"A look at some of the most noteworthy smartphones launched in India in the month of February 2014."
February is usually a big month for mobile launches. While the who’s-who of the mobile industry walk the red carpet at MWC, many new products unveiled at CES begin to hit retail shelves. There are some big names in this month’s roundup, but the crowning glory goes to the Moto G, Motorola’s unassuming little budget smartphone that sent the country into a tizzy. But that’s enough talk for now, let’s get down to business.
Budget smartphones are immensely popular in India, but they don’t usually make headlines. Even so, Motorola achieved the impossible with the Moto G, its much-hyped comeback smartphone that made record sales. With a sharp display, zippy performance and stock Android, there’s nothing cheap about the Moto G, except its price. Since the staid, stocky looks are a put-off for some, Motorola added some much-needed spunk with a wide-range of colourful back covers and shells. Available in 8GB and 16GB variants, the Moto G can be purchased via Flipkart.
Early rumours about the Note 3 Neo suggested it was an affordable variant of Samsung’s popular Note 3 phablet. However, when Samsung unveiled the device at its annual Forum, we were surprised at its premium price tag. For almost the same price as its predecessor, the Note 3 Neo offers downgraded specs like a 5.5-inch HD display, an 8MP front camera, a hexa-core Exynos processor, 16GB of expandable storage and S-Pen support. The phablet is also available in a new mint green edition.
Among the new devices showcased at the Samsung Forum was the Galaxy Grand Neo. There’s nothing exciting about its toned-down specs, which consist of a 5-inch display with WVGA resolution, dual-core chipset and 1GB RAM, but there are some changes to design. Faux metal and a textured matte back panel are a step up from the Galaxy Grand 2, as are new tropical colour variants like lime green and orange.
Sony announced a duo of mid-range phablets back in January, but they were only made available in the market last month. The Xperia T2 Ultra and its dual-SIM variant don't offer the dust- and water-resistant capabilities of premium Sony smartphones, but they do have some marked up features. A 6-inch HD display, a 1.4GHz Snapdragon processor, 13MP rear and 1.1MP front cameras and 8GB of expandable memory make for a loaded spec sheet. NFC and LTE support are a nice touch too.
Following in the footsteps of HTC and Samsung, Sony launched a mini variant of its Xperia Z1 flagship. But unlike its competitors, the Xperia Z1 Compact only compromises on screen size, which even at 4.3-inches impresses with HD resolution. Most other features remain identical, like a Snapdragon 800 processor, 2GB RAM, 20.7MP rear camera, 2MP front camera and 16GB of expandable storage. Plus, it's water- and dust-proof like its big brother.
Gionee forayed into the mid-range phablet segment with the Gpad G4. With a large 5.7-inch HD display, the phablet features a metallic unibody design, and measures just 7.95mm in thickness, making it sleek for its size. Powered by a quad-core MediaTek chipset, it sports 13MP main and 5MP rear cameras. The only downside is the 16GB of non-expandable storage, but Gionee has added OTG, so users can connect the Gpad G4 to a flash drive for external storage.
If you eat through your smartphone battery faster than a slice of pizza, the Gionee M2 could be the phone for you. With a beefy 4,200mAh battery, the smartphone can even be used to charge other devices. Other specs of the phone include a 5-inch display, quad-core processor, 8MP rear and 2MP front cameras, and 4GB of expandable storage. For you power hungry folks, there's also the Micromax Canvas Power, which offers a 4,000mAh battery at a slightly lower price.
Lenovo’s latest flagship smartphone is a premium offering with a price tag to match. Initially unveiled at CES in January, the phone was officially introduced in India last month. Tech specs include a 5.5-inch full HD display, Snapdragon 800 processor, 2GB RAM, 13MP rear and 5MP front cameras. The phone runs Android 4.3, with Lenovo’s Vibe UI on top. Lenovo has also confirmed that the phone will get an OTA update to Android KitKat soon. The device will be landing on retail shelves soon.
Indian manufacturer XOLO is known for experimenting with chipsets. The Q1100, its new smartphone, gets lucky with a Snapdragon 400 processor, the same engine powering the Moto G. A 5-inch 720p display, 8MP rear and 2MP front shooters, and 8GB of expandable storage translate into a better spec sheet on paper, but sadly for the Q1100, Motorola's baby is stealing the limelight.
A phone that can break bullets, melt bombs and survive Armageddon. Mind it, we’re not talking about the Nokia 3310. Indian brand Karbonn is the official mobile phone partner for Rajnikanth’s latest movie Kochadaiiyan, and has launched a lineup of themed feature and smartphones. Prime among them is the Karbonn S5i, a variant of the Karbonn Titanium S5 which offers a 5-inch display, 8MP camera and dual-core processor. You can check out the entire list of Rajni-inspired phones here.