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BGR India Awards 2017: The best budget smartphones of the year

These are the best budget smartphones of 2017 that left us impressed.

  • Published: January 16, 2018 9:52 AM IST
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Smartphones have completely changed our lives, and when you are out there to buy one, options are in abundance. There are those fancy ones focusing on selfie-centric audience, then there are the ones for power users, and lastly there are premium smartphones that are priced above Rs 50,000 and go all the way up to Rs 100,000, and more. However, the budget segment is the most competitive in India.

Budget smartphones are for those who don’t want to spend more, and most importantly, for those switching from a feature phone to a touch-enabled smartphone. Among a wide-range of options, picking the best one is always difficult, but here, we try to bring you five budget smartphones that left us impressed in 2017. So, without any further ado, here are Team BGR’s top picks.

Xiaomi Redmi 5A

Ever since Xiaomi entered the Indian smartphone space, the Chinese manufacturer has managed to create a name for itself with its range of affordable devices. The Redmi Note 4 has been the most popular smartphone from Xiaomi in 2017 with prices starting at Rs 9,999. And towards the end of the 2017, Xiaomi launched its most affordable smartphone, the Redmi 5A, calling it “Desh Ka Smartphone.”

Priced at Rs 5,999, and an upfront discount of Rs 1,000 for first five million customers, the Redmi 5A starts at Rs 4,999 for the 16GB storage with 2GB RAM variant. The other variant comes with 32GB storage and 3GB of RAM, and is priced at Rs 6,999.

Now, despite the affordable price tag, Xiaomi has managed to decent specifications along with MIUI 9 interface, which is based on Android 7.0 Nougat. Some of the unique features include the Mi Security app, which lets you set passcodes on individual apps, set up dual apps or a second space on the device. You can even block spam SMS from senders. There is also a Mi Remote app uses the infrared sensor to let you use your smartphone as a remote control for TV, audio systems, and more.

The smartphone is armed with a 3,000mAh battery that can offer full day worth usage before needing to charge again. During our review period, we didn’t face any major issues with the smartphone, and with aggressive pricing, we think it is a value for money device.

Nokia 3

HMD Global revived the iconic Nokia brand with a range of Android smartphones. Out of the five Nokia smartphones that HMD Global launched, two of them are priced under Rs 10,000, targeting the entry-level and budget segment. Priced at Rs 9,499 along with decent hardware, the Nokia 3 is available via both online and offline retailers.

One highlight of Nokia 3 is the metal frame and sturdy polycarbonate body – a combination that adds a dash of premium look and feel to the device. Besides the nostalgia factor, the promise of timely software updates is what makes Nokia 3 an interesting option on the price range. Unlike most manufacturers that add custom skins on top of the operating system, Nokia 3 offers Stock Android OS, with promise of offering timely updates. So far, HMD global has been successful in delivering monthly security patches.

Lenovo K8 Plus

Launched with a starting price of Rs 10,999, the Lenovo K8 Plus is now available for Rs 9,999. For this price, the smartphone offers dual rear camera setup at the back, where one sensor captures photos, and other captures depth information, thus letting you add DSLR-like bokeh effects to your photos. Up front, there is an 8-megapixel camera with LED flash that lets you capture decent photos even in low-light.

Another highlight of the smartphone is that it runs on Stock Android OS, with just a couple of Lenovo apps. Lenovo is promising one major update, which means it will get Android 8.0 Oreo soon, and security updates in every three months. Besides this, the smartphone also comes with a metal unibody design and a massive 4,000mAh battery, all of which make the Lenovo K8 Plus a well-rounded package. 

10.or E

Pronounced as ‘Tenor’ (10.or), the smartphone is imported and sold exclusively on Amazon India. With prices starting at Rs 7,999 the smartphone sits between the Redmi 5A and Lenovo K8 Plus in terms of affordability. A lot of you must be confused as to why Tenor is in the list in place of other known brands, but the very fact that it is backed by Amazon should be assuring enough.

Being an Amazon-backed product is not why it is on the list, but because of the total package, it offers for the price you pay. You get a metal build with unibody design and matte finish, decent hardware, fingerprint sensor, along with a dedicated dual SIM card and a microSD card slot.

Lastly, the 10.or E comes with near stock Android 7.1.2 OS, and will be upgraded to Android 8.0 Oreo update soon. We have reviewed the smartphone, and there’s really nothing major to complain about the smartphone, especially considering its price tag, the specifications and the performance it offers. 

Reliance JioPhone

If the category we’re talking about is the budget segment, then a phone that’s sold at a perceived cost of Rs 0 ought to find its way in. While there are millions of users that are upgrading from a feature phone to a smartphone, there are still some who are comfortable with a feature phone, and not pleased with the idea of touch-enabled smartphones. And then there are some who may not have a big budget to even buy a Rs 5,000 smartphone. The JioPhone from telecom operator Reliance Jio is here to address those users, despite the fact that it’s not a full fledged smartphone.

In 2016, Jio made news for its free services, and in 2017, Jio was once again in news for JioPhone with a price tag of ‘effectively zero.’ Buyers just have to pay a security deposit of Rs 1,500, which will be refundable after three years, which means that the JioPhone becomes effectively free.

Even though it is not a smartphone, the JioPhone is a ‘smart-feature’ phone that brings the best of smartphone elements in a feature phone. Sounds confusing? Well, it comes with 4G LTE with VoLTE support, a front and rear camera with video calling feature, expandable storage option, and NFC-based payments backed by JioMoney wallet, which will be introduced something in this year.

The JioPhone also comes pre-installed with apps such as JioMusic that lets you stream music on the go, JioTV and JioCinema that let you watch live TV and movies on the go, and support for voice commands and voice search. What’s more, you can also buy a cable that lets you connect and stream live TV on your television set. In short, JioPhone has most capabilities of a smartphone, except for the touchscreen and an app store support.

You Might be Interested

Nokia 3

9499

Android 7.0 Nougat
MTK 6737 Quad-Core 1.3GHz Processor
8 MP with 1.12um, f/2, LED flash
Xiaomi Redmi 5A

5999

Android 7.1 Nougat with MIUI 9
Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 Quad-Core 1.4GHz Processor
13 MP with ƒ/2.2 aperture
Lenovo K8 Plus

10999

Android 7.1.1 Nougat
MediaTek Helio P25 Octa-Core 2.6GHz 64-bit Processor
13 MP + 5 MP dual Camera
10.or E

5999

Buy Now
Android 7.1.2 Nougat
Snapdragon 430 Octa-Core Processor
13 MP with PDAF, CMOS Sensor
  • Published Date: January 16, 2018 9:52 AM IST