The phablet segment in India is getting hotter, with companies like Micromax and Karbonn announcing phones with quad-core processors. Spice has also joined the fray with its latest and most powerful offering yet - Stellar Pinnacle Mi-530, priced at Rs 13,999.
But does Spice's latest smartphone has what it takes to take on rivals like Micromax Canvas HD, Karbonn S1 Titanium and Lava Iris 501.
Read on to find out...
The all-new Spice Stellar Pinnacle comes with a 5.3-inch touchscreen with 960x540p resolution and pixel density of approximately 208ppi.
Under the hood is a 1.2GHz dual-core processor paired with 1GB RAM. The phone has 16GB in-built memory and offers support to microSD cards with up to 32GB storage capacity. A unique feature of the device is its 5MP camera - in the front! The rear camera has an 8MP sensor and is flanked by dual LED flash.
At first look, the new Spice Stellar Pinnacle reminds us of Samsung Galaxy Note II. The phone has curved edges and nice finish. The manufacturer has also bundled a flip-cover in the box for us, which adds to the premium looks of the device.
Three haptic keys are located below the 5.3-inch touchscreen of the Pinnacle. These keys are responsive and their design details add to the looks of the phone. Apart from this, there are usual sensors on the front alongwith the front camera, whereas the back has the camera, dual-LED flash and speaker grille.
Spice ships the Stellar Pinnacle with Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) out-of-the-box and promises an upgrade to Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean). The software is smooth and there are several unique features in the phone, such as Flip To Mute, Intelligent Answer, Direct Call, Pop-up Play, Gesture Screen Lock, Hi-Connect and Boot Accelaration, which add to the phone's functionality and overall user experience. However, getting used to some of these special features will have learning curve.
Spice Stellar Pinnacle is a dual-sim phone that supports 3G network on both sim-cards. The connectivity suite of the device consists of 2G, 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 and microUSB 2.0. The phone's call quality is great, but calls do drop in areas like basements and while travelling in metro, just like its sibling Stellar Virtuoso.
We encountered no problems at all while accessing the internet over mobile data as well as Wi-Fi on Spice Stellar Pinnacle. Video streaming on apps like TubeMate, YouTube etc was also smooth and the vibrant display added to the overall experience.
Camera & audio:
The camera and sound quality of Spice Stellar Pinnacle were fine, but we were expecting more from the device, considering the rest of the hardware specifications. We were really intrigued by the 5MP camera used by the manufacturer in the front and tested it first. Though the image quality is acceptable considering that it is the secondary camera of the phone, the photos had a lot of noise. The rear camera also gave decent pictures but it was also not anything out of the ordinary, and remained just the standard fare.
The speaker quality of Spice Stellar Pinnacle was also decent, though we still asked for some more. But considering it is a budget phone and not a premium offering - despite the looks - we can live with the sound output.
To see the performance of Spice Stellar Pinnacle, we ran the AnTuTu benchmark test on it, which assesses devices on parameters like SD card reading/writing speed, Database Input/output, display, CPU etc. The phone clocked a decent score of 7578 points, higher than Motorola Razr (a phone with similar specifications) and close to that of Samsung Galaxy S II.
During moderate usage too, the phone did very well and gave a largely lag-free performance. The 1.2GHz dual-core processor and 1GB RAM helped apps work smoothly and the 2,550mAh battery ensured that the Pinnacle easily lasted over a day. Despite a 5.3-inch screen, the phone was easy to hold, had decent viewing angles and typing on the on-screen keyboard (which was spread out across a wide area of the display) was never an issue.
Spice Stellar Pinnacle, despite all of its great features, faces an uphill task in the affordable phablet market. The smartphone has to lure buyers away from Micromax Canvas HD, which is already creating a lot of buzz, as well as Karbonn S1 Titanium and Lava Iris 501.
While Micromax and Karbonn's phones run on quad-core chips, Lava's product has a dual-core processor. The hardware specifications of all these devices are similar, so only benchmark tests will be able to tell which of them comes out tops. But since Micromax Canvas HD and Karbonn S1 Titanium are yet to hit the shelves, we will have to wait for now.
However, if buyers are ready to compromise on the screen size, they can get their hands on Samsung Galaxy Ace Plus and Samsung Galaxy S Duos for approximately Rs 13,000 and Rs 15,000, respectively. Other options in the segment are Motorola Defy XT, Sony Xperia J and LG Optimus L5.
Spice Stellar Pinnacle is a good device for its price (Rs 13,999) and gives surprisingly good performance. A decent score on benchmark tests also helps its cause. This phone will be a great bet for those who desire a good looking budget Android phone as well as those who are tired of waiting for Micromax Canvas 2 (out of stock now) and Canvas HD (launch delayed). The device will not disappoint on most counts and the performance and battery life will please buyers.