Dual SIM and Java definitely isn’t the brightest of combinations you’d want in your phone, as we saw in the Maxx MTP9 projector phone (and a million others). Dual SIM with Android, however, does seem like a whole new world, altogether. Spice recently launched their entry level Mi-350n, dual SIM Android phone. Does it finally put to rest the ghosts of the poor quality and sluggish experience, we have been so used to seeing from Indian manufacturers in the recent past? Let’s find out.
The hardware front
Design and Build Quality
The Spice Mi-350n has a metal aluminium finish on the front and the back, in addition to rubberized coating on the sides. It has a mixture of chrome and black with a splash of white on both sides for the Spice logo. It doesn’t exactly look stunning, but we’re talking about an entry-level, budget Android out here, so certain tradeoffs are going to be paramount. The Mi-350n weighs 136 grams and with the rubberized exterior, it has a nice grip when held in the hand. The front consists of the 3.5-inch, capacitive touchscreen, which comes with a 480 x 320 pixel resolution. Above it is the proximity sensor and a 0.3 megapixel front camera, while three physical buttons are located below.
The headphone jack is located at the top
The back consists of a 3.2 megapixel camera and the speakers. The microSD card slot is non hot swappable and its located underneath the battery along with the dual SIM slot. The right consists of a microUSB card slot and a camera shutter button and the left consists of the volume rocker button. The power button and 3.5 mm jack are located at the top. In terms of build, the Mi-350n doesn’t really disappoint, but it could have done with a slightly better design.
On video: Spice Mi-350n
Spice has got their custom ROM running atop Gingerbread 2.3.4 on this phone. The Mi-350n comes with a 650MHz processor and has 170 MB of internal memory. We had our doubts whether the phone could have a custom ROM running, while still being smooth and lag free. During multitasking, there might be that odd time when the phone becomes slow and sluggish, but browsing and maneuvering through the menus wasn’t as slow as we’d expected it to be.
Also, the slow and lagging part has become more synonymous with the Android operating system in general, so the fault lies with both, a poor processor and poor optimization, and it’s just wrong to blame Spice wholly for it. Because over time, even our more fancy handsets face issues; but that’s a story for another time.
Back to the Mi-250n, the notification bar has been slightly modified to incorporate a few connectivity settings along with display settings and profile changes and the phone gets a big plus out there, because it meant two things - firstly, the homescreen wasn’t crowded with a range of widgets and secondly, it meant faster access to your basic settings. The drop down bar does it for you. The only thing we disliked about the notifications was the return of the ugly blue and pink ‘java-ish’ icons for the dual SIMs. Besides that, the interface is minimalistic and the phone is fairly quick, if you don’t have too many applications running.
In our AnTuTu benchmark test, the Mi-350n got a score of 1879 points, whereas the Linpack single thread got a score of 7.089MFLOPS. Multithread notched a score of 6.95. What this means is that the Spice Mi-350n performed much better than the Optimus Net, but still falls short of the HTC Explorer we reviewed earlier.
Updated 24 May, 2013, 8:40 am IST
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