InFocus went on a launch spree earlier this year, unveiling several low-cost Android smartphones under its Bingo brand, including the Bingo 10 (Review) and Bingo 50 (Review). These weren’t especially impressive in terms of performance, compared to other available options. The new InFocus Epic 1 is the company’s latest launch, and it packs a deca-core chip as well as a decent camera, which are the biggest highlights of the device. Will these be enough for the InFocus Epic 1 to take on the popular Moto G4 Plus and Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 in the hotly contested sub-Rs 15,000 segment? We try to find out in our review.

InFocus Epic 1 look and feel
Featuring a 5.5-inch display, the Epic 1’s front is dominated by its screen. The phone boasts of Corning Gorilla Glass protection for the front. It has a rounded earpiece that bears a passing resemblance to that of the Nextbit Robin (Review). A set of standard sensors is right next to it, along with a front-facing camera. The smartphone uses on-screen navigation buttons, which means that the wide space below the display is empty.

The power and volume buttons are on the right, while the hybrid SIM tray is on the left. There is a USB Type-C port at the bottom, with a mono speaker grille next to it. The Epic 1 has an IR blaster on top, which allows it to act as a universal remote control. The 3.5mm audio jack is also located at the top.

The brushed metal rear gives the Epic 1 a premium feel, while the curved shape helps in gripping the handset. There’s a round fingerprint sensor below the camera lens, with InFocus branding lower down. At 160 grams, the Epic 1 feels feels neither too heavy nor too light for its screen size. It’s also easy to use with just one hand. With a thickness of 8.4mm, the Epic 1 feels sleek enough compared to other smartphones in the same price range.

Unfortunately, our review unit didn’t come with the retail box, but you should find a user manual, earphones, and a charger with a USB Type-C cable in the box. Overall, the Epic 1 is a marked improvement over other smartphones we have seen from InFocus in terms of design and aesthetics.

InFocus Epic 1 specifications and software
The dual-SIM InFocus Epic 1 is powered by a deca-core MediaTek Helio X20 (MT6797M) SoC with two Cortex-A72 cores clocked at 2GHz, four Cortex-A53 cores clocked at 1.9GHz, and four Cortex-A53 cores clocked at 1.4GHz. It features 3GB of RAM and 32GB of inbuilt storage which is expandable via microSD card (up to 128GB).

There is a 5.5-inch full-HD (1080×1920 pixels) LTPS display with Corning Gorilla Glass. The smartphone sports a 16-megapixel rear camera with an f/1.8 aperture, dual-tone LED flash, PDAF, and auto image stabilisation, while the 8-megapixel front-facing camera has an f/1.8 aperture and 82-degree wide-angle lens.

The phone is backed by a 3000mAh non-removable battery and supports fast charging. Apart from 4G with VoLTE support, other connectivity options on the Epic 1 include Bluetooth v4.1, Wi-Fi 802.11ac, and GPS/ A-GPS.

You get Android 6.0 Marshmallow with the company’s InLife 2 UI on top. Despite InFocus heavily promoting itself to be different from other Chinese smartphone brands, it fits right in with them because of the unpolished interface. The Epic 1 misses out on several of Marshmallow’s visual improvements, something we also mentioned in our Bingo 50 review. The icon packs look especially dated.

InFocus has made a few changes to its InLife UI, including removing the app drawer, which means all app icons now sit on the homescreens. An interesting added feature is the frequently used apps folder which keeps track of apps that have been used recently. It saves a bit of time compared to searching for the specific app you might need. The quick settings panel also seems dated with an old animation, but users will be able to rearrange the toggles right there.

The smartphone comes with the default Launcher+ as well as the simpler EZ Launcher, which we have seen on previous InFocus smartphones, and offers a simplified interface suitable for first-time users.

InFocus Epic 1 performance
The InFocus Epic 1 is easily the best performing device in its price range. During our review, we experienced no lags or slowdowns. We noticed that there was at least 1.2GB of free memory when we used the phone, which helped with overall responsiveness.

The Epic 1 handled heavy gaming with ease, and multitasking felt smooth. 4G worked well and call quality was decent. Audio output through the stereo speakers was also very good. Throughout the review period, we didn’t feel any overheating even when we were gaming or shooting videos at 1080p.

In terms of benchmarks, the InFocus Epic 1 easily beats its competition. We got an impressive score of 86,112 in AnTuTu. The 3DMark Ice Storm Extreme score was 9087, and we also got 27fps in GFXBench.

The fingerprint sensor on the Epic 1 isn’t the best we have used on smartphones and it required us to try at least twice before accepting a fingerprint, which was annoying at times.

The 16-megapixel rear camera on the Epic 1 is quick and the app launches in no time. The camera interface is easy to use and definitely felt uncluttered compared to other smartphones in this price range. InFocus has implemented a PiP mode on the Epic 1, which lets you shoot with both front and rear cameras simultaneously.

The rear camera impressed us as it was quick to lock focus even when frames moved, and didn’t require a tap on the screen. We however noticed slight shutter lag when clicking some images. Some photos came out slightly blurry though this did not happen often.

(Tap to see full-sized InFocus Epic 1 camera samples)

We did notice overblown highlights in some camera samples, which was disappointing and is not very common for smartphones in this price range. There was a lot of noise in objects at a distance in daytime landscape shots, though colours were mostly accurate. Shots taken in artificial or low light were also not very impressive. Most of them came out with considerable amounts of noise. Selfies were just about decent.

The 3000mAh non-removable battery lasted for about 10 hours and 40 minutes in our video loop test, which is good, but not as strong as some of the other phones we’ve tested with the same battery capacity. With medium to heavy usage, the Epic 1 lasted for a day though we had to switch to Power Saving mode to save some juice. Fast charging support is a big plus for the Epic 1. It took 30 minutes of charging to go from zero to about 50 percent, and less than two hours to fill up completely.

Verdict
The InFocus Epic 1 definitely impressed with its performance, thanks to its deca-core Helio X20 processor. This smartphone can easily handle daily duties, and is way more powerful than its current competition in the same price range. Unfortunately, the Epic 1 isn’t the best overall package as its battery performance is below average, its camera doesn’t perform consistently well, and its interface looks dated.

If you are looking for a powerful smartphone then the InFocus Epic 1 is the right choice. For alternatives, you should consider the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 (Review) and Moto G4 Plus (Review) which received decent ratings across parameters in our reviews.

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