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3G is yet to take off in India and it needs to be helped by devices like the Micromax H360 handset. Currently the only operator-branded 3G handset in India, the H360 carries the MTNL 3G mark proudly, and only works with MTNL SIM cards. Priced at Rs 5,499, the H360 is a fully featured multimedia phone with support for video calling, streaming video, photos, videos, music, email and add-on social networking applications.

At the back you'll only see the patterned metal back cover, speaker grill, the 3MP camera and a self-portrait mirror. The back panel actually bears more than a passing resemblance to Nokia E series devices. Like the E series from Nokia, the removable back panel is all metal, but thicker and sturdier.

Along the front of the H360, is a black, matte finish fascia and a bright, 2.4-inch touchscreen LCD. The keys are well-spaced and offer good tactile feedback. The resistive touchscreen is quite responsive; a light touch takes you where you want to go. The interface is such that you need not use the touchscreen if you don't want to. A stylus is provided in case you'd like to use the on-screen keyboard for text messages or email. Overall, the device is slim and well built with no creaking or loose panels anywhere.

Micromax H360
Micromax India, www.micromaxinfo.com
Specs: Quad band GSM with EDGE and 3G, 2.4-inch QVGA touchscreen LCD, 3MP camera, 52MB internal + MicroSD slot (8GB supported), TV-out, Bluetooth, 1000mAh Li-ion battery, 104 grams

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The speed with which you can navigate through the menu structure is very impressive. Whether you're looking at images, reading messages or emails or browsing through different menu options, the speed can compete with the best devices that cost four times as much. Another pleasant surprise is the standard mini USB connector. It is used for file transfers, headset and charging. Which also means that you can charge the battery by simply connecting it to a PC with any mini USB cable.

However, the Battery life is a question mark, especially with 3G or internet usage. The 1000mAh battery can struggle to keep up if you're doing heavy downloads or video. Talktime stands at about 4 hours which is about average again, but there are no issues with voice clarity (provided you have enough signal strength).

The camera takes acceptable quality images (there's no flash), but they can get very grainy if you increase the brightness. It's strange that there's not much by way of personalization. There is no way to change themes or menu structure; only the phone wallpaper and ringtones can be changed. And the device is still held back by MTNL's limited 3G coverage area.

Overall, for Rs 5.5k (and possibly a lower market price), the H360 certainly has the ability to be a game-changer. The network that it's locked to needs to catch up, that's all.

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