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!

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