The budget Android phones market in India is a mess. There are literally 10+ devices for any given price, moreover, local and Chinese manufacturers are always releasing new phones here every other month. An average consumer can easily be spoilt of choices from all these offerings from various manufacturers. So to help you people, we did a quick check on all the available Android phones under the ₹ 10-18k price range and picked the following 5 devices as our favorites.
We’ve also included runner ups with each of the recommended phones below. This is to give you some more choice in between our own favorites, because ultimately it’s your taste and preference that matters.
Xolo Q1010i (₹ 10-12k)
Xolo doesn’t need an introduction, it is the only Indian smart phone brand which has tried to position itself as a premium offering with an affordable price tag (I used smart phone brand instead of the word manufacturer as it is fully owned by Lava mobiles, in case you didn’t know). Xolo recently released the Q1010i, which offers pretty solid specifications and has the looks, that is pretty hard to find in this price range.
The device comes with the 1.3 Ghz Mediatek MT6582 quad core processor, like almost all phones in this category. It has got a 5 inch 720p OGS IPS display which comes close to Moto G’s display quality. But makes this phone a real champ in its price range is its camera. It has got a Sony made Exmor R 8MP camera, which clicks very good quality images in daylight.
Coming to the software side, the phone comes preloaded with Android 4.2 (Kitkat 4.4 OTA update has already been pushed by Xolo). The OS is left almost stock, no big changes. Xolo’s own apps are present, such as Xolo Care, Xolo secure, Xolo power, etc. The phone fully supports OTG, which means you connect any USB equipment like USD drive, keyboard, mouse, etc using a OTG cable. The downsides of this phone can be counted with average battery back up (even though it has a 2520 mAh battery) and poor after sales support from Xolo. Buy this if you want something other than a Moto G and if your budget is less than ₹ 12,000.
PRICE: ₹ 11,000
- Sony Exmor camera
- Good build quality
- Good display
- OTG support
- Poor after sales customer support
- Lava Iris 504Q+
- Lenovo S660
- Sony Xperia L
Motorola Moto G (₹ 12-14k)
Motorola has made a huge come back in India with the Moto G. It has become wildly popular in India, even if it is sold exclusively through the online retailer Flipkart. Moto G brings you performance, excellent build quality, brand name, timely updates and the best screen around.
Moto G has a good specsheet to boast off for its price. The phone sports a 1.2 Ghz Snapdragon 400 quad core processor, a 4.5 inch 720p IPS display with ppi of 329 (even greater than 326 ppi retina display on iPhone 5S), which makes it the best display around in the price range. Also, the glass on front is the Corning gorilla glass 3, which is a big plus when it comes to durability.
The phone’s performance is pretty fast, partly because Motorola haven’t customized the OS heavily (like Samsung and HTC), it’s almost stock Android. The only cons for the phone is that it doesn’t support external storage and the camera quality is pretty bad with its 5MP shooter. If you can live with the above said cons, this is the best your precious money can buy under ₹ 20,000.
PRICE: ₹ 14,000 (16GB) | ₹ 12,500 (8GB)
- Best screen for the price
- Great build quality
- Timely Android updates
- No expandable memory
- Camera isn’t the best
- Sony Xperia L
- Micromax Canvas Turbo
- Xolo Play 6X 1000
Karbonn Titanium Octane Plus (₹ 14-16k)
Karbonn Titanium Octane Plus is Karbonn’s flagship phone for 2014. No other phone offers this much features and specs at this price range. Titanium Octane Plus features Mediatek’s octa-core processor, 2GB RAM, 1080p display, and 16MP/8MP primary/secondary camera units (selfie lovers rejoice!).
The phone is comparatively thin, coming at 7.6mm thickness only. The 1080p IPS display provides good viewing angles and are rich in colors. Camera in Titanium Octane Plus needs an applause, it comes equipped with 16MP camera on the back which takes decent images in daylight. The secondary camera is an 8MP one, which comes in handy if you are a selfie person.
The UI is responsive as Karbonn has not made any noticeable changes to the UI, it’s almost stock. And it provides superb performance, like other octa-core phones. MT6592 octa-core processor has already shown the world that cheap doesn’t always mean powerless. Few cons of the device are that the battery unit provided is pretty low (2000mAh) considering the processing powers of the phone. Also the phone’s back has that plastic feel to it.
PRICE: ₹ 15,500
- Octa-Core Processor
- Stock Android UI
- Front 8MP camera
- Poor battery capacity (only 2000mAh)
- Back of the phone is a finger print magnet
- Huawei Honor 3C
- Xolo Q2000
- Samsung Galaxy Grand Neo
Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini (₹ 16-18k)
Samsung is the biggest smart phone manufacturer, and they achieved that position for a reason — quality, crazy marketing and pricing. And one more reason, Samsung has built a phone for evry range you could think of. The best that Samsung offers in this price range is the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini. Even though the S4 Mini was released last year, it is still a better option in this range. Compared to others (offerings from Indian manufacturers), it’s got the performance, brand value and the best after sales support around.
The Samsung S4 mini is meant for those who have small hands and don’t want to hold a 5 inch monster on their hand. The device comes with 1.7 GHz Dual Core processor and 4.27 inch 540 x 960 Super AMOLED display. The camera unit comes in with 8MP rear camera and 1.9MP front camera. And it’s got all the features that came with its elder brother, Galaxy S4 (now with the Kitkat update, some features from Galaxy S5 too).
Well, the phone’s got pretty good features, and a solid performance at the asking price. The price can be considered a little bit high if we compare it with products from other manufacturers. The cons of this phone are the lack of a 720p display and lack of a quad core processor (But the 1.7Ghz dual core krait processor is better than most of the quad core from mediatek). Also, there is no notification light available, so you have to wake the phone to check notifications.
PRICE: ₹ 17,000
- Camera quality
- Good customer support
- No 720p display
- No notification LED
- Sony Xperia SP
- HTC Desire 700
- Alcatel One Touch Idol X +
Xiaomi Mi 3 – Keep an eye on the recently announced Xiaomi Mi 3. It will be available for pre order from July 15th. The price tag is ₹. 14999. You’ll be blown away when you hear the specs of Mi 3. It comes with Snandragon 800 processor, 2GB RAM, 1080p display, and with 13MP primary camera and most importantly the device packs a massive 3000 mAh battery. All for ₹ 14,999 only, damn sweet phone, aint it?