Best Upcoming Budget Smartphones in India 2016-2017

Last Modified On: 05

The year 2016 holds immense prospects for the growth of the budget smartphone segment with smartphone manufacturers focusing on the budget as well as the mid-range segment. With the multitude of upcoming budget smartphones, the selection of a particular smartphone would depend on the cost-benefit ratio. Features and functionalities would also play a vital role for the average user. There might not be a need for such high end features for the user, but their presence is certainly demanded.

Recently, several Chinese handset manufacturers have entered the Indian market with cost effective upcoming budget smartphones that deliver a power packed performance, often outshining some mid-range mobile phones. They have broken the misconception that “Chinese smartphones” are unreliable and defective.

A budget phone does not indicate that it lacks performance or functionality, rather it is more than capable of delivering good performance. For example, the Android One program, where Google worked along with various manufacturers to come up with devices that ran on stock Android and had amazing features with a $100 price tag.

Check out the top upcoming budget smartphones of 2016-2017.

OnePlus Two Mini

OnePlus Two Mini

The OnePlus Mini 2 is one of the most anticipated upcoming budget smartphones in India in 2016. It will be the second iteration of the small variant of its OnePlus 2. This will probably be the smallest OnePlus smartphone in the market once it launches. On Wednesday, Dec. 30, the OnePlus 2 Mini smartphone was certified by the regulatory body TENAA. Following this, there have been various speculations around the actual launch of the product because there is no OnePlus Mini. This is what is causing an uproar in the market as the likelihood of this device being launched appears slim. However, we think that this phone should be out in the first quarter of 2016 and should serve as a follow up of the OnePlus X smartphone.

The device should come in a metal frame instead of a ceramic one (which exists in the OnePlus X). In terms of battery performance, it should be similar to the OnePlus X as both phones will be similar except for a few specific aspects. It will come pre-loaded with the latest version of the OxygenOS. It will be interesting to see this smartphone capture a good share of the budget segment, especially in light of the gradual implementation of 4G services throughout the country.

Key Specs

  • Processor: 2.0GHz octa-core (Qualcomm Snapdragon 810) chipset
  • Display: 4.99-inch AMOLED (1920x1080p) display
  • Memory: 3 GB RAM
  • Storage: 16 GB, expandable up to 128 GB via SD card.
  • Camera: Primary (13 MP), Secondary (8 MP Selfie camera)
  • OS: Android-based Oxygen OS
  • Dimensions: 6.9 mm thick
  • Weight: 138 g
  • SIM: Micro SIM
  • Price: Between INR 8000 and INR 10,000
  • Expected Availability: Q1, 2016

Project ARA

Project ARA

Ever since word arrived of a new smartphone concept involving modules, the tech industry kept on speculating about the possible designs and performance capabilities of the device. Well, you won’t have to speculate anymore. Project ARA was unveiled during MWC 2015 and it is one of the most promising devices in terms of customizability and versatility. It features a new form of magnetic attachments which offer adequate strength to keep the modules attached.

The upcoming budget smartphone, Project ARA, is practically a powerhouse device with various upgrade options that would not require you to change the phone. If you don’t like a particular aspect, such as camera, then you may upgrade the specific module. This device functions pretty much like a computer where you can upgrade the specific components without changing the computer altogether.

If you don’t like a component or wish to upgrade it without changing the phone altogether, then you can replace the particular module with one having a higher specification. For example, if you don’t like the megapixel value on the existing camera module, then you can simply get a module with higher megapixels and attach it. Project ARA has made a major breakthrough in the smartphone industry where the boundaries between computers and smartphones are gradually blurring. With the new module system, your smartphone can be upgraded component wise.

The phone will run Android OS, but the focus is being maintained on the overall concept and identity of the design, rather than labelling it as another Android / Nexus device. The new design will definitely help in reducing the electronic waste and encourage the reuse of phones without having to buy a new one every time you need to upgrade the device. This upcoming budget smartphone will definitely be a tough competitor, especially due to its pricing which stands at an estimated INR 12,000 at the moment.

Key Specs

  • Expected Price: INR 12000
  • Expected Availability: Late 2016

Nokia C1 Smartphone

Nokia C1 Smartphone

News about the Nokia C1 budget smartphone has been spreading around in the form of rumours and speculations since last year. The Nokia brand has definitely held on to smartphone users despite the company being acquired by Microsoft. We surely do miss the classic Nokia phones which were a rage back in the days when mobile phones had just begun to surface as an important communication device in the electronics market.

The speculated smartphone will run on Android 5.0 Lollipop with Nokia’s Z launcher (similar to the interface found on the N1 tablet). This upcoming budget smartphone will be launched with a brand-licensing agreement extending to an OEM partner (Foxconn) that will manufacture, distribute, and sell it. As per the acquisition agreement between Nokia and Microsoft, Nokia cannot use its brand name for smartphones till Q4, 2016. It is also prohibited from using its brand name for feature phones for 10 years. It would be interesting to see how Nokia would be able to bring out its phones without violating the terms of this agreement.

Key Specs

  • Processor: Intel processor (minimum 1.5 GHz expected)
  • Display: 5.0 inch LTPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, 16M colours, 720 x 1280 pixels (~294 ppi pixel density)
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Storage: 32 GB
  • Camera: Primary (8 MP, 3264 x 2448 pixels, autofocus, LED flash), Secondary (5 MP)
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA, hotspot, Bluetooth v4.0, A2DP, microUSB v2.0, GPS with A-GPS, GLONASS
  • OS: Android OS, v5.0 (Lollipop)
  • Battery: Non-removable Li-Ion battery
  • Colour Variants: Black
  • Expected Price: INR 9,000 – INR 10,000
  • Expected Availability: Q3, 2016

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