Spice is known for making quality hardware at affordable prices. With the Pinnacle FHD, the company is aiming for the upper reaches of the mid range device market. The specifications line up well enough for the handset but is it enough to earn our recommendation? Read on to find out.
The phone has a design that stands out from that of the average budget priced smartphone. The entire device has a dual tone finish in black and white that looks surprisingly good. The quality of plastics used is top notch and the ergonomics are great.
Above the display is the front facing 2MP camera unit. The display is a 5inch Full HD panel that occupies most of the front of the phone. Bezels on the sides are fairly slim but there’s considerable usage of space above and below the screen.
There’s a very cool looking chrome finish border that runs around the phone. The right side has the power button while the left side sports the volume rocker. Tactile feedback is generally satisfactory though the buttons don’t feel very reassuring. A 3.5mm audio jack is placed at the top of the phone.
Over at the back of the phone is an 8MP camera with a dual LED flash next to it. The camera module is placed inside a chrome finish island. The rest of the back has the same pearly white finish as seen on the front. Worth noting is that the plastic despite being glossy has a grain like texture built into it. This goes a long way in improving the aesthetics of the product. Overall we quite liked the design of the Spice Pinnacle FHD and the quality of plastics used was higher than we expected. The bezels above and below the display are a bit bigger than we’d have wanted which makes the footprint of the phone on the larger side.
The Spice Pinnacle FHD is running on Android 4.2.1 which is far from the latest release out there. Spice has made a few tweaks to the interface in the form of custom square icons.
The homescreen has a custom launcher with a four icon menu bar at the bottom. A centered icon lets you jump into the application menu. Beyond that, the interface is pretty much the same as the stock app launcher. Spice has bundled in a couple of applications like Hungama, Currents, Facebook, Documents To Go and NQ Mobile Security.
While the software isn’t anything extraordinary, we were particularly irked by the presence of the Hoopz app. This is a service that displays advertisement banners over any applications that might be running as well as the interface. There is no way to completely disable the application and the most that you can do is to disable notifications from the app settings. The phone is on Android 4.2.1 and we’re not really expecting any updates for the phone.
It is powered by a quad-core MediaTek 6589T processor clocked at 1.5 GHz with PowerVR SGX 544MP GPU. There’s 1GB of RAM onboard which proves to be sufficient for multitasking. Day to day performance is just about good enough but the processor and GPU combo isn’t capable enough to provide an entirely lag free experience. Benchmarks show that the handset can keep up with and even exceed scores from other handsets.
In the Quadrant benchmark, the handset scores 4698 points which is ahead of others like the Canvas 4 or the Lava Iris 504Q.
The PowerVR SGX544MP GPU on the other hand struggles with the Full HD display and the scores reflect that. The Spice Pinnacle FHD manages just 34FPS in the NenaMark 2 benchmark.
The Spice Pinnacle FHD is one of the growing breed of mid range phones equipped with Full HD displays. The screen itself is just about average. The resolution benefits are evident when reading web content or viewing photos.
Viewing angles are decent and colors pop but the brightness levels on the display are quite disappointing. Viewing it in direct sunlight is nigh impossible. We weren’t too impressed by the touch response either with the display requiring multiple taps to register touch on more occasion than one. All said and done, the display on the Spice Pinnacle FHD is definitely not going to blow you away and delivers strictly pedestrian image quality.
The Spice Pinnacle FHD is equipped with an 8MP auto focus capable camera module at the back. The addition of HDR capabilities in the camera has a profound effect on the results from what is otherwise a very average camera. As can you see in the shot below, dynamic range is limited and shadow regions lose a lot of details.
The sensor isn’t of the highest quality and the images don’t retain much in the form of details. The green areas show details merging into each other. The HDR mode is quite effective and as you can see below, the shadow regions now display a lot more detail. Colors are evenly balanced out and
Images shot indoors in less than ideal lighting conditions are more than acceptable. There is visible noise but unless pixel peeping, the shot is acceptable. The phone great at selecting the correct white balance settings to make sure that the image appears as normal as possible.
In absolute low light conditions, the Spice Pinnacle FHD has trouble focussing. Noise levels too are through the roof so much so that we definitely wouldn’t recommend shooting with the camera phone in such poor lighting conditions.
Overall, the camera on the Spice Pinnacle FHD is good enough as long as lighting conditions are good but we’d avoid it in low light / poorly light scenarios. Video recording is done at Full HD resolution, 30 FPS and generally looks good enough.
Battery Life & Connectivity
The Spice Pinnacle FHD comes with a 2100mAh battery unit that helps it achieve about a day of autonomy. We were fairly impressed by the battery life on the phone and average usage would entail over a day of battery back up. Heavy usage and especially heavy duty games however really put a drain on the battery life.
In built storage is limited to 8GB and can be further expanded via the microSD card slot. Of the 8GB less than 6GB is available to the end user so you’ll definitely be needing the extra storage on the phone. Connectivity options include WiFi b/g/n, Bluetooth, GPS.
The Spice Pinnacle FHD is a very good effort that brings an interesting mix of specifications and a full HD display. Performance is decent enough but isn’t something that’d impress mobile gaming aficionados.
The camera too is borderline disappointing. While we did like the design of the phone, we feel that you’d be better served by looking at alternate devices like the new Micromax Canvas Turbo or the Gionee Elife E6 as both pack better looking displays and have performance that is better or at least as good as that on the Spice Pinnacle FHD.
- Full HD Display