Smartphone – Budget category

December 18, 2015 — by Digit

What did 2015 prove? That you don’t have to break the bank to own a high performance phone. Not anymore.

Gone are the days when buying a phone from the budget category meant compromising on basic features. Today, the budget smartphone category is filled with smartphones which can handle almost any task or app you throw at them. The sub-10K smartphone segment has become the battleground for all kinds of small and big brands and the hostility is widely justified.
In this segment which is highly restrained by a budget cap of Rs. 10,000, most smartphones fair well in some areas and lose out in others. Here are the best performing phones you can buy in the budget rang.:

Zero1 Winner: Meziu M2 Note

Meizu M2 Note is the jack of all trades in the sub-10K budget smartphone category. Unlike most phones in the category which strive in one or two aspects, the M2 Note shines in all of them. The phone comes with a Mediatek MT6753 octa-core processor which is more than capable of handling day to day tasks and even more, if required. While it is a popular SoC in the price segment, Meizu has highly optimised it for the M2 Note. It consistently performs well with next to no lag.
It houses a 5.5-inch IGZO LCD display which is undoubtedly the best display in the segment. Colours appear natural and the viewing angles are so good that the smartphone can be used as a benchmark. The camera is good, too, and images taken offer accurate details in almost all lighting conditions. Like all Meizu phones, there is a slight learning curve to the UI (Flyme OS) but once you pass that, the phone won’t give you a reason to complain.
Price: Rs.9,999

Second: YU Yureka Plus

Powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 SoC, performance wise it is one of the best phones in the budget segment. The Yu Yureka Plus’ new 1080p display is a good upgrade from the original Yu Yureka which offered only a 720p display. It offers improved viewing angles and better colour reproduction.
For all you shutterbugs out there, the 13MP Sony camera on this smartphone does a decent job when it comes to taking pictures but falls short of quality achieved by the Meizu M2 Note or the Asus Zenfone 2 Laser. Moreover, it comes pre-loaded with the highly popular CyanogenMod ROM. This gives the phones a very stock-Android like experience and adds a bunch of software tricks as well.
Price: Rs.8,999

Third: Lenovo K3 Note

Lenovo’s K3 Note has all the components to make it a very good smartphone but in falters when it is pushed beyond its comfort zone. The thing is, day to day performance is quite good but when it comes to heavy gaming, the phone runs out of steam. Nonetheless, it is still a very good phone and that is why we recommend the Lenovo K3 Note. Powered by an octa-core processor, the K3 Note is a champ in the synthetic benchmarks. The big display is great if you wish to view a lot of video.
Price: Rs.9,499

Best Buy: Meizu M2 Note

Meizu is still a young brand but we won’t hesitate to recommend it. The M2 Note is a brilliant offering from the company which offers a consistent performance across all quantifiable aspects making it the best option available in the sub-10k segment. To top it all, it is available without any registrations or flash sales.


Smartphone – Camera

December 17, 2015 — by Digit

More people are purchasing smartphones based on their camera prowess. We list 2015’s best camera phones. Say cheese!

Smartphone cameras are no longer casual throw-ins on calling devices. With every significant new launch, smartphone cameras have evolved into fully functioning photography modules capable of replacing the average point-and-shoot cameras, bringing in manual settings, gradually improving image sensors, and a lot of innovation with even the front-facing camera modules (owing to the advent of ‘selfies’).
In such times, it was inevitable to choose Smartphone Cameras as an entirely individual segment yet again. The phones that will receive the award were judged based on how true-to-source were the images rendered by the cameras, how smooth and efficient were the noise reduction algorithms, how much control would you have over a photograph, and the overall versatility of the primary camera module.

Zero1 Winner: iPhone 6s Plus

Apple’s prima donna was among the very first in packing in excellent camera modules within the compact shell of smartphones, and this year, the prime award goes to the iPhone 6s Plus – the largest and the most expensive that an iPhone has ever been. There has never been any doubt over an iPhone’s imaging capabilities, and with the iPhone 6s Plus, the status has been reaffirmed.
The iPhone 6s Plus packs in a Sony IMX315 image sensor, with a resolution of 11.94 megapixels for still images, and 4K video recording capabilities. It also featured a 5-element lens with a Hybrid IR filter, and Sapphire crystal glass lens cover to protect the lens. The Sony IMX315 image sensor is a part of Sony’s latest line of mobile imaging sensors, that replaces the second green pixel in the sensor’s pixel array (the previous standard pixel array was RGBG) with a white pixel. This allows for better light reception, thereby allowing a brighter lit image with lesser noise levels and superior low light photography. The iPhone 6s Plus’ camera also features optical image stabilisation, making it an ideal camera module in the present generation of smartphone cameras. It shoots crisp, detailed images, retaining true-to-source colours and matching the level of details of a reasonably decent standalone point-and-shoot camera. For its stellar camera, the iPhone 6s Plus is our deserving Zero1 Winner!
Price: Rs.64,000

Runner-ups: Samsung Galaxy Note 5

The Samsung Galaxy Note 5 is a formidable overall device, and is powered by two different sensors depending on its market – either a Sony IMX240, or a Samsung S5K2P2 ISOCELL image sensor, both with resolutions of 15.87 million effective pixels. Also featuring optical image stabilisation and an f/1.9 aperture lens to aid wider depth of field, the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 comes mighty close to the iPhone 6s Plus, with the level of detail and clarity in its photographs. Where it loses out on is the slight oversaturation of colours and extreme low light, where the iPhone triumphs over it.
Price: Rs.53,900

Sony Xperia Z5

The Sony Xperia Z5 comes third, powered by a 22.78MP Exmor RS mobile image sensor. While theoretically, this is one of the most powerful image sensors, Sony’s implementation and algorithms have resulted in generally oversaturated colours with slower focusing than the iPhone 6s Plus and the Samsung Galaxy Note 5, and even lesser amount of detail. Nevertheless, once you manually tweak the settings and get it right, the Sony Xperia Z5 is absolutely delightful.
Price: Rs.45,490

Best Buy: Honor 7

The Honor 7 features a Sony IMX230 BSI sensor, with a resolution of 20 megapixels and an f/2.0 lens. The phase-detection autofocus is fast, and the 6-element lens is very, very good. Taking into consideration a price of Rs. 22,999, and the Honor 7 makes for flagship-class smartphone photography at a mid-range price bracket.
Honor 7 Price: Rs.23,000


Smartphone – High-end

December 11, 2015 — by Digit

Which is the best performing phone of the year under Rs. 30,000? We try to answer that question for you and then some.

Over the past year, smartphones priced between 20 to 30k have classified themselves as flagship killers and why not! If you are looking for the best performing smartphone under 30k, then you need not look beyond this list for 2015. We have reviewed virtually every smartphone launched in this calendar year to bring you the crème de la crème.


The OnePlus Two may not have received the standing ovation its predecessor received but that’s because expectations were set really high. Speaking of raw performance, it has the best benchmark scores in its class. In the 3D Mark Unlimited the smartphone scored 18423 where as in the GFXBench Manhattan on-screen it scored 1351. In Geekbench multi-core it scored 3908. So when it comes to raw horsepower required for something as simple as checking your e-mail or power hungry tasks like running the latest game on a smartphone, the OnePlus Two can handle these tasks with ease. Sticking with the theme of performance, the 13MP rear camera not only clicks great pictures but can also record video in 4K.
Price: Rs.24,999


If you are looking for a smartphone with great build, stellar performance and a fingerprint sensor that works smooth as silk, then the Honor 7 is your weapon of choice. When it comes to benchmark performance, the device lags behind the OnePlus Two considerably. In the 3D Mark Unlimited the smartphone scored 11302 where as in the GFXBench Manhattan on-screen it scored 449. In Geekbench multi-core it scored 3315.
The smartphone has an all aluminum build making it heavy as well as sturdy and that’s a good thing. The 3100mAh battery has the ability to last through one day of heavy use. The rear 20MP camera takes some great pictures.
Price: Rs.22,999



It’s a tie. Kicking things off with the Moto X Style, the smartphone has a 5.7-inch display with a 1440×2560 pixel resolution. The three areas where the smartphone excels are with its stock Android experience, great build and a good camera. Coming to the performance scores of the Moto X Style in Geekbench 3 Multi-Core it scored 3573 where as in GFX Bench Manhattan Onscreen it scored 576.1 and 3D Mark Unlimited it scored 19745.
Price: Rs.29,999

The Nexus 5X on the other hand caters to the audience that doesn’t want a smartphone with a really large display. Just like the Moto X Style, the smartphone is powered by the Snapdragon 808 chipset but has 2GB RAM. Even though the Nexus 5X doesn’t have the best camera out there, it is comparable to flagship devices and that is saying something. The 12.3MP camera takes some impressive pictures in low light. It has a 2700mAh battery which is enough considering the package on offer. If you can’t wait for OS updates, then the Nexus 5X is your weapon of choice.
Price: Rs.24,490


All things considered, the OP2 offers the best bang for your buck. Period.


Smartphone – Premium

December 9, 2015 — by Digit

Amongst different platforms and hundreds of devices, which smartphone truly delivers the best performance this year?

What do you look for in a premium smartphone? To put it very simply, the answer is performance. If you’re going to spend 40k+ on a smartphone, you want it to compromise on nothing. You want it to run every game like no other, and have a camera that can make all your photos look good. A premium phone is the absolute high end in the market and let’s see which device wins our performance crown.

Zero1 Winner: Apple iPhone 6S Plus

The iPhone 6S Plus may not be a major upgrade over its predecessor, but it won this battle fair and square. The phone has a top of the line camera that edges out the Galaxy Note 5 by just a little bit. Apple’s camera is better for the fact that it can create more true-to-source images. The camera isn’t the only reason for the iPhone’s victory this year, though. The A9 processor beats every other Android device in terms of performance. As close as the next best device in this category is, when you take graphics into account, Apple is still miles ahead. In fact, the Cupertino based technology giant’s vertical integration between hardware and software is what won it the title this year.
On a pure graphics test, like the GFX Bench Manhattan test, the iPhone 6S Plus scores over 2300, while the nearest competitor lies at less than 1000. Similar results are seen on the 3D Mark Unlimited test, which is a more system centric graphics test. In addition, despite its dual-core processor, the iPhone 6S Plus is right up there when it comes to single and multi-core performance as well. Simply put, the iPhone 6S Plus is the best performing smartphone of 2015.
Price: Rs.64,000

Second place: Samsung Galaxy Note 5

The Samsung Galaxy Note 5 lost out on the top prize by just a bit this year. Yet, the phone helped Samsung record a profit growth for the first time in four quarters, and there’s a reason for that. Second only to the iPhone 6S Plus, the Galaxy Note 5 is arguably the best Android phablet that you can buy today. It has a top class 5.7 inch SAMOLED QHD display and runs on Samsung’s own Exynos 7 Octa processor.
Amongst all the processor that ran on Android phones this year, the Exynos was by far the best. It churns out as much performance as possible and while it is behind the iPhone in graphics performance, the single and multi-core tests are comparable to say the least. In fact, the competition is so close that you can actually choose based on the OS here. Samsung has done a good job, and the only real difference maker is Apple’s vertical integration.
If you’re looking for the best performing Android phone to buy, then the Galaxy Note 5 is the one you need to go for. It scores a whopping 69326 on the AnTuTu benchmark, while Geekbench 3’s single and multi-core tests come out at 1398 and 4457 respectively. On the GFX Bench Manhattan test, the phone scores 931, which is best amongst Android devices today.
Price: Rs.53,900

Best Buy: Huawei Nexus 6P

Android Marshmallow combined with top of the line performance makes the Nexus 6P the best premium smartphone to buy right now. In fact, it is perhaps the first truly premium Nexus phone, combining a metal build with a really good camera and the newest generation of the Snapdragon 810 processor from Qualcomm.
It comes with 32GB of internal storage, along with a 13MP rear camera, 3GB of RAM and a 5.7 inch QHD display. Amongst Android smartphones, it’s second only to the Galaxy Note 5.
Price: Rs.39,999