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A handset with no frills attached

Spice Mobile has introduced pretty interesting phones at even more interesting prices. Let’s, for instance, take the Spice QT-44, which is great as a low-end QWERTY phone. You will miss a camera, but at Rs 2,599 (approx), what else did you expect!

tech reviews Updated: May 18, 2010 13:05 IST
Ankush Sohoni

Spice Mobile has introduced pretty interesting phones at even more interesting prices. Let’s, for instance, take the Spice QT-44, which was recently released. The QT-44 is great as a low-end QWERTY phone. You will miss a camera, but at Rs 2,599 (approx) do you even want to expect one?

Form
This phone looks good as a basic QWERTY model with a standard build. It has a 2.2-inch screen, which supports 262K colours, and a resolution of 220 x 176 pixels. The memory card slot, unfortunately not a hot swap, supports microSD cards of up to 4 GB. Since this is a dual SIM phone, it has two well designed slots for each SIM card.

Navigation can get tricky but isn’t difficult to get used to. The QWERTY keypad, although too flat, is easy to use after you’ve got the hang of it. A standard mini USB port for the handsfree and charger is located at the bottom and Dual LEDs are placed on top to function as a torch.

Multimedia
The phone only boasts an image viewer and audio player. Although the audio quality isn’t too bad, the highs usually tear, while the bass is severely under-toned. Audio on the headphones is slightly better, although high range frequencies experience dithering and low ones are under-represented. All in all, it is audio that you can do without even though one of the primary offerings here is the music player.

Connectivity
The phone supports dual band, and Internet access is restricted to WAP/ GPRS. The GPRS connectivity is quite standard, and the browser is proprietary to the phone.

However, while browsing the Internet isn’t smooth, social networking using the applications that ship with the phone is quite effective. Bluetooth and infrared are absent, and unlike a few other low budget handsets that support MP3 playback and MicroSD cards, the QT-44 doesn’t support USB to PC connectivity for data transfer.

To check email, there’s the bundled Email2SMS application, which is a pretty workable solution. Spice offers it free for a month, after which there is a small fee. Social networking is made possible through the Ibibo application.

Features
There’s an FM radio with a standard audio output, which, at the phone’s price point of Rs 2,599, is a good feature to have access to. There is also an inbuilt sound recorder, which works well as a dictaphone in most instances, but proves to come in real handy when recording your favourite FM shows.

The phone also comes bundled with a few games, of which F1 would have to be the most fun. It also comes with an e-book reader, and standards such as a Calculator and Currency Converter.

Battery
Another asset is the handset’s battery, which, having dished out 4 hours of talk-time, lived up to our expectations from Spice. With basic usage, it ran for a little over a day-and-a-half, which isn’t at all bad.

Verdict
Although the Spice QT-44 stands quite well for a phone that costs under Rs 3,000 (Rs 2,599 MRP), it still falls short in terms of functions. There are a number of phones available for the same price, which, too, come close in terms of features. However, Spice has a good support system, and also brings in a good amount of bundled applications. All in all, if you’re extremely budget conscious, this phone is for you.

What we like
Good audio clarity on calls
Clear display
FM reception was good
Plenty of relevant apps
Dual LED torch
Good battery life

What we don’t
Music quality is disappointing
Setting up GPRS was a pain
No USB to PC connectivity