MRP: Rs 9,000
Street Price (As On 9-Jan-2011): Rs 7600 (Saholic.com; Koovs.com; Infibeam.com)
Spice's latest mass-market smartphone runs Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) out of the box. On paper, it almost matches many mid-range droids. On top of that, its dual-SIM (GSM) functionality adds more value to this device.
Design And Build Quality
The retail package comes with the phone, charger, USB cable, and earphones. The device measures 4.6" (l) x 2.4" (w) x 0.6" (d) and weighs 136 grammes. It has mediocre looks, which is acceptable at this price point. The Mi 350's front and battery cover is made of metal, but it doesn't feel premium at all. Finally, although the device isn't a looker, the build quality is good.
The phone's 3.5" screen has pixel dimensions of 480x320, which makes for a low pixel-density of 165 ppi. The display is dull, and the colours look washed out. What's worse is the lack of sunlight legibility.
The phone is powered by a 650 MHz CPU and has 256 MB of RAM. Other specs include Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, a 3.2 MP main and a front VGA camera, 3.5 mm headphone jack, 32 GB memory card slot, and a 1400 mAh battery.
UI And Applications
Spice has hardly made any changes to the stock Android UI. Despite a feeble CPU, the device doesn't lag much. Even so, the Android experience on this gadget isn't pleasing at all. It's disappointing to see the Mi-350n struggle with simple games such as Fruit Ninja and Angry Birds.
The default web browser is sluggish and unstable. Be prepared for frequent crashes and long rendering times. What's worse is that the device's Wi-Fi reception is somewhat unreliable. For example, it failed to download the Plants Vs Zombies game for about 3-4 times, whereas the Sony Ericsson Xperia ray downloaded it in a single go.
The GPS receiver's performance isn't good either, and I wonder if it can ever lock onto satellites without the A-GPS (Assisted GPS) option turned on.
The music player has a simple interface that looks ok, but the playback control screen doesn't switch to landscape, which is odd. Sound quality is mediocre at best, though the bundled earphones aren't that bad. Spice has also provided plenty of sound effects and equaliser settings to play with. Lastly, the FM radio feature has been duly included.
The Mi-350n can handle MP4 videos up to 480p, but anything above that turns into a slide show. Additionally, its poor display further mars the experience.
The device's camera is terrible, and I'm still not convinced that it's a 3.2 MP module. If that wasn't enough, the sluggish and buggy interface makes your life miserable. Forget image quality and detail - the camera implementation is so bad that it takes at least 5 seconds to start. Don't even get me started on how the screen goes dark for a couple of seconds after each shot.
The gadget's video recording at 480p is as bad as its still photography. Recorded videos turn out to be choppy and plagued with colour variations.
Telephony And Messaging
The Mi-350n is a dual-SIM, dual-standby device, which means that even if you receive a call on one SIM, the other will still remain active. Spice has added a neat SIM management menu, which lets you select a preferred SIM for messaging and data connection, or just leave it to Always ask.
Messages are displayed in a threaded fashion, which is a good thing. On the other hand, the on-screen portrait keypad is a pain to use. The landscape one is equally bad, with only its larger size making it somewhat usable.
Battery And Verdict
The 1400 mAh battery can keep the device powered for around 6 hours under heavy use. This isn't bad for a device that handles two SIM cards and runs Android.
The Mi-350n does bring the smarphone within the reach of the masses. Additionally, not many Android devices have a dual-SIM functionality, which works in Spice's favour.
In spite of all this, the gadget's performance isn't up to the mark. It struggles even with simple games, which defeats the purpose of buying an Android. What's worse is that the phone's camera and multimedia performance are disappointing. Therefore, I can only recommend this device to folks who desperately want a dual-SIM Android device. Others are better off with dual-SIM feature phones, such as the Samsung Star II Duos C6712 and Nokia X5-01.
Design And Build Quality: 3/5
Value For Money: 3/5
Overall Rating: 2.5/5