Tap into your phone’s potential
Most people looking to buy a new smartphone enquire about the features that matter to them. For a gamer, the processor, memory, storage and screen size are important. For a movie buff, screen size, resolution and aspect ratio get greater priority. For a photography enthusiasts or an avid social media user, the camera sensor on the front and back and the features in the camera app are top of the list. Phone-makers, on their part, generally focus on one or two outstanding features that will help them sell their devices better.
Some features tend to get lost in this cacophony of what users want and what phone-makers are trying to sell. We highlight some of the features, in popular smartphones costing less than Rs15,000, that are less talked about.
Price: Rs12,999 onwards
■ The Honor 7x is powered by Huawei’s Kirin 659 processor, has 4 GB RAM, a 6-inch display, 64 GB internal storage, and runs Android 7.0.
■ The Kirin processor is based on a 16 nanometre (nm) architecture, which makes it power efficient. It is on a par with the 14 nm-based Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 octa-core processor used by many rival phones.
■ The front camera on the Honor 7x supports the Portrait mode, allowing users to blur the background and enhance focus on people in the foreground. Very few budget smartphones have this feature in front cameras.
■ Its quick snap feature allows users to capture an image even while the screen is locked by pressing the volume-down button in quick succession. You will probably never miss a click-worthy moment again.
■ The Honor 7x has a floating dock, which is on the screen all the time and provides quick access to the home, back and recent tasks buttons. It can be used to lock the screen and close background apps with a single tap.
* Prices may vary
XIAOMI MI A1
■ The Mi A1 breathes new life into Google’s Android One program. It runs a Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor, has 4 GB RAM, 64 GB storage, and runs Android 7.1.
■ The Google partnership and the Android One tag not only bring pure Android experience to the table, but also the assurance of all Google updates and security patches for two years.
■ Like the more expensive Google Pixel range of smartphones, Mi A1 users get unlimited storage on Google Photos, for original resolution images. In regular Android smartphones, you’ll get just 15 GB storage for free.
■ The smartphone comes with two 12-megapixel cameras and one of them has a telephoto lens with 2x optical zoom, still a rarity in budget smartphones. This results in better-quality landscape shots.
■ Mi A1 has an IR (InfraRed) blaster at the top side panel, which means one can use the smartphone as a remote to control a TV, air conditioner, set-top box, projector, camera and Android TV streamers, etc.
MOTO G5S PLUS
■ The Moto G5S Plus is driven by Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor with 4 GB RAM, has a 5.5-inch screen, and runs Android 7.1 with clean UI.
■ The G5S Plus belongs to the rare league of affordable phones that support NFC (near-field communication), which makes connecting to accessories such as speakers and transferring files to another smartphone easier.
■ This smartphone comes with an advanced water-repellent nano-coating which provides protection against water splashes, accidental spills and drizzles. At the given price point, that is still a rare feature.
■ There is a dedicated slot for microSD cards, so users can use two SIM cards as well as microSD card slot at the same time, unlike many phones where the secondary SIM slot and memory card slot are the same.
■ The Moto Actions app is like a command centre with exclusive features, such as one-button navigation, twisting your wrist for taking a photograph, and keeping the screen on for the entire duration you are looking at it.
Price: Rs13,990 onwards
■ LG’s affordable smartphones never stood out until the Q6. It has a 5.5-inch display and runs a Qualcomm Snapdragon 435 octa-core processor.
■ Users can unlock the LG Q6 by simply looking at it, making this one of the few affordable smartphones which offers a face-recognition tool. It’s convenient to use but is not as secure as fingerprint sensors.
■ The front camera in the Q6 is only 5 megapixels, but it offers a wide-angle sensor with a field of view of 100 degrees. This means users can accommodate more people and objects in their selfies.
■ LG has used glass on the back but reinforced the side panel with a metal frame made of Grade 7000 aluminium, also used in the back panel of Apple iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. This adds an extra layer of protection along the spine.
■ In the LG Q6, the on-screen navigation panel can contain up to five buttons. So after the three customary navigation keys, a user can add keys for settings, screen-capture and switching between SIM cards.