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HindustanTimes Sat,25 Oct 2014
The four-way smartphone war
Rajiv Makhni, Hindustan Times
August 09, 2014
First Published: 15:49 IST(9/8/2014)
Last Updated: 14:38 IST(10/8/2014)
Techilicious columnist Rajiv Makhni

I didn’t want to write this column. Not at all. In fact I had a whole different column in place. But, to ignore what became a tsunami of questions and queries would have been pretty distasteful. What am I talking about? Well, there is a bit of chest thumping and self-praise here, so bear with me as I plough ahead.

Of late, each column here has led to some serious debate and interactions on Twitter and Facebook. It always happens, but of late it’s been amplified in both quantity and quality. I’m thrilled at this new level of response, but also find it impossible to handle answering all of them on a such a limited platform.

Thus, when the numbers became impossible to manage and I started getting flamed in all directions for ignoring such passionate queries, I decided to handle it right here. Thus, the other column was abandoned, and this one was slapped in.

The Interrogation

Would I trust going to sleep in a driverless car hurtling down the road at 80kmph? Would I let my children go alone to school in a driverless car? What do I think would have happened if John Sculley hadn’t fired Steve Jobs and the two had continued to work together in Apple? From all these phone companies that sell top-spec phones at rock-bottom prices, which one would I buy? And my favourite question: how can Xiaomi sell out their entire stock of phones in five seconds?

I’m going to tackle the last two questions today as the others each need a column of their own.

Xiaomi Mi 3 v/s Moto G v/s Obi Octopus S520 v/s Asus ZenFone 5

http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/popup/2014/8/1008-brunch-pg22b.jpg
(From left to right)
Classy looks: Moto G has a classic and very Google Nexus-ish look, but is almost plastic
Good competition: The Xiaomi Mi3 can be a phone worth considering
A new option: The Obi S520 is also all plastic but has some design flair with white accents

Let us be clear about this. We are entering a whole new dimension in the world of mobile devices. A time where top-hardware, flagship-level phones are sold at prices that are supremely low. A time where almost anything priced over `20,000 suddenly starts to look overpriced. A time where even iPhone 5S and Galaxy S5 users are starting to ask which of the new models should be their next phone. A time where new phones priced at over `50,000 will be looked at with suspicion and the companies questioned for being greedy to still want such profit margins. And the above four are the ones that have thrown the gauntlet down. So which one is the best?

http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/popup/2014/8/1008-brunch-pg22a.jpg

Who wins?

Considering the specs, euphoria and demand, it would easily be the Xiaomi Mi3. Do I second that? Well, if you are in the market looking to buy a new phone and Xiaomi strategically stops putting out controlled number of phones to create the sold-out-in-seconds hype, and Flipkart stops doing flash sales and moves to a normal booking system, then the Xiaomi Mi3 should be one of your top considerations.

But....

But if you aren’t in a tearing hurry to buy a new phone, then patience will pay off. The next three months will see headline-making phone launches at prices that will make your heart smile. Trust me, I know. And I’d tell you, but my non-disclosure agreements force me to stop right here.

Rajiv Makhni is managing editor, Technology, NDTV, and the anchor of Gadget Guru, Cell Guru and Newsnet 3

 From HT Brunch, August 1o
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