3 new smartphones that show the world Indian brands mean more than cheap price tags

Written by Nandagopal Rajan | Updated: Feb 8 2014, 18:50pm hrs
SmartphonesThe Iris Pro 30 does not look like anything you have paid for.
After having garnered the numbers with affordable devices, Indian smartphone makers are slowly testing the upper segments with premium high-spec devices that can take on the bigwigs like Samsung and Apple right where it hurts. Here we look at three devices that push the limits as far as specs go, but still hold on to their affordable tags.

Lava Iris Pro 30

The Iris Pro 30 does not look like anything you have paid for. In fact, it is a stunner with one of the thinnest

bodies in any smartphone, let alone a medium range one. It is slim at just 7.5 mm thickness and feels light at just 114 grams. Adding to this lightweight feel is the matte finish soft plastic back that gives it a superior feel.

The Iris Pro 30 has a 720p HD screen from Sharp. But it feels better than some of the other phones with the same resolution thanks to the One Glass Solution that negates any gap between the touch panel and screen. The benchmark ratings put this device between the Samsung Galaxy S2 and the Google Nexus 4, which is quite good considering the price point. Multi-tasking is easy, but then you would expect that with a quad core phone. We did not notice any heating up even while playing games. The phone really shone when I played some HD videos from YouTube even as I had the Robocop game paused in the background.

On the flip side, the phone has just 1.5 GB of internal storage free. With so many high-end specifications, the company could have been a bit more liberal with the space on offer and not let the user buy all the space he needed. Thankfully, the are not many tweaks to the Android 4.2 Jelly Bean operating system and that is good. The 8 MP camera on the phone is much better than what you would find in other devices of this price range. The content adaptive backlight control helps the phone reduce power consumption on the screen by 30% and the 2000 mAh battery easily lasts a full working day.

At Rs 15,999, this is a good looking phone that promises decent all round performance. There are no serious sore points with the phone, so if it fits your budget go ahead and buy this.

Intex Aqua Octa

The Intex Aqua Octa is a large phone that reminds one of the Samsung Galaxy Mega. It is just 7 mm thick, but the flip cover that comes in the box is tacky and just makes this device look bulky. This dual-SIM phone has not been built for those who want to keep swapping SIM cards as it is not all that easy to open the panel. The 720p screen is good, but not great. I will definitely prefer a full HD panel in this size.

When you buy a phone that sells itself, thanks to its superior processor, in this case an Octa core processor, you will always be trying to push it to the limits. And that is one front of which this phone will never disappoint you. For instance, a simple Quadrant benchmark test is completed in a faction of the time that it would take on any other phone. The benchmark scores put this near the Samsung Galaxy S4 and very much in the top draw of Android performers. There is no doubt that this device will give you a better gaming experience than its peers. However, there are very few, or hardly any, games that have been written for the Octa core processor. So the best experience is still some time away.

If there is something in the phone that is irritating, then it is the software tweaks. It is full of bloatware and apps that you might not need. The basic interface has also been tweaked and even app icons look different.

The 13 MP camera is decent, in good light. It is not that effective in low light. Plus, we felt that the auto-focus was a bit sluggish and had to be prodded to lock on to a subject. The phone comes with 16-GB internal storage out of which you have around 12 GB free.

At R19,999, this is a good buy for those who want to use the phone for its top-end performance and to exploit the large screen for gaming.

Karbonn Titanium X

Despite its very plasticky rear panel, the Titanium X has a decent built quality. A metallic body would have gone better with the overall image and name of the phone. At 143 grams, the device does not feel heavy though it looks a bit bloated. The volume rocker is on the left and the power buttons on the right and this takes some time to get used to. The micro-SIM slot is on top under a flimsy flap and being a unibody design there is no SD card slot.

The best thing about this phone is undoubtedly its full HD screen. This is among the cheapest phones that comes with one. The one glass technology adds to the value of this screen and prevents it from accumulating fingerprints. If you are planning to use this for watching movies, the speaker might be a bit of a problem.

With 1.5 GHz quad-core processor, the phone can easily multi-task and be sprightly when you are using it for gaming. The device came up with decent benchmark results that put in somewhere between the Google Nexus 4 and the Samsung Galaxy S3. The Android 4.2 Jelly Bean operating system is what you would expect it to be.

While most so called top-end phones come with just 4 GB of

inbuilt memory, half of which is taken by the OS and app, the Titanium X gives about 10 GB of free space. Though the company claims 16 GB internal memory, we could find only about 14 GB on the device of which about 10 GB is free. With no slots for a micro-SD card this might leave a lot of users frustrated. But the camera is the worst part of this phone. The 13 MP camera is anything but good and even the dual flash fails to redeem it in anyway. The 2300mAh battery is decent and can last you a day if you dont use the 1080p screen for games or movies.

At a street price of Rs 16,500, this a decent Android phone with the sort of specs that you can flaunt. The screen is definitely what you are paying the money for.