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Is price only the differentiating factor in budget smartphones?

A sub-Rs 15K smartphone is considered a budget smartphone these days but still, a lot of customers in India don't want to go beyond Rs 10,000 mark.

Smartphones under Rs 10,000 are like hot pancakes in India. With new technologies becoming affordable and handset brands going full throttle in the segment almost every day there is a new launch. If one goes to the market there are multiple options to choose from but that is leading to confusion among the mind of consumers. Have you ever wondered what is that one main thing, which differentiates a particular smartphone from others which can help a person to choose easily? Is it in terms of specs or is it just their pricing?

A sub-Rs 15K smartphone is considered a budget smartphone these days but still, a lot of customers in India don’t want to go beyond Rs 10,000 mark. Popular handset players like Xiaomi, Asus, Realme and Nokia have flooded the budget smartphone segment with smartphones.

If we take the specifications of smartphones which are priced below Rs 10,000 into consideration, we found out that all the smartphones basically feature almost the same set of specifications but pricing is different. We took into consideration current popular smartphones ranging from Realme C1, Xiaomi Redmi 6 Pro, Samsung Galaxy M10, Asus Zenfone Max M2, Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1, Xiaomi Redmi Y2 and Nokia 3.1.

Today, features like dual cameras, bezel-less display, big battery and notch display have made their way to budget smartphone category also. Talking about the display, under Rs 10,000, some phones come with HD+ display while some feature full HD+ display with a better resolution. Xiaomi Redmi 6 Pro is one such phone which features 5.84-inch Full HD+ with 2280 x 1080 pixels resolution. It is priced Rs 9,999 for 3GB RAM with 32GB internal storage variant. Nokia 3.1 also features 5.5 FHD+ display with 2160 x 1080 pixels resolution and it is priced at around Rs 8500 for 3GB RAM with 32GB internal storage variant. Other phones like Galaxy M10, Zenfone Max M2 and Redmi Y2 just come with HD+ display. So in terms of display, only one or two smartphone makers are offering a good display with a better resolution.

Realme C1 Xiaomi Redmi 6 Pro Samsung Galaxy M10 Asus Zenfone Max M2
Display 6.2-inch HD+ (1520×720 pixels) 5.84-inch FHD+ 2280 x 1080 pixels 6.2 HD+ 720 x 1520 pixels 6.3 HD+ 720 x 1520 pixels
Processor Snapdragon 450 Snapdragon 625 Exynos 7870 Snapdragon 632
Rear Camera 13MP + 2MP 12MP+5MP 13MP + 5MP 13MP + 2MP
Front Camera 5MP 5MP 5MP 8MP
Memory 2GB + 32GB, 3GB + 32GB 3GB + 32GB 2GB + 16GB, 3GB + 32GB 3GB + 32GB
Battery 4230mAh 4000 mAh 3400mAh 4000mAh
Operating System Android Oreo Android Oreo Android Oreo Android Oreo
Price Rs 7499, Rs 8499 Rs 9,999 Rs 7,990, Rs 8,990 Rs 9,999

Now talking about the camera, most of the phones under Rs 10,000 feature a dual rear camera setup. Realme C1 and Asus Zenfone Max M2 offer 13MP+2MP rear camera while Samsung Galaxy M10 and Micromax Infinity N11 feature 13MP+5MP. On the other hand, Xiaomi Redmi Y2 and Redmi 6 Pro offer 12MP+5MP rear camera. So camera resolution for all the brands is also almost same for all the smartphones with minor changes.

Realme C1 is priced at Rs 7499 and 8499 for 2+32GB and 3+32GB variants respectively. Asus Zenfone Max M2 is priced at Rs 9,999, Samsung Galaxy M10 is priced at Rs 7990 and Rs 8990 for 2+16 and 3+32 variants respectively.

Micromax Infinity N11 Xiaomi Redmi Y2 Nokia 3.1 Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1
Display 6.19 HD+ 1500 x 720 pixels 5.99 HD+ 1440 x 720 pixels 5.5 FHD+, 2160 x 1080 pixels 5.99 FHD+, 2160 x 1080 pixels
Processor MediaTek Helio P22 Snapdragon 625 MediaTek Helio P18 Snapdragon 636
Rear Camera 13MP + 5MP 12MP+5MP 16MP 13MP + 5MP
Front Camera 8MP 16MP 8MP 8MP
Memory 2GB + 32GB 3GB + 32GB 3GB + 32GB 3GB + 32GB
Battery 4000mAh 3080mAh 2900mAh 5000mAh
Operating System Android Oreo Android Oreo Android Oreo Android Oreo
Price Rs 8,999 Rs 8,999 Rs 8,500 Rs 9,999

All the phones under Rs 10,000 do not come with Android 9 Pie rather they run on Android 8.1 Oreo operating system. On the other hand, some smartphones priced over Rs 15,000 today come with Android 9 Pie. Although some phones under 10k segment are likely to receive Android Pie update in future. Only time will tell if they actually get the update or not. So customers will have to shell out more money to get better features on a smartphone.

Also, all the phones in this budget segment generally come with micro-USB port. One drawback of micro USB charging is that the phones are charged very slowly. They take a time of at least 2.30-3 hours to completely charge the phone. On the other hand, the phones featuring Type C port come with quick charging technology and they charge the phone very fast as compared to micro-USB charging.

All the phones come with a good battery back in this segment. The battery ranges anywhere between 3000mAh to 5000mAh approximately. The Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1 comes with the highest battery capacity of 5000mAh which again comes with a micro USB charger. Thus taking a lot of time to charge such a huge battery.

One good thing in these budget smartphones is that they come with security features like a fingerprint sensor and face unlock as well apart from regular PIN unlock, pattern unlock or password unlock. Some might feature just at least one of them while some come with both the technologies for unlocking the phone.

At this price point, mostly phones under Rs 10,000 come with mid-range chipsets only. Like Realme C1 come with Snapdragon 450 SoC, Redmi 6 Pro come with Snapdragon 625, Galaxy M10 has Exynos 7870 SoC, Zenfone Max M2 has Snapdragon 632, Redmi Y2 has Snapdragon 625 while Nokia 3.1 comes with MediaTek Helio P18 chipset.

All these chipsets offer you a decent performance keeping in mind the day-to-day tasks like checking emails, WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram and opening browsers. These will also allow you to play casual games like Subway Surfer, Candy Crush and Temple Run. But the phone will not be able to handle heavy games like PUBG and Asphalt 8. For heavy gamers, phones under Rs 10,000 are not advised as for those high-end chipsets are required in the phone.

So, in terms of specifications, no brand is offering an extraordinary feature in budget smartphones. So, how do they differ from each other? By and large, it’s only their price which makes them different from each other. Well, loyal brand customers will go for their favourite smartphones only but the handset manufacturers here have to offer something unique in their devices to lure a new set of customers. Only time will tell if they bring something interesting in their phones in future.

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