The year 2017 is about to end and once again it has been proven that the heart of the smartphone industry lies in the budget segment. Although, we have seen many launches in the premium category and mid-range categories, the year 2017 has been always about the budget offering by different companies. We saw new technologies coming to the budget segment, whether be it the dual rear cameras or the new 18:9 display.
It is safe to say that the budget segment has gone through a complete overhaul with competition getting more intense and companies like Xiaomi, Honor, Motorola, and more coming up with smartphones that offer a premium design, power-packed hardware at a jaw-dropping price.
But in this ocean of smartphones, only the handful of them did an exceptional job by giving flagship like performance, at a price below Rs 15,000. So without further ado, here is our five pick of the best budget smartphones of 2017 in no particular order.
Xiaomi Mi A1
Xiaomi Mi A1 was company’s first Android One smartphone, which was developed in partnership with Google. The smartphone recently received a price cut and it is now available for Rs 13,999. This means you get the powerful hardware from Xiaomi and pure Android experience from Google, making it probably one of the best smartphones in this price range. Not to forget that Google has already announced that Xiaomi Mi A1 will get Android 8.0 Oreo update and it will be one of the first devices to come with upcoming Android P version.
The major highlight of the device is the dual rear cameras, which comes with a combination of 12-megapixel sensors. The primary sensor sports a wide-angle lens, while the secondary camera offers telephoto lens. The phone support 2x optical zoom and 10x digital zoom. Further, it comes with stereoscopic imaging and deep learning algorithm to deliver impressive portrait shots.
The device sports a metallic unibody and features a 5.5-inch Full HD display with a screen resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels along with Corning Gorilla Glass protection. The device is just 7mm thin and weighs 168 grams. Under the hood, the device is powered by an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor along with a 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage. It comes with dual graphite sheet, which decreases the temperature by 2-degree. On the audio front, it features 10V smart PA for high-quality audio.
On the battery front, it supports 3080mAh battery with USB Type-C port and the company says it has customized a 380V charger for India for power spikes. There is a fingerprint sensor at the back panel and an IR blaster on the top of the device. On the connectivity front, it supports 4G LTE, Bluetooth, WiFi, USB Type-C port and dual-SIM support.
Motorola Moto G5 Plus
There is no doubt that Motorola Moto G series is probably one of the most famous series from Motorola and the Moto G5 Plus is no different. The smartphone does come loaded with a metal unibody design along with some really good hardware specifications, which gives a stiff competition to its rival. The smartphone comes in two variants – 3GB RAM + 16GB Storage variant and the 4GB RAM + 32GB Storage variant. The 4G RAM option is now retailing at Rs 13,999 as against its original price of Rs 16,999.
One thing we all like about Motorola is that the fact the brand provides with a clean user interface and roll out of updates at a regular interval of time. Moto G5 Plus offer competitive hardware specification in this mid-range space. It comes with a strong brand value, Turbo Charge technology for a quicker recharge and also includes latest operating system complementing the processor for seamless performance.
For the specifications, the Moto G5 Plus comes with a 5.2-inch full HD display with a screen resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels with Gorilla Glass 3 protection. The device is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor coupled with Adreno 506 GPU. The phone comes in two options—3GB/16GB variant along with 4GB RAM and 32GB internal storage model. There is also a microSD card slot through which one can expand storage up to 128GB.
On the camera front, the device sports 12-megapixel rear camera with aperture f/1.7, 1.4-micron pixels, dual AF pixels and LED flash. For the front, there is a 5-megapixel shooter for selfies and video calling. The phone is backed by 3000mAh battery and support connectivity options like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth v4.2, NFC and micro USB port. The phone measures 150.2 x 74 x 9.7 mm and weighs 155 grams.
Huawei’s sub-brand Honor has been actively launching a slew of smartphones this year. But with Honor 7X, the company managed to give two new technologies on a budget. First was the latest 18:9 display, which is only limited to premium and mid-range segment and other was the dual-camera setup, which has now become a standard across various segments.
The successor of Honor 6X is priced at Rs 12,999 for the 32GB storage variant, while the 64GB storage option comes with a price tag of 15,999 and it will be available from Amazon India. The 32GB storage variant does look promising and in our review, it was able to give good performance whether be it the camera or any other department, though the battery was not that great in this one.
Honor 7X boasts a metal unibody and a 5.93-inch full HD+ (2160 x 1080 pixels) display with 18:9 aspect ratio. It is powered by a Huawei’s HiSilicon Kirin 659 2.36GHz octa-core processor, along with Mali T830-MP2 and can hold up to a 256 GB micro SD card in its expandable storage slot. The Honor 7X is backed by a 4GB of RAM and it comes in 32GB Band64GB of internal storage options. The smartphone runs on Android 7.1 Nougat operating system and has the Huawei Emotion UI 5.1 (EMUI) user interface. A 3340 mAh non-removable battery is inside the phone with fast charging technology which claims to offer up to 21 hours of talk time.
The Honor 7X has a dual rear camera setup which includes a 16-megapixel primary sensor with LED Flash, PDAF and a secondary 2-megapixel sensor. In its front lies an 8-megapixel camera for selfies and video calls. Besides, an LED flash and a fingerprint scanner are also on its back panel just below the camera setup. Besides, the smartphone offers Hybrid Dual SIM, 4G with VoLTE, WiFi (802.11 b/g/n), Bluetooth 4.1 and GPS. The handset measures 156.5 x 75.3 x 7.6 mm and weighs around 165 grams.
Lenovo K8 Plus
Some might feel that Lenovo has cut down on launching new smartphones as the brand is busy relying on Motorola. This makes sense that Motorola is more popular than Lenovo in India. And after a long while, Lenovo came up with Lenovo K8 Plus. The 3GB RAM variant comes with price tag of Rs 8,999, while the 4GB RAM option is priced at Rs 10,999. The smartphone is probably one of the few smartphones from Lenovo camp to come with stock Android experience, which is a welcome move. However, once again the company has taken some clue with Moto’s user interface and implemented the same on this one as well.
But that said, the performance of the device was quite interesting and in our review, we faced no issue. The camera was particularly average, but the battery backup was again good. Overall, the smartphone does score good marks in providing some really good performance at this price point.
The major highlight of the smartphone is the dual-camera setup at the rear panel, which comes with a combination of 13-megapixel and 5-megapixel sensor. The primary sensor comes with Purcell Plus sensor, while 5-megapixel comes with Samsung depth sensor, which is used to give a bokeh effect. For the front, there is an 8-megapixel shooter with f/2.0 aperture, 84-degree wide angle lens, Beautify mode and front flash.
The smartphone comes with a metal unibody with aluminium 500 series at the back. The device features a 5.2-inch full HD display with a screen resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels with 450nits brightness and 178-degree viewing angles. The display comes with Corning Gorilla Glass protection and oleophobic coating. Under the hood, the smartphone is powered by a MediaTek Helio P25 octa-core processor clocked at 2.6GHz.
The phone is backed by a 4GB/3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage, which is expandable up to 128GB through a dedicated microSD card. The phone runs on Android 7.1.1 Nougat, which will be upgraded to Android Oreo pretty soon. It is backed by a 4000mAh battery, which the company claims can last up to 2 days. The phone comes with a fingerprint sensor at the back panel and it also supports Dolby Atmos for an immersive sound experience. There is also a music key, which can be used to open different apps as well. On the connectivity front, it supports 4G VoLTE, Bluetooth, WiFi, micro USB port and dual-SIM.
YU Yureka Black
Micromax’s sub-brand Yu started off pretty well but was soon witnessed a downfall so steep that rumours claimed that the company might ditch the Yu brand. Scuffing off these rumours, the company brought in its new Yu Yureka Black in June 2017 for Rs 8,999, which for the price, looks to be up there at least when we talk about specifications. Starting with the display, the Yu Yureka Black comes with a full HD display which is something that only Redmi Note 4 has it on today’s list.
Further, we have 4GB RAM and a decent Snapdragon 430 chipset inside. Probably the only downside here was the dated Android 6.0 Marshmallow but the company has already released the Nougat update so we are good to go here. Besides, the Yu Yureka Black looks promising both on paper and in real life so if you are someone who likes to boycott the famous Chinese counterparts, Yu Yureka Black could be a considerable option.
Jumping straight to the specifications, the phone features a 5-inch Full HD display with a screen resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels and 2.5D Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection. The smartphone is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 processor along with 4GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage, which can be further expanded up to 128GB via micro SD card slot.
On the camera front, it sports a 13-megapixel rear camera with Sony IMX258 sensor, 5P lens and dual LED flash. For the front, there is an 8-megapixel shooter with front flash. The device runs on Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow and is juiced up by a 3000mAh battery, which the company boast can last one full day. There is also fingerprint sensor at the front, which also acts as a home button. On the connectivity front, it supports 4G VoLTE, WiFi (802.11 b/g/n), Bluetooth, GPS/GLONASS, a micro USB port and Dual SIM support.