The three new Android One phones that launched yesterday, are no different when we talk of the internal specifications, but each of the brand has its custom design and have given a different build to claim the title of being better than the other two. One of these smartphones that is expected to sell more than the other two, could be the Spice Android One Dream Uno, and that is not because of the company behind the smartphone but the retailer. Flipkart is the recent favorite for several buyers and many smartphone brands that entered the Indian market took Flipkart as the platform to sell their phones.
The Dream Uno from Spice has a 4.5-inch display and nothing really exceptional except for the software and the support from the software maker for the coming couple of years. But, this is one of those rare instances when I actually liked the build of a phone from Spice. It is the same polycarbonate material with smooth finish on the back, but we are here giving the score for the round edges and curvy borders all around, that give you a feel that you are holding a phone that doesn’t feel like a cheap built one. Can this be because Google is the one behind the Android One project, and it took care of even the design aspect? there is one more reason why we feel the same – the earpiece on the top that looks no different from the one in Nexus 5.
When the Nexus 5 was out in the market, many disliked the earpiece because that was the only white part on the front while the bezels were all black, making the earpiece look like a permanent LED light. What we are having here is the black Spice Android One phone that has the all-black design and thus, the earpiece looks very neat.
The smooth rear cover that is removable, has a 5MP camera and LED flash on the top, while there is a very neat androidone branding towards the bottom, just above the speaker grill that resembles the earpiece. Spice has placed all the physical buttons on the right, and there’s just one mic – in the bottom adjacent to the MicroUSB port.
Apart from the volume rocker and power buttons, there are no other physical keys on the Spice Mi-498, as the front bottom buttons for system functions, are a part of the display and no capacitive touch keys are placed below the display. For a 4.5-inch display, the phone is made a little bigger than what one would expect, as it looks no different from the new Moto G that has a 5-inch display. Still, the thickness kept under 10mm has contributed to the good comfort while holding the phone.
While the design is worthy of appreciation, the main focus here is on the user interface and experience. The device runs the latest Android 4.4.4 KitKat OS and Google has promised the upcoming Android L update and software updates for the next 2 years. Google has provided the stock ROM with the pre-installed apps being limited to just the Google Play Services apps and a few others like Facebook, Flipkart, eBook Store and FM Radio. The stock ROM always gives a pure Android experience, and that was Google’s target initially when they announced the Android One campaign – to reach more users and give them the pure Android experience.
One of the early issues I notice is that the Spice Dream Uno has just about 2GB of storage left internally, and the camera app refuses to click pictures because it needed a MicroSD card to be inserted, and the settings had no option to change the storage location.
A few days of usage, and we will be able to tell you how well Google has tried to give the Android One devices some polish to make it run well on these phones, especially the one we are testing – the Spice Dream Uno Mi-498. For now, there are very little drawbacks and it is not easy to compare this to the competitors such as Xiaomi Redmi 1s, but at least one doesn’t have to sit and try their luck every week to get one.