Chandrakant 'CK' Isi
25th Jan 2013
Buying a premium smartphone is relatively simple because there are only four to five handsets battling it out for the top spot — at least, you don't have too many number of devices to choose from. In contrast, the budget segment has the problem of plenty, aided in no part by domestic brands churning out inexpensive phones in every possible size. Most of these handsets have all the essential features such as such as 3G, Wi-Fi, and at least a 2 mp camera. While it's good to hunt for a feature-packed phone, you shouldn't turn a blind eye towards build quality, unless you're planning to buy a new phone each year (if not more frequently). Here are five phones under the psychological mark of Rs 10,000. The listing is in order of price and is not necessarily a ranking.
[The prices are store prices as on the date of publishing]
Nokia Asha 311
Price: Rs 6100
While not being termed a smartphone, the Asha 311 is perfect if you're looking for an easy-to-use feature packed phone, spending only as much money as as absoluty required. The phone's 1 GHz processor handles the Series 40 touch UI effortlessly. You get great sound quality, a decent 3.2 mp camera, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 3G, and a bunch of features that you generally find on smartphones. The Asha 311 also has TV-Out functionality. Add a 3" display protected by Gorilla Glass, and you get the smartest "dumb" phone on the market.
Samsung Galaxy Chat GT B5330
Price: Rs 8000
If you like QWERTY and you like Android, the Galaxy Chat is the phone for you. The CPU is no great-shakes, but with a speed of 830 MHz it handles Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich). Apart from that, the handset packs in a 3" capacitive touchscreen, a 2 MP camera, A-GPS, and Wi-Fi connectivity. After a recent price drop, you get the best of both worlds for Rs 8000. Sorry BlackBerry, your Curve 9220 is good, but better luck next time.
Sony Xperia tipo
Price: Rs 8400
The tipo is the most affordanle in Sony's Xperia lineup. Despite its modest price tag, the phone offers impressive design and build quality. I'd go on to say that it's one of the best looking phones in this segment, and does justice to Sony's reputation for making their phones look attractive. It's 800 MHz processor and 512 MB of RAM may not sound impressive, but is good enough to handle Android 4.0 (ICS). Other features include a 3.2 mp camera, Bluetooth 2.1, Wi-Fi, and A-GPS. There's also a dual-SIM variant, which costs a grand more.
Motorola Defy mini
Price: Rs 9400
I personally don't like Motorola's customisation of Android. Moreover, a feeble 600 MHz CPU doesn't do the Defy mini any favour either. Then what's it doing in a list of 'best' phones? This phone is unmatched when it comes to ruggedness in this segment. Be it dust, shocks, or even water, the Defy mini can stand it all - at least, better than the rest. The phone's 3.2" display has modest pixel dimensions of 320x480, and is protected by Corning's Gorilla Glass. Other features include a 3.1 mp camera, 3G, and Gingerbread OS. It surely doesn't offer the best Android experience for the price, but if you're "blessed" with butterfingers, this is the phone for you.
Micromax Canvas 2
Price: Rs 10,000
If you believe in the "bigger the better" approach toward your phone's display size, a phablet will be in your wish list. I'm not fan of these oversized phones, but if you're sold on the idea of buying one, my recommendation is Micromax's Canvas 2 A110. This dual-SIM handset features a 5" IPS screen, which is better than displays that many similarly price phones offer. The handset is powered by a dual core 1 GHz CPU that does a commendable job handling Android 4.0 (ICS). Apart from that, you get an 8 mp camera, 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS. Seriously what more can you ask for 10 grand?