Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Guide : Android One - This one, that one... But Which 'One' ?

Those of you who are looking for a new smartphone within the budget of Rs. 10,000 at the max are highly recommended to read my previous article Guide: Which Smartphone to buy under budget of Rs. 10,000? that will help to shortlist your new phone. I had deliberately excluded the 'Android One' phones from that article because as of now there are three phones available in the market under the Android one project and each of these phones are manufactured by three different companies. Also the fact that when most people often get confuse between Moto E and Android One,  Moto E emerges out be a winner considering the fact it is backed by a much bigger better company and the general notion which goes along with.

In the phones mentioned in my last article, only Moto E was one phone which will receive guaranteed Android updates from Google for at least two years of time. With stock Android experience and decent specs, Moto E bagged 9/10 on Think Digital's Rating scale. But that are similar options in the market which will also get guaranteed Android updates with a stock OS and perhaps with a better camera and even good, equipped with a front camera as well! Answer is Android One. Let's have a closer look at the phones available in the market under 'Android One' Project.

But what is this Android One thing, Anyways? 

Android One project backed by Google, is an initiative to produce high quality yet low budget phones, with some minimum must have criteria in them. All phones under this project must have following features to be the least.
  • Front/Rear Camera
  • Quad core processor
  • Micro SD card support
  • High capacity battery
  • Dual Sim card support
  • And finally the latest stock Android OS.
So it is more like a 'standard' which must be followed to produce a smartphone by a company. As of now this is being promoted in South Asian countries like India, Sri Lanka, Nepal and  couple of more countries which have an emerging budget smartphone market. 

Overview of phones available in the market under 'Android One' Scheme

At the time of writing this text, there are three major players in India who has launched phones labelled as AndroidOne (In no particular order). 

  • Micromax Canvas A1 

  • Spice Android One Dream

  • Karbonn Android One Sparkle 

All these phones share exactly same hardware specifications which are as follows 

4.5 inches IPS LCD capacitive multi-touch screen with resolution of 480 x 854 pixels and ~218 PPI pixel density

Mediatek MT6582  Quad-core 1.3 GHz Cortex-A7 CPU
4 GB internal memory with microSD support up to 32 GB
5 MP Primary Camera + 2 MP Secondary Camera
Network Type
Dual SIM, Wi-Fi Hotspot, Bluetooth 4.0 GPS, GSM/HSPA, 3G, FM Radio
Li-Ion 1700 mAh battery
Android 4.4.4 KitKat
132 x 67 x 9.2 mm
107 grams

Even the pricing is same. The only difference is that they are manufactured by different companies so after sales service experience could vary. The specs of the Android One phones are pretty decent, not only on paper, but real world experience is also brilliant. Specs and the Price combo makes it  real value for money device. With a quad-core 1.3 Ghz processor and 1 GB RAM, the phone just handles the resource friendly Android KitKat 4.4.4 very well. The UI and application response is fluidic. Most apps and games will work on the phone without a hiccup. A clean Android sans bloatware and power efficient MediaTek chipset, all phones deliver greater battery backup which easily lasts for a day and can be even better depending upon usage pattern. The screen size is perfect 4.5 inches with optimum resolution and PPI density. Mali-400MP2 handles basic favourite Android games very well. All phones look pretty decent and have good build quality as well.

Prices of Android One Phones 
  • Micromax Canvas A1 - Rs. 5,999
  • Spice Android One Dream - Rs. 5,999
  • Karbonn Android One Sparkle - RS. 5,999
Interestingly the Moto E is also listed for Rs. 5,999!

How Android One phones stack up against the Motorola Moto E? 

This will be the obvious question when you will be plonking six thousand rupees for a new smartphone - How Android One phones are better than Moto E and Vice-Versa!

Well, Moto E's biggest drawback is its fixed focus camera which also doesn't click stellar pictures anyways. It also don't have a front camera! On the other hand, all Android phones have a 2MP front camera and the primary 5 MP camera have auto focus feature as well. So selfies lovers will hate Moto E without a doubt.

It's not that Android One phones are superior then Moto E. Both have their shares of pros and cons. Moto E has the advantage of Gorilla Glass protection which is missing in Android One phones; Also the screen quality is better in Moto E with better resolution and PPI density.  Moto E is powered by Qualcomm dual-core 1.3 GHz processor while Android One phones are powered by  MediaTek quad-core 1.3 GHz processor. All comes with 1 GB RAM and stock Android, so performance wise there is hardly any difference between them.

Moto E also has slightly larger battery which gives a better edge over the backup time offered in case of Android One Phones. Moto E also enjoys a better snob value!

So if you just want to decide between Moto E and Android One series phones, you have to make your priority list. If you badly want a phone with a front camera and can not live without it, please drop Moto E from your shopping list and read on further.

So Finally, Which 'One'?

Well, honestly speaking there is hardly any conclusion which can be drawn that can decide the winner among the phones available in Android One Scheme. Pick any one of them. In general all phones will meet the demands of users looking for a real value for money budget Android phone with stock Android experience. It now all boils down to an individuals' personal preference for a brand - which can be either Micromax, Karbonn or Spice!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Guide: Which Smartphone to buy under budget of Rs. 10,000?

Are you in the market to buy a new smartphone with a strict budget of upto Rs. 10,000? Are you bewildered with the huge number of options available in the market and confused to finalise on one particular phone which ticks most of your requirements check boxes?

Think Digital will help you choose the best phone out of so many options available in the sub 10k smartphone segment. In this guide, I will list those phones which are worth buying under sub10k segment and this will include all mobile OS platforms.

Let’s have a closer look at the following phones which you should include in your shopping list if you are in the market to buy a new smartphone!  The phones featured in this article are shortlisted on the basis of evaluation of various factors like value for money, specifications, brand value, build quality, camera, performance and screen quality. 

I have deliberately excluded 'Android One' Phones in this article; Please visit my other post Guide : Android One - This one, that one... But Which 'One' ?

Motorola Moto E

Price – Rs. 6,999

Overview – Moto E is probably the first choice for anyone who is in market for an Android smartphone these days.

Powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 Dual-core 1.2 GHz Cortex-A7 CPU, 1 GB RAM, Adreno 302 GPU, 4 GB internal memory with expandable storage upto 32 GB, 5 MP primary camera, 4.3 inches capacitive LCD touchscreen with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection having resolution of 540 x 960 pixels & ~256 ppi pixel density and Android 4.4.2 KitKat operating system makes this phone scream value for money!

Pros - Maximum bang for the buck, Performance, Latest Android and future updates, Expandable Storage, Screen with Gorilla Glass3 Protection, and Build Quality.

Cons - Average Fixed Focus Camera, Non-user removable battery and No USB charging!

Think Digital Rating – 9/10

Xiaomi Redmi 1S

Price – Rs. 5,999

Overview – After making a breakthrough with Mi3 which was exteremely powerful and value for money phone, Xiaomi introduced a phone which targeted a segment which is of prime importance to the Indian market. Xiaomi phones changed the perception of Chinese phones in the indian market.

Xiaomi Redmi 1S sports a Qualcomm MSM8228 Snapdragon Quad-core 1.6 GHz Cortex-A7 CPU, 1 GB RAM, Adreno 305 GPU, 8GB internal memory with microSD card support up to 32 GB, 8MP primary camera + 1.6 MP secondary camera, 4.7 inches IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen with AGC Dragontrail glass protection having resolution of  720 x 1280 pixels & ~312 ppi pixel density and Android v4.3 (Jelly Bean) with MIUI 5.0. All this within under Rs. 6,000 makes this phone one of the best value for money devices!

Pros – Great value for money, specifications, Build quality, premium looks, MIUI interface. And battery life

Cons – Availability issues, poor after sales service and reliability, reported heating issues.

Think Digital Rating- 8.5/10

Microsoft Lumia 535

Price – Rs. 8,999

Overview – Those who wants a phone with Windows OS and have budget of 10k, then Microsoft Lumia 535 is one brilliant Windows OS based smartphone available in this segment. It comes with latest Windows 8.1 OS and quite decent specs to take care of all your apps and gaming needs!

Lumia 535 is equipped with Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 Quad-core 1.2 GHz Cortex-A7 CPU, 1 GB RAM, 8 GB Internal memory with SD card support upto 128 GB, 5.0 inches IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen having resolution of 540 x 960 pixels & ~220 ppi pixel density, 5MP primary + 5MP secondary camera, Adreno 302 GPU, and Windows 8.1 OS.

Pros – Design and screen quality, Fluidic windows OS performance, Battery life, Sound quality.

Cons – Doesn’t comes with separate USB cable, poor app supportability.

Think Digital Rating – 8/10

Asus Zenfone 5 A501CG

Price – Rs. 9,999

Overview – A brilliant phone by Asus in the sub 10k segment with the specs of a segment higher. Asus Zenfone 5 is capable of handling heavy gaming and multiple apps, all thanks to its powerful processor and large memory combo.

It comes with 1.6 GHz Dual Core  Intel Atom Z2560 Processor with Intel Hyper Threading Technology, 2 GB RAM, PowerVR SGX544MP2  GPU, 5.0 inches IPS capacitive touchscreen with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection having resolution of 720 x 1280 pixels and ~294 ppi pixel density ,  16GB Internal memory with SD card support upto 64 GB, 8MP primary camera + 2MP secondary camera, and Android 4.3 JellyBean OS upgradable to KitKat.

Pros – Powerful specifications, Good design and buid quality, Brilliant display

Cons – Average battery life, heating issues on graphic intensive gaming, low loudspeaker volume

Think Digital Rating – 7.5/10

Micromax Canvas 2.2 A114

Price – Rs. 7,350

Overview – How can we forget Micromax, especially in sub 10k category which was actually redefined by Micromax few years back with its canvas range. Micromax Canvas A114 is capable phone for people who are not brand conscious yet wants a decent smartphone.
Canvas 2.2 A114 sports a Mediatek MT6582M Quad-core 1.3 GHz Cortex-A7 CPU, 1 GB RAM, Mali-400MP2 GPU, 5.0 inches IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen having resolution of 540 x 960 and ~220 ppi pixel density, 4 GB internal memory with SD card support upto 32 GB, 8 MP primary camera + 2 MP secondary camera, Android 4.2 Jellybean OS.

Pros – Good camera, decent specs, value for money

Cons – Low internal memory, average screen resolution, outdated Android with poor upgradability support from Micromax.

Think Digital Rating -  6/10