Technophile

On a budget? There’s still a phone out there for you

Varun Aggarwal | Updated on September 05, 2018 Published on September 05, 2018

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With Chinese brands pushing the envelope at affordable rates, customers are spoilt for choice

The budget segment or the market for mobile phones priced less than ₹10,000 is the largest segment for phone sales in India. Sounds obvious? Well yes, cheaper items usually sell more than the expensive ones in a price sensitive market like India; but that doesn’t mean you get a run-down phone for ₹10,000 just because you can’t spend more than that. In fact, increasingly, people are willing to buy cheaper phones, ditching the traditional big brands in favour of the newer Chinese ones. While metallic finish and premium design are now a standard, it is not the only highlight on today’s budget phones.

Some brands are pushing the envelope to get you everything you’d find in a premium smartphone at a fraction of the cost. Sounds too good to be true? Let’s find out.

Dual camera

Cameras have become the biggest selling point for smartphones, right from the basic ₹5,000 phone to a ₹1 lakh iPhone X. So when it comes to buying a new smartphone, everyone aspires to have a good camera. For example, a dual rear camera set-up that creates a depth effect in your pictures, blurring everything in the image except for the main subject, something you’d typically be able to do using an expensive DSLR camera.

And, yes there are options aplenty even at ₹10,000 for dual camera phones. Xiaomi’s Redmi Y2, for example, boasts a 12 MP + 5 MP dual rear camera. Honor 7C similarly offers a 13 MP + 2 MP dual-lens rear camera with one lens for image capturing and another for depth detection.

Beauty mode

When clicking selfies, most people want to get rid of all the blemishes on their skin and look much younger. That’s what the budget phone-makers are latching on to with the ‘beauty’ mode. Take for example, the beauty mode on the Infinix Hot Pro 6. With just a 5 MP front camera, the phone relies on its software to produce smooth portrait images to make you look younger with flawless skin.

Face unlock

Face unlock is not something new. But with the iPhone X coming up with a highly accurate sensor to unlock your phone, even the most basic phones are trying to offer the feature. Take for example, Intex Infie 33. Priced at about ₹5,000, the phone comes with an 18:9 full view display along with face unlock. In fact, it also secretly captures pictures of those who are trying to unlock your phone without authorisation. The result may not be accurate each time, but it does let you boast of a cool feature without burning a hole in your pocket.

Fingerprint sensor

Unlocking your phone with a passcode is ancient history now. While the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus offer an excellent fingerprint scanner to unlock your phone and other apps within the phone, Android users can get the same experience by spending less than ₹4,000. Apart from safety, fingerprint scanners make it extremely convenient to unlock your phone or access your secure apps. And it only takes a fraction of a second.

Large battery

Thanks to cheap data connections, use of mobile apps has skyrocketed in the country and these apps do use up a lot of your phone’s battery. Surprisingly enough, budget phones often offer more juice than their premium buddies. A 3,000 mAh battery has become a standard for entry-level phones, which can easily last you an entire day with moderate to high usage. You’ll probably need to charge your phone again only if you’re playing a lot of games. In fact, some models such as Asus Zenfone 3 Max even offer you a 4,100 mAh battery along with a good camera as well as a 3 GB RAM.

Gaming

After videos, gaming is a big feature where most of us spend time on our smartphones. So if you’re a PUBG fan, don’t get disappointed even if you have less than ₹10,000 in your pocket. Qualcomm’s 625 Snapdragon processor has come in as a blessing for budget phones. One of the most common processors among phones under ₹10K, this processor allows you to play resource-intensive games for hours. The performance is boosted further with a 3 GB RAM, which is increasingly becoming the norm. In fact, at just ₹1,000 above the ₹10K tag, Oppo’s RealMe 1 comes with a 4 GB RAM and 64 GB storage to allow you to store and play the most resource-hungry games available.

Are flagships passe?

When you get all the features you want in a budget smartphone, why would you want to spend four to 10 times more on a flagship? Well, there are still plenty of reasons.

First, the entire budget phone line-up is dominated by Chinese brands, which often lag behind in the quality of service support. This is where the likes of Apple and Samsung outshine the rest with their widespread service network. While the materials in budget phones look premium, they are often just metallic coatings on top of a plastic body. Flagships like the iPhone, or Samsung Galaxy S9 or even the OnePlus on the other hand, use premium glass and metals that look classier and are more durable too.

Premium brands have also pushed their products further to offer waterproof phones and wireless charging. Moreover, when it comes to the camera, flagships are still miles ahead of the budget phones.

That said, budget phones offer you more than just the basics and unless you really need it, budget phones won’t make you miss a premium handset.

Published on September 05, 2018

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