The smartphone market in India witnessed immense changes in 2013 with all the major handset makers launching their “worth to buy” smartphones incorporating latest technology and sophisticated hardware. Whether it was quad-core processors, 2GB of RAM, 16GB internal storage, expandable memory options via a card slot, high-end and super-sensitive cameras, 1080p display, curved displays, smartphone makers ensured that they are adding to the their existing customer base.
After a thorough scrutiny we have listed ten of the best value-for-money smartphones in India in 2013:
Micromax Canvas Turbo A250
Learning from the mistakes of Canvas 4, homegrown handset maker Micromax released its latest flagship, the Micromax Canvas Turbo A250, with full-HD display. The Canvas Turbo is a great device that is well built and feels great to hold. Aptly called poor man’s HTC One, the phone has its back made of aluminium. From front, the phone looks like a typical Samsung GALAXY handset. The phone comes with curved edges and glossy sides. The Canvas Turbo packs a 5" IPS screen, offering a display of 1920x1080 resolution, with a pixel density of 440 pixels-per-inch. Being an IPS panel, the colour reproduction is quite good, except for white, which looks a bit yellowish. The device is powered by a quad-core MTK 6589T chipset clocked at 1.5 GHz.
On the hardware front, it has 2 GB of RAM and PowerVR SGX544 GPU for gaming. Other prominent features include Wi-Fi, 3G, Bluetooth 4.0, A-GPS, and 2000 mAh battery. The phone has 16 GB internal storage, of which around 12 GB is user accessible. The phone lacks a microSD card slot for further expansion of storage. The Turbo also has a 13 megapixel auto-focus camera with an LED flash. The camera performs well in daylight but noise sets in low-light. The Canvas 4 records full-HD videos in MP4 format. Likewise, the quality of video recording suffers indoors. It has been priced nearly Rs. 19,299 and it is available on almost all the online portals.
Sony Xperia L
Sony wants to sell the Xperia L based on its camera technology, the 8MP Exmor RS sensor on the back. The 4.3-inch screen on the Xperia L offers bright and crisp display, but does not have the Bravia engine that was seen on the Xperia SP and Xperia Z1. The phone measures 128.7 x 65 x 9.7mm and weighs 137g. It has an arched body that's reminiscent of the Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc S phone, with a matte black back. The arch makes it comfortable to hold and the device fits snugly in the hand. The screen offers a 854x480-pixel resolution, offering a pixel density of 227 pixels per inch. It is powered by a 1GHz dual-core processor, which is quite low when compared to others in the same price range.
The Xperia L comes running Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean, which is now quite an old version of Google's mobile software. The Xperia L has an 8-megapixel camera around the back and uses Sony's Exmor RS image processor, which the company reckons makes it better in poor lighting conditions. It has 1GB RAM and 8GB of internal memory. Xperia L packs a 1.750 mAh battery that provides power for the device for 9 hours on 3G network. Although the built quality is good, the phone gives lackluster performance, older software, meagre storage and only adequate camera.
Price: Rs 16350 (On Flipkart.com)
Gionee Elife E6
While being an original device manufacturer (ODM) for many big brands across the globe, Chinese handset maker Gionee with its E6 smatphone attempts to firmly establish itself in the crowded Indian mobile market. The E6 is built to impress and probably the best built Chinese droid I have seen so far. The handset is built from a single slab of polycarbonate, which gives it a rigidness it requires. It also borrows some elements from the iPhone 5's design, with a similar rectangular slab and rounded corners form factor. The E6 is fairly slim at 7.9mm and is light as well. There are three capacitive buttons in the front and a 5MP front-facing camera up top. The E6 has a 5-inch full-HD (1080x1920 pixels resolution) IPS screen based on One Glass Solution (OGS) technology with a Gorilla Glass 3 layer for protection.
The device is powered by a Mediatek MTK6589T SoC running at 1.5GHz. There’s also 2GB of RAM onboard. There’s no memory expansion but the 32GB onboard should keep most happy. The E6 runs Android 4.2.1 version but is heavily skinned with very little resemblance to stock Android. Gionee has also bundled some apps with the Elife E6, including UC Browser - the phone's default web browser, File Explorer, Facebook, Twitter, NQ Mobile Security, WhatsApp, Yahoo Cricket, GameZone - a games store to download new games, Fishing Joy game, WeChat, Notes, App Manager, and many more. The Gionee Elife E6 sports a 13-megapixel auto-focus camera with a Sony Exmor R sensor and five element lens. It also includes a second generation BSI sensor for low-light imaging. The Gionee Elife E6 comes with a 2,000mAh battery, which will last you more than a full day with medium to heavy usage.
Price: Rs. 21080 (On Flipkart.com)
Nokia Lumia 520
The Lumia 520 is a budget smartphone meant for those who want simple Web access and maintain social connection. The Nokia Lumia 520 has a fairly generous 4-inch, 480 x 800 display and is powered by a 1 GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor and 512MB of RAM. It is a compact phone—4.72 by 2.51 by 0.38 inches— that should remind you of the first iPhone. The screen display is protected by a scratch resistant glass. The handset weighs 124 grams and is 9.9 mm thick. All of the buttons line up on the right-hand side: Volume, Power and Camera. A headphone jack is up top, and there's a micro-USB port is at the bottom, but you have no video-out jacks.
The Lumia 520 has 512MB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage, expandable via microSD to 64GB. A 5-megapixel rear camera with autofocus and 720p video capture features for the Lumia 520, and it has no secondary camera. The phone runs Windows Phone 8 which is upgradable to the Amber update. The smartphone comes loaded with multi-format media players for accessing the audio and video files. The device also has multiple connectivity features including 3G, WiFi, 2G and Bluetooth etc. The Nokia Lumia 520 was originally launched for around Rs. 10,500, but on portals it is available between Rs. 7,945 and Rs. 8701 depending on your color choice.
Price: Rs. 8250 (Flipkart.com)
iBerry Auxus Nuclea N1
A solid value-for-money device, the iBerry Auxus Nuclea N1 resembles the HTC Butterfly. It is a plastic device but feels quite robust. The front sports gorilla glass which claims a 20 per cent increase in toughness and breakage/scratch resistance. The Nuclea N1 sports a 5.0-inch full-HD 1080p Active Matrix display based on OGS (One Glass Technology). The device is powered by a 1.5GHz Mediatek MT6589T quad-core processor with VR SGX 544MP GPU clocked at 357MHz for enhancing gaming experience. The phone boasts of a 13-megapixel rear camera with BSI sensor and auto-focus, and an 8-megapixel front camera.
The company has added a number of features to the camera including Burst mode, Smile/face detection, HDR, Panorama, Geo-tagging, Anti-flicker and full HD video recording capability. The phone runs Android 4.2 Jelly Bean. The device is 9.6 mm thick and weighs around 120 grams. The N1 supports dual-SIM (GSM+GSM) with one SIM supporting 3G and the other one, 2G. It comes with 4GB internal storage expandable up to 64GB. The N1 gets its juice from a 2,800mAh battery which as per the company's claim, delivers a talktime of 12 hours and a standby time of 250 hours.
Price: Rs 16990 (On Flipkart.com)
Micromax Canvas HD A116i
Micromax Canvas HD A116i is the successor of the company's first flagship phone - Canvas HD A116. In terms of specifications, the phone is pretty much a photocopy of its predecessor. It is a dual-SIM phone sporting a 5 inch screen with 1280×720 pixels resolution. It runs Android 4.1 upgradable to 4.2 with 1GB RAM and 4GB storage. It is powered the quad core MediaTek MT6589 chipset clocked at 1.2GHz (Cortex A7). There is 8MP rear AF camera with dual LED flash and front camera of VGA resolution. Other features are 3G, Wi-Fi, GPS and Bluetooth. Battery is 2000 mAh with up to 5 hours talk-time. Connectivity options include 3G, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. All of this is kept alive by a 2,000mAh battery.
Price: Rs 12449 (As on Flipkart.com)
Samsung Galaxy Grand Duos I9082
It is a well-designed and built handset with an impressive spec sheet. The Grand Duos looks similar to the Note II, but with the finish and build of the S III. The phone seems a bit chunkier than the Note II and has plastic finish. The Grand Duos feels strong and durable but is on the thicker side at 9.6 mm and quite heavy as well at 162 g. The phone has a 5” LCD screen which gives a resolution of 480×800 pixels. And the lack of crispness is noticeable when compared with the sharper S4. The phone is powered by a 1.2 GHz Dual-core Processor along with 1GB of RAM. The Grand features dual cameras – a front facing 2MP camera, and a rear 8MP camera.
The phone taken by the rear shooter comes out to be crisp and clear and users can chose from modes such as burst, panorama, and smile. The device also gives the users the option of multi-window – meaning you can watch your videos and search for some content on the net at the same time. It runs on the Android v4.1.2 Jelly Bean Operating System. Connectivity options include Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, GPS and DLNA for internet, USB 2.0, Bluetooth 4.0 LE. The phone comes with 8 GB of internal storage space which can be extended up to 64 GB. The swappable microSD memory cards allow virtually limitless storage for movies, music and pictures.
Sony Xperia C
Sony Xperia C is a mid-range smartphone that comes with Xperia's signature design. Measuring at 5.57 x 2.92 x 0.35 in and weighing at 153 g, it certainly is light and slim. The phone boasts Sony's OmniBalance design, first seen in its flagship phone, Xperia Z, but does not have the rear glass panel and aluminium frames. It sits comfortably in the hand and offers a good level of grip. The smartphone's rear is removable, hiding the dual-SIM and microSD card slots. The phone has a 5-inch TFT capacitive touchscreen with only 540 x 960 pixels, offering a pixel density of 220 ppi.
The display of Xperia C produces bright whites and vibrant colours, but not deep blacks, especially when compared to an AMOLED or IPS display. en compared to an AMOLED or IPS display. While the display is sharp, the phone suffers from low overall resolution. The viewing angles on the smartphone are also not too good. It is powered by a quad-core 1.2 GHz Cortex-A7 with 1GB RAM, which makes it good for multitasking but you may experience minor lag. It is also the first time Sony used a MediaTek chipset in one of its phones. It sports an 8-megapixel rear camera, accompanied by an LED flash with Exmor R for mobile image sensor. The rear camera offers 4x digital zoom, HD (1080p) video recording, touch to focus and sweep Panorama. The Xperia C also includes HDR mode for video recording.
Samsung Galaxy S4 I9500
The Samsung Galaxy S4 is one of the best selling Android smartphones of the year, and justifiably so. The phone retains white plastic finish as its predecessor and is quite large to hold in one hand. Given its big 4.99in display, the S4 is slender. It measures just 136.6x69.8x7.9mm and weighs only 130g. In India, Samsung is selling the Galaxy S4 powered by Exynos 5 Octa, an 8-core processor. The US and several other markets, especially those with 4G availability, have got the Galaxy S4 that is powered by Qualcomm's S600 chip. The S4 is available with only 16GB storage, of which only 8.82GB is available to user. That’s too low but users do have an option to add a microSD card of up to 64GB. The Galaxy S4 has an AMOLED screen, which delivers vibrant colours along with fine contrast. With a resolution of 1080x1920 pixels it is razor sharp. The Galaxy S4 is powered by Android 4.2.2 aka Jelly Bean. The OS has been heavily modified by Samsung with Touchwiz user interface.
The phone delivers great performance in terms of super-fast web browsing, lag-free app switching, graphics intensive games. It also offers excellent call quality. The 13MP auto focus camera of the S4 with flash and zero shutter lag refines the mobile photography. It also has a secondary camera. With innovative 'Dual Camera' function, the phone has the capability to use both the imaging mavericks simultaneously. It records and plays full HD movie. The phone incorporates the revolutionary Smart Pause / Smart Scroll function which automatically scrolls up or down emails or websites when you tilt the phone from one side to another. Whenever you look away, it ensures to pause whatever you're watching.
Other interesting features include 'Samsung Optical Reader' which automatically recognises a business card or QR code information, 'Air View' that allows you to preview the content of an email without opening the same, 'Air Gesture' that enables you to change the music track, scroll up and down a web page, or accept a call with just a wave of your hand. The phone also features 'Group Play' enabling you to connect directly with others to share, play and co-create content and entertainment instantly. Thanks to the innovative 'WatchON' function which is smart enough to transform your device into an IR remote to control your home entertainment system including TV, set-top box, DVD player and even air conditioner.
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 N9000
The smartphone offers the convenience of a big screen of a tablet with the portability of a smartphone. Probably, the best phablet in the market, the Galaxy Note's strength is the S Pen, the intelligent stylus that accompanies the device and allows users to do more than just navigate the user interface and scribble notes. The Note 3 is made of essentially but Samsung cleverly disguised the finish of certain elements to give the smartphone a premium fit and finish. The front of the phone is dominated by its 5.7-inch Full-HD Super AMOLED display. The bezel is narrow on the left and right sides.
The phone not beveled above and below the screen and is flatter, sporting a textured dark grey finish. The Galaxy Note 3 comes with a full-HD Super AMOLED display with a resolution of 1080x1920 pixels packing 386 pixels per inch. The display delivers sharp and vibrant text and images. Reading text and browsing the web was also a pleasant experience. Just like the Galaxy S4, the Note 3 offers Adapt Display, to optimise colours according to ambient light conditions. You can choose between four manual modes (Dynamic, Standard, Professional Photo and Movie) and automatic modes if you select the Adapt Display option. The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 runs Android 4.3 Jelly Bean, the latest iteration of the OS (at the time of writing this review) and TouchWiz Nature UX. The Galaxy Note 3 features a 13-megapixel rear camera that takes excellent shots in daylight and good artificial light.
The images suffer, if they are taken in low light. The Galaxy Note 3 comes with new camera tricks including Cinemagram like Animated photo mode; an Eraser mode to delete moving objects from 5 consecutive photos; Drama shot, which takes multiple photos of a moving object and merges them all to denote action; and Best face, which allows selecting the best face shot in group photos. Other usual modes include the Burst mode that takes 20 continuous shots, HDR mode and Panorama mode. The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is powered by Samsung's Exynos 5 Octa 5420 processor which is essentially a set of two quad-core processors- a 1.9GHz Cortex A15 quad-core processor and a 1.3GHz Cortex A7 quad-core processor that work together to optimise processing. It has 3GB RAM onboard, and a Mali T628 MP6 chip for processing graphics. The device gets it juice from a 3200mAh battery.