Reliance JioPhone vs Micromax Bharat 1: Price, specs, tariff plans compared | tech | Hindustan Times
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Reliance JioPhone vs Micromax Bharat 1: Price, specs, tariff plans compared

Micromax today launched its 4G VoLTE feature phone Bharat 1 in partnership with BSNL. Is the Bharat 1 a better offer than the JioPhone? Let’s find out.

tech Updated: Oct 17, 2017 20:37 IST
Kul Bhushan
The 4G VoLTE-enabled Micromax Bharat 1 takes on the Reliance JioPhone.
The 4G VoLTE-enabled Micromax Bharat 1 takes on the Reliance JioPhone.(HT Photo)

Indian smartphone maker Micromax launched on Tuesday a smart feature phone, Bharat 1. Competing with Reliance Jio’s JioPhone, the Bharat 1 is priced aggressively at Rs 2,200 and, thanks to a tie-up with the state-run telecom operator BSNL, comes with unlimited data and calling through a Rs 97-monthly plan.

The philosophy behind the Bharat 1 feature phone is similar to Jio’s – offering affordable mobile data to entry-level consumers, especially in rural and remote areas of the country. While Reliance Jio has increased its coverage over months, BSNL has a big presence in India’s remote areas.

Micromax’s Bharat 1 matches the Reliance JioPhone in several aspects, providing affordable high-speed mobile data, unlimited voice calling and access to multimedia content. Here’s a look at Bharat 1’s features, specifications and tariff plans and how it compares with the Reliance JioPhone.

Price

The Bharat 1 will go on sale via retail stores on October 20 for Rs 2,200 whereas the Reliance JioPhone is available with a security deposit of Rs 1,500 (refundable after three years). Reliance Jio is expected to resume pre-booking for the JioPhone after Diwali, once it has delivered the 6 million units it booked in August. Micromax hasn’t revealed how many units of the phone will be available.

Design

The Reliance JioPhone and Bharat 1 look similar. The two phones come in candy bar form factor — standard design for feature phones. The two also have an alpha numeric keyboard and a four-way navigation trackpad at the center. One major difference is the trackpad on JioPhone can be used to activate voice commands, a feature missing on the Bharat 1. Remaining design elements such as removable back panel, placement of USB port and 3.5mm audio jack and torch are very much the same.

UI

The homescreen on the Bharat 1 prominently displays four key features – contacts, camera, phone and message. On navigating right, you will notice all the sections displayed in a square-ish boxes, similar to what you may have seen on older Lumia phones. The JioPhone has also fairly standard interface with Android-like feel to the UI. The app icons are showcased in circular boxes and have smaller default text than the Bharat 1.

A preview of the interface on the Bharat 1 4G VoLTE feature phone. (HT Photo)

What’s common is that both the UIs are fairly simple to use and allows users to get started with the features swiftly. While it may not be appealing to smartphone users, the UI seems has been designed keeping first-time or not-so-tech-savvy phone users in mind — certainly not a negative for these two phones.

Specifications

The Bharat 1 comes with a 2.4-inch QVGA screen. It is powered by a Qualcomm 205 processor coupled with 512MB of RAM. The smart feature phone comes with a 2-megapixel rear camera and a VGA selfie camera. The device has 4GB of built-in storage (expandable via a microSD card).

It is powered by a 2,000mAh battery. Connectivity options include dual-SIM, 4G, VoLTE, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi hotspot.

The Bharat 1 comes with a removable back panel. (HT Photo)

The Reliance JioPhone comes with a 2.4-inch QWVGA screen. It runs on KAI operating system and is powered by a 1.2GHz dual-core processor by Speadtrum. It features 512MB of RAM and Mali-400 clocked at 512MHz. It has 4GB of built-in storage, expandable up to 128GB via a microSD card.

The JioPhone sports a 2-megapixel rear camera and a 0.3-megapixel front-facing camera. Connectivity options on the phone include single SIM, Bluetooth, NFC, GPS and microUSB. It is powered by a 2,000mAh battery.

Difference

The Reliance JioPhone is a single SIM phone whereas the Bharat 1 is a dual-SIM phone. The Micromax phone has a bigger battery as compared to Jio’s and also has Wi-Fi hotspot feature, which is missing on the JioPhone.

Data plans, features and more

While Reliance JioPhone comes bundled with Jio apps like MyJio, JioTV, JioCinema, JioChat, JioMusic, JioXpressNews, the Bharat 1 also has dedicated applications for access to Live TV, music, movies and videos streaming. Both the phones support browsing on mobile data and lack support for apps like WhatsApp and Facebook.

The Reliance JioPhone also supports a screen mirroring-like feature via JioPhone TV cable. (HT Photo)

BSNL is offering a Rs 97 monthly plan under which the operator is offering unlimited voice calling and mobile data usage. Reliance Jio is offering a Rs 153 monthly data plan under which it is offering 500MB daily data and unlimited voice calling. It is worth noting that JioPhone customers need to recharge Rs 4,500 during the three-year timeframe.

We are yet to hear from BSNL about its terms and conditions, and fair usage policy for the Bharat 1. Micromax claims the effective cost of ownership for the Bharat 1 after two years is much cheaper than JiPhone’s. According to Micromax, Bharat 1 users with BSNL data plan would have paid Rs 4,528 after two years whereas JioPhone users would pay Rs 5,172 in the same time period.