I had purchased my first phone from LG nine years ago followed by Nokia N72 bought just after six months for better advance features. Yes, those were phones not smartphone. In year 2008, Google launched Android operating system, unravelling the mystery of a concept device that would be much more than just calling and music playback. An idea was presented for a device much like a computer, but in slimmest form made with utmost precession.
According to me, three main reasons of smartphone being masses choice are
- Google software innovation
- Cheap Chinese Manufacturing
- Apple hardware technology
In last 2 years, we all have witnessed tremendous growth in smartphone technology that goes one step up with every new launches. Finally, we are coming to know, smartphone is not just a calling and pocket internet gadget rather foundation or a master device that can be used to control all other gadgets around us.
I won’t be surprised if Apple comes with a technology that to fix CT scanner in Smartphone for quick scanning of infected body part followed by a report to a specialist doctor. Further, user is explained about the problem with a medicine prescription. Now, the prescription lands at Amazon and Flipkart online medical shop, medicine parcel gets ready that is delivered to user’s home on payment. Just in 5 to 6 hours, user is free from a possible serious illness.
Particularly, Year 2015 has been very good in terms of basic smartphone penetration now widely accepted as must have gadget. Also, its price ripped making affordable for every economic group in society.
Until last year, basic smartphone was not a public choice because of high cost for quality hardware and genuine specifications (1GB RAM, Quad Core processor, 2000 mAh battery and so on). Thanks to rapid revolution and cutthroat competition, now quality smartphones are available at budget price for common India.
We are reviewing three good smartphones lost in crowd against some mega launches recently. I am not saying you should buy one of them, still go through our assumption for better understanding before making decision final to buy a smartphone.
- Samsung Galaxy Core Prime 4G
- Karbonn Platinum P9 – Pick
- Intex Aqua Dream II
Samsung Galaxy Core Prime 4G at 9000 Rupees
Samsung is trying really hard to make a place in the budget smartphone market since it lost the battle to Micromax when canvas series was launched. Every year the Korean brand Samsung tries to do something unique to attract more budget segment customers, but all its efforts end up as big failure.
In the month February, this year, Samsung had teased an updated 4G version of the earlier launched Galaxy Prime smartphone. This phone was expected to make its entry in the market in March, but its release got delayed until June. As soon as we got a hands-on, it was clear that this phone is not going to help Samsung winning back its lost respect. Currently, this smartphone can be purchased at 9100 rupees, which according to me is more than what it is worth.
In The Box
Samsung might not have improved the internals of its smartphones in the last couple of years, but it sure has learned how to present and package its products. Unboxing the Samsung Galaxy Core Prime 4G gives flagship like experience. Here is the list of what all I found inside the box:
- Smartphone unit
- Wall charger
- USB cable
- User guides and warranty card
Build and Design
There is nothing much to discuss about the design of this smartphone. Even after being criticized by almost every reviewer around the globe, Samsung has not changed design of its budget smartphones. The Galaxy Core Prime 4G comes in the same avatar that most of other smartphone from Samsung feature. Although the quality of plastic has improved a little, but the annoying chrome finish is still there, which fades with time. The phone is interestingly slim though. It feels really great in the hand and reaching the other end of the display is also not that difficult.
The 4.5 inch WVGA (480 X 800 pixels) display is really a shame on the face of this smartphone. Low pixel density of 207 ppi makes all the experience unpleasant. Although the color reproduction of this display is highly accurate but the bad viewing angles cannot be tolerated, at least at this price. One of the reasons why this phone will not be loved by movie watchers and gamers is that Samsung has put a PLS panel on it instead of an IPS one.
The Samsung Galaxy Core Prime 4G runs Android 4.4 KitKat out of the box. It does support OTA updates, but we are not sure when is Samsung planning to push out, the Lollipop update for this device. The interface is the same as you would expect from a TouchWiz running smartphone. Moreover, small customizations do help in improving the user experience. Browsing through the phone is as snappy as it can be and the credit of that can be given to the 1GB of RAM.
Strangely, Samsung has clocked the CPU of this phone at 1.2 GHz even when its chipset (Qualcomm MSM8916 Snapdragon 410) can easily go up to 1.4 GHz. Yes, it is a 64bit processor, but that will remain of no use until this smartphone gets the Lollipop update. Out of 1GB of RAM only 350 MB remains free, which is not a great thing and the culprit might be poor software customization.
Even though this phone supports a micro SD card of 64 GB storage, but the app data is not movable. So, you will be restricted to the internal storage of 8GB for most of your needs.
The Adreno 306 does seem to be helping this phone as it runs most of the games available on the Play Store without any problem. However, as it supports only two point multi-touch, you might get unresponsive results while playing some games like Asphalt8 and NOVA3, which requires you to tap the display really fast.
The Prime 4G is not that impressive when it comes to benchmarking tests. In AntuTu, it gets a score of 21132 only. However, Neenamark2 gives this phone an unbelievable score of 59.6 fps, which is a great thing for gamers.
Samsung cannot seal the game by putting just a 5MP rear camera on this phone. This camera fails to capture enough detail even in bright daylight. Someone should tell Samsung that it is 2015 and other brands are offering at least 8MP camera at this price.
Its 2MP front camera is good at video calling, but that also fails to do nice selfie shooting.
Calling, Connectivity and Sensors
Calling quality seems to be decent on this dual-SIM phone. I did face some call drops, but that was due to network problems. The 4G LTE support allows the users to enjoy internet speeds up to 150 mbps. Some other connectivity features that are worthy to be mentioned here are 3G, Wi-Fi, NFC, Bluetooth, GPS and micro USB.
Sensors a really important these days especially when you run certain types of apps and games. The list of sensors of this phone includes accelerometer, proximity and light sensors, which are not enough in my opinion.
Considering the average specs, its 2000 mAh battery will provide decent power back up. Samsung has also equipped this phone with an ultra-power saving mode that impressively increases the back-up at the cost of some extra features.
- 64bit processor
- 4G LTE
- NFC for Data sharing and auto advance payment integration
- Storage is expandable up to 64 GB
- Removable battery
- Poor quality display
- Design is not that attractive
This smartphone will not be my first choice when brands like Motorola, Micromax, Honor and Lenovo are offering great phones with great features at much lower price.
Karbonn Platinum P9 with 6 inches Screen at 8000 Rupees – Pick
In the race of securing a position in the market, brands like Karbonn are offering the most desired smartphone features at affordable prices.
Recently, Karbonn launched its Platinum P9 smartphone that features a huge 6 inch display at just 8499 rupees. It is a great device for those wants great camera, great performance and great battery life without spending huge money.
In The Box
- Smartphone unit
- Wall adapter
- USB cable
- Flip cover
- User guide and warranty card
Build and Design
The manufacturer has tried its best to address the build quality problem that it has faced with the earlier launched smartphones. This phablet feels like it has been carved out from a single block of plastic instead of putting different pieces to work together. Its curved edges give a great level of comfort to the hand. The most striking of all is its thickness of just 8.5 mm.
The Karbonn Platinum P9 might be housing a huge display, but its resolution of 960 X 540 pixels will make your experience as bad as it can be. Pixel density of just 184 ppi is not even imaginable in the year 2015. However, we cannot question the quality of the display. Its laminated IPS panel reproduces colors with amazing accuracy. Wide viewing angles help you and your friends to enjoy together media on this phone. Moreover, its display is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3, a material famous for its toughness all around the world.
Karbonn has promised to upgrade this phablet to Android Lollipop, but until it really does, you will have to manage everything with KitKat. Interface is really smooth and free from any kind of lag or stuttering. Everything expect the icons give stock Android experience, which is a great thing as far as I am concerned.
The quad-core 1.3 GHz processor of this phone cannot be trusted to do all the intense processing tasks. Although it’s 1 GB of RAM appears to be a great deal at this price, but it will not be enough considering the modern day needs of the users.
Karbonn can be appreciated for offering 16 GB of storage on this phone as well as providing a micro SD card slot on it.
Thanks to the Mali-400 MP2 GPU that makes this phone capable of handling most of the graphic intensive games. You will not face any kind frame drops while playing games like Asphalt8 and FIFA15. However, this phone does get a little heated, but not up to level that it becomes uncomfortable.
You might think that a smartphone like this will not return any great results on benchmarking tests. My thinking was also no different from yours until I actually ran AnTuTu on this phone. But then the score of 21000 really surprised me.
The Karbonn Platinum P9 really offers a great camera experience to the users as it features an 8 MP camera on both rear and front. You will be stunned by the level of details that the images taken from this phone actually pack. However, in low light, the performance of this phone considerably drops. Another bad thing is that this phone is not capable of recording full HD videos.
You can click pictures on this phone by just your voice. It really proves to be helpful those who have shaky hands.
Calling, Connectivity and Sensors
Lack of 4G support in present day will give reviewers an opportunity to criticize this smartphone. Moreover, it supports 3G networks on only one of its two SIM slots, the other one just supports 2G networks. Many times you will be forced to use Wi-Fi to enjoy high-speed internet connectivity on this phone.
This phone is loaded with all the needed sensors like Accelerometer, Light Sensor, Proximity Sensor and G-Sensor. You can enjoy running all kinds of apps and games on it.
As this phone does not eat up a lot of power, you can at least expect one whole day of power backup from its 2500 mAh battery if not more.
- Huge display.
- Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection.
- Attractive design.
- Upgradable to Android Lollipop.
- Low pixel density.
- No 4G support.
There are people who prefer bigger display over quality. For them, this phone is a great option at 8500 rupees. However, if you do not belong to this category, many alternatives are available in this price segment.
Intex Aqua Dream One and Dream II at 7500 Rupees
Intex has re-launched the Aqua Dream smartphone after dull response more rightly no response. The new variant called Intex Aqua Dream Two packs lesser specifications and minor changes in weight and thickness. The successor (launched in August 2015) is poorer than the first (launched in April 2015) in terms of camera and CPU management. Both devices are available exclusively at Flipkart for a payment of 7500 rupees.
I am not able to read why Intex call the new launch “Part Two” when all specs including software remains the same. Why not new edition instead?
View about the August edition is equivalent to the review of April launch. Therefore, consider this assessment report applicable for both Aqua Dream One and current Aqua Dream Two. Our pick is Dream one because it is much more sophisticated, well configured, offers much better multitasking experience than the new one.
Built and Design
These two smartphones draw similar rectangular shape has wide free space at top and bottom at frontal side. The new edition is 7.9 mm thick much slimmer than the first has 8.5 mm of thickness. Interestingly, Dream Two weighs 170 gram higher than 145 gram of Dream One.
Intex’s August launch comes in one colour option that is gold. However, the predecessor April launch is available in three different colour option – black, white and gold. I would recommend GOLD variant as it looks much more premium and classy.
Both Smartphone runs on Android Kitkat 4.4.2 out of box. It is really strange Intex has not upgraded operating system from Kitkat to Lollipop. I am still trying to understand the purpose of new edition. As far as OS features are concerned, user will get the regular stuff most of us familiar in Kitkat 4.4.2 operating system.
Dream Two is powered by 1.2GHz Quad core processor whereas Dream One dons superior CPU architecture with 1.4GHz Octa Core MediaTek processor. In comparison of graphic unit, the old one seems more robust with Mali-450-MP4 than Mali-400 GPU in August launch. Both Intex kid gets 1GB of RAM space for effective multitasking and average gaming experience. If you have decided to buy Intex Aqua dream, which is very unlikely, then the Dream One is much better choice at 7500 rupees.
Such user fun play requires better hardware, error free installation of operating system, better talking between hardware and software. I trust Dream One with Octa core processor a better choice over Dream Two in terms of gaming. Although 1GB RAM in both devices limit their ability in playing rich graphic game such as Asphalt 8, Nova 3, Dead Trigger 2 and others.
Intex seems getting deep in smartphone technology. Both mobile phone sport 5.5 inches screen with IPS LCD display panel has a pixel density of 267 PPI behind HD resolution. We have not registered major concern in viewing angles, brightness distortion, and colour saturation. Yes, colour does shift when tilted on extreme angle. I do not endorse high pixels density yet it seems logical in a phablet with big quality screen.
In terms of camera management, both devices offer fluent performance. However, Dream One with a dedicated image sensor and digital image stabilizer goes much more professional than Dream Two.
Dream One features 13MP primary camera coupled with CMOS image sensor for professional photography. Digital image stabilization feature helps taking perfect shot even if a user has shaky hand. LED Flash and digital ZOOM is indeed a good story in the camera betterment. User can record FHD video at 30 frames per second. There are some cool candy camera application features to build up for the best photography experience. Continuous shooting, face detection, HDR setting, ISO control self – timer and white balance preset makes the end user experience awesome.
The front camera with 5MP sensor does shoot perfect selfie in wide converges of background with good amount of details. I am sure user will not reject the phone for selfiegraphy.
On the other hand, Dream Two lists only 8MP rear and 2MP front shooter. There is no dedicated sensor and digital stabilization feature. Although it is also capable of shooting FHD video, but quality would not be that great as the big brother Dream One offers.
Battery Connectivity, Calling and Network
Both smartphones support to dual SIM, packs the regular connectivity options – Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, USB, Internet sharing, 1G, 2G and 3G. 2300mAh lithium-ion battery as features in both devices is average according current benchmark standard for a 7500 rupees phone.
Few buyers might find FM recording a worthy choice besides audio and video playback. Dream Two offers FM with recording whereas Dream One has default Android FM tuner that searches local station really fast.
Dream One and Dream Two are identical twins produced by Intex. After careful observation of both babies, I would suggest Dream One. With the April launch, user gets excellent camera specs with integrated CMOS image sensor and Digital Image Stabilizer. Furthermore, lightweight craft, 5.5 inches HD display and powerful CPU with Octa core chipset makes Aqua Dream One a dream choice. User will get much better multimedia, gaming and multitasking response on Dream One than newly launched Dream Two. Finally, if possible try to buy gold variant as it looks a paisa Vasool much more premium.