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Philips S308 first impressions: yet another contender in the budget space

|May 28 2014 |Android Phones, Android, Philips

“The S308 from Philips comes in as a strong value-for-money proposition from the brand”

Philips has been a renowned name in consumer electronics market and now it has announced its comeback into the Indian mobile phone market with the launch of not one or two, but three new Android smartphones priced between Rs 8,290 and Rs 20,650. Being on the lower side of the price curve, the Philips S308 offers a good value-for-money proposition while it flaunts an appealing design as well at the same time. We got a chance to experience these new devices during the launch event that took place in Delhi today, and here’s our first impressions on the cheapest Android smartphone from Philips, the S308.

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In terms of the look-and-feel, the Philips S308 is a good-looking device that bears striking similarities with the older Samsung Wave 7500 smartphone based on the Bada operating system. With most manufacturers going with boxy rectangular designs for their smartphones, Philips has tried to give a more comfortable and curved treatment to the S308, with a 63-degree curve from the side merging into the back of the device. The benefit of this curved back is that it makes holding the device more comfortable. In addition to this, the company has made this device available in a variety of colours, ranging from the regular black and white, to bright red, yellow and a hue of blue too.

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The Philips S308 is centred around a 4.5-inch, 480 x 800 pixel display and is powered by a 1GHz dual-core processor. Complementing the processor is 512MB of RAM and 4GB of onboard storage, which can be further expanded by to an additional 32GB using a microSD card. In terms of specs, the device looks pretty impressive for the price of Rs 8,290. That said, this is not the final verdict as we are yet to test the Philips S308 properly, after which only we would be in a better position to give our word on its performance.

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The software on the Philips S308 is Android Jelly Bean 4.2 with a custom user interface layered on top of it. The UI has a lot of customisations especially pertaining to the look and feel, icons and colourful wallpapers, matching the personality of the device. The brand has placed the Philips S308 as a youthful and a colourful device that is more fun than work and has tried to reveal that through both the design as well as the software customisations. Otherwise the user interface does not offer any special improvements to the users and does not extend the utility of the device in any way.

Philips has added a 5-megapixel autofocus camera to the S308, but disappointingly, there's no front-facing camera. Therefore, users would not be able to make video calls and capture selfies on this device. The camera quality of the Philips S308 looks average at first glance. But given that the conditions under which the photographs were captured at the launch event were quite unfriendly for a camera, we'll have a better idea of its camera performance in the coming days, so stay tuned for that.

Despite quite a few positives, the Philips S308 does come with a few disappointments. Firstly, the battery on the device is rated at 1,500mAh, which we think may not be able to power the device through the day. There's also no front-facing camera, which many potential buyers may not be too happy about. Additionally, the Philips S308 features both USB as well as the audio port on the top, and from the usability point of view, this placement is not very ideal as it has its own disadvantages.

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Nevertheless, this are just our initial impressions, and we are yet to work on a detailed review of the Philips S308. Once we get a chance to do so, we will be in a position to tell you how whether the Philips S308 is worth the asking price or not. For now, the S308 looks like an Android smartphone with a strong value for money proposition.

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