Budget smartphones are one of the gateways to a connected world. They often allow first-time smartphone users access to a world of applications (apps) that serve multiple use cases.
A large proportion of Indians continue to use 2G cell phones. Nokia estimates that around 350 million Indians use features simply because they don’t have the means to buy a more modern smartphone. A 2G feature phone could cost anywhere from £1,000 to £1,500. But a budget smartphone can easily cost another £5,000-6,000.
To appeal to first-time buyers migrating from 2G technology, companies are developing products that could offer them the most important features of a smartphone. Recently, Poco launched the C55 and C50, Motorola launched the Motoe13, and Lava launched the Yuva 2 Pro. Apart from these, there are other entry-level smartphones on the market.
Which device should you buy and how is it different from each other? Here’s a guide to approaching budget smartphones based on the features they offer.
Every budget/entry-level smartphone has a 6.5-inch HD+ display. Here you get a refresh rate of 60Hz with a resolution of 1600 x 720 and an aspect ratio of 20:09. This is the default size for users switching from 1.8-inch to 2.4-inch screen size, which is enough to enjoy content. Visibility might not be as vivid on these phones under direct light, due to fewer pixels. Overall though, it serves the purpose of being interactive and immersive.
That wouldn’t be a major area of focus as entry-level phones are meant for basic computing, not AI purposes. Most budget phones feature either a MediaTek or Unisoc processor, coupled with a starting RAM of 2GB. Best of all, these phones always come with a dedicated microSD card slot for storage expansion as users in this segment prefer to store music, pictures, videos, etc. locally on their devices.
Phone manufacturers typically use two types of operating systems in budget smartphones. They either choose the Go edition of Android in the phones with up to 2GB RAM as it becomes lighter and stores data for the end users. If not, the OEMs opt for the regular version of the Android OS and dress it up with their own skin to customize the user experience. Pure Android is rarely used in entry-level devices that do not have too many pre-installed apps and bloatware.
For starters, entry-level/budget companies use a combination of a 13 MP rear camera and a 5 MP selfie lens. You can’t expect too much, but with these two lenses we get clear, identifiable images. These phones come with some preinstalled software tuning and filters that enhance the picture quality to your liking.
A non-removable 5,000mAh battery is the norm for any smartphone in this category, since owners are the power users, listening to songs and browsing content on the go. Usually, the box comes with a 10W wired charger that syncs with the battery power. They need time to charge, but that’s natural at this price point.
In the entry-level/budget segment, smartphones come with features like a 3.5mm audio jack, which is necessary for this group as they typically use wired headphones to listen to music or chat. We already mentioned the expandable card slot. FM radio is another requirement in this demand group that is no longer common in these devices.
There are also some IP52 certified smartphones in this category. This makes them splashproof to a certain extent.
As entry costs have increased, so have entry-level/budget phones. The phones, which sold for around £4,999, are now priced at over £6,999. The transition from a feature phone to a smart ecosystem comes with a cost.
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