There was a time when we had many devices for many things, you had an mp3 player to listen to tunes, a camera to capture photos, a video recorder to record memories, a computer to surf the web, a PDA to note events and dates, a calculator to add or multiply, a torch for when its dark and a feature phone to make calls and text. The dawn of the smartphone changed all that, we moved from many devices to do many things to one device that could do them all. A smartphone has hence dominated due to the sheer number of features and the whole app support that further enhances functionality. Hence with time, feature phones died, gone were the meme-worthy built like a tank Nokia 3310 and Nokia 1100. We lost the impossibly slim and magnificent Moto Razr and then came a whole wave of slab-like smartphones.
But now features phones are back and some have even got smarter with the addition of 4G and even support for apps like Whatsapp, FB and Google Maps. To find the best feature phones in India we read through suggestions from the many tech websites and analyzed the best sellers on Amazon and Flipkart.
Best feature phone
In the sea of smartphones, the JioPhone is one of the few 4G enabled feature phones. But don't underestimate it due to its feature phone form factor yet, the jio phone features support for apps like Whatsapp, FB, Google Maps and all of the Jio App suite. You also have GPS and NFC support that enhances it functionality over other feature phones. This combination of app support and 4G make it one of the best 4G feature phone in India.
Best feature phone
The 105 is one of the absolute bare minimums when it comes to phones, it doesn't have 4G, or an iconic design or anything smart but at nearly Rs.1000 it is an absolute bargain. You get a good battery life, a colored display, and buttons that give you a true tactile feel.
This is a really long post! Use these links to jump around.
Why Trust Us?
To find the best feature phone in the market we started out by reminiscing the good old days when life was so much simpler, you did not have to post images filled with filters anywhere, there we no #stupidchallenges we have now ,and the only AI and smart feature of a phone was the person who was holding the phone. So with fond memories of the past, we set forth on our quest for the best feature phones. We started out by looking at the few specimens on Amazon and Flipkart. Or at least we thought that, but we were blown by the sheer number of devices. There were literally thousands of phones in various shapes (literally!!) and sizes (we do not mean it metaphorically!). To find the best from the whole horde of phones on sale we set out to look at suggestions from other technology review websites. That combined with the best sellers we picked from Amazon and Flipkart helps us find two of the best feature phones on the market.
How we selected?
To find the best feature phone we started by shorting the best sellers on Amazon and Flipkart. There was a huge collection of smartphones here and finding the best was a difficult task so we looked for best picks from reputed technology websites to see what they had reviewed and suggested.
Best feature phone in India(JioPhone)
4G VoLTE support
Jio Suite of apps
Whatsapp, FB. Youtube, Google Maps etc. support
NFC and GPS present
UI and Keypad, not the easiest to use
No tethering option
4G, Bluetooth, GPS, NFC, and Wi-Fi, when you think about these specifications the thing that comes to your mind is a smartphone, and you are not wrong, but the JioPhone has all the above and it's not a smartphone. This is because of Jio's aim to bring affordable 4G devices for the masses and the JioPhone is at their fore. The JioPhone is designed into a feature phone form factor to make it easier for non-smartphone users to transition easily without having to pick up on the steep learning curve of touch-enabled devices.
Given its low cost of Rs.1500, the Jio Phone is not going to get any second glances and that's not necessarily a bad thing. It's more about function than form with this one. When Digit reviewed this phone they found the keypad to be easy to use, but missed the back button functionality. The D-pad was a little confusing as the center button of it can activate two functions. Pressing the top turns on the flash while doing the same at the bottoms brings Jio Voice to life. Jio Voice is Jio's take on the Google Assistant, just nowhere near the Google one. The front also houses a tiny camera for video calls while the rear too has a camera. Apart from this, you get a rear mounted speaker and even a headphone jack.
In what may seem like a line from history, the JioPhone packs a 2.4inch QVGA (240 x 320) screen. Digit wasn't a fan of the displays viewing angles and that is to be expected given the specs and the price.
Coming to the camera, the front-facing one has 0.3 MPx resolution and the rear one has 2 MPx resolution. BGR found the cameras to be basic. Looks like they are there for the namesake but then again the low price means we cannot complain.
If you have used features phones previously, you know that most of them ran versions of Java OS. Most Chinese branded feature phones still use the same and we are pretty used to the boring UI and features they bring. But given the applications that need to be run on the JioPhone, Jio went ahead with KaiOS for the phone. KaiOS is a Linux based operating system designed for non-touch devices with support for 4G, GPS, WiFi and HTML5 apps. KaiOS is in fact forked from Boot2Gecko, the successor of the unsuccessful Firefox OS. While the operating system does have some useful features like quick settings, contact suggestions, alert notifications Digit did not like some parts of the user experience, the most irritating bit being the lack of a back button. Any application or window you visit, the only way to return back is via the call end key, which takes you all the way back to the home screen. So you have to make sure you click the correct window or you have to repeat all the processes again. This is frankly a glaring oversight on the hardware and software manufacturers side.
Again if you look at the phone there is no volume button, so in Jio music app you have to use the keypad buttons (3 & 4). Another thing is you cannot manually lock the keypad, it is done automatically after some time. These are all the things that Digit felt can ruin your user experience.
Given the smarter than any other feature phone operating system, you have a large suite of Jio apps that let you watch live tv, stream the live tv stream to a television, listen to music, make video calls and read the news. There is a Jio Store that lets to download all Jio apps but with updates, you now have access to more popular apps like Whatsapp, Youtube, FB and even Google Maps.
One missed opportunity by Jio was giving the phone a hotspot facility, this would have truly made it a great secondary phone for everyone.
With the 2000mAh battery you can easily last up to 48 hours, and while that does seem less compared to regular feature phones do remember that the JioPhone has 4G support and given the apps that you use it will need more battery than usual.
The JioPhone has a 1-year warranty on the phone and you have to take to a Jio Service center for any issues.
The JioPhone aims to bring an affordable smartphone for the masses to help them be a part of the 4G revolution. With a price of Rs.1499, the JioPhone is actually a very useful feature phone that gives you some of the luxuries of smartphones, all combined the JioPhone is truly the best feature phone in India.
Note: Jio is about to launch a JioPhone 2 on August 15th which comes with the same features of the JioPhone but adds a QWERTY keypad and a landscape display a la Blackberry. It will be priced at Rs.3000 and should be one of the best keypad phones in its class.
Best feature phone in India(Nokia105)
No display notch
No need to worry about updates (coz you ain't getting any)
Dual Sim version available
Cute rounded design
Long battery life
Not as good as the Jiophone
Doesn't have any app support
No 3G or 4G
The Nokia 105 is an extremely affordable feature phone that has the mix of battery life, small size and good build quality. It isn't as feature-filled as the Jio phone but has a 1.78 inch colored display with QVGA resolution, 800mAh battery and an easy to use UI and keypad.
With 1780 reviews and 3.9 stars on Amazon and 4.2 stars and 2183 reviews on Flipkart, the Nokia 105 is the best seller amongst feature phones. Customers loved the torch and FM Radio features along with the good call and speaker quality. People also appreciated the easy to hold rounded design, the thoughtful color display, good battery life of nearly a week and the bundled snake game.
The Nokia 105 even comes in two variants, a single sim version for Rs.999 and a dual sim version for Rs.1149. Given the decent battery life and the low price, the Nokia 105 makes for a great secondary phone.
Jio & Nokia both offer a 1-year warranty on their products and you have to take them to their respective service center for repairs.
Jio offers a contract on the JioPhone wherein if you use the JioPhone for 3 years with regular recharges, you can get your Rs.1500 back after 3 years when you hand over the phone back to Jio.
Who are our best picks for?
The JioPhone makes great sense as a first phone for people who want to jump on the 4G bandwagon. You get an affordable phone that gets you apps present in most smartphones but without the addictiveness that smartphones offer. It also works great as a secondary phone or a travel phone so you have a backup in case your primary phone dies or loses network.
The Nokia 105 is more of a detox for your smartphone, it primarily to be used by people who want to shun the tagging and sharing lifestyle that smartphones have got. But apart from that, you can even keep it as a backup phone for emergencies when your smartphone is getting that large software update or is losing battery quickly. It work great as a first phone for kids as well so parents can have a way to contact their little ones or vice versa.
In a world where smartphones are getting more and more feature-filled and affordable, we have two feature phone picks that are still quite relevant.
At Rs.1499, the JioPhone offers you the most affordable taste at the 4G network allowing you to listen to music, live stream TV, catch on a movie or even stay updated with news. All this is a tiny form factor that is a nod to the previous generation of phones. The low price, cheap internet packs and app support of the JioPhone make it one of the best feature phone in its price range.
The Nokia 105 is not like the JioPhone, it has no smart features, no 4G or 3G, no app support. What it has is FM Radio, a torch, snake game and good battery life, features that are needed on a secondary phone to suck you away from your smartphone or help you if your smartphone battery dies all of a sudden (which is not that rare now). With a price of around Rs.999 it is simply superb as an affordable phone for your emergency needs.