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3 phones under Rs 25,000 that can give Samsung, Apple a run for their money

What’s the pecking order when it comes to flagship-killer mobile phones?

brunch Updated: Jul 03, 2016 16:17 IST
It’s a challenge: The names that are out to give Samsung and Apple a run for their money with their under Rs 25,000 phones include (from left) LeEco, Xiaomi and OnePlus
It’s a challenge: The names that are out to give Samsung and Apple a run for their money with their under Rs 25,000 phones include (from left) LeEco, Xiaomi and OnePlus

I’m really excited about this column. There’s something about a no-holds-barred war between devices with sudden death, brutal body blows, the smell of gunpowder, a battle where only one can survive. What’s not to love? This was a shootout all of you have asked for. It’s been the number one request on my social media accounts all of last week. This is the kind of shootout that used to happen once a year between the iPhone and Samsung Flagship – now it’s between three phones all priced around 25K!

This will be by far the toughest shootout ever since each phone has won rave reviews, has almost no negatives, is state-of-the-art and frankly almost bullet-proof. Let the games begin.

The Contenders
The OnePlus 3: The house of One Plus have taken a chunk from the super-premium market, found success with OnePlus One, not so much with OnePlus 2 and hit back hard with the 3.

The Le Max2: The much-awaited phone from LeEco that set the market afire when it was announced in China and made headlines at its glitzy India launch. It came up with two versions. The 6GB version is the contender here.

The Mi 5: A phone from Xiaomi that wants to play with the big boys. It leads in the under-15K market but this is their first foray into the under-25K market.

The Design
The OnePlus 3 and the Max2 go with the typical straight line all-metal unibody. Mi 5 has metal and curved glass. OnePlus 3 is slim and the Max2 is sturdy but feels a tad bulky. The Mi 5 is super slim and feels good in the hand.

Verdict:Mi 5 tops the design-and-feel category but the other two are right behind.

The Display
This is where the Le Max2 is in a league of its own. 5.7” Quad HD display, while the OnePlus 3 has a full-HD AMOLED display and the Mi 5 has a full-HD IPS screen. But those are just the numbers. In reality all three phones possess great screens with good outdoor readability and crisp graphics. Movies and games look much better on the Le Max2 though.

Verdict: Le Max2 takes this category, but the difference isn’t as vast as the numbers would make it seem.

The Hardware and Performance
All three phones run on the same chipset but the Mi 5 has less RAM and may even be under-clocked a bit. Both the OnePlus 3 and Max2 have a whopping 6GB RAM inside. Overkill? Maybe, as most laptops don’t have this much of RAM and even phones three times the price don’t have anything like this.

Verdict: Tough to call this one. In performance the OnePlus 3 nudges ahead a little.

The Camera and Optics
Most crucial for a flagship-killer. Le Max2 has a 21MP rear snapper while the Mi 5 and the Plus 3 come with a 16MP rear camera. To make it tougher all three have state-of-the-art ‘Sony’ sensors. All three come with 4K video recording and OIS capabilities but the 4 Axis stabilisation of the Mi 5 gives smoother recording. And the selfie camera on Mi 5 gives a wide-angle perspective.

Verdict:For stills, Le Max gives better results but for video, it is the Mi 5. Pick your optical poison.

The Battery Life
The Achilles Heel for many amazing specced phones. The OnePlus 3 and Mi 5 ship with 3000mAh capacity while the Le Max2 has a 3100mAh battery. All three include fast charging and a USB Type-C connector.

Verdict:The extra 100mAh of battery on the Le Max2 might be underwhelming for a 5.7 Quad HD display and 6GB RAM and thus loses out. Mi 5 wins it by a whisker.

The Special Features
Le Max2 seems to be in early Christmas mode as it brings a lot to the table. Lossless CDLA audio technology, a free CDLA headphone right now and exclusive content. OnePlus offers customisation via its Oxygen OS. The Mi 5 has premium design and great video features.

Verdict:Le Max2 wins it by a long shot.

The Price
Price is a deciding factor in this category. The Mi 5 is priced at Rs 24,999 for the 3GB/32GB version while the OnePlus 3 is available for Rs 27,999 for the 6GB/64GB version. The Le Max2 is at Rs 29,999 for the 6GB/64GB version.

Verdict: The Mi 5 takes it but it gives a little less value too.

The Final Verdict
Well, I can say without hesitation that you could buy any of these three phones without thinking twice and end up with one of the best phones ever. Look up each category and check the verdict and what’s important to you. Even the Le Max2 with lower specs at 22K is fantastic.

Isn’t it amazing what one can get today for about 25K? Think what you’ll be able to get for 15K in a year from now! Think about what Apple and Samsung will have to do to compete with these three phones and want to make us buy a 60K phone in a few months! I may not be able to predict the future but I can tell you this for sure: I’ll be doing far more shootouts than ever before :)

From HT Brunch, July 3, 2016

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