Welcome to the new world of mobile phones. They're cheap but feature rich and modeled after some of today’s most sought after devices. When talking about these handsets that clearly have OEM's in China with Indian brands laying out the designs over them, one tends to refer to them as China Mobiles. Technically that's quite astute however thanks to the multitudes of brands that seem to pop out of the woodwork every now and then; they are now as Indian as a 'Vada-Pav' from the corner tea stall.
Here’s the list of the ones out there in the market that you could consider if this is the style you’re looking for.
Micromax ezpad Q5
Latest Price – Rs. 6,999 (MRP), Rs. 4,500 (MOP)
Micromax’s Q5 is, on almost all counts, a really good device for the price. It may not be much to look at but it’s certainly got the others in this list beat with its overall functionality. While in some instances like picture quality (2MP camera), the Q5 is at par with the other devices on the list, it does manage to outshine the rest in terms of features and their functionality. Its keypad is well designed and very manageable, in fact it seems like Micromax has focused on that particular aspect more than anything else. It has standardized connectivity options like a 3.5mm handsfree socket and mini USB port which allows you the freedom to use your own earphones if necessary. The Q5 is also equipped with a Yamaha sound engine for mobiles that offers quite a few settings to enhance the overall audio quality of the handset. This was also the only handset that had no issues whatsoever with video playback. The only other issue with the ezpad Q5 is the slightly awkward LCD display that made it just a little hard to view unless held at an angle. Everything else, including the battery life of the handset made it very deserving of the price tag.
Plenty of social networking features, multimedia features work well and it has a good battery life.
Display has a slightly awkward viewing angle and the camera quality isn’t too great.
The Rating – 4/5
Latest Price – Rs.4,999 (MRP), Rs.3,299 (MOP)
Although Zen may be relatively new, their Z77 BlackBerry clone has proven to be a really worthwhile handset. The same Java OS that’s available in all the other devices worked out very well here. It’s clear, uncluttered, has no lag and navigation is quite simple and fluid. The video player may have had its issues with framing but the music player and FM radio (with a recorder) more than made up for its shortcomings. The handset also offers a limited amount of motion based sensitivity for switching tracks (like the iPod’s Shake to Shuffle) and playing a couple of games as well. Opera Mini is preloaded to offer users a slightly better browsing experience and the Z77 also supports configuring and downloading POP and IMAP emails. The keypad seems small but will take just a little while to get used to if you haven’t used a QWERTY device before. It handles its Dual SIM functionality seamlessly and the UI is well designed to make using either number a hassle free operation. Once again we see standardized norms of connectivity with a 3.5mm handsfree socket and a mini USB port.
Offers really good audio, come with some social networking and the UI is clear and easy to navigate.
Video playback was a bit of an issue and the camera picture quality is not too good.
The Rating – 4/5
Fly BD430 Circle
Latest Price – Rs.3,849 (MRP), Rs.3,490 (MOP)
The Circle could also be considered just another BlackBerry clone and it is of course, there's no denying it. And while it may not offer all a BlackBerry does although it tries really really hard, for the price tag it offers quite a bit. It’s easy to get used to as the keypad is reasonably sized and evenly laid out for typing. Like Micromax, the Circle’s display is also a bit of an issue when it comes to viewing angles. The handset’s media capabilities are not bad with clear audio for music with EQ presets thrown in and the FM radio comes with a recording function. The video player will only playback very low resolution 3GP and MPEG4 files and the camera is not too bad for indoor well lit conditions but has issues with outdoor shots.
UI is well laid out and smooth, there’s plenty of social networking options and it has a better than average battery life.
The LCD is a little awkward and the camera quality is not too good
The Rating – 4/5