When I think about the Mobile market in 2013, it amazes me as so much has happened this period. We have seen almost everything that can happen in a industry. This one industry has managed to send our a ripple of changes across to almost all the other industry in the world. A lot of innovations have happened in 2013. 2013 will always remain a bookmark worthy year for the mobile industry. So what did 2013 bring to the end customers in India?
I would say the year 2013 was the year in which Nokia made a come back. They were lost for a long time and in 2013 finally they found their way back to become a household name in India again. From the Ashas to the Lumias, they seemed to have finally struck the chord.
Samsung has been doing what do they do regularly. Keep inventing needs, over producing devices and over market them. But whatever said and done, their cash tills never stopped ringing.
Sony seemed to have been totally bought the idea of Water world from Kevin Costner. Almost all their mobiles and tablets this year is water proof. Their flagSHIP devices merely manages to stay afloat.
HTC started off the year with a positive note. But they something or the other kept bugging them. They failed to keep up the tempo and literally stopped innovating.
You love them, you hate them, Apple never fail. They did fail to bring innovation to the table, but they are sailing strong and the wind was in their favor all through 2013.
Micromax did become the David who slained the Goliath. This little Indian company has uprooted the Indian Mobile market and planted them in their back yard.
So what did all this mean to you and me? What did these mobile companies bring to our table? What was truly phonelicious this 2013? Let us check out the 3 smart phones that ruled the hearts of we Indians in 2 broad categories. Best all round performance and Best value for money.
Before we jump into it, let me define 3 major parameters.
Smart phone / Smart Mobile – A cellular device that is an epitome of convergence. It helps the user to seamlessly perform various actions eliminating the need to have different devices for different actions. It is a device that runs of an operating system (not firmware) that is capable of supporting installable applications. It must have the ability to instantly mutate itself to suits the needs and aesthetic flavor of its user.
All Round Performance – It is always difficult to find a mobile phone that excels in all dimensions. Such an ideal phone never exists, so far. Having said that, I also say that a device that has the top end hardware specifications to work seamlessly with its software layer to give the best user experience is an all round performer.
Value for Money – When am talking about the Indian market, I can not afford to miss out on this term – Value for Money. Taking into consideration the weakening Indian rupee and the socio economic status of a middle class family in India, a device that gives the best of itself for a reasonable price would be termed as a Value for Money device.
I am not going to talk about any device that was available elsewhere in the world and not available in India, till date. This is purely my take based on my observations.
Top 3 All Round performers
Number 3 : Nokia Lumia 1020
The Nokia lumia 1020 single handedly represents all the technology and innovation that has gone into a mobile camera. It is the best camera available in the market. It competes with some entry level DSLR and comes on top. This beast of a camera mobile has a massive hardware spec sheet under the hood. It is the first lumia device to come with 2 GB Ram, and powered by a dual core Qualcomm snapdragon processor with each core clocked at 1.5ghz. It has a 4.5 inch Amoled capacitive screen protected by corning gorilla glass. The display is brilliant both indoors and on direct sunlight. Though windows OS has its shortcomings, it works buttery smooth with the hardware specs of the lumia 1020. The most innovative camera software of the year is the Nokia pro Cam (now called the Nokia Camera), works effortlessly with the 41 megapixel, 6 glass lens, optically stabilized arrangement, xenon flash all sitting on a massive sensor powered by the pureview technology. This device is a beast of a performer. It was launched for Rs 50k in India but now available for Rs 40k with some online retailers. Check out my detailed review and the video review of the Nokia Lumia 1020
Number 2: iPhone 5S
The iPhone this year has disappointed many tech evangelists. IPhone 5c was not cheap, but it was a colorful and plastic iPhone 5. IPhone 5s didn’t bring any innovation to the table. If you choose to call a fingerprint scanner as innovation, I vote to differ. But this device is one of the best performing mobile devices we have seen so far. The 64 bit A7 processor works like a charm. It is so smooth and the apps fly at mach speed. Of course this is due to the monogamous relationship between the hardware and the software. Priced between Rs 52k and Rs 72k in India, iPhone is a costly affair. But be it imaging, internet, apps or social networking, the iPhone 5s had none to beat when it comes to performance, except…
Number 1: HTC One
The numerous uno mobile of the year – the HTC One. HTC One is an epitome of synergy between design and engineering. It was the most talked about mobile of the year. It’s all metal body with subtle curves and awesome display sent chills down the spines of all the other mobile manufacturers. Its 4 megapixels (ultrapixel) camera with a massive sensor educated the masses that a good camera is not about megapixels, but what lies underneath it, the sensor. The quad-core snapdragon 600 beast clocked at 1.7 GHz supported the Android Jelly bean, skinned with HTC Sense. HTC sense 5 was by itself a much better version than its predecessors. Blinkfeed and Zoe, set the trend and all the other manufactures started following the queue. Its advanced mic and front facing stereo boom speakers is yet to be matched for quality entertainment from any mobile device. With no holds barred, the HTC One is an all round performer and a clear winner for the title of The Best Performing Smart Mobile of the Year 2013.
Honorable mention: Samsung Note 3
Top 3 Value for Money
Number 3: Samsung Galaxy Grand Duos
This is a mobile which rose to fame over-night. Basically there are 2 reasons for the success of this device: identical looks with the S4 and aggressive marketing by Samsung. Almost every shop in the roadside had a live demo Galaxy grand duos. This is all a common Indian man needs to make a decision before swiping the plastic. Even the hardware specs are not bad. It has a 5 inch TFT screen. It has in internal memory of 8GB and expandable upto 64GB. It is powered by Dual-core 1.2 GHz Cortex-A9 and a sub standard GPU to run the Android Jelly bean skinned with TouchWiz. It has a 8 MP primary camera and 2 MP front facing camera. At launch it was priced at Rs 20k and now it is available for ~Rs 15k. A decent hardware which looks like a high end mobile and priced relatively cheaper and marketed well made this mobile a grand success. The Galaxy Grand Duos satisfied all the check list items in the formula to appease the Indian masses and it instantly rose to the status of Value for Money mobile. So this mobile being in this list is actually people’s choice.
Number 2: Nokia Lumia 520
The Lumia 520 gave the much needed breakthrough for Nokia in the Indian market. They had a lot of Lumia high end device, but the people were not willing to bet their money in Nokia. The Nokia Lumia 520 is basically an entry level device that gives almost the same user experience of a high end Lumia mobile at a cheaper price. This was all needed for the people to jump back on the Nokia bandwagon and test the Windows Phones from Nokia. With a 4 inch IPS LCD screen, the Lumia 520 is an optimally sized device. It has an internal memory of 8 GB and expandable upto 64GB. It has a 5 MP primary camera with no flash and no front facing camera. It is powered by a dual core 1 GHz processor with a GPU. But the highlight of this device is the Windows Phone 8 user experience. The OS runs very smoothly with almost no lag. It is quite a performer and has decent battery backup. It a was priced at Rs 10K and now available at little over Rs 8k. Basically you get a fast performing device priced reasonably and that makes it a value for money device.
Check out my detailed review here.
Number 1: Google Nexus 5
The Lumia 520 would have been the winner in this category, but we had a last minute wild card entrant into this list. Normally Nexus devices are launched pretty late in India. But this time the Nexus 5 was launched and made available in India within a month of its International launch. The Nexus 5 has the best hardware under the hood and the latest Android experience. It is a dream for any true android fan to have a device in which the operating system completely understands the hardware and works in tandem and all this available at a reasonable price. The Nexus 5 made this dream come true. Snapdragon 800 quad-core processor each clocked at 2.3 GHz along with Adreno 330 GPU pumps power to this device. It is available in black and white color and both in 16 and 32 GB variants. It runs on Android kitkat 4.4 out of the box and already got 2 updates and the running version is 4.4.2 now. It has a fantastic display, sleek design and a decent camera and all that is available at a Rs 29k or Rs 32k depending on the internal storage capacity. It is not a cheap device, but it is reasonably priced for its specs. It is one of the most powerful mobile available in India, bringing down the expensive devices to the floor in the performance arena . All that makes it the winner of the title, The Best Value for Money Device available in India.
Honorable Mention: Micromax Canvas 4
Again, this is a list of top mobiles based on my observation, so please feel free to debate and add in your favorites right below in the comments section.
Wish you all a very Happy New Year and looking forward to 2014 and see how things shape up in the future.