BlackBerry is done making smartphones, will focus solely on software now

BlackBerry is done making smartphones, will focus solely on software now

Ailing Canadian smartphone manufacturer BlackBerry will not manufacture smartphones any more. Instead, the company will focus solely on software, something that it is already very good at. Since the information comes straight from the horse’s mouth, well, that’s all that there is to it. “The company plans to end all internal hardware development and will outsource that function to partners,” company CEO John Chen said in a statement.

There are essentially two takeaways from this piece of information. One is that, moving on there will not be any BlackBerry-made phones in the market. At the same time, this does not mean the end of BlackBerry-branded phones in the market. Essentially, BlackBerry will stop making its own phones and instead outsource the job to third-party manufacturers, something on the lines of what Google used to do with its Nexus-branded phones.

The move will “allow us to reduce capital requirements and enhance return on invested capital,” Chen added.

Also Read: DTEK50 is the Android phone BlackBerry should have launched years ago

Since BlackBerry will not make phones any more, ideally, the Priv should be its last home-built smartphone. The move isn’t very surprising though as BlackBerry has been gradually moving towards its ‘new strategic direction for mobility solutions.’ The recently launched DTEK 50 was, in fact, a re-branded Alcatel Idol 4. The company is expected to launch a successor to it, touted to be called the DTEK 60, which is again being rumoured to be a re-branded Alcatel Idol 4S.

Shifting focus towards software, at large, makes more sense for BlackBerry. If its Q2 fiscal 2017 report data is to be gone by, the company seems to be doing very well on this front. It has reported 89 per cent year over year growth in software and services revenue in Q2 2017.

“Our financial foundation is strong, and our pivot to software is taking hold. In Q2, we more than doubled our software revenue year over year and delivered the highest gross margin in the company’s history,” Chen said.

The same however cannot be said about its hardware — smartphone — business. The Priv, although a pretty good smartphone, has been largely critcicised for its atrocious pricing. Also, many have contended that BlackBerry was a little late to join the flagship Android bandwagon as opposed to its peers. A strategy that involves focusing its efforts on refining software while outsourcing hardware job to companies like Alcatel should work well, because it reflects change and change can be good some times.

Lava’s 4G VoLTE-enabled A97 smartphone launched at Rs 5,949

Lava's 4G VoLTE-enabled A97 smartphone launched at Rs 5,949

Adding to its A series of smartphone, domestic mobile handset maker Lava on Wednesday launched its A97 smartphone with VoLTE-enabled 4G for Rs 5,949.

The device sports 5-inch display, a 5MP rear and front cameras — both with LED flash — to deliver high-quality selfies even in low-light conditions.
The smartphone is packed with camera features such as Face Beauty, GIF mode to capture video images and audio picture to save images with an audio note.

Lava A97 is equipped with 1.3 GHz Quad Core processor and supported by 1GB RAM. The smartphone comes with 8GB ROM which is expandable up to 32GB.

Also Read: Lava launches Ivory S tablet with voice-calling feature and 4G at Rs 8,799

The device, which runs on Android 6.0 Marshmallow operating system, supports 12 Indian languages. The smartphone will be available across all retail stores and multi-brand outlets.

The A97 is the successor to company’s recently launched  A82 smartphone launched at Rs 5,299 and supports 3G. It sports a 5-inch display and will be available at all retail stores and multi-brand outlets across the country. The device is powered with 1.2 GHz Quad Core Processor along with 1GB RAM for multi-tasking. The smartphone has 8GB onboard memory which can be expanded up to 32 GB. The smartphone offers a dual SIM support. It has 2,000 mAh Li-ion battery and runs on Android 5.1 Lollipop.

Earlier this month, company had also launched its X28 smartphone at Rs 7,349 which is a 4G VoLTE-enabled device running on Android 6.0 Marshmallow operating system. The smartphone is powered by 1.3GHz quad-core processor coupled with 1GB of RAM and has 8GB internal memory.The dual-SIM device sports 8MP rear camera and a 5MP selfie camera — both with LED Flash — and houses 2,600mAh battery. The camera software incorporates features such as slow motion video, time lapse video as well as face beauty.


Nougat coming to OnePlus 3 soon, OnePlus X to get Marshmallow next week

Nougat coming to OnePlus 3 soon, OnePlus X to get Marshmallow next week

ePlus, in a Reddit AMA yesterday, has revealed that it’s “actively working” on the Oxygen update based on Android 7.0 Nougat for the OnePlus 3. Carl Pei, the co-founder of OnePlus, also confirmed that Android Marshmallow update will roll out to the OnePlus X starting next week.

Earlier OnePlus decided to merge its two OS teams, Oxygen and Hydrogen into a unified platform based on Android. The OxygenOS 3.5.2 community build is the latest product of the merger. The company had said earlier, “The main benefit of combining our team resources is to speed up software updates. We know we have some room to continue improving there, and this is an important step in the right direction.”

Replying to a user’s question about releasing Android Nougat update for Oneplus 3, Brian, the head of ROM product, said, “We cannot share a timeline right now, but we are already actively working on it.”

“As for updates, if there’s any company feeling the pressure of needing to update fast, it’s OnePlus. We have the most vocal and tech savvy user base, so this point is not lost on us. I believe that now, with our new software team structure, we’ll be able to move a lot faster than before,” said Pei.

The company also said that the Oxygen built based on Android Nougat will “stay close to stock Android experience. But we will have more useful features than stock”.

In another comment, Carl Pei confirmed that the company will release Android Marshmallow update for the OnePlus X smartphone.

While Pei maintained his earlier view on building a OnePlus ecosystem, he also denied that the company is working on a smartwatch.

OnePlus so far hasn’t specified a name for the Hydrogen/Oxygen merged OS, the prospects of having a single unified ROM for the entire world does seem enticing, especially since it promises quick updates in future. But it comes at a price. Oxygen OS will not be the same again, post the merger. The merger may end up killing Oxygen OS, even though the company wouldn’t accept it on a public platform.


Alert! 59 per cent Indian online daters are at security risk

Alert! 59 per cent Indian online daters face security issues

With the growing trend of online dating services and apps, three in five (59 per cent) Indian online daters are now facing security issues as these platforms have become hotbeds for cybercriminals, a new study revealed on Wednesday.

“In India, about 38 per cent of consumers admitted to have used online dating apps at some point in their lives. In fact, currently, eight per cent of women and 13 per cent of men in India have dating apps on their mobile devices,” said the results of a study by global security software firm Norton by Symantec.

Also Read: Tinder app downloads increase 400 per cent, women more active than men

Conducted among 1,005 Indian smartphone and tablet users aged 16 years and above, the “Norton Mobile Survey” said that of those who admitted to have used online dating, nearly 64 per cent women had experienced security problems as opposed to 57 per cent of men.

“While there are many legitimate daters on these apps, considering the anonymity, online daters can run the risk of becoming a victim of stalking, harassment, catfishing, identity theft, and even phishing scams,” said Ritesh Chopra, Country Manager, India, Norton by Symantec.

The most concerning security issues reported include virus/malware (23 per cent), nuisance advertisements (13 per cent), cyberstalking (9 per cent), being tricked into using premium services (9 per cent), identity theft (6 per cent) and revenge porn (4 per cent).

The report said Delhi has the most users of online dating platforms.

“Online dating apps were most likely to have been used at least once by people in Delhi (51 per cent), followed by Chennai (39 per cent), Kolkata (36 per cent), Mumbai (35 per cent) and Ahmedabad (35 per cent),” the results showed.

Ironically, while consumers in Chennai (20 per cent) and Hyderabad (21 per cent) find online dating low risk, they have reported experiencing most security problems — 68 per cent and 69 per cent respectively.

“The solution is not to panic, nor is it to stop using the apps. Online dating on mobile devices isn’t going away but there are some simple, best practices Indians can adopt to keep themselves, their devices and mobile apps secure,” Chopra added.


Facebook At Work to be launched soon

Facebook At Work to be launched soon

Facebook is set to launch its enterprise communication and collaboration network “Facebook At Work” globally in a few weeks on a per seat pricing model for businesses to make it easier for employees to exchange ideas easily, a media report said on Wednesday.

“Facebook believes it can keep individual employees engaged with the product, so it is betting on a pricing plan that charges companies per monthly active user instead of charging a flat rate per company,” Tech Crunch quoted “Facebook At Work” director Julien Codorniou as saying.

“Facebook At Work” is a platform where subscribers can use the product’s special Work Feed of posts from colleagues to exchange ideas and assume tasks.

According to the report, Facebook will launch integrations or partnerships with other Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) tool providers making it lucrative for Facebook to get every single member of a company signed up.

Also Read: Alert! Do not share your sensitive details on FB Messenger Chatbots

“Facebook At Work” will also offer Groups as well as Messenger, which includes audio and video calling options that could compete with Slack and Skype. Plus it provides the social network’s profiles, Events and Live video features, the report noted.

As far as pricing is concerned, the exact figures for “Facebook At Work” have not been announced but the 400-plus beta testers, who have been testing the product for a while will get a few additional months of comped subscriptions to test it out.

The product has been in the making since 2014 and the first tests were officially unveiled in 2015.

Since then, Facebook has been busy signing up huge international customers like the 100,000-employee Royal Bank Of Scotland, the report added.


Hiking How-To: Dress for the Trails

Get ready for adventure! Travel off the beaten path in trailblazing style.

Grippy rubber outsoles can handle rugged terrain. Adidas Terrex Swift R GTX, $160;

A side zipper pocket safely stows your phone. Northway Henley, $40;

Stay hydrated: Insulation keeps beverages cold for 24 hours, hot for 12. Vacuum-insulated bottle, $30;

Fresh air can spark creativity—be ready with these waterproof pages. Expedition Edition, $10 for three;

Fuel your hike with protein, fiber and unique flavors like Hickory Smoked and Thai Sweet Chili. Strong & Kind, $1.80 each; at grocers nationwide

Capture a nature scene with this camera’s super wide-angle option. Hero3+ Black Edition, $400;

Essential oils repel pests, while botanical butters hydrate skin. Bug Bar, $20;

Water-resistant canvas carries your essentials; pockets help you organize. Crevasse, $99;

Extra cushioning feels great; flat seams prevent blisters. Hike+ Lite Mini, $17;

Synthetic fleece keeps you warm while fending off light rain and snow. Los Gatos Vest, $99;

A wireless speaker that’s dust-and water-resistant is ideal for celebrating at the summit. Urchin, $150;

A GPS watch ensures you’re on the right track. Fenix2, $400;

Enjoy scenic views in lightweight yet durable frames. Ray-Ban Wayfarer Liteforce, $195; at Sunglass Hut stores


Top phones to buy this August

Best phones

ly and early August have been rather busy months for phone companies in India. There are a number of new launches and there has been a lot of price specific movement. Some phones, such as the Xiaomi Mi 4, are now available at a very hefty discount. This all necessitates that we have a new buying guides for you. And that is exactly what we have here.

The phones in this buying guide may not appeal to some and it is not sure that what we have recommended will work for all. But these are the phones that we have used, in one case even if only briefly, and feel that they are on the top of their game. These are also the phone that I will buy if I am spending my own money. That is the biggest recommendation I can give to a phone as a reviewer.

Enough of talk, so what are these phones? Here you go.

Cheapest phone we recommend

Redmi 3S

This has to be the Xiaomi Redmi 3S. Last year people buying an entry-level phone had lots of choice. This year not so many, at least so far. But Redmi 3S, which was launched last month, is different. With a price of Rs 6,999 it is a total value for money. Although we haven’t reviewed the Redmi 3S, we have put the Prime version of the phone through its paces. And both phones are same, except two things: The Prime has more RAM and a fingerprint scanner. But in the grand scheme of things, both don’t matter all that much. the performance, battery life, screen, design and the camera are all same. Here is what we say about the Redmi 3S Prime (and the same applies on the Redmi 3S):

The Redmi 3S Prime is here, and it’s every bit as awesome as the phone that it replaces. It looks good, feels good, has a neat display, dependable performance, good-enough cameras and killer battery life. More importantly, it’s super cheap.

Read full review of the Xiaomi Redmi 3S Prime.

Best phone under Rs 10,000

This is another Xiaomi. But this time the Redmi Note 3, which can be considered the big brother of the Redmi 3S. The camera is one part that could have been better for the Note 3, but frankly that is fairly a minor niggle in a phone that is almost perfect for its price of Rs 9,999. Although, if you can I also suggest that you pay a little bit more — Rs 2,000 — and snag the 3GB RAM plus 32GB storage version.

Here is what we say about the Redmi Note 3 in our review: Simply put; you can’t go wrong with the Redmi Note 3. It is blazing fast in almost a boring way and its battery life is superlative. While doing so, it doesn’t have a glaring weakness in any other area. There’s a word for such a performer – an ‘all-rounder’ it is.

Read full review of the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3.

Best phone under Rs 15,000

This has to be the Moto G4 Plus, and the 32GB version that sells for Rs 14,999. And there are two reasons for it, even if the design is not perfect — and frankly a bit lame in some aspects: These two reasons are camera and the clean Android experience. The 16-megapixel camera in the Moto G4 Plus is a gem at its price. The clean Android experience — along with the promise of fast Android Nougat update when it comes in the coming weeks — too is something that is hard to pass. Here is what we said about the phone in our review:

Moto G4 Plus

Like the earlier Moto G phones, the G4 Plus is an all-rounder. It surely has the best camera and the best screen we have seen in a Moto G so far. Its fingerprint scanner works very well and it offers fantastic performance. The software, the pure Android software, is as classy and fuss-free as it has always been.

Read the full review of the Moto G4 Plus.

Best phone under Rs 20,000

None. We suggest either the Moto G4 Plus or the our next choice, which is the LG Nexus 5X (16GB).

Best phone under Rs 25,000

As noted earlier, this has to be the LG Nexus 5X (32GB version). This phone launched at a much higher price but has gradually settled at a market price that makes a good value for money. There are a number of reasons to pick the Nexus 5X over its competitors but chief among them are its camera and the software, which directly comes from Google. The camera is among the best ever put in a phone and the clean Android experience will appeal to those who don’t like too many unwanted apps on their phone and love timely updates.

Nexus 5X

Here is what we said about the Nexus 5X in our review:

Make no mistake, even though Nexus is a brand geared towards enthusiasts, the Nexus 5X is the return of the people’s champion – a phone that most will appreciate. A phone with superb performance, clever software, great camera and solid battery life.

Read the full review of the Nexus 5X.

Best phone under Rs 30,000

Although, our previous pick will work great for all you nice folk, it lacks some speed, style and chutzpah that OnePlus 3 shows. If you want to get a true flagship phone but at a price of less than Rs 30,000, the OnePlus 3 is your phone. It also offers 64GB internal storage (great) and 6GB RAM (overkill). But the two best features of this phone are its speed and design. Here is what we said about it in our full review:

There’s nothing visibly wrong with the phone, unless you go out looking for something under a microscope. Even then, you’ll find just nit-picks… The OnePlus 3 is an excellent smartphone, nay, it’s the best under Rs 30,000 smartphone that you can buy right now.

Oh, by the way, OnePlus 3 is one of the rare devices that have got 8.5 points in the IndiaToday.In Rare. Believe us, it is indeed very rare.  Read the full review of the OnePlus 3.

Best phone under Rs 40,000

There are some really good phones available under Rs 40,000. The Galaxy S6, the Nexus 6P, Moto X Force are some of them. But my choice in this price range would be the iPhone 6. Although it is little old, this is a very fast phone and the Apple tends to support its older phones fairly well so you can rest assured that the iPhone 6 will continue to get support for around 2 more years. Also, the upcoming iOS 10 will make it a better phone, by bridging some of the feature gap that the current iPhone software has compared to the Android Marshmallow.

Here is what we said about the iPhone 6 in our review: If money is no bar, then the iPhone 6 is the phone to buy. Plain and simple… incredible screen, fantastic camera, good battery life, great performance, well-rounded operating system and overall reliability make it the best phone you can buy currently.

The only reason not to get the iPhone 6 is its 16GB internal storage. If that is a concern, we recommend you stick to the OnePlus 3.

Read full review of the iPhone 6.

Best phone under Rs 50,000

The choice is between the iPhone 6S and the Galaxy S7 and both are fine phones. But the S7 just offers all that much more for the price of around Rs 47,000. It’s the feature set that wins it for the Galaxy S7. It has a waterproof body. It has a more attractive design. It has a better camera in the low light. It has more storage at 32GB. All of this is enough for us to recommend the Galaxy S7 above the iPhone 6S. Here is what we said about the S7 in our review:

Galaxy S7

Overall, the S7 and the S7 Edge are very impressive phones and if you are spending around Rs 50,000 on your phone, you can safely opt for them. Although both will satisfy you, we feel the S7 is not only a cheaper phone but also slightly better.

Read the full review of the Galaxy S7 Edge.

Best phablet

It’s not yet on sale, but when it reaches shops in the next two weeks, it’s a safe buy. The Galaxy Note 7 is the best Note Samsung has made and that automatically also makes it a great phablet. It is powerful and full of unique features, including a fantastic stylus, that others don’t have.

Note 7

Here is what we say about the Note 7 in our quick review:

A look at the Note 7 and you realise it is an evolution and no revolution. The small but significant improvements are everywhere.
At the same time, it is also easy to see that the Note 7 is a very expensive phablet at a price of Rs 59,990. If you want something cheaper, we suggest the Note 5 — it is still excellent — around Rs 42,000 or the Huawei Nexus 6P, which sells for around Rs 35,000.

Read the full quick review of the Galaxy Note 7.

Phone with the best camera

This has to be the Samsung Galaxy S7, particularly for its low-light performance, although on the cheap the Nexus 5X is not shabby at all.

Phone with the best battery life.

The best way to get better battery life nowadays is by pairing good enough hardware with a big battery and the Xiaomi Redmi 3S does exactly does that. The phone has a very big 4100 mAh battery, which can last up to 2 days with fairly regular use. Now that is utterly fantastic. Among the high-end phones, the Note 5 has fantastic battery life, if you are looking for something like that.


Chat smart! 12 tips that will make you WhatsApp expert

Chat smart! 10 tips that will make you WhatsApp expert

atsApp has become a lifeline for almost smartphone user since its launch in year 2009. It is the most popular chat app in the world and has over 1 billion monthly active users. But while a lot of people use WhatsApp, not everyone is keeping track of all the new features the app has got in the last several months.

Also Read: WhatsApp on Windows: How to use it

In fact, since the beginning of this year the number of features coming to WhatsApp has grown at a rapid pace. Nowadays, almost every two weeks there is a new WhatsApp feature. So what does that mean for you, the WhatsApp user? You are probably not using WhatsApp in a very smart way. But worry not, we tell you some tips that will help you get most out of WhatsApp. To start with, 10 tips.

  1. Tag people in group chats: Refer to someone in a group chat with a mention by typing the “@” symbol and selecting the person’s name from the pop-up list. When you mention someone in a message, a notification will be sent to that person.
  2. For iOS users: WhatsApp has recently rolled out several updates for its iOS users like using Siri to send a message or make call. When receiving a phone call, you can answer it quickly with the new full calling screen. To answer, tap to Accept or drag the slider. A new widget has also been added to the app that lets you jump to a recent chat or see which chats have unread message. Also in your iPhone Contacts app, you will have the option to make a call or send a message directly with WhatsApp. iPhone users can also forward a message or content to multiple chats at once.
  3. Tap to speak: Don’t want to type those lengthy and boring messages? That’s fine. WhatsApp has a feature to help you deal with this. Simply, press the ‘mic’ button in your keypad and now dictate your long messages to the app.
  4. Find out who has read your message in a group chat: Not everyone reads a message at the same time in a group chat. And those double blue ticks, they appear only when the message has been read by all in the group. So now you can know who has read your messages and who hasn’t. Just tap and hold on the message, and then tap the Info option. You will see the message details like the exact time it was delivered and read.
  5. Reply to a specific message: Do you have a friend who quick fires messages? Like one question and then before you can answer that, another question. To make it less confusing, you can answer the specific messages. Press on the message you want to answer, select the ‘reply’ button, and then type and send your response. It will appear with the original message so that the context is not lost.
  6. Create shortcuts for important contracts: You can create shortcuts for your important contact on your phone’s home screen. All you have to do is go the contact’s chat window > Settings > More > Add Shortcut. You can now see the shortcut on your phone’s home screen.
  7. Stylise your messages: You can add some style — or highlights — to your messages using bold, italics, and strike-thrus. For e.g. *Hi * for bold, _Hi _ for italics and ~Hi ~ for strike-thrus.
  8. Mute the noisy group notifications: Continuous messages in a group can be a annoying. Here’s what you need to do to mute those irritating notifications. Tap on a group name > tap on Mute and then select how long you want to mute the group
  9. Broadcast live feature: With festivals coming you may want to send a message to several friends at once. You can do this using this feature. Go to the Chats screen, tap on the menu button and then ‘New broadcast’ to choose the contacts you want to send the message. So party on Friday? Invite all your friends with single message.
  10. Send a map of your location or nearby places to let someone know where you are or suggest a meeting place: To do this, tap on the share icon and then send your location or search for a place. Your GPS should be turned on before you send the location.
  11. Personalise your WhatsApp: You can change the wallpaper of your WhatsApp. You will find this option under settings.
  12. Search your WhatsApp chat history: You can search for a precise message in your chat thread. Go the contact’s screen where you want to find the message. Tap the option button > Search > Type the text you are looking for. The app will fetch in the search term along with the conversation it came in.


Google goes bullish on India, announces country-specific products

Google goes bullish on India, announces country-specific products

its bid to bring more and more people online in India, tech giant Google on Tuesday unveiled a slew of products like Google Station and YouTube Go to make it easier for the billion-plus population get connected to the internet faster and better.

At the second “Google for India” event in New Delhi which coincided with the search giant’s 18th birthday, the company announced a public Wi-Fi platform called Google Station that will connect public places like malls, railway stations, bus stops and hangouts like cafes and universities, the company said.

It also announced that its Google Assistant will be available in Hindi by the end of the year via newly-launched mobile messaging app Allo.

Also Read: YouTube Go is made for India, designed to work on slow Internet

The company announced launches in three categories — Access, Platform and Products — covering services like Google Play, Chrome, YouTube Go, Google Station, Google Duo and Allo.

“Every second, three Indians come online and we have to ensure that the experience is wonderful and relevant for them. But the next billion is very different from the first billion and by building products for these users were are preparing for how the world will use tech in the coming years,” Ceasar Sengupta, Vice President of Product Management at Google, told reporters here.

According to John Giannardrea, Senior Vice President (Search) the company has been making progress in localising Google Search with the introduction of machine learning.

“Google is now capable of translating 100 languages and 12 of these are from India,” he added.

Amit Fulay, Product Lead for communication apps Google Duo and Google Allo, said India and the US have most number of Duo users and Allo has seen a tremendous response in India.

Google Allo is a new smart messaging app that helps users make plans, find information as well as express with ease, all within the chat.

Also Read: Google Allo will support Hindi by the end of 2016

Packed with innovative features including smart reply, options for sharing photos, emojis and stickers, Google Allo makes it easier for users to respond quickly and keep the conversation moving, even when one is on the go.

Fulay said Google Assistant, which is currently available only in English in India, would be available in Hindi later this year.

Announcing new features in Chrome, Rahul Roy Chowdhury, VP (Chrome), said that new product now saves data, have offline capabilities and has more accurate content discovery.

Chrome can now work on 2G data connection. It has a new space for downloaded content including web pages and videos. Chrome now offers users more personalised suggestions in new tab.

Johanna Wright, Vice President (Product Management) at YouTube, announced YouTube Go which has an easy user interface, works on low connectivity, cuts cost in data usage and offers personalised suggestions to the users.


Top phones to buy this September

Top phones to buy this September

ptember, like always, marks the arrival of Apple’s new batch of iPhones. The Cupertino major, as expected, launched the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus earlier this month, along side the new Apple Watch Series 2. The iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus will be available for buying, in India, starting from October 7. Price starts — in typical Apple fashion — at Rs 60,000 for the base 32GB version of the iPhone 7 and goes all the way up to Rs 92,000 for the top-end 256GB version of the iPhone 7 Plus. We will have more to say about the new iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus, soon.

Besides the new iPhones, September, on the whole, has been quite a silent month as far as smartphone launches in India is concerned. There was of course, the IFA 2016 event in Berlin, where companies showed off some really cool smartphones, but none are coming to India, at least for now.

There have not been many big ticket launches here during this period which means, our buying guide for you for the month of September would largely dwell upon the phones, that have already created a buzz in the market, and are only growing stronger with time. There are a number of launches scheduled for the days ahead, and we will update the list once something worthwhile comes along.

Also Read: No charger, no problem: 5 top phones with big batteries in India

For now, here are the top phones that you can consider buying, this September:

Cheapest phone(s) we recommend

You know the thing about the Xiaomi Redmi 3S Prime or even the Redmi 3S, for that matter? It does not feel cheap, from any angle, which will be very surprising if you’re a first time buyer who hasn’t heard about the brand before. While the original, or more specifically, the standard Redmi 3S costs Rs 6,999 the Redmi 3S Prime which is a little heftier in terms of specs and features is available for Rs 8,999 all in typical Xiaomi fashion. The difference is a good Rs 2,000 and I uderstand that’s a huge thing, if someone is looking to buy a phone on a tight budget.

The Redmi 3S and Redmi 3S Prime essentially differ in RAM and internal storage. While the standard Redmi 3S comes with 2GB RAM and 16GB base storage, the Redmi 3S Prime comes with 3GB RAM and 32GB internal memory. Additionally, the Redmi 3S Prime also comes with a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner. Ideally, you should pick the Redmi 3S Prime. Should you be on a very tight budget though, the Redmi 3S wouldn’t disappoint you. Yes, it has lesser RAM, but 2 gigs of RAM on Rs 6,999 phone isn’t a bad deal, at all. Had the Redmi 3S been carrying a different (less potent) processor, things would be different. But since it is rocking the same processor, you’re not missing out on much. As far as internal storage is concerned, 16GB internal memory is just fine and there is of course expandable storage should you need more. The last bit, the fingerprint scanner is more a novelty than a necessity in this price bracket. If you’re getting it, it’s a plus, if not, well, you will live.

Only problem is, it’s very difficult to buy. Although, the company isn’t selling the phone via flash sales, the company sells them on pre-announced dates. Even on those days, the Redmi 3S Prime (and Redmi 3S) going out of stock in seconds is a common sight which can be frustrating for buyers.

In that case, Lenovo’s Moto G4 Play and Coolpad’s Note 3 Lite are also well worth a look.

Best phone under Rs 10,000

This slot, is again, occupied by another Xiaomi phone. This is the Redmi Note 3 . It’s really nice, but, only if you’re looking for a bigger (and brighter) screen. The Redmi 3S Prime is everything that the Redmi Note 3 is in terms of all-round performance — which means it is crazy good — without the overheating bit. The Redmi Note 3 is a little faster, since it’s carrying a more potent Snapdragon 650 processor, but it has a tendency to run warm when pushed to the edge. The Redmi 3S Prime doesn’t. Also, our tests have shown that the Redmi 3S Prime offers a better camera and better battery life in comparison. I suggest you go for the Redmi Note 3 only if you’re looking to buy a phablet. For everything else, the Redmi 3S Prime is more than sufficient. Also, it costs less.

Again, if you’re going to buy the Redmi Note 3, the experience can be a bit frustrating. Just like the Redmi 3S, the Redmi Note 3 is difficult to buy.

Best phone(s) under Rs 15,000

There’s not exactly a best phone per se in this price range. There are a couple of good options that you can consider buying. Both of them come from Lenovo. These are the Moto G4 Plus and the Vibe K5 Note .

The 3GB RAM and 32GB memory version of the Moto G4 Plus is available for Rs 14,999. Why should you buy it? Well, buy it for the camera and the stock Android experience. If however, looks and build quality is your top priority, the Lenovo Vibe K5 Plus should appeal to you. The Vibe K5 Note is without a doubt the best looking K-series phone that Lenovo has built in forever. The Vibe K5 Note has been priced at Rs 11,999 for the 3GB RAM and Rs 13,499 for the 4GB RAM version.

There is also a third option, that not many would prefer, but I am just puting it on here so you know, it’s something to look out for as well. It’s called the Xiaomi Mi Max. The Mi Max is essentially a Redmi Note 3 clone — in every sense of the word — except that it has been made to order for people — if any — who like large-sized phablets. It’s a 6.44-inch giant but does not feel all that big when you start to use it. The Mi Max is well-built, has a good display, is a slick and very capable performer, has excellent audio and a fantastic battery life. The Mi Max with Qualcomm Snapdragon 650 and 3GB RAM is priced at Rs 14,999 in India.

Best phone(s) under Rs 25,000

The Asus ZenFone 3 (ZE520KL) with 5.2-inch display, 3GB RAM, 32GB memory and 2,650mAh battery will cost you Rs 21,899. And it’s a fantastic phone for the price. The ZenFone 3 is the best-looking smartphone at its price point right now. Even more so, if you’re into shiny smartphones. It is equally well-built as well. The display is nice and bright, the all-round performance is pretty good, the cameras on-board are very good and the battery life is simply fantastic. It’s premium to the core, the ZenFone 3.

If however, you are looking for a slightly better camera and stock Android, the Google Nexus 5X 16GB version at Rs 24,990 should appeal to you. But take note, it is all plastic and looks all the more generic. You will get good performance, but you will also have to compromise on looks.

Best phone under Rs 30,000

The OnePlus 3 6GB RAM and 64GB memory variant has been priced at Rs 27,999 in India. The OnePlus 3 is one of those rare case studies where it’s hard to find a catch, simply because there isn’t any. It is an excellent smartphone, nay, it’s the best under Rs 30,000 smartphone that you can buy right now. Period!

Best phone(s) under Rs 40,000

Okay, this is a hard one. There are plenty of good options in this price range, making the life of your humble reviewer so very miserable. It’s very difficult to narrow it down, but then I will have to, because that’s basically the point of a buying guide, right? Let’s narrow it down to two, although, I would like to stress again, there are several other phones that are worth considering as well. So chose wisely.

The Google Nexus 6P 64GB at Rs 37,999 and the Apple iPhone 6 Plus 16GB at Rs 39,995 are really good buys at under Rs 40,000. The tewo phones offer nothing short of the best, in their respective platforms: Android and iOS. While the Nexus 6P is as close as it gets to stock Android, straight from Google, the iPhone 6 Plus gets its real deal straight from house Apple. Both the phones are upgradable to the latest software. While the Nexus 6P can be updated to Android 7.0 Nougat the iPhone 6 Plus can be updated to the latest iOS 10.

Both the phones offer top-notch premium build, good screens, slick performance and outstanding cameras. You will really have to figure out whether you’re an Android person or an iOS person, but once you’ve done that and taken youre pick, it’s smooth sailing thereafter.

Best phone under Rs 50,000

The best phone under Rs 50,000 has to be the Samsung Galaxy S7 . It’s so good, it hits the iPhone 6S straight out of the ball park in almost every sense of the word. There are two areas where the iPhone 6S has an edge though: the screen and software. For everything else, there is the Samsung Galaxy S7. It’s well-built, is easy to use and operate, has a fantastic screen, good all-round performance, outstanding cameras, and good battery life.