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Handset Review: Spice Transformer M5500

By: Rahul Gupta, The Mobile Indian, New DelhiLast updated August 24, 2013 5:50 pm

Handset Review: Spice Transformer M5500

unimpressive

A nice concept for a feature phone but not very nicely implemented, could have been done better.
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Pros

  • Looks
  • Built
  • Features
  • Performance

Cons

  • Camera

Let aside the bigger brands, the Transformers movie fever is slowly catching up with our very own homegrown brand like Spice, which has announced a special Transformers branded feature phone.

Design

The best thing about this phone is not the transformer branding or the wallpapers that you generally get with co-branded devices, but the concept that allow this device to transform. Yes you heard it right transform; this device can be made in to a full touch screen based phone or a handset with a full alpha numeric multitap keypad as per the need of the user.

The colour of the device (Red) seems to be inspired by the main character of the movie Transformers - Optimus Prime. Although it would have been real nice to see a combination of both red and blue on this device but still it looks good. A single matter red finish might not appeal a lot of males but for females, the M5500 is a steal. The device is also available in white but again it will appeal females the most.

The phone itself is a touchscreen device with a clip on keyboard that comes as an extension to the device and transforms the whole meaning of this phone. As I said earlier, the concept is really nice and will be appreciated by a lot of users but the execution part is where it lacks behind.

The clip-ons are really difficult to open and there is no indication on as to how to go about swapping between the two. If only the whole process could have been refined just a little bit more, this device or the concept would have really been liked a lot.

Display and touch

The display on the M5500 is a smaller 2.6 inch LCD with a QVGA resolution with a resistive touch interface. The display, although small, is vibrant and good enough for basic phone related tasks and some multimedia playback also. Video playback, however, disappoints a little with the lower resolution but for occasional video watching it is ok.

The touchscreen on the other hand is good considering it is a resistive one. The device requires some time to get used to as the actions or the quick access menus work with specific gestures only, all thanks to the limitations of the resistive touch screen. The company has not included a stylus with this device but at some points you feel that they should have provided one with the device. But as you spend more and more time with the device you understand things better.

Interface and usability

The Interface of the Spice M5500 is a classic example of how well MKT (Dual SIM phone operating system based on Java) operating system is equipped with learning and taking features from other popular operating systems. For instance, the five home screens feature is inspired from Android, then the HTC Sense Watch will be the next big thing you will notice and if that's not all then the SMS quick access menu will definitely grab your attention.
All in all, the interface or the whole user interface is similar to the ones found on most dual SIM mobile phones but is better customised and has got more features as compared to others.

The interface is responsible for the improved usability of this device; all the shot cut keys and the simplified menus are perfect for a first time user as well as for the experienced one.
The keypad on the Spice M5500 is probably one of the best keypads we have ever seen on a dual SIM phone. The keys are soft to use but have the right pitch and feedback making them easy to use for people with fat fingers too. The keypad also has a big 'D' pad in the center for navigation which is more like a silver ring in the upper center of the keypad.

Camera and Multimedia

The Spice M5500 comes with a basic 1.3 megapixel camera which is good enough for on device photography only, even if the user wants to take a bigger print of the picture he won't be able to as the quality really suffers once the picture blows up and the lack of auto focus clearly shows up. The camera is biased for bright light and captures dark images even if there is a slight change in the light.

In terms of multimedia, the M 5500 features a multi format audio video player that supports most popular audio and video formats like MP3, WMA, MP4 and 3GP as well. Plus, the M5500 comes with a standard micro USB port so no compatibility issues will be faced by the users.

As far as the expandable memory goes, the M5500 supports up to 8 GB memory but 4 GB will be suggested for normal functioning of the device as more memory might result in sluggish performance.

The inclusion of a micro USB connector for audio headset is the worst that could have been done for a device and it highly disappoints as it loses on connectivity and even quality of headset is really bad.

Build Quality

Although the device is completely made up of plastic, the build quality of the device is not bad. It will withstand a couple of drops and everyday usage jerks easily. We are not very sure whether the clip on mechanism will hold on much longer or not but otherwise the device is built to last.

Call Performance

Being a dual SIM phone, this phone can be connected to two cellular networks or two different numbers at any given time, but it does not feature two SIM standby feature that allows the other SIM to be active while the first receives a call.

The signal quality of this phone is normal and it works flawlessly in most places. The call sound quality both for the speaker and the receiver are good without any distortion or voice quality loss. The microphone positioning of the phone is good that allows the device to catch to catch minimal ambience noise as well.

Battery life and Conclusion

The Transformer M5500 comes with a 950 mAh battery pack that is enough to powers this for some longer durations. We got a total usage time of three days with moderate usage on this device between charges.

Overall, the Transformer M5500 comes as a bit of over priced feature phone according to the price mentioned on the box which is Rs 4,600 approximately. But in the real world, this device will be available for much lesser and with the kind of concept this device brings along, it is a good phone to have with decent set of features but not many colour options, especially for the males.

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