Spice Mi-300 Android Mobile Phone

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Spice has been very visible these days in the handset market with their 12MP and 5MP camera phones, touchscreen devices launched in conjunction with new movies and now they’ve taken on Android. The Mi-300 is the first Android device from the company and there will be more to follow come November of this year. But for now, here’s a closer look at the Mi-300.

Form Factor
Spice has managed to fit in a 3.2-inch HVGA capacitive touchscreen display into this device and still keep the price in the affordable range. They’ve even thrown in a BlackBerry style ‘Pearl’ trackball for navigating the menus with touch sensitive menus keys just below the display. Volume keys and a camera button are on one side with a neatly concealed micro USB port for charging and pc connectivity on the other. A 3.5mm handsfree socket is placed at the top. The Mi-300 has a microSD hot swap slot under the rear panel.

I can’t say it’s a just a plain looking handset as it does have that certain je n’est ce quoi factor about it. Its light weight simplistic design makes it easy to carry around and conformable to use.

Features and Performance
The UI, although comfortable as Android is, is riddled with overly colorful icons which does tend to make the handset a tad gaudy. The layout is comfortable to navigate and of course you can choose to install any other on top like Launcher Pro which worked out just fine. The UI is smooth thanks to the MSM7227 chipset and 600MHz processor. Multitasking, Multitouch functions, scrolling through menus, accessing apps and the accelerometer all worked without a hitch or much lag.

The UI is, like I said, quite colorful and does make the otherwise drab Android UI come alive to an extent. For now it’s running on Android 1.6 but will be upgradeable to Éclair (2.1) soon via an OTA update. This does negate a few options like social networking integration with your phone book.

Audio quality for music is just average. The bass tones could have been a little more resounding than they were and the volume should have been a little louder. In a crowded train, irrespective of the kind of earphones I used, the decibel level and overall audio quality was un-impressive. It reads MPEG4 and 3GP files just fine and playback is quite smooth. The display size and resolution makes it comfortable to watch videos in almost any lighting condition.  I was rather surprised to find there was no FM radio included.
It’s a 3.5G handset that also supports EDGE, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and of course USB 2.0. Other than the native Gmail app the Mi-300 also supports MS Exchange and other popular IMAP accounts and of course Push Mail support. The native browser works just fine but if you prefer you could just download and use your own via the Android Market. Gtalk and a preloaded Socially (social network chat application for FB, Twitter and LinkedIn) are available. What I can’t fathom is why Spice would include a link to the FB mobile site instead of simply preloading the Facebook for Android or Twitter apps. The native YouTube app is on board and Spice has also thrown in a Yahoo! app with options for most of Yahoos services including Flickr. Other social networking add-ons include another link this time to Ibibo. Other connective apps include access to Naukri.com, Rail info, Wapedia and Reuter’s news and an RSS reader as well are also available. Images can be shared with your FB or Picasa account or sent via email, MMS or even backed up using your RoadSync account.

The Mi-300 also comes with a built in GPS module and A-GPS support for Google Maps. A GPS tracker app comes preloaded.

Misc. Features
What I like about Spice handsets of any variety are the extra goodies the company throws in. In this case, the Mi-300 comes with apps like – an SMS Search, an SMS filter for blocking those unwanted spam messages with ads, a Voice dialer, Voice memo and more. The basics like a calendar (syncs with your PC’s calendar for appointments etc.), Calculator etc. are also included.

A 5MP autofocus camera with an LED flash and limited settings is part of the Mi-300’s feature set. The settings include Geotagging, white balance and a few effect settings. Although the ads may say that the camera supports hi definition video recording, it’s only goes sup to VGA (640 x 480) quality. If you were thinking 720p, think again.

Image quality is not bad though. Even if pictures may not seem crystal clear in native resolution, for a 5MP phone camera that costs below Rs. 10,000, it’s quite good in fact.

The battery is certainly not an asset to this otherwise quirky-less handset. On an average I got no more than a single days usage before it went dead. This means charging it every day or keeping it charging when you’re at home or office. Talk time averaged in at just 2 hours and change. I do hope this was an issue with this test pieces battery.

The Bottom Line
Being priced at Rs. 9,990 makes the Mi-300 Android device a touch one to beat. It’s comes bundled with quite a few very handy features and even though it’s still suffering with version 1.6, Éclair will surely make things a whole lot smoother than it already is. It’s gout quite a bit to offer but could use a tweak in the audio (music) section and the battery life. Those are just about the only major issues with the handset.

I’d like to invite Mi-300 users to share their experiences with the handset as well, our comments section awaits.

Published Date: Sep 22, 2010 09:58 am | Updated Date: Sep 22, 2010 09:58 am