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Spice Coolpad Mi-515: Too hot to handle

About a decade ago, when Intel launched the Pentium series of processors, buying a computer was all about touching the highest GHzs. Today, the craze is back, especially in the Android platform, which has many ‘Made in China/ Taiwan’ phones offering not one but quad core processors at low prices. We aren’t saying these are bad, especially since everything these days is made in South Asia. But are these safe? The question, emerged when the Spice Coolpad Mi-515 arrived. Not because we found traces of lead in the pack (let us know, if you did too) but because of a problem that we’ve been experiencing regularly in low-end phones.

Spice Coolpad Mi-515
Spice Coolpad Mi-515

The good
At 10k, the Coolpad Mi – 515 is a steal. It has a powerful and proven ARMv7 1.2 GHz quad core processor from Mediatek, 1GB RAM, 5-inch touch screen display offering an impressive resolution of 240dpi. Its dual SIM card phone with a battery (2000mAh) lasts for anywhere between 8 and 10 hours. Not many smart phones in this price range can match it.

But is the Mi-515 only about offering good specs at a low price? Shouldn’t you ask for more? Yes. Perhaps, questions like -- how comfortable is it for your ears? Is there an assurance that the phone will not melt in your hands? Is it burn-proof?

The bad
The answer is: No. The Mi-515 disappointed with its heating problem. Until then, we had fallen for this phone’s specs and the manner in which it cruised through the levels of Prince of Persia. But it gets abnormally hot. While on call, keeping this phone close to your ears isn’t comfortable. The edges bite and, the heat is unbearable to a point where you feel it might melt in your hands. And, we weren’t even recharging.

The phone’s GPS is perhaps, the worst of the kind, such that some apps cannot recognise it. Only after enabling the use of mobile phone towers we could locate our position, which again, is useless without a good network connection. Our advice: If you still decide to buy this phone, and God forbid, you get lost, don’t trust the GPS – call 100. Our attempt to open the back plastic cover left us frustrated as the cover refused to come off. We suggest that once you manage to open the back cover and place your SIM cards, memory cards etc -- in place, it’s a bad idea to remove these.

And the sidekicks
The Coolpad uses Jelly Bean 4.1, the basic version without any user interface (UI) additions. It has an in-built memory of 4GB, of which, you get just 1.8 GB for internal storage. The front and rear cameras aren’t great but do the job. The DTS technology doesn’t do much work either except upping the bass a bit (doesn’t help in noisy areas). Surprisingly though, Spice is offering a few in-built apps like NQ Mobile Security for mobile security and Vault to protect your passwords and other sensitive information.

Overall, the Mi-515 could have been a cool smart phone; now, if only if the GPS worked better, it didn’t have a heating problem, and its back cover opened easily.

Quick specs
Processor: ARM v7 1.2 Ghz quad core
Memory: 2 GB, 1GB (RAM),
1GB (ROM)
Display: 5-inch (950x540), 240dpi
OS: Jelly Bean 4.1
Connectivity: 2G and 3G, Wifi
Camera: 5Mp VGA 

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