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Spice Stellar 520n unboxing and first impressions: a solid contender in the budget-performance segment

|December 4 2014 |Android Phones, Android, First impressions, Unboxing, Spice Mobiles

“With the price tag of Rs 6,999, the smartphone poses stiff competition to the stalwarts in its segment”

Indigenous smartphone maker Spice has been in news a lot this year, thanks to its foray into newer avenues such as a Firefox OS-based smartphone (Spice Fire One Mi–Fx 1 review) and a smartwatch-cum-phone (Spice SmartPulse review). With its Dream UNO Mi-498, the brand also became part of the Android One trio. But Spice isn’t losing focus on its core Android offerings, and has just announced the Stellar 520n catering to the budget segment.

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We have just got the device in our labs, and as always, we're greeting it with a quick unboxing and then taking a closer look.

One of the biggest USPs of the Spice Stellar 520n is its colourful back panels, and the device itself comes packed in a vibrant-looking rectangular box. Opening the box reveals the smartphone itself, available in a red hue. Underneath the tray, you get a screen protector to safeguard its display against scratches, along with a user manual, warranty card and a list of service centres.

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In terms of accessories, there’s a charger, a micro-USB cable and stereo earphones. You also get a 2,000mAh Li-ion battery to keep the juice flowing in. Interestingly, if the red colour doesn’t suit your taste, then you can replace the rear cover of the phone with a classy white or bright yellow panel – both are included in the pack. But that's not all, as for protection of the smartphone, you also get a flip cover.

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Now, let’s bring our focus back to the Spice Stellar 520n. Of course, what catches the attention first is its bright red back, which is glossy. Sadly, this means that the device is prone to fingerprints and smudges. Moreover, the plastic body of the phone doesn’t arouse much confidence about its build quality, though it isn’t bad in any way. The front is dominated by a 5-inch display panel. Above the screen, you get an earpiece, a couple of sensors and the secondary camera. The phone also gets a standard row of capacitive buttons with backlighting for navigation.

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The right spine of the Stellar 520n sports a volume rocker followed by the power key. While the left and bottom sides are completely empty, a micro-USB port for charging and data transfer, along with a 3.5mm socket is available on the top. The back houses main camera along with an LED flash, Spice branding and a speaker mesh.

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The 5-inch OGS display of the Spice Stellar 520n features a resolution of 1,280 x 720 pixels. It seems to be quite vibrant and text appears to be sharp as well. In terms of the interface, the device runs stock Android. However, the icons on the Android v4.4 KitKat seems to be completely customised and there’s a ton of preloaded content as well. Along with a suite of apps from Google, it includes ASKME, Hungama, Quikr, and WhatsApp among others. Useful apps such as Battery Doctor that allow you to make use of the Stellar 520n’s battery efficiently, along with one-click RAM cleaning toggle available in the quick settings tab of the notification shade are also there.

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Powering the show is a quad-core processor, with each core humming at 1.3GHz (most likely MediaTek MT6582). It’s coupled with a gigabyte of RAM. With such a combination, the smartphone seems to be quite responsive and there isn’t any sluggishness.

The handset seems like an upgrade to the Spice Stellar 520 (first impressions), which was revealed back in July. Instead of a stingy 4GB in its predecessor, the device sports 8GB built-in memory, which can be increased further by making use of a microSD card of up to 32GB. The Stellar 520n offers the available storage in two separate chunks, one of which is used for installation of apps and other for storing personal content.

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The camera prowess of the phone includes an 8-megapixel autofocus camera at the back and a 2MP secondary shooter. For shooting in low-light situations, the rear sensor is assisted by an LED flash. For connectivity, the dual-SIM smartphone comes with the usual options including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.0 and GPS. It also supports 3G cellular networks on both SIM slots.

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Overall, the Spice Stellar 520n looks like a good option in the budget segment, especially for those who like variety in their lives, since they can change the back panel whenever they want. With the price tag of Rs 6,999, the smartphone poses good competition to the stalwarts in this segment such as the Xiaomi Redmi 1s (review | FAQs), Huawei Honor Holly (review) and more, thanks to its large 5-inch display and decent internals. We will have more to say about the phone in our review. So stay tuned.

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Photos by Raj Rout. Video by Pratik Vyas



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