Phabulous Devices (Part 2)

3/13/2013 6:11:53 PM

This price bracket can be considered for those who know what they want from a 5-inch smartphone/tablet hybrid but can’t afford to shell out the premium price tag. Surprisingly, the specifications on paper as well as the benchmark score aren’t dramatically different than the budget devices. The specifications under the hood too are quite homogenous. The display is 5-inch with a resolution of 480x800 (same as the budget), front and rear camera and 512 MB of RAM. The surprising factor is that more of the budget phablets had a dual-core processor when compared to the mid-range phablets. All the phablets of this category run on Android 4.0.3 or 4.0.4. The processor too is clocked at 1 GHz. They have a standard set of specifications and access to the Play store for apps and expandable memory. So what is the distinguishing factor of the phablets in this category when compared to the rest? Better performance? Better touchscreen response? Read on to find out.

Build and usability

WickedLeak Wammy Note takes its design cues from the Samsung Galaxy Note. It has a rectangular shape that is quite sharp and at times can get uncomfortable to use. The rear has a textured panel very reminiscent of the Note again. It has a standard volume rocker on the right but houses two-power but-tons. The one on the top works as a regular power button and no matter what we tried, the power button on the left didn’t do anything. Present for show perhaps? The bottom of the device (the place where the Galaxy Note houses the stylus) we have an antenna that can be used for analogue TV. The device also boasts of dual-SIM capabilities. The iBall Andi 5c on first glance looks very similar to the Note and feels quite heavy in ones hands. The Andi 5c has an edge-to-edge glass screen with the standard one button in the center surrounded by the con-textual menu and back soft keys around it. The micro USB port is at the top, which is a little different than what we are used to. On the left hand side you have the volume rocker and on the right hand side there is the power switch / stand-by button. The speaker section is present on the lower right hand side. The iBall Andi 5c is definitely on the heavier side of things when compared with the Note. Even though this isn’t the case, the display feels a lot wider that the competing devices.

the Samsung Galaxy Note

The Samsung Galaxy Note

The Spice Stellar Horizon has tried to make a place for itself with its design. It has a clean front with the three touch capacitive buttons at the bottom. It too has the micro USB charging port at the top. The downside to the design is that the volume rocker and the power button are too close to the bezel of the device and it may be a tad difficult to access them with your eyes closed. The bezel of the screen has sharp edges that may not appeal to some. Especially if you are one who presses your phone to your ear quite hard. The rear has a matte white finish, which is nice. The phone also boasts of dual-SIM capabilities.

The Mercury MagiQ is another device that has a rear panel like the Note but the front is a different story. Sure it houses the same 5-inch dis-play but it has five capacitive buttons at the bottom call, menu, home, back and search. The design of these buttons too is different from what we are used to seeing. A notice-able hardware bump when compared to the competition is that the rear of the phablet houses a 12 MP camera. Don’t be fooled by the megapixel count, as the performance of the camera isn’t great.

The Lenovo S880 falls into the same homogenous look and feel like its brethren. Some distinguishing factors though differentiate this device from the crowd and not all of them are good. To start with the rear camera isn’t supported with a flash, which is a downer. Also, the touch sensitive capacitive buttons are a part of the display just like the Galaxy Nexus rather than being below the display like all the other phablets. This isn’t a bad thing, but it is a waste of display real estate. While watching videos, these buttons do disappear giving you utility of the complete screen.

Features and Performance

Switch on the WickedLeak Wammy Note and you’ll be greeted by a wallpaper that has been taken straight from the Samsung Galaxy Note. The interface is stock Android, bringing nothing new to the table. Multimedia and apps run quite well on the device even though the audio output, especially for videos is a tad disappointing. Under the hood it has a 2500 mAh battery, which is a lot, and in the box you get a spare battery as well. Call quality from the device was good. It played the AVI files without any hiccups but refused to recognize MKV, MOV and MP4 videos.

the WickedLeak Wammy Note

The WickedLeak Wammy Note

The iBall Andi 5c has a 5 MP camera whereas the other phones in this range that have 8 MP and 12 MP cameras, but the output from the Andi 5c was quite good and in fact a tad better than most. The interface on the device is stock Android and it does come pre-loaded with a bunch of apps such as CricketNews, Money Control, RTI India and Zomato. The device also has a wireless keyboard app that lets you connect a wireless keyboard to it. The Spice Stellar Horizon has a dis-play that has better viewing angles than its brethren even though it isn’t the best one under direct sunlight. Its interface too is way smoother than the others in its category. It also comes preloaded with apps such as NQ Mobile Security, Dhingana, Documents to go, Nimbuzz and Vault to name a few. The addition of the security apps is a nice touch, especially if you are paranoid about your content. The call quality from the device is loud and clear and the 2400 mAh battery will last more than a day and a half.

The Mercury MagiQ has a slight skin on the interface but it isn’t anything dramatic like TouchWiz or Sense UI. Its call quality is good and it also boasts of dual-SIM capabilities. One downside to MagiQ is that the keyboard though stock Android isn’t the most comfort-able to use, the inconvenience coming from the spacebar. The rest of the keyboard responds well, but the spacebar seems to be frozen. Despite having a single-core processor, the device performs quite smooth.

Spice Stellar Horizon

Spice Stellar Horizon

The Lenovo S880 has a skin overlaying the OS. The UI gives users a clover widget, which gives shortcut access to any four apps with the Play store resting in the middle. The icons of the UI are very round and look a little too cartoonish for our taste. The S880 doesn’t come with any preloaded apps. However, in its overall appeal, it does fee superior to the competition. The camera on this device is really good for daylight shooting.


The Best Buy was awarded to Spice Stellar Horizon. It hasn’t gone the copycat route and the device has its own unique look and feel. The 5 MP camera takes good photos and the overall look and feel of the device is nice. Its stock Android for the most part with tweaks that don’t really hamper the user experience. In terms of raw performance too it is better than its competitors. The addition of on-board security apps is a good welcome and the only drawback to the device is that its pointy edges may not appeal to all.

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