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The sweet spot of the Indian smart phone business is around Rs 10,000

Indians overwhelmingly go for  phones  for around Rs 10,000 -- where they see maximum value for money. We couldn't agree more -- and these  latest launches show why

By Anand Parthasarathy
August 14 2018: How idiom changes with the times! Ten years ago,  'sweet spot' meant only one thing:  the spot on a bat or racket that   made best contact with the ball. Today,  most online dictionaries provide the most popular new meaning: optimal balance of cost and benefit.  This comes as no surprise to Indians: the concept of paisa vasool is embedded in our  psyche.  Leading  tech analysts  like IDC and Counterpoint  have separately concluded that the sweet spot or Average Selling Price  of a mobile phone for Indians coincide at around   a selling price of  $ 100 -$ 140 ( Rs 7000 - 10,000). And Indians get their value cheaper than anyone else. The ASP is half of what the Chinese are prepared to pay and a third of the price in the US.
We tried out 5  phones in this popular category and our conclusion is: Indians   can sniff a good deal at a hundred paces.  The  models we review here  spends  almost zilch on  big advertising. Yet they  are snapped up  -- especially by  canny buyers in smaller towns. Here's why:
Micromax Canvas 2 Plus: Return of the Native
'Make in India' has been a Micromax mantra  every since they entered the handphone business.  And  in mid 2018, they updated one of their most  popular models with the Canvas 2 Plus. The 5.7 inch  HD screen adapts to the new 18: 9 ratio  and unlocks  either with face or finger print.  The 3 GB memory and 32 GB  storage is more than adequate and the  4000 mAh battery is virtually a standard in this price band.
The 13 MP rear camera comes with a useful watermark feature : you can add custom logos and signatures to your picture. The 8 MP selfie camera is up to its task.  The asking price of Rs 8999 is  very reasonable but I would have liked to see Android  8 instead of Nougat in a 2018 phone.
Infinix Smart 2: Twin clickers bring up the rear
Another brand that proudly proclaims "Made in India' on the box,  even with the parent company in  Hong Kong,  Infinix Smart 2, is a mite smaller than others in this category, with a 54.45 inch screen.  --but if like me you  like an easily pocketable device, that doesn't other stint on specs, you won't mind.
Both front ( 8 MP) and rear ( 13 MP) cameras  come with dual LED flash with the selfie clicker enhanced by  some quick-select beauty enhancing tools. The 3 GB RAM with 32 GB storage version costs Rs  6,999, while you can save  Rs 1000 if you are OK with  2 GB + 16 GB . The latest Android 8.1  comes with the ability to put 4 G VoLTE SIMs in both slots.  The  128 GB micro SD  goes in a separate slot.  The face unlock rounds up the  very decent  specs of this compact performer.
If size matters to you,  Infinix also offers the Hot 6 Pro for  Rs 7,999, with a 54.9 inch HD screen. At that price it is one of very few phones with a dual ( 13 MP + 2 MP  rear camera) . And the 3G memory and 32 GB  storage combo  makes it a compelling alternative.
Comio X1: AI, AI Sir!
I don't want to overstate what Artificial Intelligence has done for the Comio X1. But  it is  arguably  among the most affordable  devices in the market today where you get a taste of how AI can enhance what your cameras ( 8 MP front and 13 MP rear)  and the face unlock feature can do:  It practically forces you to smile for that selfie  and inserts some funny expressions of  its own with a Face Cute tool.  Forget Space Age. This is Face Age photography where  the  camera second guesses age and gender.
The 5.5 inch HD full view screen comes with  2GB RAM and 16 GB storage  and a battery that is a mite smaller than others in this price range -- 3050 mAh. I am guessing AI also optimises its usage.  Like many made-for- India phones today, the   Android 8.1  - 4G VoLTE ( and ViLTE, that is Video over LTE)- dual SIM-ready X1 can be set up in any of 22 languages.  Good value at Rs 7,499.
Tecno Camon i TWIN: The best of Bokeh
I have included the Camon iTwin in this   mid priced phone fiesta, though by strict definition the asking price of Rs  11,499, bursts the Rs 10,00 barrier.   I think its  combo of specifications will  push buyers into forking   just a bit more.  I am no simpering Elizabeth Barrett Browning, but there -- I said it: How do I love thee, let me count the  ways:
I love thee for thy 6 inch HD screen -- the largest  of  phones reviewed today. I love thee for thy hefty 3 GB  memory - 32 GB ROM combo and for  thy twin rear cameras for 13 MP and 2 MP, not to speak of a huge 13 MP selfie lens and the best bokeh effects.  I scan my finger to open thee and revel in the 4000 mAh battery, thy sweet Orio OS and the 4G VoLTE SIM.  And I shall love thee till the next Camon comes along.




    


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