Ultra Budget QWERTY Mobiles

Welcome to the new world of mobile phones. They're cheap but feature rich and modeled after some of today’s most sought after devices. When talking about these handsets that clearly have OEM's in China with Indian brands laying out the designs over them, one tends to refer to them as China Mobiles. Technically that's quite astute however thanks to the multitudes of brands that seem to pop out of the woodwork every now and then; they are now as Indian as a 'Vada-Pav' from the corner tea stall.

Here’s the list of the ones out there in the market that you could consider if this is the style you’re looking for.

Micromax ezpad Q5
Latest Price - Rs. 6,999 (MRP), Rs. 4,500 (MOP)
Micromax’s Q5 is, on almost all counts, a really good device for the price. It may not be much to look at but it’s certainly got the others in this list beat with its overall functionality. While in some instances like picture quality (2MP camera), the Q5 is at par with the other devices on the list, it does manage to outshine the rest in terms of features and their functionality. Its keypad is well designed and very manageable, in fact it seems like Micromax has focused on that particular aspect more than anything else. It has standardized connectivity options like a 3.5mm handsfree socket and mini USB port which allows you the freedom to use your own earphones if necessary. The Q5 is also equipped with a Yamaha sound engine for mobiles that offers quite a few settings to enhance the overall audio quality of the handset. This was also the only handset that had no issues whatsoever with video playback. The only other issue with the ezpad Q5 is the slightly awkward LCD display that made it just a little hard to view unless held at an angle. Everything else, including the battery life of the handset made it very deserving of the price tag.

The Good
Plenty of social networking features, multimedia features work well and it has a good battery life.
The Bad
Display has a slightly awkward viewing angle and the camera quality isn’t too great.
The Rating - 4/5

Zen Z77
Latest Price - Rs.4,999 (MRP), Rs.3,299 (MOP)
Although Zen may be relatively new, their Z77 BlackBerry clone has proven to be a really worthwhile handset. The same Java OS that’s available in all the other devices worked out very well here. It’s clear, uncluttered, has no lag and navigation is quite simple and fluid. The video player may have had its issues with framing but the music player and FM radio (with a recorder) more than made up for its shortcomings. The handset also offers a limited amount of motion based sensitivity for switching tracks (like the iPod’s Shake to Shuffle) and playing a couple of games as well. Opera Mini is preloaded to offer users a slightly better browsing experience and the Z77 also supports configuring and downloading POP and IMAP emails. The keypad seems small but will take just a little while to get used to if you haven’t used a QWERTY device before. It handles its Dual SIM functionality seamlessly and the UI is well designed to make using either number a hassle free operation. Once again we see standardized norms of connectivity with a 3.5mm handsfree socket and a mini USB port.

The Good
Offers really good audio, come with some social networking and the UI is clear and easy to navigate.
The Bad
Video playback was a bit of an issue and the camera picture quality is not too good.
The Rating - 4/5

Fly BD430 Circle
Latest Price - Rs.3,849 (MRP), Rs.3,490 (MOP)
The Circle could also be considered just another BlackBerry clone and it is of course, there's no denying it. And while it may not offer all a BlackBerry does although it tries really really hard, for the price tag it offers quite a bit. It’s easy to get used to as the keypad is reasonably sized and evenly laid out for typing. Like Micromax, the Circle’s display is also a bit of an issue when it comes to viewing angles. The handset’s media capabilities are not bad with clear audio for music with EQ presets thrown in and the FM radio comes with a recording function. The video player will only playback very low resolution 3GP and MPEG4 files and the camera is not too bad for indoor well lit conditions but has issues with outdoor shots.

The Good
UI is well laid out and smooth, there’s plenty of social networking options and it has a better than average battery life.
The Bad
The LCD is a little awkward and the camera quality is not too good
The Rating – 4/5
Olive V-G8000
Latest Price - Rs.2,599 (MRP), Rs.2,299 (MOP)
There’s really not much to say about Olive’s G8000, that’s because it’s not designed to offer users anything more than basic usage. The QWERTY keypad, with its small keys does make typing a bit of a chore but it’s possible to get used to the feel of it after frequent usage. For those with slender fingers, it shouldn’t be a problem. The handset offers no connectivity options as it has neither WAP capability nor Bluetooth or USB transfer either. The lack of these functions would have made this a handset to simply disregard, however it’s primary design was to provide texting support and clarity on calls. It may not deliver the best possible performance on both but at least the calls are clear, both sending and receiving. The only multimedia functionality it has is an FM radio which works quite well providing decent reception in most places. The UI is easy to navigate but the display tends to flicker when keys are tapped. The main part of the handset’s weight comes from the 1500mAH battery. You can expect good battery life as the handset doesn’t have too much in the way of features to drain it. If you’re looking at a handset that can only be used for the most basic functions and isn't Dual SIM capable, this is it.

The Good
Offers a good battery life with pretty decent FM reception.
The Bad
Display flickers when keypad is used and the keypad itself is awkward.
The Rating – 3.5/5

Micromax Q3
Latest Price - Rs. 6,500 (MRP), Rs. 3,300 (MOP)
The Q3 is a well designed device but the components used in the construction specifically the LCD panel pose a serious problem. The viewing angle of the display is extremely awkward so even though the UI is designed well, looking into the screen for too long is quite difficult. The audio player didn’t work out too well and the same goes for the handset’s video playback. The handset supports POP and IMAP email accounts and comes with Nimbuzz for chatting but that didn’t seem to work too well either. The regular features are all available and of course quite handy but it all comes back to the awkward display. At least the Q3 doesn’t look too much like BlackBerry and has it’s own personality.

The Good
Keypad is well laid out, plenty of very useful features
The Bad
LCD viewing is a real issue, poor audio quality is not good, camera is bad
The Rating – 3/5

Intex iSmart
Latest Price - Rs. 5,500 (MRP), Rs. 4,300 (MOP)
Intex’s iSmart is designed to look a little bit like the BlackBerry Javelin and a little bit like an E71. The keypad is easy to use and the trackball would have been great for navigation if the UI wasn’t so dreadfully slow. The iSmart also has a UI designed to look like the BlackBerry OS but certain aspects come across looking a little Symbian. Like some of a few other devices in this class the camera is not capable of capturing clear enough images and the resolution printed is much higher than the actual resolution it can take pictures in. The battery life of the device is just a little below average which is also an issue.

The Good
User friendly QWERTY keypad, relevant accessories, audio player is not too bad
The Bad
UI is sluggish, camera shows 1.3MP resolution but captures in VGA, Picture quality is poor, battery life is poor
The Rating – 2.5/5

Karbonn K10
Latest Price - Rs. 4599 (MRP), Rs. 4000 (MOP)
The K10 is quite the BlackBerry clone from the design to the UI and even the multimedia app interface. It’s a slick looking handset and the keypad, although small is not hard to get used to. The laggy UI is one of the biggest concerns and makes navigation really hard. Audio quality is really not too good but the radio works fine. Video playback had the same problem as the other handsets in this list. On the plus side the K10 also comes with quite a bit of social networking features like quick links to Facebook, Twitter Yahoo! and MSN. The camera was another draw back as it said 1.3MP on the back but captured images in VGA resolution only. The display went a little crazy when the camera was activated so videos were useless.

The Good
Has quite a few social networking features included
The Bad
Sluggish UI, poor audio quality from the player, 1.3MP camera captures images in lower resolution only, video camera didn’t function
The Rating – 2/5

These handset certainly can’t be compared to devices like Nokia’s E Series of business class handsets, or the BlackBerry range from RIM. They aren’t smartphones but quite a few of them still manage to offer quite a lot features from connectivity to media and let’s not forget, Dual SIM support. They’re primarily designed for texting and hence you’re very likely to find them loaded with Social Networking and online chatting apps. For those with low budgets, don’t mind simple features and are frequent texters these handsets are very handy.

Published Date: Feb 23, 2010 12:58 pm | Updated Date: Feb 23, 2010 12:58 pm