There is no shortage of smartphones in the Indian market currently and there is certainly no shortage of manufacturers either. The constant inflow of Chinese manufacturers has converted the casual Indian buyer into a more spec frenzied one. Amidst all this, there is an Indian company called Hyve that is trying to make a spot in the market with its smartphones. Having reviewed the entry level Hyve Storm, we will be reviewing their current flagship, the Hyve Buzz.
The phone comes in a black box with bright yellow patterns resembling a beehive. This design gives the box a unique look instead of the regular plain jane boxes that other manufacturers use.The box mentions some of the highlights of this smartphone and other details like the IMEI and box contents. The box opens in a vertical fashion and the phone is right there wedged between two pieces of foam. Behind, it holds all the other essentials like a 2A charger, the nylon braided USB Type-C cable and the earphones. Now coming to the smartphone itself, the Hyve Buzz.
In a bid to stand out of the crowd of phones, Hyve has a different approach in designing the Buzz. The design of the phone is unique, the phone tapers towards the sides in order to achieve the claimed thickness of 5.5mm and the buttons are moved to the back to give it that slim feel. If you would imagine buttons on the back to be like the ones on the LG G4 or the Asus Zenfone 2 then you are in for a surprise. The buttons sit on the right side of the phone with the volume button on the top and the power button slightly below it. The placement of the buttons isn’t very comfortable to use and while using it in the right hand, we had to keep shuffling the phone in hand to press these.
The Buzz sports a 13-megapixel camera at the back with a dual LED flash. Below the camera is a hexagonal shaped notification LED and a fingerprint scanner. This LED only notifies about calls and a colour one located near the earpiece is used for all other notifications. The phone has a 3.5mm audio jack on the top and a USB Type-C port at the bottom both protected by rubber flaps. While these flaps help the device get an IPX4 rating for water resistance, they can be irritating to use. That’s because phones like the Moto G3 offer better water resistance (IPX7) without these flaps. There is one additional flap on the left that hides a Dual Micro SIM and MicroSD card slots. The phone comes with a 32GB card in place which adds to the 16GB of internal storage. In case that ever falls short, the phone accepts cards up to 128GB.
On the front, the Buzz has a 5.5 inch LCD display with a resolution of 1920×1080 pixels. The display has punchy contrast and good visibility even in direct sunlight. This praise may be attributed to the presence of MiraVision display technology by MediaTek, that aims to improve the overall display output.
Although the screen is well calibrated, users have the option to tweak or select between preset Vivid and Standard colour modes. The phone has a single speaker at the back that is loud and makes watching stuff on the Buzz engaging.
Hardware and Software
The hardware race in the smartphone industry is not a new thing. We’ve seen some impressive processors launched by LeEco and Xiaomi in the budget segment. While most of its competitors are powered by Snapdragon, this phone is powered by a MediaTek MT6753, an octa-core chipset clocked at 1.5GHz. All that power is bundled with 3GB of RAM which helps the device deliver a lag free performance. Having more RAM gives you the flexibility to multitask without the phone having to load an app from scratch. The phone performs day to day tasks well but put it under heavy load and the top half of the phone gets warm to the touch.
What is interesting is that Hyve offers bone stock Android, so in case you want a stock Android experience, this phone scores a point. It comes pre-installed with a Hyve Care App that helps with registering the phone for warranty. The Buzz gets 2 years of warranty and 1 year of damage insurance with a complimentary pickup and drop service. Another feature labeled Touch2Call uses predefined fingerprints as shortcuts to place a call with a single touch. While the feature sounds handy, consider the fact that you can practically only use your two index fingers, since the scanner is at the back. Now, if you configure one of them to make a call, you’ll have to remember which finger to use for what purpose. Apart from these two things, the phone is running stock Android Lollipop. This also helps it score a slightly higher benchmark score of 37721 while the Coolpad Note 3 with the same spec managed a 36076 score.
The camera on the Hyve Buzz is a 13 megapixel ExmorRS sensor with PDAF (Phase Detection Autofocus). The camera performance is average; the phone is quick to focus but takes a tad bit longer to capture the image. The HDR shots turned out to be disappointing as the phone took even longer to take images at different exposures and merge them into one. Even if you do manage a focused HDR shot, the highlights appear to be blown. As with the image below, the details of the clouds are washed out. Macro shots took slightly longer as we had to tap the screen multiple times to get it to focus exactly where we wanted.There are a few other useful features like scene detection, object tracking and PIP (Picture in Picture) mode among others.
On the front, the Buzz has a 5-megapixel selfie shooter that clicks good quality images. The output is good enough for social media posts and sharing on instant messengers. The PIP mode is also available for selfies which fires up both the cameras for the shot.
Battery & Connectivity
The Buzz encompasses a 2500mAh battery that is sealed shut. The battery capacity is a little low when compared to the standard size in most 5.5 inch smartphones. The phone managed to go on for one day with light use, with heavy usage demanding a charge in the evening. The supplied charger is rated at 2A and comes with a nylon braided Type C cable. Our review unit took somewhere around an hour to charge it from 0-50% using the bundled charger.
In terms of connectivity the phone gets NFC support in addition to Bluetooth 4.0 and Wi-Fi (Dual band support). There is FM Radio, a feature disappearing on most smartphones today. The phone supports 4G and VoLTE on both the SIM slots. But while using it with a Reliance Jio SIM card we weren’t able to make phone calls (Jio uses VoLTE) or access the internet. On the other hand, 3G, 4G and calling worked fine on the traditional Vodafone network.
Hyve has made an attempt to distinguish itself from the competition. The unique button location comes in the way of functionality and hampers usage. The flaps for water protection do become irritating when charging the smartphone and the small 2500mAh battery isn’t helping either. However, what the phone has going for itself is a brilliant display, a loud enough speaker and stock Vanilla Android. Priced at Rs 13,499 the Buzz faces some really tough competition from the LeEco Le2 and the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3. Both these phones are literally twice as powerful (if you compare benchmarks), offer bigger batteries that result in better battery life, double the internal storage, premium metal construction, useful features like an IR blaster, for less, among other things.