Smartphones sans big tags

Asha 502 doesn’t inspire hope

Nokia’s Asha series, due to low prices, has been well received.
The upgraded version of the dual-SIM 501, the 502, comes with instant-messaging apps. And, there are more games (Fifa and a few racing ones) and Nokia’s Xpress browser.

The 502’s 5MP rear camera is better than the 3.2MP one in the 501. The 502 comes with an LED flash. The Lumia 525 doesn’t have that.

A disappointment is the 1,010mAh battery in the 502. The 501 had a 1,200mAh one.

The 502’s three-inch screen isn’t made for swerves on the virtual race circuit. And, you can’t do much with a 64-MB RAM. So, would you pay Rs 5,969?

ASHA 502
Dimensions: 99.6×59.5×11.1 mm; 100g
OS: Nokia Asha 1.1
Display: 3-inch QVGA; 240×320 pixels
Rear camera: 5MP with LED flash
Memory: 64MB, expandable up to 32GB
with microSD card
Price: Rs 5,969


The smartphone for the smart lady

The New Year brings a smartphone developed specially for the women of the country. Affordable, the iBall Andi Udaan has been created for safety and emergency purposes.

It is appealing, with a white body and free pink back-cover and flip cover. It has rounded corner bars with a Swarovski Zirconia Crystal as home button to add that extra bling. Its light weight makes it convenient to hold. The SOS button at the back is heart-shaped.

It has a five-inch qHD IPS capacitive touchscreen with a screen resolution of 960×540 pixels. It boasts a responsive touchscreen.

Processor and capacity
It operates on the latest Android Jelly Bean 4.2 operating system. It is powered by a Dual Core 1.3GHz Cortex A7 Processor with 512MB RAM. It comes with a a four GB storage and 32GB expandable memory with MicroSD card support. The 2,000mAh Li-ion battery is powerful.

Connectivity and multimedia
It is a dual-SIM smartphone with dual standby feature. It has EDGE, GPRS, super-fast browsing on 3G connectivity, Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi hotspot, Bluetooth and GPS.

The SOS feature is indeed the greatest USP. It covers all grounds to ensure the possessor feels safe. One can switch the SOS button and it sets a loud siren alerting people and also sends messages and calls to five pre-defined contacts, along with the location of the person based on the geo code. It sends a Facebook update for help. To receive alerts, one can add two geo-fences, defined on the map locations and programmed to get alerts by SMS or mail when the person enters or exits the fenced area. There is an option to receive fake calls and video record.

There is also an app called ICE (in case of emergency), designed for storing personal details like blood group, medical history and emergency numbers. There is also a tracking feature where two locations in India are set, and if you are out of the geofence, the contacts will get an alert, and for this, 10 authorised people can be set to track your movements on an interactive map.

It has an eight-mp rear auto-focus camera with dual LED flashlight. It has a five-mega-pixel front camera, with dual LED flash.

At Rs 8,999, it delivers on safety. The SOS button at the rear allows one to access it easily. The safety features work flawlessly. It is one of the best buys for women of all ages.

Dimensions: 150x75x11mm; 168 g
OS: Android Jelly Bean 4.2
Display: 5-inch IPS; 960×540 pixels or 220 an inch
Camera: 8MP rear with LED flash; 5MP front
RAM: 512MB
Memory: 4GB, expandable up to 32GB
Price: Rs 8,999


Spice Smart Flo Mettle 5X

In today’s on-going battle of the smartphones, there are a number of players trying to woo customers with enhanced features. Spice is one of those companies that is trying to make an impact with budget smartphones. Its latest product, Spice Smart Flo Mettle 5X, is a dual SIM smartphone priced at a moderate Rs 8,499 which claims to combine style with performance.

A striking feature of the Mettle 5X is it’s built and design. It boasts of a metal finish despite being plastic-made, and yet that doesn’t compromise with its looks. The metallic rear panel looks sleek and stylish, though slightly heavy to hold. The three capacitive buttons below the screen are smooth to operate but they are not backlit for long, which makes it difficult to work in the dark.

The Spice Smart Flo Mettle 5X comes with a 5-inch display with a resolution of 480×854 pixels (FWVGA). However, what doesn’t quite impress is its low brightness, even when kept at full and its reflective screen which makes it nearly impossible to view the screen in daylight. The colour reproduction isn’t good enough to watch videos or pictures at different angles.

The Mettle 5X comes with a 8-megapixel rear autofocus camera and a 1.3-megapixel front camera. The picture quality isn’t good, and with severe loss of visual impact and detail. Images and videos aren’t sharp. Selfies might like the front camera for uploading on social networking sites, but image quality is not much to boast of. The camera offers numerous shooting modes, including auto, HDR, Panorama, smile shot.

This is one of the features which is the device’s USP. It operates on the latest Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean, but the interface is unique from other Android devices. The app layout is fairly interesting. It offers various set colour accent themes that can change the look of the menu lists and the display. The phone also features ‘smart motion’ gesture controls, such as the option of ‘flip to mute’ incoming calls. The device consists a plethora of pre-installed apps like Facebook, Hungama, Numbuzz, Super power saver, OLX, WhatsApp, and BBM chat service. It allows 2GB of free Cloud storage space. The revamped User Interface is fun and interactive and gives the device a neat touch, but sometimes gets tedious when searching for certain specific menu options and apps.

The Spice Smart Flo Mettle 5X is powered by a dual-core 1.3GHz processor along with 512MB of RAM. It is quite responsive and the battery performance is good as long as one is not using heavy-graphic games or apps. It comes with 4GB of inbuilt storage of which about 2GB is available, though it supports expandable storage of up to 32GB via microSD card. Call quality seems to suffer a bit, and the voice comes across as a bit metallic. But with an 1800mAh battery, it can deliver up to 4 hours of talktime and up to 150 hours standby time.

The Spice Smart Flo Mettle 5X is a good buy for those looking for something different in the budget smartphone category. Its strong battery performance and variety of interactive user interface is fun. There are a couple of shortcomings that can be worked at, but at a low price, it definitely comes across as worth every penny.

Pros: Dynamic UI, good battery, performance, responsive touchscreen, fast processor
Cons: Sluggish performance with heavy apps, average camera, poor call quality