Yours for 10K

 Nidhi Singal        Print Edition: September 2012

The dynamics of the mobile phone market have changed yet again. Earlier, biggies like Samsung, Motorola, Sony-Ericsson and Nokia used to refresh the sub Rs 10,000 segment with only feature phones, while the smartphones used to cost nowhere less than Rs 20,000. But now you can get a decent smartphone for as little as Rs 3,500.

No, we are not kidding. Thanks to vigorous competition and ever-increasing number of handset models in the market, smartphone prices have fallen to an all-time low. What is more, it is not just the big names, but even small manufacturers and carriers that are trying to cash in on the customer who aspires to own a smartphone. Who would want a simple feature phone when you can easily take home a feature-rich smartphone that costs almost the same?

Of the 50-odd smartphones of various hues and sizes priced under Rs 10,000, G&G has compiled a list of the best for you to choose from.


Rs 9,999*
SPECS: iOS 3, upgradable to iOS 6; 3.5- inch capacitive touch; 600MHz processor; 256MB RAM; 8GB internal memory, no expandable memory; 3.15MP camera; 3G, Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth.
Since the launch of the legendary iPhone in India in 2008, none of the new models have been available for a price below Rs 35,000. After the launch of the iPhone 4S last year, Apple decided not to stop the sale of the iPhone 3GS. It brought down the price tag to Rs 20,000. However, just a couple of weeks ago, srvice provider Aircel introduced a special offer for its users-the 8GB variant of the iPhone 3GS for Rs 9,999 only. There is a catch, however. The Aircel customers will also have to pay Rs 3,000 a month for data usage.

The iPhone 3GS is almost four years old but is still far better than many Android phones . Also, unlike other players who launch over 20 phones a year, Apple sticks to its one model a year strategy. Apple also offers full support as the iPhone 3GS will be upgradable to the latest operating system, when iOS 6 is launched. Moreover, the Apple App Store has the highest number of free and paid apps available today. Most of them will be compatible with the 3GS as well. Apple closely examines all the apps before they are uploaded to the App Store. This eliminates the chances of malware and virus attacking the phone.

Rs 10,000
SPECS: BB OS 7; 2.44-inch display; QWERTY keypad; 512MB RAM; 512 MB internal memory, expandable to 32GB; 2MP camera; EDGE, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth; 1450 mAh battery.

Rs 8,500
SPECS: BB OS 5; 2.46 inch display; QWERTY keypad; 512 MHz processor; 256 MB internal memory, expandable to 32GB; 2MP camera; EDGE, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth; 1150 mAh battery
For many years, Research-In-Motion's BlackBerry operating system was the preserve of the rich. Not even a single BlackBerry was priced less than Rs 25,000. The secure push email on these phones was the exclusive domain of the corporate honchos. But a couple of years ago, the company realised that it was losing a huge market by restricting itself to the enterprise audience. In 2009, BlackBerry's Curve 8520 breached Rs 15,000 barrier. While the Curve 8520 still manages to do well, especially among the youth, the Curve 9220 is the latest entrant in this range. Other than the secure email, it is the BlackBerry Messenger that is a big hit among all its users. Plus, there are more apps to be downloaded from BlackBerry App World now.

The Android operating system was Google's response to the revolutionary Apple iPhone. In the case of iPhone, both the hardware and the operating system are owned by Apple. Google developed the Android platform but opened the gates for all manufacturer to develop a smartphone for the Android OS. Initially, even Android smartphones were priced exorbitantly upward of Rs 25,000. But now they are available for as low as Rs 3,500 thought they can go up to Rs 40,000.

You need to learn a few things about these under Rs 10,000 Android smartphones. Unlike the affordable phones, the flagship Android smartphones of 2012 enjoy the latest and the best hardware as well as the software. They run on Android 4 Ice-Cream Sandwich, are powered by dual-core and quad-core processors paired with a RAM of 1GB, making them superfast.

They also have a bright and crisp display (over 4 inch), fine 8 MP camera and advance features such as NFC, Wi-Fi direct, etc. On the other hand, the ones under ` 10,000 have slower processors - 800MHz or lower - and operate on Android v2.3/2.2. The display will not be as responsive or as bright as on the high-end smartphones. And you should forget about additional features like NFC, Wi-Fi Direct etc.

While these affordable smartphones will be able to perform almost all the tasks-like fetching emails, browsing the web, downloading apps from Google Play, uploading images, etc-the performance may not be to your satisfaction. You cannot enjoy heavy-graphics gaming as these phones don't have the required resources. Cameras with 5 MP sensors may capture average images too.

Rs 8,499
SPECS: Android v2.3; 3.2-inch touch display; 600 MHz processor ; 90 MB internal memory, expandable to 32GB ; 512 MB RAM; 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth; 1230 mAh battery.

Rs 9,500
SPECS: Android v2.3; 3.5-inch touch display; 800MHz processor; 512 MB RAM; 150 MB internal memory, expandable to 32 GB; 5MP camera; 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth; 1540 mAh battery.

Rs 9,500
SPECS: Android v2.3; 2.6 inch touch display; 832 MHz processor; 384 MB RAM; 160MB internal memory, expandable to 32GB ; 3.15 MP; 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS; 1350 mAh; dual SIM.

Rs 8,990
SPECS: Android v2.3; 3.14-inch touch display; 832 MHz processor; 290 MB RAM; 160MB internal memory, expandable to 32GB; 3.15 MP; 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth; 1300 mAh; dual SIM.

iPhone and Android? Nokia's Symbian Series 60 supported push email, web browsing and multi-tasking. Even in 2007, we could download apps on this platform.

Symbian is still one of the lowest power-consuming platforms around. However, the company underestimated the success of iPhone and Android. Later, it did try to enter the touch market but found the competition too advanced in the technology. This does not mean that Symbian is bad. It feels a bit outdated in front of the iOS, Android and Windows, but it still smoothly handles multiple apps even with less resources.

Nokia also gives you more options like touch and non-touch phones. The non-touch phones run on Symbain Series 60, 3rd edition while touch devices run on Symbian Series 60, 5th edition and above. Applications can be downloaded from Ovi Store without giving credit card details. Purchasing paid apps is easy as the amount can be added to the monthly bill for postpaid customers.

Rs 7,600
SPECS: Symbian S60; 2.4-inch touch display; 1GHz processor; 128MB RAM; 32GB expandable memory; 5MP camera; 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth; 860 mAh battery.

Rs 8,200
SPECS: Symbian S60; 3.2 inch touch display; 600Mhz processor; 128 MB RAM; 60MB internal, 16GB expandable; 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, 1000 mAh battery.

Rs 9,250
SPECS: Symbian Belle; 3.2-inch touch display; 1GHz processor; 256 MB RAM; 2GB internal storage, 32GB expandable; 5MP camera; 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS; 1110 mAh battery.

Rs 7,200
SPECS: Symbian S60; 2.2-inch display; 600 MHz processor; 256 MB RAM; 270 MB internal, 16GB expandable; 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS; 1050mAh battery

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