The past one year has been phenomenal for the mobile space. The consumers were quite literally spoilt for choice and notwithstanding the high price, these devices were quick to fly off the shelves. Now that the excitement has settled a bit, we decided to do a recce of the local market to find out which of these devices has gained the consumer approval.

What’s hot
What we discerned is that while people may buy the devices owing to the hype, they had no qualms selling the device when or if buyer's remorse set in. Even though speculations about the dismal sales of the iPhone 5 are rife, the iPhone still remains a popular handset. And the only other brand ranking alongside in terms of popularity is Apple’s nemesis, Samsung. The Samsung Galaxy Note II, the Samsung Galaxy S III and even the Galaxy Grand are highly in demand. Apart from these two, also making it to the ranks, though not in the same price bracket but unrivalled in demand, is the Micromax A110.

Something to be said for consistency
When it comes to the current price, there have been some really interesting revelations. To begin with, the HTC One V has managed to maintain the same price at which it was launched almost ten months ago. The HTC Butterfly, which was launched for Rs 45,990, now shows an increased current price of Rs 47,000. The Micromax A110, whose market operating price was approximately Rs 10,000 when launched, has now risen to Rs 12,000. Some retailers told us that the reason is high demand and limited stock that has led to this price rise.

Look at the table below to compare the prices of the popular smartphones over the past one year:


The prices reflected above in the table are subject to change

Reduction in price
The Samsung Galaxy S III has shown the maximum price drop of around 33 percent and is now selling for Rs 29,000 while the iPhone 5 has shown barely 4 percent of a price drop and is now available for Rs 43,500. However, it is interesting to note that resellers like Redington and others have been marketing the iPhone 5 like never before with several full page newspaper print ads. The Nokia Lumia 920, which was launched in India just last month for Rs 38,199, has already seen a price drop of 6 percent, which is around Rs 2,000.

What’s on resale?
Finally, when it comes to resale value, again it was Apple and Samsung with the iPhone and the Note II and S III, respectively, raking up good resale value. If you plan to buy a second hand device, then the iPhone 5 will be an expensive option which sells for a good Rs 36,000. Instead, you can simply add Rs 7,000 and buy a brand new unit. 

The Note II, on the other hand, has shown a huge dip and can be bought second hand for Rs 28,000. Interestingly, one should note that both these devices were launched around the same time in September last year.

Looking at Sony’s Xperia range, it is clear that the second hand prices are almost half of the price at which they were launched. As the  MOP of the Micromax A110 during the launch was around Rs 10,000, the second hand value hasn't dipped much at Rs 8,000. 

Talking about popular phones that are already outdated and not in demand, some retailers point out to the Nokia 808 PureView and the HTC One X. The Pureview was highly anticipated for its 41MP sensor and launched at Rs 33,899, but is now being sold for around Rs 25,000.

The bottom line
If you are looking to buy the latest smartphone and are considering a second hand option, then it will save you a couple of thousand rupees at the most (especially the Note II or the iPhone 5). Hence, it makes sense to buy a fresh unit. On the other hand, if its one of the slightly older smartphones that you have been eyeing, then you will get a good deal on the second hand unit. For instance, the Samsung Galaxy S III, which was launched for Rs 43,180 and carries a current price of Rs 29,000, is sold at a second hand price of Rs. 22,000. However, one should be aware that second hand prices that you pay are subject to change depending upon the condition of the smartphone. It isn't necessary that every second hand phone will come with a warranty, but if you are lucky you may find a phone with some warranty period still pending. This usually happens if you get your hands on a device sold within a couple of months of purchase. However, always thoroughly check the device for cracks and other wear and tear before paying your crisp green.

Disclaimer: The details mentioned here are based on the information provided by local dealers and reflect the rates for this week. The prices will also vary depending on your location and current deals available there. 

Image credit: Jagdish Limbachiya, Harshad Gujare

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