There was a time when the under Rs 10,000 smartphone market was identified by uninspiring blocks of cumbersome plastic with little or no regards to hardware specs. Phones under Rs 10,000 were mere formalities back in the day. That is also because, back in the day, nobody cared about looks and specs as long as the phone was functional. As long as it could make calls and send texts, and browse the web somewhat, nobody complained. Things are however different in 2017.
Smartphones now ought to look good, they ought to feel good, and they ought to come with substantial hardware. Even in and around Rs 10,000. Because that’s how the smartphone market is shaping up to be. Here are a few good examples.
Xiaomi Redmi 4
The Redmi 4 was launched in India in mid-May at a starting price of Rs 6,999 for the 2GB RAM and 16GB storage version going all the way to Rs 10,999 for the top end 4GB RAM and 64GB storage version. The Redmi 4 is also available in 3GB RAM and 32GB memory version for Rs 8,999. Although, the Redmi 4 has been around for a while — and is still a very hard to get phone like other Xiaomi phones — the fact that it brings in some hard-to-get hardware specs at some really rock-bottom prices make it worth all the time and effort. No other phone still comes close to it as far as value proposition is concerned.
The phone looks really premium, feels really premium, has a pretty neat display, metes out dependable performance, comes with good-enough cameras and most importantly, it gives you a killer battery life.
Boasting of a full-metal body — with a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner — the Xiaomi Redmi 4 comes with a 5-inch 720p display and an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 435 processor under the hood. It sports a 13-megapixel rear camera with PDAF and a 5-megapixel front-facing camera. On the software side, the Redmi 4 comes with Android 6.0 Marshmallow-based MIUI. Furthermore, the phone is backed by a 4,100mAh battery.
Xiaomi Redmi 4A
Xiaomi’s ultra-affordable Redmi 4A , sells for just Rs 5,999, and is meant for someone who is on a really tight budget. Think of it as an even more affordable Redmi 4: an ideal feature phone replacement if you’re someone who is also looking to make a switch to a ‘smart’ phone for the first time. It’s as basic as basic gets, and yet, it is feature packed to the brim once you get a hang of it. Most importantly, it costs next to nothing.
If you’re someone who is looking for a basic smartphone at dirt-cheap prices, but, also someone who loves to flaunt it, the Redmi 4A should get the job done. The phone, although plastic, feels premium from every nook and corner and is also quite high on specs for its price as long as you know its limitations.
In terms of hardware specs, the Redmi 4A comes with a 5-inch HD IPS display with a 720p resolution. It is powered by a 1.4GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 processor coupled with Adreno 308 GPU, 2GB RAM and 16GB of internal storage which is further expandable via micro-SD card slot. The dual-SIM phone runs Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow-based MIUI 8 out-of-the-box and supports 4G LTE (VoLTE-ready) connectivity.
On the camera front the Redmi 4A comes with a 13-megapixel camera on the rear with f/2.2 aperture along with autofocus and an LED flash. On the front you get a 5-megapixel snapper. The phone is backed by a 3,120mAh battery which is non-removable.
Xiaomi Redmi Note 4
It’s no secret that Xiaomi has hit bull’s eye with the Redmi Note 4. The Redmi Note 4 is easily among the best selling phones that Xiaomi has ever come out with, and the phone still manages to hold its ground in the under Rs 10,000 price segment even though it was launched in January.
Xiaomi VP and India MD Manu Kumar Jain, only recently, announced that the company had sold 50 lakh units of the Redmi Note 4 phone in the country in 6 months since launch. The Redmi Note 4, in fact, “broke all records to become No. 1 selling smartphone in Q1 & Q2,” Manu wrote on Twitter. That despite the fact that buying a Redmi Note 4 — like all Xiaomi phones — doesn’t come easy since the phone is almost always out of stock and when it is in stock, it sells out like hot cakes in minutes if not seconds.
Backed by a premium design, top-notch performance and fantastic battery life, the Redmi Note 4 still remains to be the smartphone to beat at its price point. Follow up to Xiaomi’s much successful Redmi Note 3; the Redmi Note 4 exists primarily to correct the camera shortcomings of its predecessor, according to the company. The phone comes with a 13-megapixel camera on the rear with f/2.0 aperture, Phase Detection Autofocus and dual-LED (dual-tone) flash. On the front, the Redmi Note 4 comes with a 5-megapixel camera.
The Redmi Note 4 boasts of a full-metal body and a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner. The phone comes with a 5.5-inch 1080p IPS LCD display and is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor clubbed with Adreno 506GPU. The base 2GB RAM and 32GB storage version of the Redmi Note 4 sells for Rs 9,999 and supports expandable storage of up to 128GB via a hybrid micro-SD card slot as well. The dual-SIM phone runs Android Marshmallow-based MIUI 8 and supports 4G LTE (VoLTE-ready). The Redmi Note 4 is further backed by a 4,100mAh battery.
Although in terms of core specifications the newly launched Nokia phones — especially the Nokia 3 — look competent, they don’t exactly blow away the other phones in the market the way a Xiaomi phone does. Instead, Nokia is relying on the overall experience to woo buyers in India. And that overall experience is something that the company is hoping to offer with three elements: design, the brand appeal and pure Android.
Of the three, the pure Android part is the most exciting because this is something that other phones — except Motorola phones — don’t offer. Most of the Xiaomi phones still use Android Marshmallow and by using clean and pure Android Nougat in its phones Nokia is hoping to offer consumers something that will make their phone experience even better. The Nokia 3 — like the more expensive Nokia 5 and Nokia 6 — will be always pure, secure, and up to date, claims HMD Global, the company behind the new Nokia.
Priced at Rs 9,499, the Nokia 3 comes with a 5-inch 720p display, a quad-core MediaTek MT6737 processor clubbed with 2 gigs of RAM under the hood, and 16GB of internal memory which is further expandable by up to 128GB via a micro-SD card slot. The phone is backed by a 2,650mAh battery.
On the camera front, the Nokia 3 comes with an 8-megapixel shooter on the back with f/2.0 aperture, autofocus and LED flash. On the front, the Nokia 3 comes with an 8-megapixel camera.
The dual-SIM Nokia 3 also Android Nougat software out-of-the-box and is also 4G LTE capable.
The Nokia 3 has its software and design — in fact, the phone stands neck to neck with the Redmi Note 4 in terms of design and feel, if only it was also all-metal — in place, but more importantly it is available for buying on a broader scale. The Nokia 3 is available in offline stores and to sell the phone HMD Global has tied up with 400 exclusive distributors across the country. In addition, HMD will also have service centres in at least 250 Indian cities for this phone, the company has confirmed.
YU Yureka Black
You can say Micromax’s spin-off brand YU has been on a sabbatical for the last few months. Although Micromax has launched some good enough phones during the period, YU has been literally off the radar. Until June this year when it made a comeback with an upgraded version of 2014’s Yureka, calling it simply the Yureka Black. The YU Yureka Black comes with an all new design, updated specifications and some nifty new features. The distinguishing feature of the phone is, however, its stealthy all-black design.
The Yureka Black features a metal body with a striking mirror finish on the back. The finish is quite like the one seen on the jet black version of the iPhone 7 and looks incredibly premium. But unlike the iPhone, the Yureka Black costs just Rs 8,999.
The phone’s specifications are also pretty neat for the price. It comes with a 5-inch full-HD IPS LCD display with 2.5D Corning Gorilla Glass 3 on top. The phone is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 processor clubbed with 4GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage which is also expandable. The phone runs Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow and supports dual-SIM, 4G LTE and is backed by a 3,000mAh battery.
The Yureka Black sports a 13-megapixel Sony sensor on the rear with a dual-LED flash alongside an 8-megapixel front camera which also comes with an LED flash.