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Price less

india Updated: May 15, 2013 18:29 IST
Sneha Mahale
Sneha Mahale
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

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.