The Spice Mi410 Review

Android is pretty big an eco-system and as an OS it has seen tremendous growth. The recent reports clearly show that Android is the one that is growing, thriving and completely dominating. Android from Google also is responsible for the rise of many new, small, hitherto unknown manufacturers coming into the game. It’s also been responsible for the re-emergence of Sony Ericsson and Motorola. It’s no wonder that today it’s pretty much the OS of choice for developers and users.

India has seen a positive adoption rate for Android. Many Indian brands have introduced Android smartphones at entry levels that have completely changed the way we look at mobile phones. Spice has been quite gung-ho on Android, launching many devices on the platform. It’s no wonder that today it has one of the largest Android portfolios amongst Indian brands. In fact their latest endeavour puts them squarely in the territory of big boys. The Android powered MI410 is the first Android phone from an Indian brand to really take the fight to the bigger boys and their toys. Continue reading “The Spice Mi410 Review”

BlackBerry Bold 9780 Review


The BlackBerry 9780 aka Bold3 is the newest device from RIM’s ‘Bold’ family. The Bold2 or the 9700 was the second generation Bold, introduced after the hugely successful Bold 9000. In this review we will find out exactly what’s new in the BlackBerry Bold3, is it as good as it is touted to be?  The Bold3 might look like the Bold2, but as they say, “Looks can be deceptive”. Continue reading “BlackBerry Bold 9780 Review”

LG Optimus GT540 Review: Software

With the hardware review of the LG Optimus GT540 done, it’s time to take a look at the software on the Optimus

The LG Optimus runs the Android v1.6 OS. Wait a minute did I say 1.6? yeah I did! Why 1.6? Well I don’t know why did LG arm this rather good device such an archaic version of the OS. This is a factor that will hurt the sales as the Samsung Galaxy 3 & 5 have Eclair running on them. In fact this version of the OS relegates to the level of the Indian manufacturers’ offerings. Certainly LG above them. I, however, hope that there is an update hiding in the works.

Being a resistive screen device, the top status bar, which houses the notifications and more, is absolutely hard to get a hold of. I found this to be quite an irritating factor and was quite put off with it.

The homescreen on the LG, is bland at best. With hardly any custom UI layer, the plain vanilla is anything but cool. LG could have definitely ported some of their S Class homescreen UI onto the Optimus, it would have really helped the Android OS a lot.

On the flipside, the LG Optimus we got, came with a lot of apps pre-installed, and the best part – all of these apps are which one needs and are not available by default in Android. I’m referring to the Advanced Task Killer and many more such apps. This is a great move by LG and certainly going to pamper the Optimus user.

Cool Iris implementation of the Android OS makes the gallery on the LG Optimus stand out and look pretty. This is one aspect where the Optimus simply blows other non-Android phones out of the water!

One thing that put me off the Android was the lack of support to anything but @gmail.com email ids. If I have a non @gmail.com id but a Google Apps email id, shouldn’t it have been supported? Bad dog! no donut for you!

The lack of an equalizer is bothering and begs one to wonder why is it not there??? Though Android has not given this feature, why wasn’t it made available by LG? A mid range phone like the Optimus should have had this by default. If an 8k phone has it, why doesn’t the LG? Another aspect which I found rather disturbing was the size of the font displaying the time, it’s SMALL! I felt I was being punished by LG for doing something.

DivX playback out of the box is like godsend! I can’t help but applaud LG for integrating this feature into the Android Optimus. It’s a game changer at this price point. Though the UI seriously needs work, the video player UI is not at all responsive and this seems to be an Android 1.6 problem and not an LG one.

The camera app on the Optimus is pretty decent and the feature set is very good. Now if only the Optimus had a flash!

Google Maps is an amazing app to have and it can be quite a challenge to tackle, but fortunately in the mobile space we have Ovi Maps, which is a potent competitor. Google Maps allows web synchronization, which means that you select and save points on the PC version of the map and when you fire up the maps on the phone, it’s all there.

But given the online nature of Google’s services, one needs an unlimited plan to do all of this.

The video editor on the Optimus was a nice touch and reminded me of the LG BL40.  The Social Networking Sites integration is very basic at best. This is the reality across manufacturers and LG is no different. A missed opportunity for LG to showcase how ‘advanced’ the Optimus could have been.

The onscreen QWERTY keypad is quite cramped mainly due to the small screen. Had this been a physical keypad, the story would have been the opposite.

Moving onto the web browser, it’s slow. I had the Dell Streak with me during the same time and having tested the browsers on both, I found that it took a considerable amount of time for a page to load on the Optimus. The browser on the Optimus definitely needs tweaking.

The calendar on the Optimus allows for Google calendar syncing, which can be described in one word – wOOt! (Like you didn’t know Google calendar)

The Gmail client on the Optimus was good and the ability to view HTML by default was welcome and overall the experience was consistent with the web experience, given the contraints of a small screen.

The apps on the Optimus which you download and install gets listed separately, which is a nice way for you to know what’s a part of the box and what’s not. Good thing to have.

Weather widget is probably the only widget that I liked a lot.

Given all of this I’d give the Optimus a 7/10. The Android based device seemed quite capable of upping it to 8-9 had they done a couple of things – use the latest Android version & 2nd add features that Android does not have natively.

Whilst all this was being tested, we also had a chance to see how good or bad the Optmius fared when it  came to battery life. Turns out that the Optimus has a rather good battery life. Heavy Users should be able to pull a bit more than a day… but not a day and a half. Going by how Android device battery life usually is, this is rather good.  I’m sure Eclair or Froyo could bump the timings more, let’s hope something happens.

No phone review can be considered over until we’ve tested how good is it. The LG Optimus’s voice clarity is decent, there wasn’t anything different in it, but at the same time LG devices are know to make devices

LG Optimus GT540 Review: Hardware

A few days ago we had the LG Optimus arrive at our office for review and we even had an unboxing of the LG Optimus.

The LG Optimus is an inexpensive Android offering from LG, designed to fit into that sweet spot of sub 15k price point. This after all the spot at which the smartphone market starts looking competitive, very much like the 600cc engine segment in motorcycles. At this point one expects almost everything – smartphone OS, big camera, touchscreen/QWERTY, WiFi, GPS, etc. Continue reading “LG Optimus GT540 Review: Hardware”

The LG Optimus GT540 Unboxing and Picture Gallery

A few days back, when the world was buzzing all about the impending launch of the Nokia N8, we received a small package from LG – India, in it, a phone (of course a phone silly! you don’t expect a microwave oven review here!), the GT540 also known as the Optimus. This phone bears no resemblance to the Transformers protagonist – Optimus Prime.

So we decided to review the phone despite the fact that you will be busy reading N8 and it’s features.

So without wasting time here’s the unboxing of the LG GT aka Optimus. Continue reading “The LG Optimus GT540 Unboxing and Picture Gallery”

Have you heard of BlackBerry Messenger Contacts getting swapped?

I have two friends who are users of BlackBerry devices, X and N. X is staying here in Mumbai and N is in Ahmedabad and both know each other and are friends. Day before yesterday my friend, X decided to transfer music on his phone and for the same connected it to his PC using the BlackBerry Desktop Manager. At that time he was told that there were updates available for his device – the 8520. Continue reading “Have you heard of BlackBerry Messenger Contacts getting swapped?”

BlackBerry Storm2 Review Part 3: BlackBerry Messenger, Music, Camera and Accessories

The BlackBerry 9520 aka Storm2 has been tested on various parameters and we have told you what we think of the device. Now in this last part of the review, we try to wrap up all the loose ends and give you our final verdict on the Storm2. Let’s start by looking at the BlackBerry Messenger, a feature unique to the BlackBerry devices. The BBM as it is referred to be a unique chat feature built into the BlackBerry, there is no need to elaborate how it works so I’ll skip that bit. Though I will tell you in brief what is does allow you to do. You can chat, share pictures and other things for free with another BlackBerry user or a group, even a voice IM can be sent. Continue reading “BlackBerry Storm2 Review Part 3: BlackBerry Messenger, Music, Camera and Accessories”

LG BL40 Review Part-3:Internet, Messaging, Music & Accessories and Camera

With the review of the Design and the Software aspect done, we are left with only one part of the review covering the internet experience, emailing, music and accessories, camera and of course the phone as a feature itself.

Continue reading “LG BL40 Review Part-3:Internet, Messaging, Music & Accessories and Camera”

Review of 3 Olive phones

The Indian mobile phone industry has seen unprecedented growth and emergence of new players in the market. Players like Micromax, Maxx, Karbonn have come from nowhere and started selling handsets in the lakhs.

Amongst them is a company called Olive. Olive Mobiles is a new entrant just like the ones above and many more. So what makes them unique you might ask, they all are the same after all! One look and you might say so. But a closer look reveals that it is not the same.

Olive phones have made quite a splash with their handsets. Engadget even covered one of their models. A feat, no Indian manufacturer I know has managed till date.

Olive has been very kind in providing us at Fonearena, three devices to review. We’ve put each of the handset through its paces and pushed it to the hilt. Continue reading “Review of 3 Olive phones”

LG BL40 Review Part-2: OS

The LG BL40 has a proprietary OS – with S class UI running. Due to this, it is easy to dismiss the BL40 as just another device. But that is exactly where most of us get it wrong. The BL40 is by no means an ‘under featured’ phone. It has a plethora of unique additions which cannot be found on many other devices. Let’s look into them in some detail –

Continue reading “LG BL40 Review Part-2: OS”

LG BL40 Review Part-1: Design

Now we’ve had the LG BL40 for quite some time and we’ve used it quite a bit here and there. So much so that it’s apt to talk about the design of this phone.

Now the LG BL40 is a long device! at 128mm it’s easily long, it’s thin – 10.9mmm and at 51mm it’s not very broad too. It’s easily a super model in in the world of mobile phones.

The phone is easily the most unique in terms of it’s design and also the screen size. At 345 x 800 pixels and 4.01 inches, this thing sure has the widest screen in the business.

You must be wondering why am I talking of these things and not the design of the phone. Well that is because these dimensions are important to understand how the phone is when it comes to the looks and design.

the BL 40

As you can see the Bl40 does not have any buttons on the front fascia at all, everything is on the capacitive screen. The sides of the BL40 house buttons for the Camera, MP3 player and the volume. The MP3 player is on the left side while the remaining are on the right. These buttons are chrome plated and run along the entire left and right side of the phone.

Continue reading “LG BL40 Review Part-1: Design”