Chandrakant 'CK' Isi
27th Jul 2012
It's the festive season and a good excuse to get rid of your old phone. Even if you know what you're looking for, the confounding range of mobile phones available in the market will confuse all but the most intrepid ones. However, don't worry because this buyer's guide will help you make a wise choice. The guide categorises phones according to their price tag, while also shedding light on what to look for in each segment.
Budget Phones(Under Rs 10,000)
In this segment, the idea is to get more features at an affordable price. However, build quality should also be considered. What's more, these days you can easily buy a phone replete with a music and video player, or a decent camera phone. Rarely, will you see an all-rounder that takes care of most needs, so your choices are pretty limited if that's what you seek in this segment. The OS shouldn't concern the target audience in this price bracket, but the recent price drop of a few Symbian and Android phones has brought such smartphones within the reach of the masses. There are many takers for dual-SIM mobiles in India. Therefore, let's start off with a Dual-SIM recommendation.
Nokia C2-03 (Recommended Dual-SIM phone)
Street Price: Rs 4450 (Saholic.com; Flipkart.com; Letsbuy.com)
A dual-SIM device with a stylish slider should be enough to impress. However, this phone has more to offer with its Touch and Type input method. Additionally, a relatively good music player, 2 MP camera, 32 GB microSD card support, and great build quality make it worth every paisa you've spent on it.
Samsung Galaxy Pro (Recommended Business Phone)
Street Price: Rs 8400 (Saholic.com; Infibeam.com), Rs 9000 (Homeshop18.com)
There are many Androids below the Rs 10,000 mark, but this phone is one of the very few that does justice to the Android-experience with its 800 MHz CPU. This Froyo (Android 2.2) device sports a full QWERTY keypad to please heavy texters. Additionally, GPS, Wi-Fi, and a 3.5 MP camera make it the most desirable Android under 10k.
Nokia 500 (Recommended Multimedia and Camera Phone)
Street Price: Rs 9550 (Letsbuy.com)
Nokia has hit the market with its revamped Symbian line-up just in time for the festive season. Powered by a 1 GHz CPU, it provides a snappy Anna experience. Although it's fixed focus, the onboard 5 MP camera still manages to perform relatively better than the competition. Moreover, apart from features such as Wi-fi, GPS, and a 3.2" touchscreen, the offline voice-guided satellite navigation adds to its value.
Mid-Range Phones (Under Rs 20,000)
In this category, you can get a convergence device that's as good as the standalone devices performing each of its tasks. Just make sure that the hype and prejudices surrounding any OS shouldn't affect your priorities. At this price range, the phones must offer features such as GPS, Wi-Fi, at least 5 MP camera, and good battery life.
SE Xperia ray (Recommended Camera phone)
Street Price: 19,000 (Homeshop18.com; Flipkart.com; Letsbuy.com)
This Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) device features all the bells and whistles expected in this category. It is powered by a 1 GHz CPU, which lets you enjoy most apps from the Android market. However, what stands out here is its 8 MP auto-focus camera, which has an LED flash to keep it company. It should be more than enough for snappers on the go.
Nokia E6 (Recommended Business phone)
Street Price: Rs 15,000 (Homeshop18.com); Rs 15,200 (Saholic.com); 15,600 (Flipkart.com)
This Symbian Anna device sports a sleek design and a superb QWERTY keypad, which makes it a textbook texter. Surprisingly, it is also capable of 720p video playback, while offering sound quality that can compete with any music centric mobile in this price range. GPS with free voice-guided satellite navigation and an 8 MP camera adds extra value to this mobile.
Samsung Galaxy S LCD (Recommended Multimedia phone)
Street Price: Rs 17,900 (Flipkart.com; Infibeam.com)
An excellent 4" screen and 720p video playback capability makes it the best multimedia phone in this category. The sound quality is impressive, while the Android OS assures a continuous flow of great apps. Moreover, its 1 GHz CPU, 4 GB onboard storage, and a 5 MP camera won't disappoint you either.
High-End Phones (Above Rs 20,000)
After exceeding the 20k mark, these phones better have all round performance. An outstanding USP is more a norm than a novelty at this price segment. The UI and software support are important aspects to consider while shopping in this category. The The HTC Evo 3D and LG's Optimus 3D offer a unique glassless 3D experience, however it fails to amuse you after a week or two. Therefore, they get a special mention here, but don't make it to the final list.
Nokia N8 (The Best Camera phone)
MRP: Rs 23,900
Street Price: Rs 20,900 (Homeshop18.com); Rs 21,700 (Letsbuy.com; Flipkart.com)
This is the phone which took a chunk out of the sales of point and shoot cameras, rather than the rival smartphones. Carl Zeiss optics, xenon flash, and the widest camera sensor ever found on a mobile ensures that no other phone comes close to this device's imaging performance. The HDMI port, aluminium casing, and a great battery life distinguishes it from other devices. Moreover, the Symbian Belle update around the corner still makes it a sensible buy.
Samsung Galaxy S II (The Ultimate Performer)
MRP: Rs 30,500
Street Price: Rs 28,900 (Saholic.com); Rs 29,200 (Homeshop18.com); Rs 30,000 (Flipkart.com)
Not all dual-core 'droids are the same, and Samsung Galaxy S II is one rare device amongst the clutter of mediocre handsets. It just shatters the competition in terms of sheer performance. This is the only device that managed to play 1080p YouTube videos in the browser. Its Mali 400 CPU can handle every Android game with ease. Moreover, an 8 MP camera capable of HD recording and a 4.3" display do justice to its raw power.
Apple iPhone 4 (The Best "Bling" phone)
MRP: 34,500 (16 GB)
Street Price: Rs 32,800 (Infibeam.com); Rs 34,500 (Letsbuy.com; Saholic.com)
A great design and a beautiful UI makes it one of the most desired smartphone in the world. Its flawless and fluid touch experience makes it a pleasure to use. Additionally, its simplicity, a rich app store, and excellent sound quality make it hard to beat. Oh, and let's not forget its ability to impress the girls.
Diwali Special Buyer's Guide: Mobile Phones
Festive cellphone shopping demystified.
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