The trend of Android phones breaching the Rs. 10,000 mark is something we’ve seen over the years and there are plenty of brands selling models at different price segments. Spice has made a name for itself with phones priced in the sub-Rs. 10,000 bracket and its new Stellar line of phones has gained some popularity along with some competition from Karbonn and Micromax. We recently reviewed the 4-inch screen, Stellar Mi-425 phone and now we have with us a more affordable model – the Stellar Craze (Mi-355).
Design and build
In terms of design, the Craze model is very different from the Stellar (Mi-425).It’s smaller – thanks to the 3.5-inch screen – and the body feels very sturdy. In fact, we prefer the feel of the Craze to the more expensive Mi-425. The plastic used is solid, glossy and doesn’t have any squeaky bits, which usually give the impression of a poorly built device. The back cover also fits cleanly into the body without any loose or shaky bits. There’s a button for volume control and one power on/off button. Both of them feel very strong and nicely put together. In that aspect, it’s a phone that feels comfortable in the hand.
The back resembles that of the Mi-425
The screen on the phone is clean flushed with the front panel. This helps with the look of the phone, but the large space below with the four buttons spoils the look just a tiny bit. We can’t say that the design is completely original. There is influence coming from other phone models.
The four buttons at the bottom are the home, menu, back, and search. The order is slightly different from the layout of other phone models. There’s no sign of branding at the front of the phone, but there’s a large Spice logo at the rear along with 5.0 Mega Pixels mentioned around the camera, denoting the resolution of the sensor. Open the device up and it looks all neatly laid out; the battery comes off easily, revealing two large slots for SIM cards.
Features and Performance
In terms of software, the phone runs Android 2.3.6 (Gingerbread). The UI is the same we saw on the Spice Stellar Mi-425 phone. The theme isn’t particularly great, but it’s different from all other Android phones in the market. Once loaded, it behaves sluggishly for a few seconds after which things are much smoother.
Four touch sensitive buttons at the bottom
The phone is powered by a single-core 800MHz processor and an Adreno 200 GPU. There’s 512MB of RAM onboard, which is sufficient for general app usage and 212.9MB of space that can be used for apps.
The screen looks reasonably detailed when you’re looking at it from the front. Screen viewing angle is average – it tends to get darker when you look from the sides, but it loses detail when you look at it from the top or bottom. Text, however, is crisp. The screen resolution is 320 x 480, which is average for a budget phone. The phone has support for FM as well.
Front facing camera and sensors at the top
The screen isn’t the most colourful, but it’s average for most video viewing purposes. 720p videos (MKV files) played on third-party apps stutter a lot and audio sync issues soon follow. We even tried lower bit rate files of 720p resolution, but things didn’t improve much. When it comes to AVI files, things are much smoother and there’s no issues whatsoever. The rear speaker is loud, but not very detailed as such.
The bundled earphones have a thin cable and the overall quality of the earphones is pretty bad. They handle bass badly and there’s a lot of distortion. Mids and highs are just average. It’s worth investing in a pair of Rs. 500 earphones if you like listening to a lot of music on the phone.
Updated 24 May, 2013, 7:53 pm IST
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