After introducing a 3G enabled tablet, PTCL recently launched a Evo 3G enabled Android phone, becoming the first service provider to provide its customers with the fastest internet around in a smartphone. The phone launched by PTCL has been manufactured by an Indonesian company and is actually named by the vendor as IVIO Icon Pro.The Icon Pro is bundled with Evo internet packages to make it even more attractive to the customers.
PTCL IVIO Icon Pro has a unique selling preposition of dual support for EVDO and GSM/CDMA networks which none other operator can provide in the market but the million dollar question is that how many people are willing to spend more than 1K per month for browsing internet on a low-end Android phone?
Users or not short of options as two other low-end smartphones were launched by Samsung & HTC in August & September respectively. Samsung Galaxy Y is being marketed feverishly by the Korean manufacturer and is focusing on younger users who value affordability more than anything else, HTC Explorer, on the other hand is not marketing itself and hence a little lesser known phone. So let’s compare these three and see if we had an option, which phone we would have bought?
PTCL IVIO Icon has an edge in display size as it boasts a 3.5 inches TFT Capacitive screen with a resolution of 480×320 pixels. HTC Explorer has 3.2inch TFT display with resolution of 320×480 pixels and Samsung Explorer has the smallest display among the three phones with a 3 inches TFT display with a resolution of 240×320 pixels. Hence PTCL Icon’s larger screen looks be the winner, but the marks best display should be given to HTC Explorer as it has the greatest Pixel Density (larger Pixel Density means better display).
IVIO Icon Pro
Samsung Galaxy Y
320 x 480
320 x 480
240 x 320
Pixel Density (PPI)
HTC Sense 3.5
ROM/ RAM (MB)
Wi-Fi b/ g, Evo 3G
Wi-Fi b/ g/ n
Wi-Fi b/ g/ n
PTCL IVIO Icon has a 600 MHz Qualcomm processor, which is same as Explorer’s but Galaxy Y takes the lead with a better processor. The RAM onboard Icon Pro, 256 MB is the lowest, Samsung Galaxy Y doing a little better with 290 MB and Explorer leaving the other two considerably behind with 512 MB of ROM. HTC Explorer’s less powerful than Galaxy Y does not give it a disadvantage as it has an Adreno 200 GPU which means it can rely on a separate (dedicated) chip for processing images and 3D hardware acceleration. The ROM available on the devices is 256, 512 and 290 MB on Icon, Explorer & Galaxy Y respectively, and hence giving HTC Explorer better internal memory than others.
So, there is no question that HTC Explorer’s combination of GPU, RAM and ROM makes it the best in performance, which to many enthusiasts like me, is more important than the looks.
IVIO Icon Pro features Android 2.2 while other two boast Gingerbread (2.3). Although being an entry level smartphone,Galaxy Y offers a pretty intuitive UI, TouchWiz, which is used by Samsung in its high end Android devices as well. Among other things it offers up to 7 screens, a task manager and a handy contact book which has been tailored to perform better than the default phone book in Android. Swype is pre-installed in Galaxy Y which allows inputting text with swiping instead of typing. The email application in TouchWiz allows combining all the mailboxes which keeps you from checking all these separately.
HTC Explorer offers a customized version of HTC Sense 3.5 UI, which is, by far, the best interface available in Android smartphones. The lock screen with the ring works smoothly as the ring can be moved to unlock the phone while four shortcuts from the foot of the screen can be dragged to the ring to unlock the phone and go directly to that application. The lock screen on Explorer, unlike high end phones is not customizable. The arc at the bottom of the screen has been replaced by two buttons, the app drawer and phone. Sense 3.5 for Explorer features 7 screens which can be arranged as per requirement but adding & deleting the screens is not available for this device. There is only one pre-installed scene (the default configuration of a home screen in HTC Sense), you can download more or simply create your own. A lot of widgets specially designed for HTC are available while more can be downloaded. The notification bar has been improved and it now has two tabs, Notifications and Quick Settings.
Both Galaxy Y and Explorer provide a well woven SNS integration, hassle free messaging and excellent telephony. Explorer gains an advantage due to HTC apps like Facebook for HTC Sense, HTC Peep, HTC Hub, HTC Likes and HTC Mail.
PTCL IVIO leads the sharpshooter race with a 5 MP camera; HTC Explorer features a 3.2 MP camera while the lowly Galaxy Y has a 2 MP camera. All three phones can be used as Wi-Fi hotspot, but this is where the strength of Icon lies, it supports PTCL Evo 3G, hence you can not only use blazing fast internet on your phone but on up to 8 other devices as well. So the unique selling point of Icon is its ability to be a smart phone as well as a 3G hotspot, which in our opinion makes it jack of all trades, but master of none!
An important thing to consider when considering your prospective phone’s camera, performance and its ability to be used as a hotspot is it battery time. According to PTCL website, IVIO Icon can has a battery life of around 3-4 hours, which is shocking to say the least as the Explorer has around 7 hours and Galaxy Y 17 hours of talk time.
So coming back to the million dollar question, which phone should be bought?
It should be kept in view that all of these devices are aimed at either youngsters who are going to buy their first smartphone and hence make this the first step towards bigger and better devices in the future.
If you are a fan of PTCL devices and have some cash to spare, then PTCL IVIO Icon is a good choice. If you want a hotspot, buy a dedicated device for that instead of splashing the cash for new smartphone which doesn’t even feature the latest version of OS it runs.
If you are on a tight budget and can’t spend a penny over Rs. 14,000, then there is no other option than Samsung Galaxy Y. But if your budget allows, then don’t wait for another moment and buy HTC Explorer straight away, it not only overtakes the other two in performance and has the best build quality, but HTC Sense 3.5 takes it to another league.