“With out-of-the-box support for Hindi, this might be the edge Google’s Android One offerings need to combat the competition”
With more than 40 percent population in India speaking Hindi as their first language, it’s important for smartphones to support this language to reach the masses. And, that’s the segment Google is targeting with its ambitious Android One initiative. At its launch event in September, Google’s senior Vice President Sundar Pichai stated that the Android One devices will offer support for seven regional languages.
What we have today in our labs is the first Android One smartphone from Spice with support for Hindi language out of the box. The Dream Uno H offers similar specs as the first-gen Android One (frequently asked questions) offerings, but the key difference is that not only the menu and keyboard is in Hindi, but several apps from Google also offer support for the same . We will check that out in a while, but before that let’s have a look at the sales pack of the device.
First up, opening the box reveals the Spice Dream Uno H itself. Below the tray holding it, you’ll find a 1,700mAh battery that powers the phone. Along with that, there’s the usual documentation, which includes the user manual, service centre list and a warranty card. The box also bundles a screen protector to safeguard the handset’s display against dust and scratches. All the accessories are packed nicely in a separate box. These accessories include a micro-USB cable that can be used for charging or data transfers, charging adapter and a pair of earphones.
The design of the smartphone is exactly same as Spice’s first Android One offering, the Dream UNO Mi-498. The display panel covers the majority of the fascia, while a circular earpiece is available above along with a front snapper, which lends the device a unique look. There are no hardware keys for navigation since they have been integrated in the software interface.
Both the power button and volume keys are available on the right spine, whereas the left edge is completely empty. The headphone socket can be found on top, while a micro-USB port is available at the bottom.
The rubberised rear panel is home to the primary camera unit along with an LED flash. Apart from the company branding and the Android One logo, you can also find a circular speaker grille. Sadly, the back panel is prone to slippage when your palm is sweaty. Opening the cover gives you access to a pair of micro-SIM cards slots as well a microSD card slot.
As mentioned before, when it comes to hardware specifications, the Spice Dream UNO H is built around the same internals as the original trio of Android One phones. In fact, if you have read our review of the Android One smartphones, then you know that the only thing that sets these devices apart is their design language.
The display panel measures 4.5-inches and bears a resolution of 854 x 480 pixels. Under the bonnet, the Spice Dream UNO H comes powered by a 1.3GHz MediaTek MT6582 quad-core processor, which is complemented by Mali-400MP2 graphics processing unit. In terms of memory, the device offers 1GB of RAM and 4GB of internal storage. After accounting for space occupied by the OS, users are left with slightly more than 2GB for installing apps and storing files.
For photography, the phone offers a 5-megapixel autofocus camera at the back and a 2MP fixed-focus snapper at the front. The primary camera is also assisted by an LED flash to help shooting in low-light conditions. It must be noted however, that the Android One devices don’t allow you to capture images or take screenshots without a microSD card, since there’s no provision for storing such files on the internal phone storage.
What makes the Spice Dream UNO H is its baked-in support for the Hindi language. It starts right from the setup phase and continues all the way to the menu items, settings panel, lock screen, homescreen and even apps from Google. The search engine behemoth has made sure that each option and default system features are mentioned in Hindi. We have taken a variety of screenshots on the device to give you an idea of what we’re talking about.
The keyboard is also in Hindi so you can search for anything, write messages or emails, all in Hindi.
The underlying OS is Android 4.4 KitKat and is available in its unadulterated form. Not only the interface is completely clean, there’s no bloatware as well, resulting in a smooth and lag-free experience. Google has also promised that the Android One devices will be updated to the latest iteration, i.e., 5.0 Lollipop soon.
For connectivity, the dual-SIM handset can connect to 3G networks on both the slots. Other options on offer are Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS.
All in all, the Spice Dream UNO H comes across as a great offering, especially because of its unique proposition of making it easier to use for those who are comfortable in Hindi. Add to it the promise of pure Android and regular updates, along with decent pricing of Rs 6,499 and the Dream UNO H just might be on its way to become a popular smartphone. Though the initial Android One devices might not have topped the sales charts because of the cut-throat competition from devices like the Xiaomi Redmi 1s (review | FAQs), we believe that such kind of differentiation definitely gives the edge that Google might be looking for this initiative.
Photos by Raj Rout. Video by Pratik Vyas