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Price less

india Updated: May 15, 2013 18:29 IST
Sneha Mahale

The smartphone wars between Samsung and Apple may make for great reading, but let’s face it, not everyone can afford these high-end models. That, however, is no reason to settle for a phone that doesn’t deliver. With powerful hardware, great performance and decent features, there are a number of contenders by Indian makers that match, if not better, expectations. Costing Rs 9,999 or less, here are five that are worth your while.

Karbonn A21
Price: Rs 7,314 (Infibeam.com)
USP: Power-packed performance
The phone features a dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor clocked at 1.2GHz that can give most single-core-processor-based Android phones in the market a run for their money. It also has its aesthetics in place while a 5 MP camera, dual-SIM facility that supports 3G, 4.5” LCD display and the Ice Cream Sandwich 4 operating system that can be upgraded, ensures that the Karbonn A21 packs a punch. The only thing that we would have preferred is more internal memory. But it remains a good value-for-money option.

Spice Stellar 425
Price: Rs 6,199 (Saholic.com)
USP: App and game-friendly
The device runs on Gingerbread, which can be upgraded to the latest Ice Cream Sandwich operating system. It is powered by a 1GHz processor. Though the camera isn’t one of the best in the market, it is app-and game-friendly. So download all those Angry Bird versions without further delay or much thought. And if that isn’t enough, a 4.1” capacitive touchscreen and pre-embedded NetQin anti-virus software are decent add-ons.

Micromax A110
Price: Rs 9,974 (Infibeam.com)
USP: Good graphics
With looks that will remind you of the Samsung Galaxy S III and the Note II, the phone could easily be thought of an inspired version of these famous models. But that is where the similarity ends. A 1GHz dual-core processor delivers visually stunning graphics. And with a 5” display and the latest Ice Cream Sandwich operating system, this phone sure is easy on the eyes and high on performance. The 8 MP camera is an added bonus.

Lava Xolo A700
Price: Rs 8,000 (Flipkart.com)
USP: Multi-tasking
Powered by a dual core 1GHz processor, this phone matches high-end models in terms of performance. The A700 is apt for the multi-tasker who enjoys jumping from one app to another without lags and slowdowns. And it isn’t like it falls short in the features department with a 4.5” display, 5 MP primary camera with LED flash, video calling, and dual-SIM capacity. Also, for the superficial souls out there, this one is not a bad looker.

Intex Aqua Wonder
Price: Rs 9,499 (Flipkart.com)
USP: All rounder
Truth be told, we hadn’t considered this brand till we visited a few phone outlets and found it in their fastest-selling devices category. The phone comes powered by a 1.2GHz quadcore CPU, sports a 4.5” HD display, Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean); a 8 MP rear camera and 2 MP front camera. If that’s not enough, Intex provides also provides freebies like a pouch and screen guard with the handset. Definitely worth checking out.

(The above phones were chosen on the basis of user reviews and popularity on Flipkart. We also visited a few Mobile Store and Croma outlets to check their sales. Rankings on websites like www.indianprices.info were also considered.)

Brand value
The top three contenders in the same price bracket:
Sony Xperia E: One of the best budget phones in the market, it looks classy and isn’t too bad in the hardware department with a 1GHz Snapdragon processor.
Nokia Lumia 520: With the Windows 8 update, the attractive live tiles, vibrant colours and good in-built features like Smart Shoot and City Lens, this is for those who want something different.
BlackBerry Curve 9220: Touchscreen and Android is in these days, but this phone was made for those who like the old-fashioned combination of qwerty and BlackBerry.