"A roundup of the top smartphones and tablets launched in December"
In the last month of 2014, we saw a spate of smartphone launches, with heavyweights such as the OnePlus One, Google Nexus 6 and vivo X5Max going on sale. There were also a number of new products in the affordable category, such as the ZTE Grand S II, Xiaomi Redmi Note 4G, Microsoft Lumia 638, and more. Read on for our monthly roundup of the top smartphones that went on sale in December 2014.
The ZTE Grand S II, which was announced back in November, went on sale last month exclusively via Amazon for the competitive price of Rs 13,999. The smartphone features a 5.5-inch screen boasting full HD resolution, and is powered by a 2.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor, paired with 2GB of RAM. The camera features include a 13MP primary snapper with LED flash, and a 5MP secondary shooter. The Grand S II packs in 16GB of internal expandable storage, and is fuelled by a 2,500mAh battery. The dual-SIM device runs the dated Android 4.2 Jelly Bean with MiFlavour UI 2.3 on top.
Related read: ZTE Grand S II first impressions
The Samsung Galaxy Core Prime is a mid-range smartphone featuring a 4.5-inch display with a resolution of 480 x 800 pixels. It is equipped with a 1.2GHz quad-core processor, supported by 1GB of RAM. There’s 8GB of internal expandable storage, and a 2,000mAh battery for power. It sports a 5MP primary camera with LED flash, and a 2MP front camera for selfies and video calls. The dual-SIM device runs Android 4.4 KitKat.
The 64GB variant of the OnePlus One was launched in India in exclusive partnership with Amazon. The ‘flagship killer’ smartphone boasts high-end specs like a 5.5-inch 1080p display, 2.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon 801 chip, 3GB of RAM, 13MP/5MP cameras, and a 3,100mAh battery. The smartphone runs CyanogenMod 11S, a custom Android-based ROM. However, this will be upgraded to OnePlus' own Android Lollipop-based software soon.
Google’s loaded Nexus 9 tablet, which was listed on the Play Store in October, finally went on sale via Amazon last month. The HTC-made slate flaunts an 8.9-inch display with a resolution of 2,048 x 1,440 pixels, and runs stock Android 5.0 Lollipop. It is powered by a NVIDIA Tegra K1 processor, paired with 2GB of RAM. It features a metal frame, and packs in HTC’s BoomSound front-facing stereo speakers. Other features include 8MP/1.6MP cameras, a 6,700mAh battery and 16GB/32GB storage options. The tablet is being offered in Wi-Fi and LTE variants, although only the former is currently available.
The Motorola-made Google Nexus 6 is a loaded phablet, sporting a huge 6-inch display with 2K resolution. It’s powered by 2.7GHz quad-core Snapdragon 805 SoC, complemented by 3GB of RAM. There’s a 13MP primary camera with a dual-LED ring flash, along with a 2MP shooter up front. The Nexus 6 is available in 32GB and 64GB fixed storage variants, and draws power from a 3,220mAh battery. As with all Nexus devices, it's mainstay is the most recent version of stock, i.e., Android 5.0 Lollipop.
Related read: Google Nexus 6 first impressions
The Mitashi Play Thunderbolt is the world’s first smartphone to feature a joystick. The gaming-oriented smartphone features a 5-inch HD display, and is powered by a 1.2GHz MediaTek MTK6589 quad-core processor mated to 1GB of RAM and a 544MHz PowerVR SGX GPU. It houses 16GB of internal memory, expandable up to 64GB via microSD. The smartphone features an 8MP rear camera with LED flash, along with a 2MP front snapper. The remaining tech specs include dual-SIM, dual speakers, Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean and a 4,200mAh battery.
The vivo X5Max, which is currently the world’s thinnest smartphone at 4.75mm, was launched in India just a few days after its global unveiling. It flaunts a 5.5-inch full HD Super AMOLED display, and is powered by a 64-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 SoC. In the memory department, it gets 2GB of RAM and 16GB of flash storage expandable up to 128GB via microSD. It features a 13MP primary camera with LED flash, and a 5MP front snapper. The 4G-compatible device offers hybrid dual-SIM, letting you insert either a SIM or microSD card in the second slot. It is powered by a 2,000mAh battery, and runs Android 4.4 KitKat overlaid with FunTouch 2.0.
Related read: vivo X5Max first impressions
Microsoft quietly released the Lumia 638 last month, an upgraded variant of the Lumia 630 with support for Indian 4G networks. At its price of Rs 8,299, the device also became the cheapest LTE-enabled smartphone in India. Regarding its specs, the Lumia 638 features a 4.5-inch display with a resolution of 854 x 480 pixels. It is backed by a quad-core Snapdragon 400 processor clocked at 1.2GHz, mated to 1GB of RAM. There’s 8GB of storage, expandable up to 128GB. The smartphone features a 5MP primary camera, but lacks an LED flash or a front snapper. It is powered by an 1,830mAh battery, and runs Windows Phone 8.1
The HTC Desire Eye, which was announced in October, only went on sale in late December. The smartphone features a 5.2-inch display with HD resolution, and is powered by a 2.3GHz Snapdragon 801 processor coupled with 2GB of RAM. The selfie smartphone packs in a pair of 13MP cameras with BSI sensors, and dual-LED flash at both the front and rear. The remaining tech specs include 16GB of internal expandable storage, a 2,400mAh battery and Android 4.4.2 KitKat with HTC’s Sense UI on top.
The Xiaomi Redmi Note 4G had its first flash sale on Flipkart on December 30th. The budget phablet packs in some impressive specs, such as a 5.5-inch HD display, a quad-core Snapdragon 400 processor clocked at 1.6GHz, 2GB of RAM, 8GB of expandable storage, 13MP/5MP cameras, a 3,100mAh battery, and Android 4.4 KitKat with MIUI on top. As the name suggests, the device supports Indian 4G networks. The 3G variant of the Redmi Note was also launched in December, but sales were halted after a week due to a temporary court ban.
Acer made its comeback into the Indian smartphone market with the Liquid Jade and Liquid E700. Both devices offer similar specs, including a 5-inch HD display, 1.3GHz quad-core MediaTek MT6582 processor, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of internal expandable storage and Android 4.4.2 KitKat. Individually, the Liquid Jade offers 13MP/2MP cameras, a 2,000mAh battery, and dual-SIM. The Liquid E700 on the other hand packs in 8MP/2MP cameras, a 3,700mAh battery, and three SIM card slots.