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Karbonn A21 vs Spice Mi-500

Updated on February 25, 2015

Karbonn Mobiles launched their first dual-core smartphone two weeks back. This was the first time that an Indian manufacturer has launched a dual-core smartphone. I thought that was the end of it, and then here is another dual-core smartphone from Spice, the Spice Stellar Horizon Mi-500. This phone has a dual-core processor and also sports a big 5-inch screen. This is like the biggest screen I’ve ever seen in the market. It looks like a tablet from a distance, but then it’s a phablet (phone and tablet). If anyone has small hands, please do note that this phone will feel big. This phone also packs a punch in it and comes with a lot of new exciting features. So let’s review both of the new dual-core phones and let’s see how they match up with each other.

Spice Stellar Horizon Mi-500 vs Karbonn A21
Spice Stellar Horizon Mi-500 vs Karbonn A21

Looks wise, I liked the Spice Stellar Horizon Mi-500 more than the Karbonn A21. This is mainly because of the size of this phone. It looks very similar to the Galaxy Note 2. The 5-inch screen is really awesome. Karbonn A21, on the other hand, looks great and is really comfortable in the hand, unlike the Spice Mi-500. Inside the Spice Mi-500 there is the 2400 mAh battery along with three slots. Two slots are for the sim cards and the one in the middle is for the microSD card. The Karbonn A21 has similar interiors too. It has 1800 mAh battery along with three slots which functions similarly as of the Spice Mi-500. Both the phones have a 5 megapixel camera with a dual-LED flash.

Spice Stellar Horizon Mi-500
Spice Stellar Horizon Mi-500 | Source

The Spice Mi-500 has the newly launched Mediatek MT6577 chipset with a 1 GHz ARM Cortex A9 dual-core processor. This new processor is really fast and performs way better than many of the dual-core smartphones out there in the market. Karbonn A21 has a Qualcomm Scorpion ARMv7 dual-core processor clocked at 1.2 GHz. Both these phones go neck and neck when it comes to processor speed. But I think the Karbonn A21 finishes this off with a slight advantage. Qualcomm Scorpion processors are great performers and we all know that. The GPU in Spice Mi-500 beats the GPU in Karbonn A21. This is because Mi-500 has the PowerVR SGX531 GPU and the Karbonn A21 has the Adreno 203 GPU. The PowerVR GPUs performs better than the Adreno GPUs and is a reputed company. Their GPUs are used in iPads too. The latest iPad 4 has PowerVR’s most powerful GPU, the PowerVR SGX 554MP4, outperforms almost all the GPU’s including the successor of Mali-400 GPU, the Mali-T604 GPU. So in terms of the GPU, the Spice-Mi 500 wins here. Both the phones have 512 MB of RAM. I can’t comment on this aspect as both the phones have the same amount of RAM. Even with all the great hardware inside, the Karbonn A21 weighs way lesser than the Spice Mi-500. Spice Mi-500 is slightly on the heavier side, weighing around 205 grams. This is almost the weight of a salt packet inside your pocket.

Karbonn A21
Karbonn A21 | Source

So far the competition has been stiff. There is no clear winner as of now. And I think this is going to be a tough decision to make. But the decision will be made no matter what. I’m starting to like what I’m seeing from the Spice Mi-500. They are trying so hard to make a mark for themselves in the Indian market which is flooded with smartphones from Samsung, Karbonn, etc. Karbonn has made a big impression in the Indian market and they are cementing their trust with the Indian customers by launching better smartphones.

Coming to the screen, the Spice Mi-500 has a mind boggling 5-inch screen. As I stated earlier, it looks very similar to the Galaxy Note 2. The Karbonn A21 has a 4.5 inch screen. This screen is also very attractive, but when kept near the Spice Mi-500 Stellar Horizon, it feels a little bit small. Karbonn A21 has a qHD display at a resolution of 960x540. This is one of the main positives of this phone. Even though it has a smaller screen it has a better resolution. This means that the images, videos and everything else will look better on the Karbonn A21. Spice Mi-500 has a WVGA display at a resolution of 480x800 pixels only.

The Amazing 5-inch Screen of Spice Mi-500
The Amazing 5-inch Screen of Spice Mi-500

Both the phones run on the latest Android platform, that is, the Ice Cream Sandwich. The new operating system is refreshingly different in looks but is similar when it comes to the core design. There is a new unlock screen, which also has a direct shortcut to the camera. The features like adding widgets and the notification panel has been improved. There are a whole lot of options on the notifications panel and this makes the phone look sophisticated. The number of widgets has increased and placing them is easy. You just have to press the widget you want and drag them onto any one of the five homescreens that you have.

One of the main aspects that people look into nowadays is the camera. Karbonn A21 has a 5 megapixel camera at the rear side with a dual-LED flash. The dual-LED flash will let you take photos in dim light and the photo quality is good, but not great. The secondary camera is a 1.3 megapixel camera. This will let you use the video conferencing feature and that too at high quality. The camera has all the features one needs like, auto focus, white balance, etc. Coming to the camera of the Spice Mi-500, it has a 5 megapixel camera too with an LED flash. But the photos taken in the Spice Mi-500 were of average quality and the photos in the Karbonn A21 were better, I felt. The front camera of the Spice Mi-500 is a 0.3 megapixel VGA camera. With this you will be able to use the video conferencing feature but the quality will not be the same as that of the Karbonn A21.

The prices of these phones are one thing to be amazed of. Even though there are a lot of great hardware inside this phone, the manufacturers have kept the cost down. The Spice Mi-500 is available at Rs.12,500 in the Indian markets and the Karbonn A21 is available at a price of Rs.10,900. The Karbonn A21 costs just Rs.900 more than the Xperia Tipo, which has a 3.2 inch screen, 3 megapixel camera and single core 800 MHz processor.

My Verdict:

My verdict for all you people out there would be to go for any of these two phones. There is no clear winner here, even though the Karbonn A21 breaks away at the end. I am slightly leaned towards the Karbonn A21 because they have set their foundation in India, whereas Spice is yet to make an impression. They are experimenting with a whole lot of things and most of them have gone wrong. I hope their decision to launch a dual-core smartphone will change all that. Till another phone comes up in the market, this is B.Rajeev signing off.


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