There used to be a time when Rs. 30,000 was the ceiling for pricing a flagship smartphone from a big manufacturer. Today, that ceiling has been raised to 40-45k. So what happens to the yesterday’s heroes as they are replaced by their successors? It is seen that manufacturers like Apple, Samsung and now even HTC continue to sell them at lower price points, while the newest flagship takes the throne. Despite living in a world where handsets are phased out like stale vegetables doesn’t make them completely irrelevant.
Rs. 20,000 has always been a psychological upper limit to many mobile phone buyers. Samsung has used this magic number to lure buyers wanting a Galaxy Note, into buying a Galaxy Grand. But if you can stretch a little more, Rs. 26,000 can get you some reasonably solid performers. That extra 5-6k will give you extra features we deem worthy paying for.
Samsung Galaxy SIII – Rs. 26,500 (Buy)
The Galaxy SIII saw yet another price drop which brings it awfully close to the Rs. 25k mark. And for this price, what you get is pretty kick-ass. The 4.8-inch Super AMOLED display bears a 1280 x 720 pixel resolution, and although the pixels may be arranged in a pentile matrix, it is definitely miles better than the Galaxy Grand’s display. Next, the Exynos quad-core 1.4 GHz chip is still meaty to deliver a smooth experience even with heavy-duty apps and games.
The 8 megapixel snapper at the back was touted to be one of the best phone cameras of 2012. There’s 16GB of internal storage, plus the presence of that microSD card slot to expand will put a smile on many faces. Lastly, its 2100 mAh removable battery is ample to deliver a entire day of active use without running towards the charger.
If we were to point out one flaw, it would be the TouchWIZ UI. It is very uninspiring, looking like a design from 10 years ago. But then being an Android phone, this can be somewhat remedied by a combination of 3rd party launchers, lockscreens, widgets and keyboard apps.
LG Nexus 4 – Rs. 26,000 (Buy)
An official announcement from the handset maker LG, that was due for months, finally came through. Now that the Nexus 4 will soon sell officially, you’ll be comforted to know that buying it from India will get you warranty coverage. This is still unclear for those who purchased it from abroad (we reached out to LG for clarification but they haven’t gotten back to us).
Anyway, despite the announcement of the nexus-ed Galaxy S4 ‘Google Edition’ a few days ago, the Nexus 4 still remains a relevant handset. Its designed on the lines of its predecessor, and the glass back has a nice textured design underneath. The quad-core Snapdragon chip makes the phone perform much snappier than the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. Its 4.7-inch IPS panel is ‘Retina-grade’ at 1280 x 768 pixels, but the display isn’t as vibrant as the spec-sheet makes it sound. Still, it is better than the GNex’s Super AMOLED display. The 2GB RAM is quite ample to accommodate our ever-increasing need of apps.
Although there’s no microSD card slot like the SIII, 16GB of internal storage should suffice most people. The 8 megapixel camera is mediocre when compared to snappers found on the Galaxy SIII or the iPhone 4S. So, if you can live with these flaws, the biggest advantage you’ll get with the Nexus 4 are the timely updates to Google’s most recent version of Android. For e.g., the Galaxy SIII still runs Android 4.1 while the version 4.2 that already powers the Nexus 4 will receive an upgrade to 4.3, whenever Google decides to launch it.
HTC One X – Rs. 25,500 (Buy)
The One X’s trump card lies in its 4.7-inch 1280 x 720 pixel Super LCD2 IPS panel — think iPhone quality with size that’s almost an inch bigger. The 1.5 GHz quad-core Tegra 3 chip is fairly powerful and is coupled with a gig of RAM. Much like the Nexus 4, there’s no microSD slot but 16GB of internal storage to compensate that. The battery may sound inadequate at 1800 mAh, but we have learnt from a long-time user of the One X that a recent update has improved the battery performance, which used to be lacklustre. But if you’re still not convinced, you’re welcome to spend Rs. 3000 more and get the One X+ — a marginal upgrade to the One X fitting a bigger 2100 mAh battery, a faster 1.7 GHz CPU and four times more storage at 64GB.
The good news about the One X series is a confirmed update to the new Sense 5 overlay that’s part of the current flagship; the HTC One.