Best smartphones above Rs 15,000: From Samsung Galaxy Grand 2 to Sony Xperia Z1 Compact

Mihir Patkar Posted online: Tuesday, May 20, 2014 at 0000 hrs
Mumbai : Right now, there is nothing in the Rs. 15,000-Rs. 20,000 range that is worth your money. You would be better served by a Canvas 4 at Rs. 15,000 or spending Rs. 20,000 and above. The only alternative in this range is the Xolo Q3000, which is a wonderful smartphone in all aspects except for the lack of scratch-resistant glass protection for its screen. At this price, that's a deal-breaker for us. But to be fair, we haven't tried that phone.

Around Rs. 20,000

Samsung Galaxy Grand 2

Available for: Around Rs 20,000

The Galaxy Grand 2 does not have Gorilla Glass or any other scratch protection mentioned in its specifications either. Yet, it managed to come out scratch-free in our tests, which is what makes us comfortable in recommending it despite that missing feature. The camera and multimedia performance are fantastic, the battery life is excellent (around 16 hours), and the screen is vibrant and a pleasure to see or interact with—its only flaw is poor legibility under direct sunlight.

Around Rs. 25,000

Gionee Elife E7

Available for: Around Rs. 25,000

The Gionee Elife E7 costs Rs. 25,000 for the version with 16GB memory and 2GB RAM, and requires an additional Rs. 3,000 for 32GB memory and 3GB RAM. If 16GB is going to be enough for you, the Elife E7 is by far the best smartphone for your money in this range. The camera blows away all competitors, the screen is gorgeous, and despite its size, it is surprisingly light and easy to hold. The battery life clocks in at 14 hours of average usage, which is perhaps its only down side for some. Still, we would recommend this over others.

Around Rs. 30,000

Google Nexus 5 / Samsung Galaxy S4

Available for: Around Rs. 30,000

There is little to separate the Google Nexus 5 from the Samsung Galaxy S4 and it boils down to personal choices. Do you want a pure Android experience or do you want Samsung's TouchWiz and smart add-ons? Which phone's feel do you like more? Do you like a physical Home button and touch keys or prefer virtual keys? There are merits and demerits to both, but there isn't enough to strongly recommend one phone over the other. So with that in mind, go to a store, try out both phones, and pick the one you like more.

Above Rs. 30,000

Buyer's Choice

Congratulations, you have reached the level where specifications, performance and other things stop mattering. For most average buyers, the differences in Android smartphones at this range are not going to be noticed. The slight bump an HTC One gives you in low-light performance compared with the slightly better screen of the LG G2 compared with the waterproof body of the Sony Xperia Z2—these are things that you can decide based on what you care about. Again, go to a store, try out the handset, see which design and features appeal to you, and buy what you like; there's no real reason to listen to us supposed experts here, you'll be happy with whatever you buy.

The only two significantly different phones in this range that deserve a mention are:

Sony Xperia Z1 Compact

Available for: Around Rs. 35,000

If you want a phone that easily fits in your hand, doesn't have a gargantuan screen, but still performs as well as any of the top-end devices, the Xperia Z1 Compact is the way to go.

Samsung Galaxy Note 3

Available for: Around Rs. 43,000

The built-in stylus and Samsung's customized software for it makes the Note 3 stand out as the only tablet which really makes maximum use of its oversized screen. If a big-screen device is what you want, then buy the Note 3 over any other.