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MI-496 = A Great Value for Money Quad Core Mobile.
on 18 November 2013
After briefly using and testing the Spice MI-496 Mobile, my first impression of the MI-496 is that of a Great Value-for-Money Android Phone.
However, its Sellers are giving a raw deal to Amazon India Customers. At a Spice group website and elsewhere, the MI-496 mobile is available at Rs. 5,999/- but it is priced 26% higher at Rs. 7,549/- here. :(
Originally manufactured by Yulong, a leading international OEM manufacturer in China, the MI-496 is also sold in some markets as Coolpad 7268. The MI-496 is built around a Snapdragon SOC with a 1209 MHz Quad Core Processor and a Qualcomm Adreno 203 Graphics Processing Unit. The available RAM on the phone is 847MB. (It is Good!). The available Internal Storage on the phone is 1.57GB. (This hardly proves as a limitation as you will read below).
The Benchmark Scores of the MI-496 Mobile (after installing multiple applications) are :
• AnTuTu: 11366
• Vellamo HTML5: 1240
• Vellamo Metal: 395
After briefly using and testing the MI-496 Mobile with a Single SIM, I have to share the following:
Strengths of the MI-496 Mobile:
1. Lowest priced Quad-Core Android Mobile in the Indian Market (@ Rs,5,999/-)
2. Appealing, Decent, Convenient and Rugged Design.
3. Convenient to hold and use. Looks more expensive than its price.
4. Conveniently located SIM and SD card slots. Uses Regular SIMs and not Micro-SIMs, makes exchange or swapping of SIMs easy.
5. Clear Call Quality.
6. 4.5” qHD (540*960) Display offers comfortable viewing without eye-strain although viewing angles are not wide.
7. Plays back 720p music videos smoothly.
8. Music Playback is Clear and Loud with a decent wide range.
9. ‘DTS Music/Movie’ effect in Audio/Video playback improves sound playback quality.
10. Feature rich with many useful applications pre-loaded like Cool Power Saver, a Unique Call Recorder embedded in Phone Dialer itself, NQ Mobile Security, etc.
11. Its 5 MP Camera takes reasonably good pictures in well-lit conditions. Have not tested it in low light conditions. Its Camera can record videos at a resolution up to 800*480p.
12. The phone does not slow down while running multiple foreground and background applications simultaneously.
13. Movable Applications like Games can be moved to its SD Card after Installation; thereby freeing up its Internal Memory. I found this feature to be useful. Samsung Galaxy Grand Quattro has 8GB Internal Memory but Applications installed in its Internal Memory cannot be moved to an SD Card. I recommend use of a Class 10 16/32GB SD Card for faster running of Applications and faster recording and playback of Videos.
14. There is no lag during playback of Popular Games like Subway Surfers, etc.
15. Automatic Phone Power On/Off at predetermined timings. Useful for users who switch off their phones at Night/ on Holidays.
16. The supplied Headphones are acceptable for the price of the phone.
Weaknesses of the MI-496 Mobile:
1. There is No Front Camera in the phone. Although it is not used often, a Front Camera is essential for taking Self Portraits and for Video calling.
2. There is No Orientation Sensor in the phone, so a basic application like a Compass will not run on the phone. Satellite Finders and Advanced GPS related applications will also not run properly on the phone.
3. GPS locking is Very Slow.
4. Both its SIM Interfaces DO NOT support 3G. While one of its SIMs supports both 3G and 2G, the other supports only 2G.
5. The White Background of the phone’s Display is neither Soft-White nor Pure White. This is noticeable during Gmail access. This makes the Display a bit uncomfortable to view specially while checking mails frequently. Although this is not noticeable during Video Playback or while playing Games.
6. I drain tested the phone’s Battery with its preinstalled ‘CoolPower Saver’ Application by continuously playing back videos, music and games, installing applications and surfing the net over Wi-Fi. I got a run time of 5 hours on a fully charged battery. This could have been better.
7. The User Interface of this phone could have been better, specially for the first time/a Novice Android Mobile User. The MI-496 has many Features which are Hidden in its Settings. For ease-of-use, the phone needs to be configured and customized properly before use.
8. Regular Phone Software Updates for this phone are not available on the Spice website.
9. Phone Accessories (such as a spare Battery, Flip Cover, Screen Guard, etc.) for this phone might be limited/ not available.
10. Spice After Sales Service is a grey area.
11. For Advanced Users, who want to Hard Reset the phone or Clear its Cache/ Data; the Recovery Mode Instructions for SD Card Update, Cache and Data Cleaner are in CHINESE, NOT English.
12. IMPORTANT - PLEASE READ CAREFULLY - UPDATED: 18 December 2013.
Many times, with Both the SIMs in use, whenever a call is answered, instead of connecting the call, a Resource Cleaner Icon pops up; starts running and a Message first appears in Chinese then in English, HOWEVER, NOTHING CAN BE HEARD EITHER BY THE CALLER OR THE RECEIVER OF THE CALL. The phone received by me has a Version 7, June 2013 Firmware. If this issue is not resolved by Spice with a Firmware Update (Current Version 9, December 2013), it is NOT WORTH BUYING this phone in spite of all its Strengths. For a Software Update, the Customer can neither update the Software by downloading it himself nor by an Over-the-Air Update, but has to visit a Spice Authorized Service Centre which is not a pleasant experience at all.
In spite of its aforesaid limitations, with a Low Price of Rs.5,999/- and its above mentioned Strengths the MI-496 with Software Version 9 or higher makes a Great Value-for-Money Purchase Proposition. A further minor price drop on this phone is also expected.