iBall has been in the market for almost a decade now. After manufacturing computer peripherals such as power supplies, input devices, PC cases, speakers, and much more, it entered the tablet and mobile phone market. iBall has a handful of budget mobile phones and Android phones. From the Andi Smart segment of smartphones by iBall, we recently reviewed the Andi 4d. This time it is the Andi 3e in our lab. Let’s see what this one has to offer.

The phone has a very glossy shell

The phone has a very glossy shell

Design and Build
The Andi 3e is very similar to the Andi 4d, but shorter with more rounded edges. It has a completely glossy shell, and interchangeable back panels are bundled with it for free. The glossy shell gets a lot of fingerprints, which means it needs to be wiped all the time, leading to scratches on it. The build quality is pretty rugged, and the shell is very sturdy. The dark brown body has a chrome lining all around the frame, which gives it a good look. The front face features a 3.2-inch display panel with capacitive touch buttons for Home, Menu, Back, and Search. Below the buttons is a translucent silver bar or strip. It is lit by a few colour-changing LEDs that illuminate while booting, or when an SMS or e-mail is received. The rear sports a 3.2MP camera but there is no flash for night shots. The right side features the volume rocker and a camera button, while the left has the micro USB port. The top features the earphone jack. The phone is fuelled by a 1400mAh battery. You can expect an average talk time or video playback of around 6 to 8 hours. The standby time is 400 hours approximately.

A 3.2 MP camera. but no flash

A 3.2MP camera; no flash; one extra back panel is supplied

Features and performance
The Andi 3e is a dual-SIM Android smartphone, which can support two GSM cards. It is built using a 650MHz single-core processor coupled with 256MB of RAM. The internal storage is just 170MB, so you can install only a handful of apps. Should you require more space, you can use an app to transfer the apps to the SD card thus keeping the phone’s internal storage lighter, and improving the performance of the operating system by a margin. The storage can be expanded using a micro SD card of up to 32GB, but the SD card slot does not have a hot-swap option. The operating system installed is Gingerbread, and an update to Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) is unlikely yet. We ran a few benchamarking tests on the handset to know its performance. The AnTuTu test threw up a score of 1,477 while Quadrant gave us a 719 score. Linpack scored 8.2 MFLOPS and 7.1 MFLOPS in single and multi-thread tests respectively.

Customize the light bar lights up for notifications

Customise the light bar. It lights up for notifications

Going by the processor speed and the amount of RAM supplied to the operating system, we assumed that the user interface would be sluggish. However, it did not disappoint us. The User Interface (UI) is not as sluggish as we expected it to be, but wasn’t lively either. There was a lag when using the phone, and not very frequently the operating system froze for a few milliseconds. The capacitive touchscreen on the 3.2-inch display is sensitive, and helps improvise the UI experience. The display sports a resolution of 240 x 400 and is sharp and bright. The phone being small in size and having a smaller display screen has an impact on the on-screen keyboard especially when using it in portrait mode. This makes typing an e-mail or an SMS or even browsing the Internet a disaster, especially if you have stubby fingers.

The user interface is pretty fast.

The user interface 

We ran a few videos on it. The standard definition videos ran almost flawlessly with a great picture quality. Regular High-definition (HD) videos were a bit jittery, while full HD videos were not supported at all. The audio quality from the built-in speakers is average and good enough to watch a casual video or YouTube content with in a group. Using the bundled earphones is not recommended as they lack good audio quality. They are only good enough for voice calls. The phone also features a VGA front camera for video calling, which is a great feature for a phone so inexpensive. The video quality is decent for a regular video chat.

The phone is rich in features for its price. It features a built-in GPS with a navigation app, which is especially useful while travelling in a new city or country. Internet can be accessed via GPRS, EDGE, 3G or Wi-Fi. Bluetooth with A2DP is also featured for streaming audio to headphones or speaker docks.

Miscellaneous apps and freebies
A 4GB micro SD card is thrown in for free and so are a few pre-installed apps such as Documents To Go, CricketNext, IBNLive, MoneyControl, and Nimbuzz. Also bundled along with the phone is a travel charger and a micro USB cable. Selling at a price of Rs 6,990, this phone is a great option for those who want a budget Android phone, which has almost all the features of a standard smartphone.

The app drawer and light bar settings.

The app drawer and light bar settings.

The 3.2MP camera is not disappointing, but don’t expect it to do a wonderful job either. The camera captures images quickly, and is ready for the next photo within no time. The quality of the photos taken outdoors or indoors is not bad when seen on the phone's display screen. But when observed on a large screen or PC, you can see the low quality of the images. Outdoor images get washed out if the lighting is too bright. The images are smudged if you look closely. The pictures taken indoors have the same results. The overall quality is enough for casual photo sharing; printing the photos is definitely not recommended.

Outdoor pics are below average and overexposed.

Outdoor photos are below average and overexposed

Videos shot with the camera are not good either. Those shot at a resolution of 720 x 480 are grainy with a loss of natural colours. The video is also a tad pixellated, and the files are saved in .3GP format. There is a very high lag while panning, and the video loses out on image quality completely. The camera is just about good for quick video uploads to YouTube and similar video portals.

Shoots indoors are not bad, but not great too.

Shoots taken indoors are neither good nor bad

We would recommend the iBall Andi 3e, which is priced at just Rs 6,990 to those who are looking for a very inexpensive Android phone as a standby phone or to those who want to get their hands on an Android-based smartphone for cheap. The performance is not as bad as one would expect after reading the hardware specifications. Surprisingly, the quality of audio and videos are good. If you want a super-cheap Android device, which can also be used as an audio/ video entertainment while on the move, and also allow you to occasionally browse the Internet, check e-mails and navigate, the iBall Andi is worth its price. But if you intend to use this phone for productivity tasks such as exchanging e-mails, and browsing and photos, we advise you to increase your budget and look for other brands and models.

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