There is a plethora of Android-based budget phones and tablets being released in the market and most are affordably priced keeping the mass user demand in mind. 7- inch tablets were the first to be seen around as the hottest selling ones and with the further price cuts on the hardware, we are now seeing large screen and dual-core tablets too. We have recently reviewed a few large-screen budget Android tablets and did find a few worthy ones. This time we have the Spice Stellar Pad MI-1010 in our labs. By the looks and the hardware specs, it does look promising. Let’s check out if it really lives up to our expectations.
10-inch IPS panel with 1280 x 800 pixel resolution
Design and build
Holding it upfront, one could mistake it for an iPad from afar, but what gives it away is the 16:9 wide screen and the missing Home button. The MI-1010 has a beautiful looking design with rounded edges and a matte-finished silver metal back panel. The front panel is completely covered edge-to-edge by the display’s protective glass with no buttons whatsoever. The rear panel sports the 3 megapixel camera and two stereo speakers. About an inch from the bottom of the rear panel is a split, made of plastic to make way for the wireless network’s operation. The right side houses the power jack, a microUSB PC interface, a miniHDMI port, a microSD card slot and the audio jack. Two miniature holes are also visible, one each for the reset switch and the microphone. The top features the volume rocker and the power button. The tablet measures 259 mm and 174 mm in width and height respectively and is 10 mm thick. The tablet is pretty heavy at 667 grams.
Metal rear panel with matte finish
The Spice Stellar Pad MI-1010 is powered by a dual-core 1.5GHz processor and a MALI-400 GPU. It has 1GB of RAM and sports an internal storage of 16GB, expandable up to 32 GB via microSD card. The display featured here is an HD 10-inch LCD IPS panel that has a resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels and an aspect ratio of 16:9. The display also allows 10-point multi-touch for use in games and apps that require multi-finger inputs or gestures. The operating system installed on the Spice Stellar MI-1010 is Android Jelly Bean version 4.1.
microUSB, microSD card slot, miniHDMI on the right
The MI-1010 has two cameras—the main rear shooter with a 3 mega-pixel resolution and the front facing camera, which is a standard 0.3 MP. Connectivity options include Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n wireless networking and a microUSB PC interface with OTG support for 3G dongles, input devices and external storage drives. The power source for the tablet is a sufficient 7600mAh Li-ion Polymer battery. Additional features include GPS and a G sensor. What we found missing is the Bluetooth option.
Volume rocker and power button on the top
The MI-1010 has a stock tablet user interface. The tablet is actually powered by a dual-core 1.5GHz processor, but the manufacturer has overclocked the processor marginally and left it at a maximum 1.6GHz. We did find the user interface still a tad jittery, but it goes unnoticed while swiping around the interface with speed. Overclocking the processor has also left the tablet overheating slightly, but after a fairly prolonged use, the tablet did not become unstable or freeze. This means that the processor has been safely overclocked. Overall, the user interface is smooth enough and we don’t have any complaints here. Lastly, the manufacturer has included a few free apps for productivity and entertainment. We did notice a very annoying fact – when the tablet is powered on or shut down, the start-up and shut-down music by the manufacturer in the ROM is extremely loud and shrill and there is no way you can reduce the volume. So if you want to start up or shut down the tablet in a silent zone, or when all are asleep at night, you might have to plug in the earphones to shunt the audio to the earphones. Removing the audio would require rooting the tablet and disabling or deleting the audio tracks from the operating system folder.
Slim form factor, but a tad heavy
As is the norm with all tablets and phones, we run our standard benchmarking utilities to know the actual performance strengths of the internals. AnTuTu scored 11313, Quadrant scored 3596 and NenaMark2 gave us a frame rate of 51.4 fps. Linpack scored 46.47 MFLOPS and 47.79 MFLOPS in single-thread and multi-thread tests accordingly. Judging by the scores, we found this tablet a tad slower than the previously reviewed large-screen Android tablets, the HCL ME Tablet G1 (9.7-inch, dual-core 1.2GHz) and the Swipe Velocity Tab (8-inch, dual-core 1.6GHz). All three tablets perform good enough in terms of usability, so it is only the price and hardware specifications that can make one choose between them.
Stock Jelly Bean home launcher
Display and media
Featuring an HD resolution of 1280 x 800 and sporting an IPS panel, the display quality of the Spice Stellar Pad MI-1010 is very good. The colours are rich, the brightness and contrast levels are just right and the picture quality is crisp and clear. The viewing angles are superb and there are no glitches whatsoever. HD 720p and full HD 1080P videos are a pleasure to watch and the bundled headphones are not bad either. The audio quality from the supplied ear buds are pretty decent and you won’t need a replacement. The built-in stereo speakers are very loud but are a bit too sharp with extreme highs and mids. You might need to turn down the volume to avoid irritation to your hearing as the audio quality is not very pleasant.
Minimal apps with a few freebies
As mentioned earlier, the tablet relies on a 7600mAh Li-ion polymer battery. We ran a video loop using a standard definition video to gauge the possibility of the battery life. The videos ran through almost 5 hours and 15 minutes till we had to find the charger and juice up the battery. We later played around with the tablet by using it for casual gaming, Internet-related activities such as emails, videos and surfing and finally for streaming a few movies and music. This time the battery lasted for just round 30 minutes more as compared to the earlier test. To sum up, the battery life on the 10-incher is good enough for almost a day if you are not using it throughout. The sad part of the tablet is that it does not charge via the USB port. You have to carry along the charger with you at all times. This also means you cannot rely on using a conventional battery bank or a battery pack to charge the device in emergencies while outdoors or during a power cut.
AnTuTu system information states CPU overclocked to 1.6GHz
Verdict and Price in India
The Spice Stellar Pad MI-1010 is definitely a great tablet to own. Available for an MRP of Rs 17,999, it definitely seems steeply priced, but the product is available for an MOP of Rs 12,999, which is a steal. There are a few downsides – the tablet is a tad too heavy and does not charge via the USB port either – but these are minor issues. Comparing the product to the HCL G1, which sports almost similar specs with an IPS display and 1.6GHz dual core processor, this one overpowers it by the screen size, display resolution, internal storage and the build quality. Judging by the prices of other 10-inchers in the category, we would recommend it if you want a superior large-screen budget tablet.
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