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With powerful hardware slipping into sub-10K phones, the budget segment has been blown wide open. No longer are budget phones restricted to a particular screen size or underpowered hardware. With companies like Karbonn and XOLO offering great performance and features without asking for too much money, it’s no wonder that the budget mobile phone segment has become one of the most exciting segments to keep an eye on.
Here are the best mobile phones you can buy today without spending more than Rs. 10,000:1. XOLO A700
The XOLO A700 is one of the most powerful phones you can find in this price segment. It beats out most other phones in benchmarks and delivers exemplary performance when browsing the Web or watching videos thanks to its 1GHz dual core processor and Power VR GPU. The A700 has a very good 4.5-inch IPS display that holds its own under sunlight as well. The A700 may sport simple looks but it’s also built quite well and feels good to hold.
At Rs. 7,999, the XOLO A700 feels like quite the steal especially considering its best-in-class performance and good display.
2. Sony Xperia E
At first glance, the Sony Xperia E may look like any other budget phone but don’t be fooled, it is one of the best budget phones that you can buy right now. The main reason for that is that it’s one of the few budget phones that come with Android Jelly Bean. The Xperia E is also built really well, and does look more classy than most other phones at a similar price. Sony hasn’t shirked on hardware either and the Xperia E runs smoothly thanks to a 1GHz Snapdragon processor and 512MB of RAM and offers an impressive 4GB of internal storage apart from support for microSD cards.
The Sony Xperia E is now being sold in india for Rs. 9,990 and if you aren’t turned off by its relatively small 3.5-inch display, you should definitely consider it.3. Karbonn A21
The Karbonn A21 is one of the stand-out Android devices in the budget segment thanks to its gorgeous display and fantastic touch response. The A21 offered one of the best touch experiences we’ve had on a phone in its price segment. Everything from how smoothly the interface works, to how accurate the touchscreen keyboard is, makes the A21 a pleasure to use.
Add all of the above to a price-tag of Rs. 8,499, premium build quality and good performance, and you get a good phone to buy in the Karbonn A21.4. BlackBerry Curve 9220
Even in this day and age of touchscreen smartphones, there are many users who prefer the dependability and ease of use afforded by a phone with a physical QWERTY keyboard. The Curve 9220 is one of the most affordable BlackBerry phones out there and like other phones from the same family, it sports a comfortable QWERTY keyboard. Apart from the keyboard, the Curve 9220 also boasts of other features that BlackBerry fans enjoy including excellent e-mail support, BlackBerry Messenger and access to the BlackBerry World app store.
The Curve 9220 is available for Rs. 9,990 and if you’re looking for a non-touchscreen option among budget phones, you should definitely consider this BlackBerry.5. Nokia Lumia 520
After a long wait, we finally have Windows Phone handsets at the Rs. 10,000 mark. The Nokia Lumia 520 may not be as powerful as some of the Android smartphones but it is very usable thanks to the Windows Phone interface. The Lumia 520 comes with the latest version of the OS (Windows Phone 8) and has a good looking 4-inch IPS display. You can use its 5MP camera to shoot 720p HD videos and it also offers good performance thanks to its 1.2GHz dual-core Qualcomm processor.
If you’ve ever considered buying a Windows Phone handset, then the Nokia Lumia 520 is a great option to consider. Yes, its price-tag is Rs. 500 over the 10K mark, but that amount is negligible for all that the phone offers. You can pre-order the phone today and procure it once it hits store shelves in India in the second week of April.6. XOLO X500
The second XOLO device in this list, the X500 is a more compact device than the A700 but it’s also a good smartphone in its own right. The X500 is a good performer thanks to its 1.2GHz Intel Atom processor and 512MB of RAM. In benchmark tests, the X500 churned out scores that were not only better than its competitors but also equivalent to much more expensive phones such as the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 and the HTC One X. The X500 is a good fit for people who aren’t looking for large phones since its 3.5-inch display allows efficient one-handed operation. The X500 may be a small phone but it’s also well-built and feels comfortable (if a little clunky) to hold.
The XOLO X500 can be purchased for Rs. 8,499 and that’s a reasonable price for a phone with its performance.7. Nokia Asha 302
The Asha series of phones has been responsible for helping Nokia keep a hold on the budget mobile phone segment at a time when the Finnish phone maker has seen eroding market share in other segments. The Asha 302 is a good example of how the Asha phones are simple to use and perfect for users who want their phones to focus on getting the basics right. Like the Curve 9220, the Asha 302 sports a full-fledged QWERTY keyboard and also offers useful features like 3G and Wi-Fi support. The Asha 302 may not have a full-fledged smartphone OS but it still lets you engage in social networking, casual photography and also lets you watch videos or browse the Web..
If you’re looking for a basic phone without the distractions that a smartphone brings or a second phone, the Nokia Asha 302 is worth a second look. Its low price-tag of Rs. 6,500 will make that decision easier for you.