It’s been an exciting year for the budget mobile segment. There have been some very interesting models making the list of launches in 2012 with high-end features at low budget prices. While most might be from the local stands, even the bigger players have managed to dish out some very value-for-money models.
Based on what we’ve managed to review this year, user feedback and asking around the markets about sales etc., we’ve got our list ready. Here’s a look at tech2’s Gadget of the Year selections for Mid-to-low budget smartphones. We have included handsets that are priced anywhere between Rs 9,000 to Rs 18,000.
Mobile of the Year: Sony Xperia Go
The Xperia Go is an exceptional handset in this range. It offers well distributed set of features for those who would use it for work and/or play and is especially versatile for those who enjoy the great outdoors. With a simple but suave look, the neatly designed Xperia Go is ready to handle rough rides through water, sand or dust and still come out as if nothing happened. Thanks to its Wet Finger Tracking system, the display is fully operational even when held under water. It packs in clear audio, a much better than average battery life and a 5 megapixel camera that’s capable of really good pictures. This rugged handset is great for the price and well-designed to offer users full smartphone capabilities anytime and almost anywhere.
Excellent feature set with good performance
First Runner Up: Micromax Smartphone Canvas A100
We chose this phone as the second runner up simply because we could not find a better match to the price and specifications of this handset in our review database. The large screen is crisp, the user interface is smooth and lastly, the piece is sleek and good looking. It even resembles Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus to an extent. Though there were cheaper options with similar specs available, none could match up to this handset. As far as the performance matters, this one did quite well besting some of its competitors. The only issue we found with the phone was the camera that, for some reason, insisted on saving photos upside down. Rest assured, this phone did extremely well until it went off the market to make way for the second version, the Canvas 2.
Still a worthy contender
Second Runner Up: Karbonn A21
The Karbonn A21 re-defines value-for-money in the sub-10K price bracket. This latest version manages to pack in a 4.5-inch touchscreen with good colour reproduction and very little banding, something that's quite rare in phones in this price range. The A21 is also built very well and has a very good finish, which means you won't be ashamed to flaunt it in public. The device is also powered by a 1.2GHz dual-core Qualcomm SoC that gives it strong multimedia capabilities. There is a minor issue with the UI, which is not the smoothest of the lot. You do, however, get Android ICS right out of the box along with dual-SIM and expandable storage, which makes the A21 incredible value for money.
There are still a few handsets that didn’t quite make it into the top 3 of GOTY listing this year, but certainly deserve a mention. These handsets have or had (in case they’ve been discontinued) much to offer in terms of features and functionality and we believe that they also made quite an impact on the industry this past year. Take a look at the honourable mentions:
Nokia Lumia 510
Nokia’s banking on the Lumia smartphone series to dredge them up out of the mire they’ve been in. So far, although the handsets themselves are high on the design and feature fronts, the Windows Phone 7 OS has been holding them back significantly from their true potential. That being said, the OS, even with its shortcomings, still manages to offer quite a lot in terms of a good user experience and Nokia’s host of handy apps. The reason we’ve included the Lumia 510 in our list is because it’s the cheapest Windows Phone 7 device that manages to give you the same user experience as you’d expect from the higher end models. Limitations aside, it’s remarkable that a low budget handset does just as well as its higher priced bigger brothers even if it has a lower resolution display and slower processor. Nokia Maps and GPS navigation on board adds a little more value to the handset's appeal and so does the fact that it's available in funky colours.
Samsung Galaxy Pocket
In the lowest budget segment for a smartphone, Samsung’s Galaxy series has made its mark with the S5300 Pocket. The Pocket lived up to its name; it was easy on the wallet and performed well enough to be a great value for money. We’ve included it in our honourable mentions as the handset offered users an above average Android performance at an extremely reasonable price. It had a slim, sleek but sturdy build with decent media functionality and a pretty good 2MP camera. It even managed to deliver quite well on battery life.
Easy on the pocket
Looking for a dual-SIM Android under 20K? The Lenovo S880 makes for a very good buy if you want a large screen for cheap. The S880 packs a 5-inch display that gives you a good screen real eastate; however, the resolution is a bit low so you will have to deal with a bit of banding in videos and images. The UI is still smooth though and Lenovo's skin over ICS makes it quite functional. We wish it had a flash for the camera to make indoor shots a bit better. Overall, it's a pretty decent phone with a good feature set, which is why it makes the cut in our list.
Decent budget dual-SIM phone
So these are the handsets in the mid-low budget segment of smartphones that we deemed worthy of being on our Gadget of the Year List.
We’d like to know what handsets in this range you would have picked. Please let us know your choices and have a very Merry Christmas and wonderful New Year!
Check out our other G.O.T.Y 2012 award lists here.
Publish date: December 26, 2012 5:07 pm| Modified date: December 19, 2013 6:10 am
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