Phones for a Budget

twitter-logo Nidhi Singal        Print Edition: September 2011

Visit a phone dealership and you will probably walk out disappointed that the smartphone you coveted is beyond your means. Yes, the Samsungs and the HTCs would floor you with their price tags. But then you can always look at the domestic handset makers, who today bring you feature-rich phones at aam-aadmi prices. Interesting devices from the likes of Micromax, Lava, Karbonn, Zen, etc., abound in the market.

And while once you would have sneered at these as tacky wannabes, it wouldn't be a bad idea to get these affordable phones. In an age when you change phones every two years or so, these home-grown products perform well enough during their life expectancy. Listed below are a few phones that have something special to offer. If one is good with music, the other is gaming expert. If one comes with a good QWERTY keypad, the other is a full touch. Read below and choose the one that best meets your mobile needs.

A cell phone often substitutes for an FM radio and a music player. Now you can use it for a video experience too. Here are innovative offers form G'Five and Zen.

G'Five E680
Price: Rs 2,600
How's this for a phone loaded with 20 blockbuster movies? The movies are compressed and stored in the memory card and comes

with a software that compresses the size of the movie while transferring. A dedicated movie button gives instant access to this feature.

Zen Z82
Price: Rs 4,000
Launched last year, the Zen Z82 was one of the first handsets to support Analog TV. It broadcasts DD National and DD News free of cost (without active data connection). It is pretty nifty when you are close to a window or outside. It also has a good QWERTY keypad and other features such as music player and Bluetooth. Specs: 2.4-inch display, 2MP camera; 4GB expandable memory; GPRS, Bluetooth; 1100 mAh battery.

Most of the domestic handsets are capable of supporting two SIM cards. So you need one like that, you can easily get yourself a good-looking, cheap phone.

Zen M72
Price: Rs 1,749
The Zen M72 is affordable yet feature rich. It is a dual SIM phone with a 1800 mAh battery (40 days standby life). It has a dual LED
torch, sound recorder, 3.5 mm jack, music player, Hindi language support, anti-theft mobile tracker. Specs: 2.4-inch display; 1.3 MP camera; GPRS, Bluetooth; 1800 mAh battery.

Alcatel ICE3 OT520D
Price: Rs 2,299
This is a GSM dual-SIM, looks-conscious phone. The OT520D is done in red and black. It also has a 2 MP camera, FM radio, music player, and torch. Specs: 2-inch display; 2MP camera; 1 MB memory, expandable up to 32GB; GPRS, Bluetooth; 1000 mAh battery.

Nokia X2

These days it is difficult to spot a phone that doesn't have a camera. But why be content with a VGA camera or 2 MP one when you can acquire a 3.2 or a 5 MP shooter?

Nokia X2
Price: Rs 4,710
This is a complete package from Nokia that scores on every front: looks, sound and camera. Along with a 5 MP sensor, it has an LED flash for photogarphy at night or in dim light. You can also capture moving images at 20 frames per second. The plus point: the X2 can be used for sharing images and videos with friends on your social network.

While most phones come with some music capabilities, there are some that are especially built for the audiophile and often come with a headset.

Lava M30
Price: Rs 4,499
Although the M30 doesn't come with an over-the-ear headphone, the attractive feature of this phone is its SRS Wow HD technology
and Yamaha PA speakers. It also has a sharing hub accessory that allows two earphones with 3.5mm jack to be connected to the phone simultaneously. Specs: 2.2-inch display; 2 MP camera; Memory expandable up to 8GB; GPRS, Bluetooth; 1200 mAh battery.

Micromax M2
Price: Rs 3,599
Till date music phones used to come with in-ear headphones but Micromax changed this concept by teaming a great over-the-ear, dome shaped headphone with its M2. Comfortable to wear, these headphones definitely add style to this iPod look-alike cell phone. Specs: 2 MP camera; 2GB internal memory, expandable; GPRS, Bluetooth; 850 mAh battery.

There was a time when touch phones with capacitive displays used to be the envy of the cash-strapped. Today there are a select few that are easy on the wallet.

Karbonn K1616
Price: Rs 4,800
Trying to replicate the looks of the Apple iPhone is Karbonn's K1616. It boasts a 3.5-inch capacitive touch display (though it isn't anywhere close to the iPhone). On the other hand, it has 3D graphics widgets, a 3.2 MP camera and 3D menu style interface. To
round it off, it is also a dual SIM phone on standby. Specs: 3.5-inch capacitive display; 3.2 MP camera; expandable up to 8GB; GPRS, Bluetooth; 1150 mAh battery.

Zen Mobile Flikk M45
Price: Rs 5,000
Zen Mobile has a good reputation regarding the hardware of its phones. The latest touch phone from its stable is based on capacitive technology, so out goes the stylus. Once can even pinch and zoom on this, like in high-end phones. To capitalise on its full touch display, this phone comes with a back stand and so can be placed on a table for watching movies and videos. The 4GB memory card bundled with the phone comes with 3 Bollywood films-Dabangg, Deewar and 3 Idiots-along with wallpapers and ringtones. Specs: 7.1-cm touch display; 3.2 MP camera; 4GB expandable memory card; GPRS, Bluetooth.

Rather than tap-tapping away on an alpha-numeric keypad, isn't it far easier to type a note or message on a QWERTY pad?

Samsung Chat 322
Price: Rs 3,949
The Chat 322's metallic looks are complemented by a well-spaced QWERTY keypad, two GSM card slots and an optical trackpad.
Specs: 2.2-inch display, Memory expandable up to 8GB; GPRS, Bluetooth; 1000 mAh battery.

Nokia X2-01
Price: Rs 3,500
The X2-01 has a 2.4-inch display and support for email, Yahoo! Messenger, GTalk and Ovi Chat. Plus download music from Ovi Music. Specs: 2.4 inch display, Memory expandable to 8GB; 1020 mAh.


G'Five G20
Price: Rs 2,900
The G20 is a child's fantasy come true with its gaming console and close to 1,000 16-bit video games. On its 2.4-inch QVGA display,
you can play titles like Mario, Contra, Goonies, Battle City, etc. It also has an analog TV and built-in Yamaha amplifier. Specs: 2.4-inch display; dual memory card slot; 1500 mAh battery, motion sensor.

Airfone Game Yo
Price: Rs 2,500
G'Five is not the only company offering a gaming phone with a console. Airfone has joined the bandwagon by adding a game pad to its Game Yo phone. Here, the handset is fitted in a controller attachment and games can be downloaded and played on the microSD card. It come preloaded with 1,650 games. Specs: 2.4-inch display; 4GB microSD card; GPRS, Bluetooth; 1300 mAh battery.

Considering the erratic service and the high cost of 3G services in India at the moment, many will not be convinced to move to the 3G network. However, there is no harm buying a phone that is 3G enabled just in case things imporve.

Nokia C2-01
Price: Rs 4,279
This is an affordable 3G-enabled phone from Nokia. The C2 comes with a 2-inch colour display and can be used for staying
connected to Facebook and other social networking sites. With Opera Mini Browser on board and 3G connectivity, Net browsing too is a breeze. Specs: 2-inch display; 3.2 MP camera; 46MB internal memory, 16GB expandable; Bluetooth, 3G; 1020 mAh Li-ion battery.

Sony Ericsson Cedar
Price: Rs 4,890
Sony Ericsson doesn't have many phones price under Rs 5,000 but this one is a good looking 3G-enabled device. The 2.2-inch display is comfortable to use while browsing the Web or accessing apps, including YouTube, Twitter, MySpace and Facebook apps. Specs: 2.2-inch display; 2 MP camera; 280 MB internal, 16GB expandable; 3G, Bluetooth; 1000 mAh battery.

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