the word “completely”, and the picture looks more like an expensive glossy magazine than an LCD screen. That's just the stained glass does not allow you to fully enjoy the image - when viewing dark scenes in a video or photo, fingerprints are terribly annoying. Thanks at least, the oleophobic layer is not the worst here - traces are easily removed by wiping on a soft cloth.

The viewing angles here are quite decent, the picture practically does not fade even at a strong tilt, and thanks to OGS technology, it seems that the image is right on the glass, and the visibility in the sun remains good (though without a margin of brightness).

Battery

Such a high screen resolution could not but affect the power consumption. A 3100 mAh battery will not impress anyone at the present time, and even with such a huge number of pixels, even more so. The smartphone lasts exactly for a day if you use it in moderate mode - without fanaticism when watching videos (whether online or offline) and playing games. As soon as you start to “rape” a smartphone, the battery immediately melts before your eyes, and in addition to high power consumption, there is also strong heating, which also does not have a positive effect on battery life.

I didn’t manage to test fast charging due to the lack of a charging block in the kit, and I didn’t manage to quickly find a charger with support for PumpExpress + (not the second or third version), so I’ll have to take it on faith - after all, just put such a block in the kit the manufacturer wouldn't, I suppose. From a conventional 5V charger, the smartphone takes no more than 1.6 A and charges for a little more than two hours with noticeable heating at the bottom of the back cover.

Communications

No communication problems have been identified during use. The smartphone perfectly catches the cellular networks of Russian operators, including LTE. Due to the limited ranges supported (B3, B8, B40), it is necessary to check the support of the B3 range (only it is relevant for Russia) from a specific operator in a specific region. For example, in Rostov-on-Don, my device caught the Danycom LTE signal (MVNO based on Tele2) - in this region, Tele2 just broadcasts in the 1800 MHz band (Band 3). As is always the case with smartphones not intended for sale in Russia, access points (APN) for your operator will have to be entered manually. The reception quality is quite adequate - the interlocutor hears normally, the earpiece has a good volume margin.

There were no particular problems with the rest of the wireless modules either. The Wi-Fi module works without hesitation, in terms of reception it is at an average level: the signal still passes through two concrete walls, after three it no longer. The smartphone finds both 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi networks. Bluetooth version 4.0 is already noticeably outdated, however, all current devices are connected using the Low Energy protocol, and this is the most important thing. The operation of the Miracast protocol amused me - not only can a smartphone transmit a picture without a wire (not without delays, of course), it can also receive it itself, acting as a Miracast monitor for other devices. Why and to whom this may be needed, I do not know, but the chip is interesting. Satellites are caught perfectly, even indoors, including the Glonass system. There is no NFC antenna, which (for me personally) immediately lowers the smartphone to the same level as budget Chinese smartphones: contactless payment and easy connection of accessories is the thing that I will not refuse for any price.

Memory

A fairly standard amount of ROM is compensated by support for microSD cards up to 128 GB. MicroSD, however, can be inserted instead of a second SIM card, and nothing else, so the user must decide what is more important to him. As I mentioned above, this position is completely incomprehensible to me, but such is the fashion of Chinese manufacturers. The smartphone supports connecting drives via OTG.

3 GB of RAM is enough back to back, taking into account the resolution of the smartphone screen, and therefore 4 GB would be much more appropriate here. But let's make a discount on the age of the smartphone, and the available memory is minimally enough for normal everyday work, except that heavy applications like games or a browser with a large number of tabs “fly out” of memory immediately after they are minimized.

Cameras

The main camera in Creo Mark 1 is a perfect example of how you can ruin even a very good module of poor software component. Theoretically, the Sony Exmor RS IMX230 module is capable of taking excellent pictures: a high resolution of 21 MP and a built-in phase detection autofocus system (an innovation for its time), in theory, should help the user in his photography endeavors, but in practice, Creo programmers did something with it terrible (even Sony themselves, famous for the mediocre photographic abilities of their flagships, have never broken everything so hopelessly).The camera loses focus in simple conditions, it’s almost impossible to take macro shots, and in order for a regular shot to turn out to be unblurred, you need to hold the smartphone on firm hands, or rather rely on something (a tripod is also suitable, although hardly anyone wears it with a smartphone) . It makes no sense to talk about pictures in dark places - as soon as the Mark 1 camera becomes insufficiently light (and this happens almost always, except for a street lit by the sun), it starts making wild noise even where you don’t expect it from it. And if it doesn’t make noise, then it blurs with noise reduction so that it would be better if there was noise. The camera app itself aggravates the situation - it is slow and annoying with constant microlags. I had hope that the situation would be fixed with the installation of updates, but no - even on Fuel OS version 1.6.0 (the smartphone was originally tested on version 1.0.0), the camera continued to be weird and spoil the nerves. The latest firmware version (1.7.0) adds a second camera application to the system (a kind of beta version with a different interface), but I did not test it due to the buggy of the entire firmware as a whole, so I rolled back to version 1.6.0.

The main camera in Creo Mark 1 is a great example of how you can ruin even a very good module of a poor software component. Theoretically, the Sony Exmor RS IMX230 module is capable of taking excellent pictures: a high resolution of 21 MP and a built-in phase detection autofocus system (an innovation for its time), in theory, should help the user in his photography endeavors, but in practice, Creo programmers did something with it terrible (even Sony themselves, famous for the mediocre photographic abilities of their flagships, have never broken everything so hopelessly). The camera loses focus in simple conditions, it’s almost impossible to take macro shots, and in order for a regular shot to turn out to be unblurred, you need to hold the smartphone on firm hands, or rather rely on something (a tripod is also suitable, although hardly anyone wears it with a smartphone) . It makes no sense to talk about pictures in dark places - as soon as the Mark 1 camera becomes insufficiently light (and this happens almost always, except for a street lit by the sun), it starts making wild noise even where you don’t expect it from it. And if it doesn’t make noise, then it blurs with noise reduction so that it would be better if there was noise. The app itself makes things worse. cameras - it is slow and annoying with constant microlags. I was hoping that the situation would be fixed with the installation of updates, but no - even on Fuel OS 1.6.0 (the smartphone was originally tested on version 1.0.0), the camera continued to be weird and spoil the nerves. The latest firmware version (1.7.0) adds a second camera application to the system (some kind of beta version with a different interface), but I did not test it due to the buggy of the entire firmware as a whole, so I rolled back to version 1.6.0.

By the way, installing third-party applications like Open Camera or Camera MX saves a little by the fact that they have the ability to tweak many settings manually (unlike a stock camera, in which the settings only select resolution, adjust exposure and ISO, turn on HDR and viewfinder grids), but overall photo quality remains barely tolerable. The choice of modes in the settings does not help in any way, and all sorts of “fashionable” modes like 3D Photo or the use of useless filters are not needed at all - it would be better if ordinary shooting was brought to mind.

Sample photos

Slow-Mo (120 fps) video shooting at FullHD resolution is available, as well as regular shooting at 4K resolution. I can’t say anything bad about the video part, as well as nothing good - the video camera shoots mediocre, it feels, only at a slightly higher level than the photo.

The front camera is here - and that's all I can say about it. The "beautify" function of the faces is naturally present and simulates a smooth matte skin color, blurring the pictures even more.

Performance and Software

I think that few who have read up to this point (hold on, there is still a little left) have already understood in general terms how the situation with the software part of the smartphone is. If you don’t understand, then here’s a spoiler for you - everything is sad.

It's worth starting with the fact that the MediaTek Helio X10 hardware platform, which became the ancestor for the entire subsequent Helio line, was the first truly flagship platform from MediaTek, and it had some bumps that were fixed in subsequent versions . But even despite the more or less adequate operation of the chipset (I did not notice any serious failures), such a huge number of screen pixels that it has to move had a very strong effect on performance. If there were no special problems in everyday use, then it was only necessary to turn on the game or online video with a resolution of 1080p and higher, and the phone immediately began to slow down and warm up like an iron. In firmware version 1.6.0, the heating has noticeably decreased, but performance has not increased - it is simply impossible to play serious 3D titles. I am not a fan of games in general and games on smartphones in particular, but sometimes you want to pass a minute killing some zombies or racing, but with Creo Mark 1 you didn’t even have to puzzle over what to play, because puzzles are everything for us.

Although the results of the benchmarks are not direct indicators of the normal operation of the smartphone, nevertheless, they quite clearly show how hard it is for the processor to get such a high screen resolution.

Factory firmware, despite the name Fuel OS, is nothing but an add-on on the familiar Android OS, and a rather modest add-on that does not change the look and logic of the operating system, such as, for example, MIUI or Flyme, which have more right to be called the loud title of the operating system.

In the introduction, I already described the main "trick" of this firmware - monthly updates and the addition of new functions, and the slogan of the Creo Mark 1 advertising campaign immodestly sounded like "A new smartphone every month." What happened to this firmware in fact, you also already know. There were 7 updates in total (and not every one really introduced new features), but the seventh, as I understand it, never left the beta testing stage, because it was godlessly buggy. In it, for example, a curtain with shortcuts for quickly turning on wireless modules and other things did not open, and the Home button did not work either for its main function or for additional ones. Most of the time, my copy worked on firmware 1.0.0, since the built-in firmware update application stubbornly refused to find newer versions of the OS, and I was too lazy to look for images on third-party sites and bother with installing them, but still some time later I found the image of the latest version, to which it was updated. Realizing that this was done in vain, I rolled back to the previous, more stable firmware, which eventually partially fixed the lags of the original version, but did not completely eradicate them. In general, the software is far from the Mark 1's strong point.

I'll briefly go over the features of Fuel OS that are not found in regular Android Lollipop. The first is to search by Sense device. It's sort of like Google Now, only more flexible and offline-focused, searching within the device itself - photos, videos, contacts, messages, apps, and so on. Although this tool can also search for information on the web. Sense has one fun feature: it can perform arithmetic operations right in the search bar - not that this is necessary, but quite convenient.

Second - wireless connection to a PC through the application Fuel PC-Connect. The thing is interesting (in theory), it allows you to connect your smartphone to a computer without a wire to transfer files, backup data and synchronize contacts. But since the Creo website is no longer available, it is not possible to download the client part of the application (directly for the PC). Therefore, this "trick" remained only in promotional materials.

The next feature was the ability to block selected applications for a given pin code or pattern. You can block any application from prying eyes, as well as hide certain contents of the gallery (but only built-in), and access to them will open after entering the password. Maybe for someone it will be a really useful feature.

But a really useful feature for many will be the built-in answering machine, which does not depend on the operator's settings. The function is called Echo, you can access it directly from the dialer application (which, unfortunately, is only with Latin letters), and in its settings you can choose in which cases