Missed the Xiaomi Mi 3 yet again and not in the mood to wait for the next batch to be made available? You could consider these alternatives that deliver decent performance in the same – and sometimes lower – price range.
Asus ZenFone 5
Perhaps the most viable challenger to the Mi 3, the ZenFone 5 comes with a significantly lower price tag as well. We are still scratching our heads as to how the company was able to pack so much into a device at this price point. The design is very classy, the 5.0-inch 720 display a decent one, and the 8.0-megapixel camera is one of the best we have seen at this price point. No, it does not have Android KitKat but its Zen UI makes Android 4.3 look good and works very smoothly indeed. Quad core processor fans need not scoff at the dual core Intel Atom chip inside this phone – it turns in a much better performance than the other phones mentioned in this list. Seldom was so much value delivered for so little money.
The phone that many believe started the whole “great phone at great price” phenomenon has received a price cut and remains a very good proposition for those who love the vanilla version of Android. The 4.5 inch 720 p display remains a dazzler and we love the uncomplicated version of near-pure Android that runs on the device (it has been updated to KitKat). Yes, its camera is not the greatest, but the sheer smoothness of performance (powered by a quad core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor) and the ease of use of the device more than compensate.
Yes, we can see some people’s jaws drop with surprise at seeing this device in this list, given the sort of negative publicity BlackBerry has been attracting of late. What we can, however, state is that its troubles do not seem to have affected the company’s ability to churn out good devices. And in terms of sheer value for money, the Z3 is an excellent proposition. Yes, some might turn their noses up at the 960 x 540 display and the dual core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor but we actually found the device turning in a very decent performance for those whose needs mainly revolve around social networks, browsing the Web and of course, the core strength of the BlackBerry, messaging. The browser on the BB 10 OS remains one of the better ones in tech town, the BlackBerry Hub displays all your new messages and alerts in one place and the button-free, gesture-based interface works very well indeed. Top that off with one of the best onscreen keyboards we have seen, support for Android apps (provided you can dig out their APKs) and a battery that lasts a day and a half of hefty use and the Z3 becomes a great proposition for anyone seeking a phone at the Rs 15,000 price point.
Nokia Lumia 630
The first Lumia to come with Windows Phone 8.1 running out of the box in India remains a very good option for anyone seeking a device that performs very well. We would have liked a brighter and higher resolution display than the 4.5-inch 800 x 480 one on the Lumia 630 but there is no denying that the phone turns heads with its colorful back covers and is surprisingly compact. We don’t know whether it is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor or Windows Phone 8.1, but even with 512 MB RAM, the Lumia 630 performs incredibly smoothly. The 5.0-megapixel camera is adequate rather than an advantage, but throw in a stack of freebies that include free music downloads for a year and a lifetime of the best maps and navigation we have seen on a handset and you will realize why the phone makes this list. For the price, it sure delivers a lot.
What is a relatively old fogey doing in this list? Well, it would not have been here last year when it was introduced at a higher price, but subsequent price drops have made it a very interesting proposition for those looking for a very solidly built phone with one of the best battery lives you will see on an Android device, courtesy a massive 4000 mAh battery. Lenovo have also recently updated it to Android KitKat, giving us further reason to place it in this August group. That apart, it packs in a quad core processor, a decent 1280 x 720 5.0-inch display and a very handy 8.0-megapixel camera. Yes, it is a bit on the heavy side but to paraphrase Spiderman, with great battery life comes great weight. And the P780 has a reassuringly solid feel to it as well.
What, another BlackBerry? Well, in our defense, we would like to say that the Q5 makes the list more for being a representative of the QWERTY generation rather than a BB. No, it is not a multimedia beast – the 5.0-megapixel camera smacks of mediocrity and there’s only so much gaming you can do on the relatively small 3.1-inch display. That said, it compensates for a host of ills with a very decent hardware QWERTY keyboard aligned with a sensitive touchscreen, and very good call quality and battery life. No, we would not advise camera freaks and app lovers to invest in this, but if all you need is a device for the Web, mail and messaging and are fed up of coping with onscreen keyboards, this is a very good proposition at the price.