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5 smartphones that are CHEAP but fully loaded

August 26, 2013 10:02 IST

5 smartphones that are CHEAP but fully loaded

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Vipul Vivek, Nitin Sreedhar and Abhik Sen

Technology has made us greedy.

We want all features on the mobile phone, the centre of our universe, within our limited budget.

This has led to a spurt of home-grown manufacturers, including bit players, who together account for a big chunk of all smartphones shipped.

According to IDC’s Asia/Pacific Quarterly Mobile Phone tracker, 119 million smartphones were shipped in the second quarter of 2013 in the Asia-Pacific region, excluding Japan.

Home-grown brands accounted for 38 per cent of those.

Business Standardlook at a few home-grown handsets you could consider:

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Image: A model looks at her mobile phone in New York City.
Photographs: Carlo Allegri/Reuters

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WYNCOMM WIZ! G51

Like puddles all around in the rainy season, we now have smartphones with five-inch screens for almost everyone.

State your price and ye shall find.

Wyncomm’s Wiz! G51 is another one in that lot.

Most would mistake it for a Samsung.

So, I wasn’t surprised when I overheard two men arguing in the metro whether it wasn’t one.
G51 is a dual-SIM (GSM only) phone with a cool white body.

The WVGA screen won’t amaze you.

The phone comes with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and does not support 3G.

It’s got a Hindi keyboard.

The phone has 4GB internal memory and takes a microSD card of up to 32GB, which cannot be mounted without switching off the phone.

The phone tantalises and what keeps me from loving it is its low RAM.

The phone’s 1Ghz dual-core Mediatek 6517 processor is wasted because of the 512MB RAM.

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Image: Wyncomm phones.


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I downloaded about 4GB of songs and movies and the Bloomberg, TuneIn and Grooveshark apps and the phone started hanging.

Added to a poor screen, this makes playing memory-intensive games difficult on this phone.

After a full charge, the 1,800mAh Li-ion battery lasted for about 18 hours with the Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, internet and the music or video player on.

The speaker is okay but the headphones are better.

Alarm sounds were loud enough.

The five-megapixel rear camera with flash and the two-MP front one are average.

The camera takes quite some time to focus.

The phone display is hopeless outdoors.

The accelerometer drags.

You might get fooled hoping for some fun from the Y Zone that gives you nothing but shortcuts to a few social-networking websites.

Overall, for Rs 8,499, Wyncomm’s G51 is not a bad offering.

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Image: Wyncomm Wiz G51.


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CELKON SIGNATURE A119Q HD

The Celkon Signature A119Q HD is another dual-sim smartphone that is trying to make the cut in the rapidly growing market.

The A119Q runs Android 4.2.1 (Jelly Bean) and has an impressive 1.2Ghz quad-core processor that did not show any lags.

Its five-inch capacitive touchscreen gives out a nice crisp display at a resolution of 1,280x720 pixels.

But it was a tad difficult to view it in direct sunlight.

The phone has no physical functioning keys on the right, only the volume rocker on the left that was responsive enough.

The power/lock key is on the top -- which we think would have been better if it were on the right.

A 3.5 mm jack and USB port cram the top end of the phone.

I would not call the A119Q a sturdy phone since it has a plastic back cover -- that looks susceptible to cracks -- and needs to be treated really carefully.

The company claims the phone is a high-definition one, but it does stand up to the challenge.

The A119Q’s rear and front (three-MP) camera are probably its best features.

The phone’s HD video recording quality was more appealing than the usual camera.

The A119Q does not provide much on-board storage space -- a meagre four-GB internal space of which only 1.45GB is usable but then you do have the microSD card slot which is expandable up to 32 GB.

It also has the support of one-GB RAM.

The 2,100-mAh battery ran for a good day-and-a-half on full charge.

The good thing is that the battery is removable; the bad thing is it’s possible it might give in sooner if you use both your SIMs frequently.

The user interface is one area that could have been shored up.

Plus, the sound quality of the A119Q could have been much better.

The Celkon Signature A119Q HD starts at Rs 13,499.

Would I keep the A119Q as an automatic first choice?

Maybe not.

But for people who have a limited budget to play with and are not brand conscious, the A119Q would do just fine.

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Image: Celkon Signature A119Q HD.


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ZEN ULTRAFONE 701HD

This offering from domestic player ZEN boasts of a 1.2GHz quad core processor, a five-inch 720p IPS screen, Android Jelly Bean and one GB of RAM.

Though an IPS screen, viewing angles on this dual-SIM phone weren’t that great. There was also a drop in visibility in sunlight.

The phone has the power/lock button on the right and the volume rocker on the left.

The back plate is dominated by the raised back snapper.

The phone looks similar to any other five-inch model but the feel is that of a premium device.

ZEN bundles in two extra back covers (one with a flip cover attached) in the package.

One-handed operation of the phone may be inconvenient if one is blessed with small hands.

But the phone is great for casual games such as Angry Birds or Temple Run.

The ZEN runs more or less a stock version of Android 4.2.1.

It has three backlit capacitive buttons below the screen but heaven help you if you need to use them in the dark.

Even if the screen is switched on, the backlight comes on only after a button has been hit.

The phone has an eight-MP rear snapper and a 3.2MP front camera.

The rear camera is decent and has an LED flash. But images take a hit in low-light conditions.

Despite being a 3.2MP snapper, the front camera is just good for selfies and video chats.

The phone has only 4GB of memory on board (1.7GB available for users), which can be expanded via microSD cards up to 32GB.

Using just a single SIM card with heavy email, moderate gaming and music, chatting, photos and roughly one hour of video, the battery lasted us through the day and still had some juice left.

Battery life will take a hit when two SIM cards are active but it should be good enough to last a day.

If one wants a decent quad core phone within a limited budget and is a casual gamer who doesn’t run after brands, the 701HD, available for Rs 11,999, is the phone for you.

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Image: Zen Ultrafone 701 HD.


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SWINGTEL TIGER TAB

Swingtel’s Tiger Tab in a red back panel -- you get a change of panels in three colours -- with a black bezel looks like a superhero in a black suit with a red cape.

It is indeed a superhero but in its lesser universe of cheap Indian smartphones.

This dual-SIM (GSM only) phone with a 1.2GHz quad-core Mediatek 6589 processor, one-GB RAM and four-GB internal memory is a powerhouse.

Poor resolution, an average touchscreen and a sub-five-inch display, not meant for use outdoors, are what prevent it from ascending to a higher realm. Besides, it’s too heavy at 174 g.

It runs on Android 4.2 Jelly Bean and supports 3G.

Memory can be expanded up to 64GB with a microSD card.

If you’re ready to trade graphics for price, Tiger Tab could be used for playing memory-intensive games.

The 2,050-mAh Li-ion battery will serve you for most of a day with the Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and internet running.

Security features include face and voice recognition in the phone.

The speaker is a run-of-the-mill stuff and alarms fail to alert if you aren’t near the phone.

The five-MP rear camera with a flash and the two-MP front one are not bad.

Pick it up if you’re looking for a good bargain at Rs 11,500.

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Image: Swingtel TigerPad.


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OPTIMA SMART OPS-61

Even the best-dressed on Mumbai’s local trains get lost in the scrimmaging crowd.

Hong Kong-based Sunstrike International’s middling Optima Smart OPS-61 will find it especially difficult to avoid a similar fate in the multitude of smartphones.

The phone’s plastic body is tacky.

The touchscreen and the keys at the bottom of the bezel will remind you of stubborn children.

If that weren’t enough, the review device’s display started scrolling up and down after a few days of use.

This dual-SIM (GSM only) phone runs on Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and has a one-GHz processor. Smart has an internal memory of one GB and is expandable up to 32GB with a microSD card.

The display is not meant for use outdoors.

It does not support 3G and the 1,800-mAh Li-polymer battery works for half a day with the Wi-fi, Bluetooth and internet running.

The speaker is unimpressive and the five-MP rear camera and the 0.3MP front one click grainy photos.

Yes, it is cheap, but there are better options.


Image: Optima Smart OPS-61.
Photographs: Courtesy, optimasmart.com

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