Ever since the popularity of Android, we have seen many handset makers getting into the budget or affordable category with Android handsets. While Samsung has made several handsets, Indian players like Karboon, Micromax and Spice also have good range of phones in the budget category which is mainly the 6k-8k range. Spice has now released a new Android phone, Stellar Craze Mi355 with good specs. Like other phones in this category, Spice Stellar Craze Mi-355 is a dual-SIM phone with 3.5 inch touchscreen and runs Gingerbread (2.3). Lets analyse the phone and find out how good it is for the price.
Firstly lets look into the specifications and what’s in the box.
Specifications at a Glance;
- Android 2.3, GSM 900/1800 MHz/ 3G
- 800 MHz processor
- 3.5 Inch Capacitive touchscreen
- 5MP camera with dual-LED flash
- Bluetooth, A-GPS, Wi-Fi, and USB
- Expandable memory upto 32GB
- 118 x 62 x 11.5 mm
- Display TFT LCD with 480 x 320 pixels
- 1420 mAh Battery
In the Box;
- Mi 355
- User Manual
Now lets find out the overall performance of Spice Mi355.
The design of Spice is typically like any other handset in this category. There is a glossy touch on the front and back panel. The back panel also has a bit of curves. There is also a silver lining around the front panel. The left side has the volume keys, while the top portion houses the power button and the 3.5 mm jack. The bottom section has the charging slot (micro USB) and also has the mic.
The back panel houses the 5MP camera and also the flash along with speakers. The glossy finish on the phone is pretty good and also has decent build quality plastics (when compared to other phones in this category). At 11.5mm, the phone isn’t on the slimmer side, but pretty good when holding in hand.
Removing the back panel to insert the battery of the SIM was a bit tough job (probably the issue with this handset).
The Spice Mi 355 features dual SIM with one slot for GSM and second slot for GSM/CDMA. The SIM slots are located below the battery. There is also a micro SD card slot which can be used to expand the memory to 32GB. But there is no micro SD card bundled with the phone, so in order to use the phone with camera and video recording, you will need to get one micro SD card.
Press the power button and the phone with light up with the Spice logo and a loud sound indicating the speakers have good sound. On the front panel, there are 4 buttons, typically like any other Android handset- back, home, options and the search key. The 3.5 inch screen is pretty good and the display is decent. The touch is pretty ok, but the responsiveness of screen it not very good and sometimes you might end up pressing more than once to get the job done.
Mi-355 is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 MHz S1 Processor and 512MB RAM. Low end Android phones have typical problem of lag when used continuously or when running too many apps. When we tested the Mi 355, we didn’t find it too much lagging, but yes, there is definitely a small amount of lag when quality moving from across different options. The phone comes with a 1420 mAh battery and we did get good results with the battery performance.
The speakers, as we mentioned before has pretty good sound and you wouldn’t miss the phone ringing. The speakers are housed at the back panel.
As mentioned earlier, phone runs Android 2.3 and it is upgradable to Android ICS and this would be provided as an OTA update from Spice. The UI is core Android and there are no launchers or other modifications like the touch wiz or Sense. So for Android users who would love to use core UI, it might exciting. The home screen has a date and time widget and the normal shortcuts. The bottom menus include Phone, contacts messages and the apps, similar to other Android phones.
The phone also comes with 6 months of FREE NETQIN antivirus shields against harmful viruses and malwares. Other apps are mostly standard which includes mail, search, Facebook, browser etc and there is also a FM radio in built.
From the notification area, you can select the Wi-Fi, Data connection, GPS, screen rotate lock and also the brightness settings.
The contacts and the dialer are pretty standard and does the job neatly.
The call quality was good and there was no dropping of calls. There is also a front camera which allows you to do 3G video calls which is again a great feature to have on a low end Android phone. We couldn’t test the 3G battery life on this phone, but we assume its decent. The talk time on 2G is around 4 hours and the stand by time is close to 8 days. Only one SIM supports 3G.
Camera and Web:
The camera unit of Mi 355 is a 5MP with flash, but this is one area which is really disappointing. The camera quality was not up to the mark. The images shot with the 5MP sensor came with lot of blur and there was no sharpness in images and also the colors were too dull. We are hoping that with the ICS upgrade there might be some improvement.
The video recording done with the camera was also disappointing and this phone is not for people who’s priority is camera. The recording with 3GP mode was really bad.
The web browsing with the standard Android browser is decent and all the controls works well along with the rendering. The browser is pretty fast on Wi-Fi as well as 3G connections.
Overall, the Spice Mi-355 is a good entry level Android with decent specification and the best part being upgradable to Android Ice Cream Sandwich. The phone also has good build quality along with a decent screen. Priced at Rs 6299 with a 1 year warranty, it is a good phone at entry level. You can buy the phone online from Saholic.
- Build quality
- ICS upgrade
- Dual SIM
- Camera unit
- Lack of SD card in the package