Micromax kind of hit it off with the fairer sex about a year ago with the Bling. Its squared off, rotation styled design with crystals outlining the center selector button made it a handset for the lady with style. I'm not talking about the Java based UI, just the design of the handset. To keep up with today's fast paced trends, it's not just about looks, functionality plays a vital role for today's modern woman, so enter the Bling 2 A55 - an Android powered Smartphone. I was curious to know if the sequel could fare as well as the first edition so here's a closer look.
Design and Build Quality
The Bling 2 employs a standard candybar, touchscreen styling. It has a glossy white finish and on the front there’s a dash of black surrounding the screen. The smartphone has a 2.8-inch screen with a resolution of 240 x 320 pixels. The typical touch-sensitive buttons for Menu, Return and Home are placed below the display in a triangular formation with a little "Bling" thrown into the design as the Home option is engulfed in an arc of glittering 'Swarovski' crystals. Hopefully these won't fall off as easily as they did with the previous models. Moving to the back panel, the name “bling” is written in calligraphy and is supposed to denote a touch of femininity. Taking a closer look, you’ll notice the camera lens is also surrounded by a ring of the same crystals as in the front. You’ll find a volume rocker on the right and a mini USB port for charging and transferring data on the top. At the side of the USB port, there’s a 3.5 mm audio jack. Now just in case you're wondering whether those are original crystals, the fact is that these are actually Swarovski Zirconia which is not original crystal but more of a synthetic substance called Cubic zirconia which has all the glitz like that of a diamond. In a way, these are just simulated crystals.
Low resolution display not too good to view
In one line, the build quality of the whole handset is quite decent and the smartphone could be called good looking, but quite a few of my female colleagues and friends seemed to disapprove of the look of the handset. Even the crystals didn’t seem to sway their decision to the positive.
The smartphone runs on Android 2.2 aka FroYo out of the box, which operates smoothly without any hassles most of the time. The other times, I did feel it was a little buggy. For instance, exiting an app takes a little longer than usual. The same goes for trying to open an app. Something very irritating about the A55 is that the response time while accessing the touch-senstive keys was too sluggish. The display is not too easy to view under bright sunlight. The fonts are small and so are the icons. This can also make the onscreen QWERTY keypad quite frustrating to use especially if you have stubby fingers. However, since it's a handset for the ladies, it shouldn't be an issue.
The crystal studded camera is poor
The A55’s audio player is probably the poorest I’ve ever heard, not only in terms of detail but also when it comes to the volume level. Even after cranking the volume all the way up, it wasn’t as loud as required when you're living in a loud city like Mumbai. The details were just about okay with mids and highs being quite apparent while the bass being almost invisible. I thought perhaps the bundled earphones were not up to the mark, but even after trying them with far superior options, I was unimpressed. The same cannot be said for the speakerphone of the Bling 2 however, as it sounded pretty loud and clear. The Bling 2 supports MP4 and 3GP video formats in low resolutions. There was pixilation noticed but the playback was quite smooth. However, the screen’s small size doesn’t make it the best to watch long video clips on. For other formats, you can download RockPlayer from the Android Market or any other for a wider range of codec support.
The Bling 2 comes with the standard connectivity features found on most Android handsets nowadays. There’s your regular EDGE and GPRS for browsing the internet and for those of you desiring faster access, there’s 3G as well. Browsing the internet is quite convenient through the Opera Mini browser which comes pre-loaded. As the handset runs FroYo, it comes with Wi-Fi that also has Wi-Fi Hotspot capabilities. It also features Bluetooth with A2DP as well as USB 2.0. The Micromax Bling 2 can also support 32 GB of external memory via micro SD cards. Surprisingly, Google’s pre-loaded apps like YouTube, Gmail and Maps have not been included on this handset like most Android smartphones. Also, Social Networking apps like Facebook or Twitter were not pre-loaded on the smartphone. Thankfully, the A55 being an Android smartphone, has the Android Market from which to download all those missing apps and some more if required.
small keyboard is not easy to type
There are the regular features like a voice recorder, calendar (syncs with Google), File manager, FM Radio, Sound Recorder and OfficeSuite which lets you view various types of documents such as DOC, PDF, XLS and PPT. Micromax’s added apps are Mi-Apps, miRoamer, Mobile Guard, munduTV, Moneycontrol and a NetQin Anti-virus software. While Mi-Apps is Micromax’s store for their own set of paid and free apps, miRoamer is an internet radio app that lets you listen to songs from international radio stations via 3G/EDGE. Another app called Saavn is more India-specific and has all Bollywood related stuff like music and information on the latest releases of movies. MunduTV lets you watch streaming TV and includes most of the Hindi and English channels that are broadcast in India. If you’re into the stock market or are always keen on stocks-related information, the Moneycontrol app will help you out with that.
Opera worked quite well
Probably one of the best apps that has been included is WhatsApp which is a free cross-platform messenger. There’s E-buddy as well for those wanting to talk to friends having Java-based handsets. While these apps are handy, I kind of expected something pertaining more to women. Probably something like safety tips at night or maybe an emergency call function, flash light so they could go hunting around in those small but deep purses they carry around etc. They could have added apps that gave information on discounts or even make-up tips perhaps, I'm just saying. What you don't see you can probably find via the Android Marketplace.
The Bling 2 sports a 3 Megapixel camera which is pretty mundane for low-end smartphones but doesn’t do well in terms of performance. There’s not much detail and colours don’t look very natural either. The indoor shots look a little better but grainy. However there are quite a few settings that can be played around with for some fun. You can change colour effects like Mono, Sepia, Negative and so on. You can also change saturation, contrast and sharpness levels and play around with a few White Balance settings like Incandescant, Cloudy, Daylight etc.
Average image quality
The battery life of this smartphone is also quite average, with the Bling 2 running for about an entire day with Wi-Fi turned off with about two hours of talk time and a bit of music.
Won't woo the ladies
The Bling 2 comes at a price of Rs. 9000 (MOP) which makes it a low-budget 3G smartphone. However, there are many other options that are available now in this price bracket and can perform a lot better than the A55. Even though Micromax specially made the Bling 2 for the 'Venus'-dwellers, it hasn’t really appealed much in terms of design at least and rating it functionality-wise, the Galaxy 3 will cost about the same and there’s Spice Mi-310 as well. If you already have a Bling, this is definitely not a worthy successor.
|Screen Resolution||240 x 320|
|Number of Colours||262k|
|Digital Zoom||No Information|
|Optical zoom||No Information|
|Video resolution / frame rate||No Information|
|Video Recording||No Information|
|Front facing camera||No Information|
|Dual Sim Support||No Information|
|2G||GSM 900/1800 MHz|
|3G||WCDMA 900/2100 Mhz|
|EGPRS or EDGE||No Information|
|Dimensions||107.2 x 58.7 x 13.5 mm|
|Talk Time with Standard Battery||240|
|Standby Time with Standard Battery||Up to 6 days|
After Sales Service
Published Date: Jun 07, 2011 05:18 pm | Updated Date: Jun 07, 2011 05:18 pm