New Delhi: If 2011 was the year of tablets, 2012 is definitely the year of large-screened phones. Every phone manufacturer right from the likes of Apple and Samsung to second-rung players such as Micromax and Spice have boosted the screen-size in their new phones.
While I have played with the big screen phones from Samsung, LG and Micromax, I recently got my hands on the budget 5-inch phone from Spice - the Stellar Horizon Mi-500. This phone took a long time in coming to the stores and the phone that I got my hands on seemed to be a lot different then the one that was displayed during the Horizon Mi-500 announcement many months ago.
For me the weight of a phone matters more than its screen size. A screen with a relatively smaller screen but weighing lesser will attract more people than a heavy phone with a larger screen. This is one of the areas where Spice has miserably failed in its biggest ever handset - the Spice Stellar Horizon. The phone weighs like a brick and will also feel like one in your pocket.
The phone on the left is Spice's Stellar Horizon and on the right is Micromax's Canvas A100.
Considering its price, the weight factor could have been overlooked had Spice had launched it in June when it was first unveiled as at that time there was no competition at its price point. But now Micromax’s 5-inch Canvas A100 is its strongest competitor, which weighs a lot lesser.
The Stellar Horizon comes with a stylish flip cover, quite similar to the one that Samsung introduced with its Galaxy Note last year. The review unit that I had was white in colour, which collected dust and looked dirty within a week of use. The phone has decent looks but the largish Spice logo does look like an eyesore in the otherwise elegant back.
Available for Rs 12,499, this dual SIM phone has a 5-inch capacitive touchscreen with a resolution of 800 x480 pixels, which is bright and produces satisfactory for its price. The touch is responsive and the navigation responsive. But, the screen is not scratch resistant and looked scarred in less than a week. However, watching movies on this jumbo screen is a treat. The screen has good viewing angles, and is fairly readable in sunlight.
The phone runs Android 4.0 ICS. On the performance front, the phone quite impressed me. Its 1 GHz dual-core processor zipped along quite well; it allowed me to do multitasking and every program ran pretty smoothly. The phone has 512 MB RAM. What came as a surprise was that the phone did not even hang once during the time I used it as my primary device. Even the launcher always appeared swimmingly.
The phone has a 5 megapixel autofocus camera with LED flash that delivered results below what I expected it to. It captured somewhat good photographs in bright light, but in low-light, it flunked. The phone does not support 1080p videos. Also, the videos captured were slightly grainy. Though the phone offers you lots of options to customise images, but it fails to meet what the primary objective of a camera is i.e., to capture quality images. It also has a 0.3 megapixel front camera.
The phone comes packed with a 2400mAh battery, that looks humongous in size. On normal usage, the phone easily survived for a day, but when used heavily, I had to charge it twice a day.
The phone has around 2.5 GB of built-in memory, of which around 503 MB is reserved for apps. The low-internal memory may limit power users, but it is unfair to expect a large internal storage space from a budget phone. The phone's memory is expandable; it has a microSD card slot that supports cards up to 32GB.
The phone's signal reception is strong, and it has a good call quality. Its speakers produce clear sound and are reasonably loud. But one thing that irritates is the loud and jarring Spice tune that plays every time you switch on the phone.
Though the Spice Stellar Horizon does not find a place on my recommendation list, but if you are looking for a large-screened budget phone then I would suggest you to compare it with the Micromax Canvas before making any buying decision. Micromax has also announced the upgraded version of the 5-inch Canvas - Canvas 2 - with improved specifications.
+ Good performance
+ Responsive touchscreen
+ Decently priced
- Heavy in weight
- Average camera
- No dedicated camera key
- Scratch magnet screen