Xiaomi is credited with making India's budget smartphone market exciting, but taking cues, Realme and Samsung have also jumped in with some good options.
Smartphones have become an absolute necessity today. You need one to connect, obviously, but you also need one to learn and study, and also to be entertained. All of this has become increasingly relevant in the current pandemic scenario. Affordability is a major factor when it comes to smartphone purchases especially because India still has a huge chunk of feature phone users who may be looking to make a switch.
These first time smartphone users may just be looking for the basics, a smartphone that just works, rather than something that’s a lot more fancy and high-end, and expensive. While in the past, buyers had limited options in the entry-level segment, they have some very compelling options today. Availability of options means they can pick one that’s right for their specific needs. Entry-level phones today look good, they have large screens, capable hardware and cameras, and big batteries.
Xiaomi is credited with making India’s budget smartphone market exciting, but taking cues, Realme and Samsung have also jumped in with some good options. Here are five top entry-level smartphones to your job done without breaking your bank.
Realme Narzo 10A
Realme Narzo 10A is a budget phone for “Realme” enthusiasts, there are no two ways about it. The phone has Realme branding literally slapped on to the back, and boy, it’s huge. Everything else about the Realme Narzo 10A is meant for anybody and everybody. There’s a large 6.5-inch display (with Corning Gorilla Glass) with HD+ resolution and water drop-style notch for immersive multimedia consumption, a MediaTek Helio G70 processor that can do basic gaming well, triple rear (12+2+2MP) rear and 5MP front camera, and 5,000mAh battery.
More importantly, the phone runs Realme UI based on Android 10 which is easy to use and also gentle on the eyes. At the same time, Realme’s custom UI adds a few useful features on top of Android that come handy for daily operations.
Realme Narzo 10A price in India starts at Rs 8,999 for 3GB/32GB and goes all the way up to Rs 9,999 for 4GB/64GB. RAM and storage wise also, the Realme Narzo 10A is one of the best options under Rs 10,000.
If you’re not a Realme enthusiast, the Realme C3 would probably make more sense to you. It’s got more or less the same hardware (and same software chops) as the Realme Narzo 10A minus the just-too-out-there Realme branding. There are a few differences though. The Realme C3 has a different design (which looks better than the Realme Narzo 10A in our opinion) without a fingerprint scanner, and it has dual rear cameras. Rest of the hardware is similar to the Realme Narzo 10A.
Realme C3 price in India (curiously) also starts at Rs 8,999 for 3GB/32GB and goes all the way up to Rs 9,999 for 4GB/64GB.
Motorola Moto G8 Power Lite
Come for the low price, stay for the clean and ad-free software, is what we had said about the Moto G8 Power Lite in our review. That’s it. That’s the phone’s headlining feature. The Moto G8 Power Lite runs a pure and unadulterated version of Android, the kind you see only in a limited number of devices from Google itself and the likes of Nokia (and Android One devices from Xiaoimi and others). Apart from a few Moto actions (which are very useful shortcuts to things like quickly turning on flashlight or camera) it’s all stock Android. There are no ads or crappy push notifications here.
In terms of specs, the phone has a 6.5-inch display with HD+ resolution and water drop-style notch, a MediaTek Helio P35 processor, triple rear (16+2+2MP) rear and 8MP front camera, and 5,000mAh battery.
Moto G8 Power Lite price in India is Rs 8,999 for 4GB/64GB.
Xiaomi Redmi 8 (conditions apply)
The reason why we say conditions apply is because the Redmi 9 launch is on the horizon, so it would be great if you could wait for Xiaomi to launch it. In case you can’t, the Redmi 8 still packs a lot (for its price) so you won’t be disappointed. The best part about the phone is how it looks, it looks really premium. It has top-notch hardware too.
The phone has a 6.22-inch display (with Corning Gorilla Glass 5) with HD+ resolution and water drop-style notch, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 439 processor, dual rear (12+2MP) rear and 8MP front camera, and 5,000mAh battery with 18W USB Type-C charging. Software inside the phone is Xiaomi’s MIUI and yes the phone shows ads.
Xiaomi Redmi 8 price in India is Rs 9,799 for 4GB/64GB.
Samsung Galaxy M01 Core
This is the newest kid on the block and also the most affordable smartphone in our list. With the Galaxy M01 Core, Samsung is trying to attract first time smartphone users with the promise of accessibility and affordability. Plus, it will also be looking to tap into the void being generated amid the growing discontent against Chinese brands in the country.
The Galaxy M01 Core is an Android Go phone which means that it runs a lite version of Android with custom Google apps designed from ground up for entry-level hardware with low RAM and internal storage.
In terms of core specs, the Samsung Galaxy M01 Core comes with a 5.3-inch HD+ TFT screen, a MediaTek MT6739 processor with up to 2GB RAM and up to 32GB storage, 8MP rear and 5MP front camera, and a 3,000mAh battery.
Samsung Galaxy M01 Core price in India starts at Rs 5,499 for 1GB/16GB and goes all the way up to Rs 6,499 for 2GB/32GB.