First things first, it’s pronounced ‘Tenor’. It caused me a world of confusion when we first heard the name, and we called it everything from ‘ten-dot-O-R’ to ‘ten-point-zero-R’, but I’ve finally figured out what this brand is called. We’ve had our fair share of oddball brands with weird names, including the likes of Phicomm and Verykool, but 10.or definitely takes the cake. Once I was over my initial amusement over the name, I proceeded to dig into the brand’s credentials.
By digging, I mean flipping the box over and looking at the address of the importer: Amazon Wholesale India Private Limited. Think of 10.or as the AmazonBasics of smartphones; the focus here is on meeting a simple-but-high standard of quality, while remaining affordable. Priced from Rs 7,999, the 10.or E is the company’s first smartphone in India, and is, as expected, selling exclusively on Amazon India. We’ve reviewed the phone, and here’s what we think.
Specifications that defy the price tag
Before we get into the details, lets first establish what the AmazonBasics philosophy is, and build from there. Head on over to Amazon India and take a look at its list of AmazonBasics products. The idea is simple: good quality products at affordable prices. Everything from design to build quality is functional and focused around improving the usage experience. I’ve owned and used a handful of AmazonBasics products including a tripod, Bluetooth speakers, home scissors and cables, and have found them all to be excellent for the price.
Although not explicitly carrying the AmazonBasics brand name, the 10.or E could be considered an AmazonBasics smartphone. Made by an OEM in China and marketed by Amazon India, the 10.or E is uncomplicated and straightforward in its approach. There’s nothing special about the device, but that isn’t necessarily an issue. At this price, I would expect a basic set of standards to be met, and the 10.or E meets them admirably.
Priced from Rs 7,999, the 10.or E doesn’t promise the world, but it does promise and deliver what buyers would typically seek. There are two variants, with the more affordable one offering 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage, while the Rs 8,999 option comes with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage. You also get the Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 SoC, a fingerprint sensor at the back, and a 4,000mAh battery.
However, the phone exceeds expectations in two departments; you get a 5.5-inch full-HD screen, as well as near-stock Android 7.1.2 out-of-the-box. There is of course also Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection on the screen, as well as a 13-megapixel primary camera and a secondary 5-megapixel camera at the front. Another pleasant surprise comes in the form of flash for both cameras. Simply put, the 10.or E is the best-specified phone in its price segment, and wins half the battle right there.
A straightforward and hassle-free approach
After using the device, I wasn’t disappointed. With the Snapdragon 430 SoC, you get a basic level of competence and performance, helped along by the light and uncomplicated nature of the near-stock Android operating system. Multi-tasking, basic gaming and ordinary usage are all as you would expect from a device in this price range.
I’ve reviewed the Rs 8,999 3GB RAM variant, which is naturally a bit better with resource management and multi-tasking than the more affordable variant. What you can reasonably expect is reliably performance with relatively quick loading times, no significant lag or stutter, and no major heat issues. The phone is also built rather well for the price.
While smartphones are moving to the use of metal in the build and structure, the 10.or E is unapologetically plastic. It’s a unibody design with a matte finish, so it doesn’t look cheap or affordable in any way, which is excellent. It also keeps the weight of the phone down, despite the fact that the phone is large. The fingerprint sensor is at the back below the camera, while the buttons are on the right and the dedicated SIM and microSD trays are on the left.
(Camera samples shot on the 10.or E)
What perhaps hampers the look of the 10.or E a bit is the massive chin are forehead. It’s fair to say that 18:9 aspect ratio smartphones have spoiled me to an extent, but there’s also a hint of poor design here. The chin is bulky for no reason at all; there are no capacitive buttons to justify it, since the phone uses on screen buttons and has its fingerprint sensor at the back. The rest of the device only suffers from looking too plain, but it’s important to remember that this is a device priced under Rs 10,000. With that in mind, looking plain isn’t really a problem.
Considering that the phone’s camera is an important factor in any smartphone purchase today, the 10.or E does not skimp on quality here. You get flash on both the front and back, which will appeal to buyers who take a lot of selfies. Pictures are decent enough, although video resolution is capped at 720p for both cameras, and there’s no slow-motion video recording. In good light, you won’t have any complaints with the pictures you take, which is just what we’d expect from a Rs 8,000 phone. Additionally, the fingerprint sensor is usually accurate, but is a bit slow to unlock the device. The wait time isn’t painful by any means, but it itsn’t quite as fast as you can expect on devices that cost a bit more, including the Redmi Note 4. ALSO READ: Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 Review.
Once you get over the name and you’re used to explaining to people why you’re using a smartphone brand that no one has heard of before, the 10.or E is a rather pleasant smartphone for the price. With a reliable chipset, a full-HD screen, flash on both cameras and a big battery, the 10.or E defies its price tag to offer you serious value for money. And while you may not want to trust an unknown brand, you can be assured of quality purely thanks to the fact that this is, deep down inside, a product backed by Amazon India.
Although the 10.or E starts at Rs 7,999 for the 2GB/16GB variant, you’d be doing yourself a favor by spending the extra Rs 1,000 on the 3GB/32GB option. So put aside your brand worries, and pick up the 10.or E if you’re shopping for a phone under Rs 10,000. It’s truly among the best options you can buy in this price range.