CSL hopes to make headway in the premium smartphone space with the Android-based Slim Mi410.
CSL is well known for its budget phones that cost below RM500 on average but that hasn't stopped the company from dabbling with premium models.
The latest is the Slim Mi410, an Android 2.2 (Froyo) smartphone encased in a sturdy candybar housing with a big 4.1in touchscreen.
The smartphone runs on Android 2.2 and the company has spiced it up with a few extras such as MapKing, Blueberry Messenger, Azan alarm and Kiblat compass.
The front of the Mi410 is mainly taken up by the bright 4.1in capacitive touchscreen with a WXVGA (800 x 480-pixels) resolution.
When we first held the Mi410, we didn't realise that we were looking at a CSL device. The differences aren't just cosmetic when compared to the other CSL models - the Mi410's dark grey plastic and aluminium housing is not only nice but also solid.
IMHO, the design and build quality is far better than most CSL phones. Anyway, we wouldn't have expected anything less from a higher-end phone.
Moving on, the device's front is mainly taken up by the bright 4.1in capacitive touchscreen with a WXVGA (800 x 480-pixels) resolution. The screen is a fingerprint magnet but thankfully the rest of the device isn't.
The screen has good viewing angles which is great for watching videos and playing games.
The virtual keyboard also looked good on the screen and it wasn't cramped. We found it to be quite responsive but the word prediction feature is still sloppy. More often than not it guessed the wrong word especially when we typed fast.
Besides the requisite power and volume rocker buttons on the side, there are four haptic-based touch-sensitive buttons just below the display to access the Back, Menu, Home and Search functions.
The Mi410 runs on a 1GHz Snapdragon processor and has 512MB RAM which should be enough to power the device.
We had no trouble running most applications - both the preinstalled apps and those downloaded from the Android Market worked fine. Also, it was a breeze to view multimedia files and even 720p HD movies on the Mi410.
However, it was not all smooth sailing for the device. We encountered a few hiccups especially with the capacitive screen. It behaves erratically sometimes and the device lags when switching between homescreens.
There were even times when some apps refused to load. We had to tap on the app's icon several times before it finally worked.
Also, the unit stopped working twice and the only way we could rectify the problem was to do a hard reboot - we had to remove and reinsert the battery before restarting the smartphone.
However, the problems could be unique to the review unit.
The phone also has a HDMI port which makes it easy to hook it up to a HDTV to view images and videos. We tried it and it worked without a hitch.
The HDMI port is located next to the similar-looking USB2.0 port at the bottom, more often than not, we plugged in the charging cable to the wrong one especially when in a hurry.
However, we didn't like the location of the HDMI slot. It's located next to the USB port which also looks similar and it's too easy to accidentally plug the charging cable to the wrong port especially when you are in a hurry.
The Mi410 packs a 5-megapixel camera with autofocus and built-in LED flash along with the standard Android features to help you take better pictures.
We found both the picture and video quality were nothing to shout about but they were on par with most camera phones in the market.
One thing to take note - the bezel around the lens cover doesn't protect it enough. If you are unlucky enough to rub it over something rough, the protective glass will get scratched and we weren't surprised that our review unit's lens cover was already damaged.
In terms of battery, the phone hardly lasted a day before needing a recharge. Even when used sparingly, the battery usually ran out of juice after just half a day.
We were not able to get the official standby and talk time for the phone but it's still not normal for a phone to run of charge so fast.
We really want to like CSL Slim Mi410 because we want to be proud of a local product. However, it has a lot of flaws that needs fixing and hopefully the problems can be eliminated with a software patch. For instance, the screen wasn't responsive enough and the device suffered from two hard crashes.
Overall, the CSL Slim Mi410 has a reasonable price tag but it's let down by a number of problems.
Pros: Solid design; big screen; virtual keyboard is responsive; HDMI connectivity.
Cons: Touchscreen can be erratic; noticeable lag when switching between homescreens; bezel doesn't protect lens cover; short battery life.
NETWORK: GSM 850/900/1800/1900, HSDPA 900/2100
OPERATING SYSTEM: Android 2.2 (Froyo)
DISPLAY: 4.1in touchscreen (480 x 800-pixels)
CAMERA: 5-megapixels camera with autofocus; secondary 0.3-megapixel camera
CONNECTIVITY: Bluetooth, WiFi, USB 2.0
MEMORY: 2GB internal storage
EXPANSION SLOT: MicroSD
OTHER FEATURES: FM radio tuner, geotagging, accelerometer, digital compass, proximity sensor, Kiblat compass, azan alarm, records 720p HD video
DIMENSIONS (W X D X H): 112 x 66 x 10mm