Best Android phones – India, June 2013

June 18, 2013
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One of the biggest advantages for Android buyers is that they’re never without options. Looking for the latest and greatest? Looking for a relatively high-end phone at a good price? Looking for a budget-friendly smartphone? There are numerous possibilities in every category. In India, we have a slew of local manufacturers who’ve taken up the cause to provide consumers with powerful quad-core smartphones at low prices, but some of the most popular devices in the country are still the latest flagship smartphones from international OEMs like Samsung, HTC, and Sony.

But, it’s also becoming harder and harder to choose between so many great options. That’s where we step in! With Android Authority’s monthly buying guides covering all major markets around the world, we save you the trouble of doing the research by providing a comprehensive list of all the best Android smartphones available to you.

If you’ve seen some of our other buying guides for May 2013, you’ll notice that in other markets (like in the US), the specifications-based breakdown is simpler, with categories such as high-end, mid-range, and entry-level. In India, things get a little more complicated, mostly because of high import duties against electronics from international manufacturers. So, you may have a quad-core smartphone from a local manufacturer priced at Rs 12,000 (~$226), but a less powerful and less feature-packed smartphone from HTC priced at Rs 20,000(~$377). So for today’s India-specific buying guide, we’ll be categorizing based on price.

Let’s get started!

Android smartphones priced above Rs 30,000

HTC One

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The HTC One was all set to help the struggling company regain some lost ground in the Android smartphone arena that has been completely dominated by Samsung over last two years. While the smartphone itself is absolutely amazing, with its aluminium unibody design, innovative UltraPixel camera, and redesigned HTC Sense UI, the launch of the device wasn’t off to the greatest of starts, plagued by component supply shortages.

In India as well, the highly-anticipated launch event was followed by a month and a half of absolute nothing, with the availability of the HTC One being delayed for a long time. That wait has finally ended, giving consumers the option to get their hands on one of the best high-end Android smartphones available around the world.

Along with the great design, the HTC One features some great specifications, including a 4.7-inch IPS 1080p display, a 1.7Ghz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor,  Adreno 320 GPU, 2GB RAM, 32GB internal storage, 4MP “Ultrapixel” camera and 2.1MP front camera, a 2,300 mAh battery, and Android 4.1 Jelly Bean on-board. The updated HTC Sense UI, featuring BlinkFeed and a host of new camera features, complements the amazing hardware perfectly. Check out our detailed hands-on review of the HTC One to check out some of the latest features of the smartphone in action –

HTC One pricing and availability

As previously announced, the HTC One is available for Rs 39,489 (~$717) from online retailers Saholic, with both silver and black color options available. You can also find the complete list of retail stores here, where the HTC One will be available.

Samsung Galaxy S4

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Unlike HTC and Sony that needed to redefine their flagship products, Samsung decided to follow a “tried and tested” strategy. With the Samsung Galaxy S3 becoming one of the highest selling Android smartphones in 2012, followed by the very successful Galaxy Note 2, Samsung didn’t play around with the form factor of the Galaxy S4 much, but instead packed the device with a host of new software features as a part of its TouchWiz UI, on top of the latest Android 4.2 OS.

The Samsung Galaxy S4 retained some features such as a replaceable battery and the availability of microSD expansion, which many consumers believe to be a must-have, giving the Samsung flagship an advantage over the HTC One. The “plastic vs metal” debate is still raging, but isn’t as big a deal as some would think, with the Samsung Galaxy S4 on track to become the fastest selling Android smartphone this year.

On the hardware front, India is one of the few markets in which the octa-core Samsung Exynos 5 version of the Galaxy S4 is available. Other specifications include a 5-inch Super AMOLED 1080p display, 2GB RAM, PowerVR SGX 544MP3 GPU, 16GB internal storage, expandable via microSD card, 13MP rear camera and 2MP front camera, and a 2,600 mAh battery.

Instead of getting into a discussion of the numerous software features, you can take a look at our detailed hands-on review of the Samsung Galaxy S4 here –

Samsung Galaxy S4 pricing and availability

The 16GB version of the Samsung Galaxy S4 is priced at Rs 39,500(~$718) and is available from various online retailers such as Flipkart, Saholic, and Infibeam, as well as the Samsung India e-Store for a slightly higher Rs 40,300 (~$732) and various Samsung dealers and Samsung Experience stores around the country, in both white frost and black mist color options.

Sony Xperia Z

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With its great mid-range and entry-level smartphones, Sony has developed a loyal fan base in India, and so, theexcitement that followed the launch of the Sony Xperia Z is understandable. With a unique design, and featuring water and dust resistance, the Sony Xperia Z is a formidable device, and while the specifications (read processor) may not be as current as the other flagships, the Xperia Z is a device that is hard to ignore.

The Sony Xperia Z features a 5-inch 1080p display, a 1.5 Ghz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor, Adreno 320 GPU, 2GB RAM, 16GB internal storage further expandable via microSD, 13MP rear camera and 2.2MP front camera, a 2,330 mAh battery, and Android 4.1 Jelly Bean on-board.

The beautiful (shatter resistant) glass design, a great camera, and a comparatively cheaper price, means that Sony has finally managed to release a smartphone that will do very well in the highly-competitive high-end smartphone market in India. Check out our hands-on review of the Sony Xperia Z here –

Sony Xperia Z pricing and availability

The Sony Xperia Z is priced at Rs 37,299 (~$678) and is available from online retailers such as Flipkart, and for Rs 35,500 (~$645) Snapdeal, as well as numerous Sony retail stores around the country, with all white, black, and purple color options available.

Special mentions

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  • Sony Xperia ZL – The Sony Xperia ZL was completely overshadowed by the Xperia Z, but if you’re okay without the water resistant feature, and are looking for a more compact design and a slightly cheaper price, the Sony Xperia ZL is the smartphone for you. On the specifications front, the Xperia ZL is exactly the same as the Xperia Z. Don’t forget to check out our detailed hands-on review of the Sony Xperia ZL to decide if this is the smartphone for you. The Sony Xperia ZL is priced at a cheaper Rs 35,990 (~$654) from Flipkart, and Rs 32,950 (~$599) from Snapdeal, as well as all Sony retail stores.
  • HTC Butterfly – Known as the HTC Droid DNA in the US, the HTC Butterfly was another great device on offer from HTC at the end of last year, and was the first Android smartphone to feature a 5-inch 1080p display, a specification that has been adopted as standard for most of this year’s high-end smartphones. The specifications are very similar to the Sony XPeria Z and Xperia ZL as well. Unfortunately, HTC had got the pricing very wrong in India, and only now with the release of the HTC One, has the price dropped. It hasn’t dropped enough though from some stores, is surprisingly still more expensive than the HTC One, with the device available from Snapdeal and retail stores for Rs 37,999 (~$690), with Flipkart offering a price of Rs 42,090 (~765).
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 2 – The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 continues to be one of the most popular Android smartphones in India, even with the launch of similarly-priced 2013 flagships. The lure of the large HD display and the advantages available with the S-Pen means that the only real competitor to the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 is going to be the Galaxy Note 3. Check out our complete review of the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 here. The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 is available from various Samsung retail stores and the Samsung India e-Store, as well as Flipkart for Rs 37,500 (~$681).

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