Monday, 26 December 2011

Gadget of the Year - Phones under Rs.25,000

This has got to be the most exciting segment, right now, since we have a whole bunch of powerhouses lined up. But, this makes our job of picking one out of the lot that much harder. Many of the phones, which were once above Rs.25,000, have seen some massive price cuts, which in turn pushes the price of subsequent phone further down. Let’s quickly take a look at the nominees for the best smartphone under Rs.25,000.

Let’s just be very clear here, the phones we’ve nominated have been reviewed by us, so we know for a fact they are a good product, but perhaps most importantly, it’s the phones we would recommend people to buy. There maybe other good phones as well, which didn’t make the list, but that’s not because they are bad, it’s just that there may be something better if you spent a bit more (or less).

Nokia E6
The E6 makes other business phones look outdated and old fashioned. Built with high quality, stainless steel and plastic, it’s extremely well built and features one of the best keyboards ever fitted to a QWERTY phone. Backed up by a great screen, impressive battery life and good feature set out-of-the-box, it easily makes it to our list.  
A solid contender

Nokia 701
The Nokia 701 mkes a good all-rounder. Starting with the excellent build quality, Symbian Belle leaves you with a familiar feeling, if you’re coming from Android and being a Nokia, good battery life is sort of a given. The camera may be a fixed focus one, but the picture quality is pretty good and so is the display. Finally, with good multimedia capabilities and NFC support, it’s quite a future proof handset.

Sony Ericsson Neo V
The Neo V is a good value for money handset that’s functional yet, striking to look at. We chosen it for it’s good screen, media playback and camera.

Samsung Wave II
This is for someone who couldn’t give a rats behind about apps. The Wave II packs in excellent multimedia capabilities, a great 5MP shooter and really good battery life.

Sony Ericsson Xperia Active
The Xperia Active proves that a phone needn’t be ugly, if it’s waterproof and dustproof. The phone also sports 720p video recording, ANT+ support for syncing data with other fitness equipments, wet finger tracking (which worked brilliantly) and a dedicated shutter button for easily snapping pictures underwater. 

The Active - a powerful rugged smartphone
The Active - a powerful rugged smartphone

LG Optimus 2X
The Optimus 2X was the first dual-core phone and with its revised pricing, definitely makes the cut in our list. It’s super fast, supports 1080p video capture and playback and an IPS display.

HTC Radar
A refreshing change from all the droids in this price range, the HTC Radar is a well made and fun device for the casual user. The fluidity of WP7 will is definitely appealing and with the growing support for apps, it’s only a matter of time before it reaches the likes of Android and iOS.

HTC Incredible S
Other than the lack of a TV-out option, there’s nothing the Incredible S can’t do. It has a beautiful screen and is the only droid whose capacitive buttons change orientation, along with the interface. It’s also very well built, has a great camera, good multimedia features and a great battery life.
It is here after all
Superb value for money

Sony Ericsson Xperia Pro
For those who want a full touchscreen and an old school physical QWERTY keypad, the Xperia Pro fits the bill perfectly. It looks great, is very functional and productive, has a good 8MP camera and and above average battery life.

HTC Desire S
Last, but not the least, we have the Desire S, a worthy successor to the popular HTC Desire. Good build and finish aside, the Desire S offers good value for money thanks to a great camera, good set of multimedia features, good battery life and an overall extremely classy look.

And the winner is...

Sony Ericsson Xperia Pro
We’ve awarded our coveted Gadget of the Year trophy to the Sony Ericsson Xperia Pro for a good blend of style, performance and function. Think of this as a Neo V, but with a added slide-out QWERTY keyboard. Our top tip for prospective buyers would be to avoid the silver one as the keys are barely readable even with the backlight on. This issue is not present on the black version, though. Sony Ericsson also throws in some handy apps like Office Suite for working on documents and spreadsheets. The main selling point of the Xperia Pro is its keyboard, which is extremely comfortable to type on and it’s great set of multimedia features.

A deserving winner
A deserving winner

The bundled 8MP camera is able to capture some really good stills and comes with features like touch capture, image stabilizer, exposure value, metering, etc. Scene modes include Sweep Panorama and Smile Detection, among others. The battery life is also pretty good given it’s only a 1500mAh battery and should easily last you more than a day.

Stay tuned to find out our pick for the best high-end smartphone in 2011.

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