Spice Mi-310 – The Mi-300’s younger but better Android 2.2 Froyo sibling Review

Spice Mi-310 – The Mi-300’s younger but better Android 2.2 Froyo sibling Review
VERDICT:

The Spice Mi-310 is the downscaled yet better version of its big brother – Mi-300. Though the siblings are closely matched in terms of looks and features, the addition of Wi-Fi tethering and a superior Android platform make the Mi-310 much more desirable. Its nearest rival – the Micromax Andro A60 falls short with a sluggish resistive touchscreen interface and cheap build quality owing to its cheaper price. The only other competitor in this category is the HUAWEI Ideos, which is priced much higher at Rs. 8,500 and ships with a smaller 2.8-inch capacitive touchscreen. Thus, the Mi-310 beats all the competition and makes the best value for money Android phone in its price category. At Rs. 7,500, it is much cheaper and better than the Mi-300 and definitely recommended.

Look and Feel

[RELATED_ARTICLE]The Mi-310 is solidly built with due credit to its all-metallic body with aluminium finish on the front and back-panels. Owing to its sturdy build, it also grips nicely in your palms. The volume rocker button and camera button are outdented on its left side panel. Meanwhile the power button is etched onto its top surface, which could be easily missed. It also includes a 3.5mm audio jack on the top for the music buffs. The trackball has been replaced with an optical trackpad from its predecessor – Mi-300. The microphone retains the same location below the display, which is quite convenient during voice calls. The four touch sensitive buttons take identical positions on the display, as that of its elder sibling. The battery cover fits snugly into the grooves provided in the battery compartment and there is no loose play. The QWERTY touch-keypad is quite ergonomic and best suited for dual-hand operation in landscape mode. However, the touch-keypad is cramped for space in portrait mode, and might lead to accidental input errors with the hyper-sensitive touch buttons at the bottom of the display. Though the display is quite stylish and portrays expensive looks, its glossy surface makes it vulnerable to smudges.

Features

The noteworthy features on the Mi-310 include the proximity sensor, optical trackpad and the Wi-Fi tethering capability. The proximity sensor is meant to turn off the display and the touchscreen input when the phone is held close to your cheeks during phone calls. Unlike the jerky movements of the trackball, the optical trackpad provides smooth navigation across the menus and also enhances the web browsing experience. The Wi-Fi tethering capability is its main USP, which serves the purpose of creating a USB tethering (connect via USB) or Wi-Fi hotspot on your cellphone and share the access point with laptops & netbooks. This allows you to connect the laptop to the Internet through the mobile data connection. In other words, the cellphone can be setup either as a portable Wi-Fi hotspot or enable the USB tethering to connect a laptop through the USB port. It includes four customisable home screens, where you can shortcuts, widgets, personal folders and wallpapers of your choice.

Read on to know the performance, our take, specifications, ratings and test results on the next page…

 

Performance

[RELATED_ARTICLE]The touch UI on the Froyo upgrade is snappier and more responsive than Eclair on the Mi-300. There is very little lag during menu navigation or while switching between apps up to four apps running at a time. During our call test there was an instance where the proximity sensor failed to turn off the touchscreen input and the call got abruptly terminated. However, there were no instances of dropped calls or issues with call quality even in low signal reception areas. The earpiece delivered pretty loud and clear audio output even in areas affected by weak signal reception and ambient disturbances. At the same time, the loudspeaker lacked both clarity and loudness,as it distorted at volume levels higher than 50%. Though the outdoor photos were crisp and colourful, they lacked the details. The lack of autofocus and flash feature on the camera, is the major setback for shooting in low-light conditions. The music playback delivered acceptable sound quality and clarity even at high volume levels up to 80%. Overall, the Mi-310 is a much better performer than its predecessor, which is quite unexpected considering its huge price-cut and downgraded hardware configuration.

Our Take

The Spice Mi-310 is the downscaled yet better version of its big brother – Mi-300. Though the siblings are closely matched in terms of looks and features, the addition of Wi-Fi tethering and a superior Android platform make the Mi-310 much more desirable. Its nearest rival – the Micromax Andro A60 falls short with a sluggish resistive touchscreen interface and cheap build quality owing to its cheaper price. The only other competitor in this category is the HUAWEI Ideos, which is priced much higher at Rs. 8,500 and ships with a smaller 2.8-inch capacitive touchscreen. Thus, the Mi-310 beats all the competition and makes the best value for money Android phone in its price category. At Rs. 7,500, it is much cheaper and better than the Mi-300 and definitely recommended.

Specifications: SIM (GSM WCDMA); Display: 3.2-inch, Screen resolution: 480 x 320; Memory: microSD expandable up to 32GB; Battery: 1200mAh, Talk-time: up to 2.5 hours, Standby-time: up to 200 hours; Dimensions: 116 x 60 x 11.9; Weight: 114grams;

Ratings
Features: 7.5
Performance: 6.5
Build Quality: 6.5
Value for money: 8
Overall: 7

Brand Spice
Model Mi-310
Price (MRP, Rs) Rs. 8,999
Features  
Physical Specs  
Form Factor Candy Bar
2G Network Bands (MHz) GSM 900/1800, UMTS 2100
3G Network Bands HSDPA 7.2 Mbps
Screen Resolution 320 x 480
Screen Size (inches) 3.15
Maximum Screen colours 65K
Touchscreen / Dual Screen (Y/N) Y
Battery Rating 1200mAh
Dimensions (L x W x H) 116 x 60 x 11.9
Weight 120 grams
Expandable Memory Type microSD
Hot Swappable (Y/N) N
Available Colours Brown
Other Features  
Operating System Android 2.2
Charging via USB (Y/N) Y
Hardware Keypad (Regular/QWERTY) None
Accelerometer (For auto rotate) (Y/N) Y
Address Book Capacity 1000 entries
No of calls in register 20 missed, 20 received, 20 dialled
Talk Time / Standby Time * up to 2.5 hours / up to 200 hours
No of Profiles # / Customisable None
Offline Operability (Y/N) Y
Inbuilt GPS / A-GPS support (Y / N) Y
Connectivity  
Browsing (GPRS/EDGE/3G) Y/N/Y
EDGE max speed N/A
3G max speed 7.2 Mbps
Connectivity (WiFi/Bluetooth/IR/USB) Y/Y/N/Y
Bluetooth Version/A2DP support (Y/N) v2.1/N
Camera Specs  
Camera Resolution (Mega Pixels) 2MP
Video Capture Resolution 352 x 288
Dual Cameras / Auto Focus / Flash (Y/N) N/N/N
Mirror for self portrait (Y / N) N
Camera Settings (So 10) 6
Zoom (Optical/Digital) Digital
Multimedia  
Music Formats supported MP3
Video formats supported MP4, 3GP, WMV
FM Radio (Y/N) Y
Accessories  
Bundled Accessories Charger, handsfree, USB cable
Size of memory card provided None
Build and Ergonomics (So 10)  
Surface materials used 7
Overall build and in-hand feel 6
Quality of moving parts 6
Design and ergonomics 6.5
Keypad design (on-screen or hardware) 7
Menu and interface 7.5
Settings and ease of navigating menus 6.5
Camera menu options 6
Performance  
Signal Reception and Voice Clarity (So 10)  
Zone 1 7.5
Zone 2 6.5
Zone 3 6
Handsfree Clarity 6.5
Loudspeaker Clarity 6
Earpiece Clarity 7.5
Handsfree Volume 7
Loudspeaker Volume 5
Earpiece Volume 8

 
Imaging and multimedia tests  
Captured Photo Colour 6
Captured Photo Crispness 6
Captured Photo Detail 5
Captured Video Quality 6.5
Effectiveness of integrated flash N/A
Music Quality (loudspeaker) 6.5
Music Quality (handsfree) 7
Volume levels (loudspeaker) 6.5
Volume levels (handsfree) 6
Display (So 10)  
Crispness 7
Colour 6.5
Font rendition 6
Legibility in bright sunlight 5
Video playback 8.5

 
* Manufacturer Rated  

Contact: Spice mobiles limited
Phone: 180030077423
E-mail: contactus@spicemobile.in
Website: www.spice-mobile.com
Rs. 7,500

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