Aircel recently announced that the iPhone 3GS would be available for Rs. 12,999 to postpaid customers and for Rs. 19,999 to prepaid customers. But is the device worth the amount? What are the “free goodies” that you get with the device? Is the device sufficient bang for your buck? We take a close look at all the details for you.
If you are interested in Aircel's new iPhone 3GS postpaid plan, there are two variants for you. The 3G plan and the 2G plan. You can take a look at the details of the plans below.
What you see is what you get. If you opt for the 3G plan, you get no free minutes (local or national), no free SMS and the validity of the plan is 12 months. The 3G speeds will be available to you up to 2GB, after which your speed will drop to 128kbps. So if you make calls or send SMS’s, you will receive a bill and pay for what you use. What is “free” in the 12,999 is the cost of 3G data usage.
If you opt for the 2G-circle option, you get 1,000 minutes free (local national), 2,500 free SMS (local and national), valid for 6 months. Users in the 2G circle have no data cap. So if you make calls or send SMS’s, but do not exceed the mentioned limit, you will not receive a bill.
After 6 months, you will automatically migrate to Simple Value 499 Plan (in 2G circles), or 399 Smart PI plan after one year (in 3G circles).
The postpaid plan is fairly simple - what you see is what you get. What is questionable however is the prepaid plan. For starters you are paying more money i.e., a total cost of Rs. 19,999. And the offers you can avail are also limited.
If you opt for the prepaid 3G-circle you get no free talk time, no additional benefits but you get 2GB of 3G data per month along with a validity of 12 months.
If you opt for the prepaid 2G-circle you get Rs. 3,000 worth of talktime, 12 vouchers of Pl98 (Free 3GB of 2G data after which you will be charged 10p/10KB) and a validity of 12 months.
It is very evident the prepaid plan isn’t really worth it due to its negligible value. The postpaid plan on the other hand seems attractive if you would like to get your first iPhone experience and are ok with the fact that the device is quite old.
The iPhone 3GS
The iPhone 3GS has a 3.5-inch display with a resolution of 320x480. The camera on the device is a 3.15MP rear snapper but it does not have a front facing camera, which means that you do not have the option to use FaceTime. The storage is only 8GB and it has a 600MHz processor and 256MB of RAM. The device is upgradable to iOS 6 but the features that you will get access to on the device are very limited.
The only features that will make an appearance on the device are shared Photo Streams and VIP email. The only reason Apple supports the iPhone 3GS on iOS 6 is because the device still sells in certain markets despite being launched in 2009.
The Bottom Line
So is the iPhone 3GS worth it? Well if you are looking at the Rs. 12,999 postpaid version from Aircel and if this will be your first ever iPhone then you should definitely consider it. If you are however already a budget smartphone user and are looking for a change, there a number of other devices you can consider.
If Rs. 15,000 (or below) is your budget, you can take a look at the Nokia Lumia 710 that is priced around at Rs. 15,000. It is one of the best phones running Windows Phone 7.5 and will receive an update to Windows Phone 7.8 later in the year. Other specifications of the device include a 3.7-inch display with a resolution of 480x800, a 1.4GHz processor with 512MB RAM, 8GB internal storage, a 5MP rear camera with 720p HD video and no front facing camera. Do also check out out review of the Nokia Lumia 710.
Lowering your budget, you can also take a look at the Sony Ericsson Xperia Mini Pro. This is one of the best performing Android devices in the sub 15K price range and is priced at Rs. 13,000. It originally ran on Android 2.3 Gingerbread but the Android 4.0 ICS update is available for the device in the market. It not only has a 3-inch touchscreen display with a resolution of 320x480 but boasts of a slide out QWERTY keypad as well. The internal storage on the device may be limited to 400MB but it is expandable up to 32GB via a microSD card. The device runs on a 1GHz processor with 512MB of RAM. It has a 5MP rear camera with 720p HD video recording capabilities along with a VGA front facing camera.
If you want to stick very close to the Rs. 13,000 price tag, you can take a look at the Nokia Lumia 610, which is Nokia’s “budget” Windows Phone device. The device costs Rs. 12,380 and has a 3.7-inch display with a resolution of 480x800. The Lumia 610 has 8GB internal storage with no expandable options, 256MB of RAM and runs on an 800MHz processor. It has a rear facing 5MP camera and a front facing VGA camera. The surprising part is that the build of the phone is quite premium. Do also take a look at our first impressions of the Lumia 610.
Update (July 24, 2012)
We have been getting a lot of feedback on more Android options advice in the same price range. While most of the suggested models are slightly expensive, for benefit of those who do not mind stretching their budget, here are some more Android alternatives to Aircel's iPhone 3GS:
Samsung Galaxy Ace Plus
If you are an Android buff and want to stick to Google’s OS, you can take a look at the Samsung Galaxy Ace Plus. The device is priced at Rs. 15,500 and has a 3.65-inch capacitive touchscreen display. Under the hood, the device is powered by a 1GHz processor and 512MB RAM. It boasts of 3GB internal storage, expandable via microSD card. The rear of the device has a 5MP snapper but no front facing camera. The downside to the device is that it will not get the ICS update and will continue to run on Android 2.3 Gingerbread.
HTC Desire C
If you are looking for a device that is relatively new in the market, you can take a look at the HTC Desire C. The device is priced at Rs. 15,000, has a 3.5-inch display with a resolution of 320x480. The best feature of the device is that it runs on Android 4.0 ICS straight out of the box. Under the hood, the device is powered by an underwhelming 600MHz processor and 512MB RAM. It has 4GB internal storage, expandable via a microSD card. The rear of the device has a 5MP snapper and the device compromises on a front facing camera. You can read our complete review of the device here.
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