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Spice Mi-410 Review – The Slim yet Powerful Android

spice-mi-410Introduction

Spice recently Launched the ‘Spice Mi-410’ Android phone in the Indian Market with very affordable price tag for just 14000Rs. Mi-410 was created by CSL a Malaysian Mobile Brand recently Acquired by the Spice Group. Looking at the current Indian smartphone market Mi-410 is the only phone with such powerful specifications at such a low price Making it’s value for money ever More. The best Part about the Device is that it is Running Android  with an unlocked bootloader, more on that and lot of other stuff about the phone below.

Specifications

General Information
Brand Spice
Model Mi-410
Weight 143 G
Form Factor Candybar
Dimensions 122 x 66 x 10 mm
Display
Type TFT LCD capacitive touchscreen
Size 4.1 Inch 800 x 480 px Resolution
Colour 256K Colours
Network
2G network Quadband (GSM 850/900/1800/1900)
3G network Quadband (UMTS 900/1700/1900/2100)
Data & Connectivity
GPRS Class 12, 32-48 kbps
EDGE Class 12, 236.8 kbps
3G HSDPA, 14.4 mbps
Wi-Fi Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, DLNA, Wi-Fi hotspot
USB v2.0
Bluetooth v2.1
Camera
Primary Rear Camera : 5.0 MP (2592×1944 Pixels) with LED Flash
Secondry Front Camera : 0.3 MP, VGA Camera (640×480 Pixels)
Video Recording 720P
Memory
Internal Memory 800 MB
External Memory Up to 32 GB
RAM 512MB
Platform
Operating System Android 2.2.2 Froyo(upgradable)
CPU 1GHz ARMv7 Processor rev2, Qualcomm Adreno 205 GPU
Browser HTML, Adobe Flash 10.1 Support
Battery
Stand By Time Up to 16 Days (2G), 15 Days(3G)
Talk Time Up to 4 Hours (2G), 2.5 Hours (3G)
Li-ion 1400 mAH
Miscellaneous
Advanced echo and noise cancellation
Proximity sensor for display auto-turn off
Accelerometer sensor for display auto-rotation
Ambient light sensor for auto-adjustment of display brightness
Exchange Sync to synchronize data with PC
Customizable home screen
Multi-touch input method
In The Box
Spice Mi-410 handset
Li-Po 1400 mAh battery
3.5mm headset
MicroUSB charger
User manual
Spice service centers list

Unboxing Design & Hardware Performance (8/10)

The Device has comes in solid box which containing

  • Spice Mi-410 handset
  • Li-Po 1400 mAh battery
  • 3.5mm headset
  • MicroUSB charger with converter
  • Mobile Carry Pouch
  • User manual
  • Spice service centers list

Even though the Device supports upto 32GB of external memory the box does contain a memory card so you will have to buy a memory card separately adding to cost but that is a negligible increase depending upon the amount of memory you want.

When you first hold the phone you realize that it has very slim profile and yet a very sturdy and solid feel in the hand, The 4.1inch Screen makes the viewing and gaming experience on the device more delightful. Overall the looks of the device are pretty flat and simplistic making it all the more elegant.
Spice Mi-410Spice Mi-410Spice Mi-410

The Phone has only two physical Buttons, the power button on the left and the Volume rocker on the right.

Spice Mi-410

Spice Mi-410

On the top there is the 3.5mm head phone jack and at the bottom the device has a Micro USB port and a mini HDMI port which is a nice addition for a device at this price. Performance of both HDMI and USB port was nice as expected but when we used the headphones we noticed even with max volume the calls were’nt as loud as the ear piece.

Spice Mi-410Spice Mi-410

On the Front of the Device there are 4 standard capacitive key at the bottom (Back, Menu, Home and Search), then (from right to left) there is a proximity sensor that gives a wonderful performance in detecting when there is something in front of the phone to turn off the screen preventing your face from accidentally pressing buttons on the screen, on the left of the proximity sensor there is a ear piece which is loud enough to be audible in crowded areas or at Metro/ Railways Station. Also on the left of ear piece there is a small led Light that has been used for Different purposes, for Example When the phone is charging it will show red Colour, when the phone is charged it will show green colour and where there is a missed notification it will blink in green. Which is a welcome additional feature and helps in tracking notifications better.

Spice Mi-410

Spice Mi-410

The phone has two microphones one at the bottom of the phone for attending calls and other at the back along the camera for video recording and noise cancellations

On the bottom left and right side phone are two speaker grills, but still the loud speaker performance is average, in a quite area the it performs good but if it gets a little noisy like the sound of fans and AC, that is when we noticed that the Loudspeaker sound is not very clear, hence, will recommend  calls on it but when we compared to other phones in the same price range it out performed them, hence, we called it Average not to loud but not to soft either.

The back the device has a 5MP camera with LED flash, the camera is a little raised out of the device so when you keep the phone on a flat surface on it’s back it increases the chances of the camera getting all the Scratched.

Spice Mi-410

Below the camera is the metallic Battery cover making the device all the more sturdy, after removing the battery cover we found that SIM card slot is not hot swappable but the memory card slot is, hence, for every time you want to change the Sim card  you need to take out the battery but you don’t have to take out the Battery for swaping a memory card, which is a added bonus if you have memory cards with movies you want to Watch On you Mobile.

Spice Mi-410

Spice Mi-410 Camera

Data Connectivity (8/10)

Wi-fi Connectivity gave a very strong signal even in areas with low signal strength where other failed to even detect a signal. Call signal strength is very good but there were times when other phones will get full bars of signal strength when it was 1 or 2 bars short. Then there were times when other failed to catch a signal this phone had enough signal strength to browse the net.

Spice Mi-410 Wi-fi

Also we did notice that if you hold the device on the right side in certain way, specially when keep it on your shoulder while talking the phone starts losing signal fast. From the iPhone 4 AntennaGate Debacle this issue has been termed as the Death Grip. But this is nothing to worry about it’s just physics. every phone held in certain way or covering a particular are with your hand will start to lose signal so this is nothing new.

Screen (7/10)

The 4.1 Inch TFT LCD Capacitive touch screen really does a wonderful job of enhancing the user experience and even in direct sunlight the screen with all it’s minutest detail even when the brightness was set to Auto.

But there are two things that we disliked about the screen, first off is the 256K colour screen that is very unjust to the powerful screen it has where others with even lower specs have a 16Mil colour screen making good movies and games look awesome. The other thing that we believed could be the deal breaker was the unresponsiveness of the screen. Which is very irritating when you are typing a message in full speed or want to show off your new sexy phone and when you try to unlock the home screen it takes than more than a few trials.But!!!

Yes there is the But in this case, both the 256K colour screen and the At times are both Software issues, that can be fixed in the next update (hopefully 2.3 Gingerbread). When we did the Multitouch test on the phone we found that the phone supports a maximum of two touch points and we did not experience any Touch Lag or unresponsiveness. So? this is also a software bug that can be fixed.

 

Battery (5/10)

What is the first Thing we do when we buy a smartphone? We customize it, we install the apps we want to use we sync it with social networks, emails etc, then we install some games or other apps that help us pass time and few days/ weeks later we get bored of the theme and widgets so we get new ones because in Android we can revamp the UI without hacking and rooting. I am sure I am not the only one who wants his phone to be fun.

If you run the device as it came out of the box without many widgets, themes and games the battery will last around a day and a half with minimal usage and a Day with normal usage like social networking, occasional Angry Birds  browsing the net, googling stuff, Messaging and few calls. But when you install some good widgets like facebook and Rss Feeds, get some more games, do lot of SMSing and net browsing, updates your status or check others will drain your battery fast. If you charged your battery the whole night took it out at 9 before leaving for work and with average usage and little playing with Widgets and Themes  (brightness to Auto)  by 7 in the evening the battery level was down to 20% and if just played angry birds for 30 Minutes in between you should then turn the brightness off if you want it to last till you get home.

Android 2.3 Gingerbread is acutally better than managing battery life and increasing battery life than Android 2.2 Froyo, so we hope the next update will fix this as well

(3G consumes the most battery then 2G/GPRS and the least by Wi-fi on this phone, so if you keep the Wi-fi on even when it’s not connected it won’t make a difference)

Camera(4/10)

Though the Phone has a 5MP camera capable of shooting Shooting of Videos in 720P HD, was very disappointing, the colours seemed all washed up when seen on a larger screen.  While the Picture camera has many features like Face Capture, Smile Capture, Self timer and Panorama the Vidoe Recorder or the Camcorder feature in the phone doesn’t have as many options, not even to turn on flash while recording. You can record videos in 3GPP format.

Low Light Photos and videos in the phone were also not very good even with a LED flash the Images lacked exposure and sharpness and the lack of options of adjusting colour settings or brightness settings is according to me the Weakest point of the Point of the phone.

Spice Mi-410 Camera SampleSpice Mi-410 Camera SampleSpice Mi-410 Camera SampleSpice Mi-410 Camera SampleSpice Mi-410 Camera SampleSpice Mi-410 Camera SampleSpice Mi-410 Camera SampleSpice Mi-410 Camera SampleSpice Mi-410 Camera SampleSpice Mi-410 Camera SampleSpice Mi-410 Camera SampleSpice Mi-410 Camera Sample

Click on any of the Above Pictures to Zoom.





Calling (9/10)

The Spice Mi-410 being Android phone has the same way of accepting calls, slide from left to right to accept and right to left to reject. In terms of signal Strength we compared it with out trustee iPhone 3G and found that where iPhone had full bars Mi-410 had a 1 or two bars shot but there were place that iPhone failed to connect like in a Metro Train we were able to make calls and browse the net on 2G/GPRS. Though when we compared it with the iPhone 4 we found that there were fewer dropped calls and better data connectivity in the iPhone 4 than in the Mi-410 . As we mentioned before the ear speaker volume is pretty decent, as the voice is still clearly understandable and audible at a crowdy place.

Messaging (6/10)

Messaging on the Device works Like a charm, all your messages are organized in Threads and will popup in the Notification bar every time a new message arrives , though we did notice that beyond 200 Messages exchanged between a contact in the Same thread get deleted to make room for new ones. The conversations are all in the form of threads

For typing a message the Phone uses the Stock Android keyboard which has long and thin keys lowering your accuracy while fast typing specially when you migrated from an iPhone or a QWERTY phone and combined with occasional unresponsiveness of the screen messaging no longer remains a pleasurable experience.

But we still have given this section a 6, why? because there lot of third party keyboard plugins in the Android Market that you can install to improve the experience. Personally I believe that you should install the swype keyboard. You won’t get it in the Android market but we will be providing a step by step guide on how you can install it on your Spice Mi-410, but that actually made typing fun.

Multimedia (8/10)

This phone is not running any custom skin like Sense, Touchwiz, blur or Mediascape so it has to manage with the Stock Android Gallery app, though it has a nice 3D effect to it also supported but the accelerometer so when you tilt the phone the icons or thumbnails also tilt. Now that was the Good Part of the stock Gallery app, the bad part is that it lacks options, there are no equalizer settings for the Music and every thing is in black and white in the interface side.

The video Player cannot play Divx/xvid or AVI files by default on the phone but you can download the MX player, a free app from the android Market to fulfill your needs.

Spice Mi-410 also has a basic video editing app called “Muvee Video Edit” that can handle effects like Fading, triming, adding text overlay etc and you can upload it straight to youtube and other video sharing social networking sites directly from the Phone.

Spice Mi-410 Muvee  EditorSpice Mi-410 Muvee  Editor

The Smartphones of today have forgotten the importance of the FM app which thankfully exists in the Mi-410 and does a decent job in catching signals. The FM app also has a built in voice recorder that let’s you record what is playing on the FM.

Spice Mi-410 FM App

Software Performance and Benchmarks (7/10)

I was very pleased with the performance of the phone, rarely did the phone ever show lag and during the week of extensive usage and tests the phone handled them all with Ease.

BenchMark Pi results varied between 1000 – 1300 (lower is better)

Spice Mi410 - Benchmark Pi

This is a very good and fast performance as the

HTC Desire had a socre of 2000+

HTC Desire S socres between 1000-1200

Incredible S Scored 1028

Nexus S Scored  1380

Galaxy S Scored 1342

Optimus 2x Scored 528

Quadrant Standard score Ranged between 1600 to 1770 (Higher is Better)
Spice Mi-410 Qudrant Standard
HTC Desire S scored 1336

HTC Incredible S Scored 1667

Nexus S Scored 1728

Samsung Galaxy S scored 996

LG Optimus 2X Scored 2471

Looking at the performance of the other devices in it’s class the Spice Mi-410 though with a little difference actually out Performed them all.

Web Browser and Email (8/10)

Spice Mi-410 Supports Adobe Flash 10.3 hence making your web browsing experience at par with the browsing experience on your desktop. Multitouch and  scrolling are also very smooth when flash is turned off. Even when you set flash to “on Demand” everything still remains very smooth but with flash “Always on” you will notice some lag in scrolling and Multitouch. The unresponsiveness of the Screen is also part of the Web browser installed on the Phone, when we tried other browser like Mozilla FireFox, SkyFire, Dolphin and Opera Mini we rarerly experienced any unresponsiveness.  My personal Favorite is the Opera Mini as it provides faster loading and full flash support. Third Party Browsers Handle tabs and other functions better than the Stock Browser where there is back button for browsing but as for the forward button it’s in a different menu.

There is no competing with the Gmail Android app in terms of managing your Gmail Emails but when it comes to other Mails hosts like Yahoo, MSN, Rediff, Etc is no walk in the park configuring it with the stock Email Application, for some of them you cab get their respective Email Apps but if you want one App for all emails in a Unified inbox you will need to configure all of them in the Stock email Application. Another thing that I noticed that the Email app does not get the notification badges like the SMS, Missed call or Gmail app does.

Summary

Positives
  • 4.1 Inch 800 x 480 px Resolution TFT LCD capacitive touchscreen
  • Android 2.2.2 Froyo (upgradable)
  • Unlocked boot loader for easy unlocking
  • 1GHz ARMv7 Processor rev2, Qualcomm Adreno 205 GPU
  • Rear Camera : 5.0 MP (2592×1944 Pixels) with LED Flash
  • Front Camera : 0.3 MP, VGA Camera (640×480 Pixels)
  • 720p HD video recording
  • Adobe Flash 10.1 Support in browser
  • Mini HDMI Port
  • Strong WiFi connectivity
  • Swap Memory Card With out Taking Out Battery
Negatives
  • Poor battery Life
  • Only 256K colour screen while all the phones in the Current Category have 16Mil Colour screen
  • Camera Quality is also very bad, Washed out colours in pictures and Videos, Low light Picture Quality very low
  • Unresponsive Touch Screen but can be Fixed with a software update
  • Average Loud Speaker Performance
  • Camera  Vulnerably to scratches

Conclusion (7/10) – To buy or or not to buy that is the Question?

I have had this phone for over a week to play with it push it too its limits and so I did. I am very impressed with the phone’s looks, design and performance making it one the best phones in it’s price range but it is not without it’s short comings which include unresponsive screen, inefficient battery management or the poor camera performance and lack of manual settings etc. Most of these problems are a software issues and the news is that Spice will be releasing the Android 2.3 Gingerbread update for the device which we expect will fix Most if the issues. The benchmark test actually out performed some of the best phones out there and with such a low price it Makes this Phone All the More attractive for potential Buyers.

Yes, we recommend this phone as this phone provides some powerful hardware with a nice bright screen and all that in a very slim body. I also agree that the phone is not flawless but most of the issues mentioned above are software glitches that can be fixed with an update and the Camera is decent for Day Pictures and Images that you just want to share on facebook and not use it for some serious photograph.

In Short this is the best Phone it’s price range in terms of Specs, Performance, Features and Looks(Looks is a Personal Opinion) and Definetly worth getting if you looking a phone in the Under 15K range.

The Phone is Available for Rs. 13,999 on Saholic.com

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