It’s almost a month now since I sold my old Nokia N72 (fondly named PlatiniumJunior by me), hoping to buy an Android-based smartphone soon. Since then, I have realized how dependent I was on the phone - thinking of taking a quick snap and realizing I don’t have a camera anymore is disappointing, same is getting stuck at a word while reading and missing that MSDict software on my phone which was always ready as a quick reference, similar is being jobless at places I am forced to visit at times (or when there were power outages of countless hours at home, more on this in another post) and missing the phone again which I could use to read some or other ebook. Thinking back, I was more used to it as a smart device, than as a phone. Anyhow, I did manage with the 5-year old Nokia 2600 all this time.
Coming back to the topic, I have drooled over Samsung (Google) Nexus S since the time of its launch in India, but a little research led me to believe it’s not worth its jaw-dropping price without the S-AMOLED screen. Asking around friends, reading reviews on various sites, visiting few local show rooms and shopping centers in malls (all this within the worst 2 weeks of my life) could do just one thing to me - leave me confused! One thing that I found is that here in Indian market, there are so many options to choose from in high-end segment and low-range segment, but too few for mid-range segment which caters to people like me looking for the best combination of price and features.
Anyway, here are my picks in different price classes, these may be considered the best in their range, but let me warn you this post is completely biased on what I consider should be in a complete smartphone and, of course, limited by the maximum price I can spend (read: convince my father to spend ;) ). Note that these are in decreasing order of their current prices on Flipkart, and I have mentioned only my likes and dislikes about each of them, not to be confused with Pros/Cons, Ups/Downs, etc. parameters. You can still click on their names to see pics and full specs.
Price: Rs. 22,900
Likes: 4” Super AMOLED, 720p video recording, Bluetooth v3.0, 16GB in-built storage
Dislikes: price, no camera flash
Comment: This is the phone to buy if you have the moolah (beats closest rival Desire S on many specs). It was awarded best phone of the year by many reviewers last year. Only choice, among these phones, with an S-AMOLED screen.
Price: Rs. 19,900
Likes: 720p video recording, 1650 mAh battery, 4GB in-built storage
Dislikes: SC-LCD instead of S-AMOLED, no camera flash
Comment: Almost similar to I9000, slightly thicker & bulkier, comparatively inferior screen, lower performance. Good choice if S-AMOLED is not a must for you.
Price: Rs. 17,189
Likes: water & dustproof, scratch resistant Corning Gorilla Glass display, 1.25GB internal storage and a 2GB microSD card included, decent VGA recording
Dislikes: normal TFT capacitive screen, Android 2.1 Eclair, average camera (for stills), no secondary camera
Comment: I almost chose this phone, but reading about camera quality disappointed me. One nifty feature is automatic loading of lyrics from TuneWiki while using its music player. And, you can actually put this phone in a glass full of water. :)
Price: Rs. 15,200
Likes: 2GB microSD card included, decent 5MP still camera with LED flash
Dislikes: resolution (320 x 480) normal TFT capacitive screen for its rather steep price , poor QVGA recording at 15fps, no secondary camera
Comment: Nice camera, but video recording is a sure no go. Feels pricey for its features.
Price: Rs. 10,999
Likes: price, Android 2.2 Froyo (perhaps cheapest phone with this)
Dislikes: 262K color display (instead of 16M), only 3MP camera, no secondary camera, no WiFi 802.11n, VGA 18fps recording
Comment: Heard a lot of rave reviews about this one. One of my Kerala (geek) friends recently bought it too. Good choice for its price. (And my last resort!)
Price: Rs. 10,499
Likes: high resolution (480 x 800) at this price
Dislikes: Android 2.1 Eclair, 256K color display, 3.15MP camera, no secondary camera
Comment: This finds its place here in my list because of the huge screen resolution you get at this price. May serve as a good e-book reader for me, if nothing else.
I am expecting to purchase one of these really soon. Will try posting a review too.
Hope this helps some of you. Comments from readers are welcome as usual.