Saving up for a new phone? You are in luck! This guide will help you become part of the smartphone revolution…on a budget. Join us as we discover some of the best smartphones out there, ranging from Rs15,000 to Rs23,000.
NB: Blackberries have not been covered in this review as they require the Blackberry Internet Service (monthly cost of Rs 1000 + tax) to fully unlock their “smart” capabilities. Not very budget friendly.
Samsung Galaxy Mini S5570
It may look mini, sound mini, but don’t let that fool you. It’s capable of moving mountains. Let’s look at some salient features:
• Android 2.2.1 Froyo, 600Mhz Processor
• Decent 3.15 MP camera
• 3.14’’ capacitive touchscreen
• Android market featuring thousands of free apps
• Social network integration
• Swype text input
• Wifi, 3g, GPS, bluetooth, FM radio
• Price: Rs 15,500 approx.
The Mini feels great in the hands. Solid build quality and emboldened with a flashy colour stripe along the side, this mobile keeps you connected to all that matters in your life. There isn’t much one needs to say about the features of the Android except that you can probably do everything on it, that you can on your laptop. The Mini also features the revolutionary “Swype” typing technology which abolishes the old “hitting each letter individually” typing method and brings in the “swipe your finger over the keyboard”. It’s a bit hard to explain in writing but Youtube “Swype” to see the magic happen. I have convinced as many as ten budget conscious people to purchase the Galaxy Mini. They were all wary of typing on touchscreens, but a 30 second demo of “Swype” and they were sold.
With a price as low as what the Mini carries, there most certainly are some tradeoffs. The low resolution screen could be a cause of concern for some users as it makes web browsing kind of difficult and one needs to constantly use the zoom feature to read text. You can, of course, add in around Rs3000 to your budget and purchase a Galaxy Gio (much better screen and faster processor), but overall, the Mini gives you its best. Oh did I mention that you can play angry birds on it too?
Another strong competitor in the budget friendly smartphone arena is the C6-01. Let’s take a look at the important specs:
• 3.2’’ high resolution ClearBlack capacitive touchscreen
• 8 MP Camera with dual flash
• Symbian v3, 680 Mhz Processor
• Scratch resistant gorilla glass display
• Excellent audio quality
• Social Network Integration
• USB on-the-go
• Wifi, Bluetooth, 3g, GPS, FM Radio
• Price: Rs23,000 approx
This phone is a welcome upgrade for people used to Nokia devices. Nokia needs to be credited with creating one of the most user friendly devices in the smartphone category. What sets this device apart is the ClearBlack display technology which reduces reflections on your screen, enabling you to effortlessly view the content on your screen, especially outdoors in the sunlight. The colours always stay vibrant and the display feels crisp and sharp at all times. The gorilla glass makes the touchscreen virtually unbreakable and scratch-less which is again a big plus. USB on-the-go allows you to connect USB devices or even other smartphones directly to your phone and exchange/transfer data.
The Symbian platform is the reason why Nokia is lagging in the smartphone battle. The OS is pretty outdated (even with many new updates) and has a relatively limited number of apps available. Stuff like sharing a picture on Facebook takes two or three clicks on an Android or Iphone, but may seem a rather daunting task on the C6-01. The battery life also isn’t the best, unlike other Nokia phones, lasting about a day with mild to heavy usage. But no worries, the C6-01 does provide the bare essentials for a smartphone user. Email, social networking, music and games.
Now this is what a Facebook phone would be like. Dive into the HTC Chacha:
• Android 2.3.3 Gingerbread
• Heavy Facebook integration with a dedicated Facebook button
• 2.6” capacitive touchscreen
• Gorilla Glass display
• QWERTY keyboard
• 5 MP autofocus camera
• Wifi, Bluetooth, 3G, GPS, Fm Radio
• Sleek design metal body
• Price: Rs21,500 approx
The HTC Chacha was born with a specific purpose. To capture the heavy texters and facebookers of the world. The QWERTY keyboard is ergonomic and beautiful, making typing a breeze. The dedicated Facebook button basically shares whatever is on your screen on your Facebook page with just a single click e.g. if you are looking at a picture, pressing the Facebook button would share the image on your Facebook page. If you are listening to a song, pressing the Facebook button shares the music info on your Facebook page. Very addictive!
Although this phone comes with the latest version of Android, the landscape screen makes it difficult to get used to as Android wasn’t really meant for such screens plus this also heavily limits the number of apps compatible with the Chacha. The low internal memory also doesn’t allow you to install a lot of apps, but then again don’t try to make this phone something it’s not meant to be. Facebook, text, chat, email, more Facebook, take pictures, make videos and even more Facebook!
Published in The Express Tribune, October 29th, 2011.