After disrupting the telecom space with affordable internet, Reliance Jio once again disrupted the market by launching a smart feature phone that is ‘effectively free.’ Feeling the heat from Jio, incumbent operators don’t want to stay far behind. Airtel recently announced its partnership with Karbonn to offer the A40 Indian smartphone at an ‘effective price’ of Rs 1,399. Both devices come bundled with data and calling services. We take a quick look at how they compete based on specifications, tariff and price.
To begin with, JioPhone is a feature phone with smart features whereas the Karbonn A40 Indian is an entry-level smartphone. Both devices come with support for 4G VoLTE, and while it is not something new, a feature phone supporting the connectivity option is commendable. Also, it is worth mentioning that while the A40 Indian supports VoLTE, Airtel is yet to roll out the network band. JioPhone, on the other hand, only supports VoLTE, and doesn’t fall back to 2G, 3G or 4G.
The A40 Indian, runs on Android 7.0 Nougat OS, giving users an access to millions of apps that are available on the Play Store, including WhatsApp, Twitter, Instagram and more. JioPhone, on the other hand, runs on KaiOS, and comes support for JioTV, JioMusic, JioCinema, YouTube and Facebook along with voice assistant support powered by Google. ALSO READ: Reliance JioPhone is on a quest to dominate the rural telecom market in India
The A40 Indian features a 4-inch touchscreen display running at a resolution of 800×480 pixels. It is powered by a 1.3GHz quad-core SoC paired with 1GB or RAM and 8GB onboard storage, expandable via microSD card. Just like the JioPhone, the A40 Indian and comes with 2-megapixel rear camera and 0.3-megapixel front snapper. Running on Android 7.0 Nougat, it is armed with a 1,400mAh battery. ALSO READ: Reliance JioPhone: From 4G VoLTE compatibility to voice control, here are the top features of the feature phone
The JioPhone, on the other hand, comes with a 2.4-inch display running at a resolution of 320×240 pixels. It is powered by a dual-core SoC running at clock speed of 1GHz, paired with 512MB of RAM and 4GB internal storage, expandable via a microSD card. With a 2-megapixel rear camera and 0.3-megapixel front snapper, the JioPhone is armed with a 2,000mAh battery. ALSO READ: Reliance JioPhone can be returned before 3 years for a refund, but there’s a catch
What about the effective pricing?
Karbonn A40 Indian is priced at Rs 2,899, and after a period of 36 months, you can avail refund of Rs 1,500, which brings its effective price down to Rs 1,399. Airtel will offer the refund in phases – Rs 500 after completing 18 months, and remaining Rs 1,000 after completing 36 months. However, to be eligible for this, a customer will need to do 36 monthly refills of Rs 169 (each month), which is around Rs 3,000 in the first 18 months, and Rs 3,000 in the remaining 18 months.
Reliance JioPhone is priced at Rs 1,500, which is a security deposit and is refundable when you return the device. If you return the device within the first 12 months, Jio will not offer any refund. If you surrender the device between 12-24 months, you will be eligible to get a refund of Rs 500, and a return between 24-36 months, you can get a refund of Rs 1,000. Only after completion of 36 months, customer can avail a refund of Rs 1,500. At the time of returning the JioPhone, GST will also be applicable.
Airtel vs Reliance Jio tariff plans
With the Rs 169 monthly refill, Airtel is offering unlimited voice calling and 500MB 4G/3G data daily. Jio, on the other hand, has a slightly cheaper plan priced at Rs 153, which offers unlimited voice calls, unlimited high-speed internet (500MB per day), after which speed will be throttled to 128Kbps.
Should you go for Karbonn A40 Indian or JioPhone?
Now, that is a tough call. There are advantages and disadvantages linked to both. Let me talk about A40 Indian first. It is a smartphone and runs on Android OS, which gives you an access to all the apps on the Play Store. You also get more functions, compared to a feature phone. However, it falls short on battery capacity aspect. Also, it is slightly expensive, which should not be a concern as it is a smartphone and not feature phone. ALSO READ: Reliance JioPhone hands-on and first impressions: A ‘smart’ feature phone
In case of JioPhone, it is cheaper, and comes with JioCinema, JioTV and JioMusic subscription for your entertainment. Jio will also be selling a dongle that will let you connect your JioPhone to TV to stream and watch your favorite TV shows and movies on big screen. However, the only problem is that it is not easily available, the wait time could be longer.
Essentially, the Karbonn A40 Indian is targeted towards customers who will be switching from feature phone to smartphone, whereas JioPhone is aimed at those who want smart features, but are uncomfortable with using the touchscreen. So, if you want a smartphone, the A40 Indian could be your bet, else, if you want to try out the smart feature phone and don’t mind waiting, opting for JioPhone will be a no brainer.