There was a time when buying a phone for Rs.5000 meant buying something that had absolutely no features, terrible display, had poor and laggy performance and poor build quality. Enter 2018 and you have a few really good phones that do not feel cheap despite their low price tags. There are three such devices on the market, the Redmi 5A, the 10.or.D and the recently launched Nokia 1.
To help you find the best phone for your buck, we spent over a day pouring over reviews from big sites and customers.
Best smartphone under Rs.5000
With a good feature set comprising of a good display, good processor and a lot of RAM and Storage for the price, the 10.or.D is the most specced phone in its class. The icing on the cake is the stock Android experience with a promised Oreo update all for Rs.5999. The 10.or.D inches ahead of the competition because of its superior RAM management, the smoother software, the fingerprint sensor and the much better battery life.
You can purchase it on Amazon
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Why Trust us?
We went over reviews from a lot of websites - from BGR to Fonearena - to see if there was a consensus on which phone was the best. We then further verified this by reading through verified reviews on Amazon and Flipkart from people who actually have bought and used the product. Mainly, to make sure the big sites didn’t miss anything.
We also assessed the performance of each phone using benchmark data. We checked all the big ones - Antutu, Geekbench 4 benchmark and 3DMark. This helped give us an idea about the phone CPU, GPU, Gaming, Battery and everyday performance.
How we selected?
We started by listing all the phones in the Rs.5000 price category. The shortlist criteria we used to select the best of this lot we as follows.
Minimum 2GB ram
Minimum 16GB internal storage
Minimum HD resolution
The Nokia 1 which is the latest phone in this category loses out because of its 1GB RAM, 8GB storage, and low-resolution display. PhoneRadar even went on to suggest consumers to not pick the Nokia 1 because of its poor value for money proposition along with the poor set of Android Go apps.
So finally we were left with just two phones the Redmi 5A and the 10.or.D which we pit against each other based on various parameters to find out which emerges victorious.
Best pick in Detail
The 10.or.D outperforms the competition with a superb set of features including a good screen, good software, good battery life and a lot of storage and RAM. It makes a lot of sense for first-time smartphone buyers, especially if you want a simple smartphone experience without any extra skin on the top or if you want a good hassle free secondary phone.
Display: 5.2 inch, 1280 x 720 resolution, 218 ppi, 16:9, 2 finger multi-touch support,
Hardware: Snapdragon 425, 3 GB RAM, 32 GB internal storage
Sensors and Extras: Proximity sensor, gyroscope, accelerometer, magnetic sensor, rear fingerprint sensor, led notification light
Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.2
Expandability: 2x Nano SIM slots + dedicated SD card slot, micro USB, OTG support
Software: Stock Android 7.1.2 (Android 8.0 update promised)
Camera: 13 MP rear camera with dual LED flash, 5 MP front camera, 1080p@30fps,
Battery: 3500 mAh with 10W charger
Colors: Black, Gold
3GB of RAM for excellent multitasking
32GB storage to fill your phone up
Stock Android for a smooth experience (Promised update to Oreo)
Decent everyday performance
Bright display with good viewing angles and color reproduction
Good battery life
Decent speaker audio quality
Dual sim slot with dedicated micro sd slot
Decent build quality
Lacks ambient light sensor so no auto brightness adjustment
Only two point multitouch screen
Average front camera
No IR Blaster
Bland looking design
A lot of Bloatware on the phone
A slightly slow fingerprint sensor
Design: Dull design but well built
One look at the 10.or.D and you may not want to take another look at it. Not because its ugly, it's just style free and simple.
The Redmi 5A does look much better courtesy of the colored back panels which come in black, gold, pink gold and lake blue. But the 10.or more than makes up for it in its other features. The 10.or is more suited for people who want a phone that doesn't grab attention and will quietly blend into the surroundings. Despite what the looks suggest, Fonearena found the device to be decently built.
The phone is made of plastic but has a metal finish at the back that looks like the much older Redmi Note 3. The rear-mounted speaker too is an ode to an era gone by. Also present on the rear is a fingerprint sensor which is quite strange at this price point given that the Redmi 5A also lacks it. Kudos to 10.or for providing it. Although, it's not the fastest sensor out there with BGR pointing out to the visible lag between placing your finger and the phone unlocking.
Move back to the front and you see the 5.2 inch with huge side and top bezels, clearly style was never a priority while designing this phone. The large bezels make even less sense because the phone has on-screen navigation keys and the empty space is just too much. The screen doesn't have a Gorilla Glass protection. Rather it makes do with Panda glass. Panda Glass is a China-made protective screen glass that offers protection from falls and scratches but is more affordable and less effective than Gorilla Glass. Packing a 3500mAh battery the phone weighs around 150 gms but the plastic body makes it quite light to hold in the hand.
Software: Stock Android with a little bloat
The Stock Android experience on the phone is one of the best at this price, this makes it a much smoother phone than the Redmi 5A. BGR liked the stock Android experience on the phone but pointed out at a lot of uninstallable bloatware which can mar the experience somewhat. The stock android actually helps bring out the newer features and design of the latest android as compared to MIUI on the Redmi 5A which looks almost similar despite version updates.
10.or has also promised an update to Android 8.0 (Oreo) but a timeline for the update is not provided. Android updates for a phone around Rs.5000 wasn't common sometime back. So it's a nice change to see manufacturers finally understanding the needs for updates and providing the same irrespective of the devices cost.
Hardware: Very Good hardware for the price
Coming to the hardware of the 10.or.D, the front is adorned with a 5.2 inch HD screen. NDTV Gadgets found the display to have good contrast and decent viewing angles, although Digit was a bit harsher complaining about the cool tint of the display the lower overall brightness and color distortions on viewing the screen from the side. But all can be forgiven when to factor in the price.
Moving on to the speakers, there is a single rear-facing speaker that will mostly get covered when you hold it in your hand. But when you are holding it right, the speaker sounds really good as reported by Fonearena. They also spoke about the improvement in sound when using the Dirac audio profile, which boosts some frequencies to make the sound more pleasing. Also present on the 10.or.D is an FM radio which even supports recording so you can record your favorite radio stations to listen to later.
Being a newly launched phone the 10.or.D supports dual sim 4g but you can access 4g on only one sim at a time. There is full support for VoLTE, so you can fully utilize the Jio network. Other connectivity features include Wi-Fi-n, Bluetooth 4.2 and GPS.
Having a nearly stock build of Android means the dialer and messaging app are default Google ones and they work very well. Fonearena reported the call quality to be good without any call drops or issues.
Under the hood, the 10.or.D has a Snapdragon 425 processor. Now, this processor can be excellent for gaming, if the games you play are Subway Surfer, Temple Run and so on. Introduce an Asphalt 8 game and you will see the phone struggle. Now you probably will know this before buying the phone, given its price.
Both the 10.or D and the Redmi 5A share the same quad core Snapdragon 425 with an Adreno 308 GPU. In benchmark scores, however, the 10.or D scores better than the Redmi 5A, in fact it's better than most phones in its class which have even slower Mediatek chipsets.
.But the real world differences between the 10.or and the Redmi aren't that big but the stock Android on the 10.or feels snappier.
The 3GB of RAM really helps the phone to open more apps in the background and switch between them much better than the Redmi 5A. The stock Android also helps it in multitasking better.
Camera: Average cameras
With a 13Mpx rear shooter accompanied by a led flash, the performance of the 10.or is pretty average as expected. If you plan to take a lot of photos then this may not be the best phone for you.
Fonearena reports how much the phone is dependent on good lighting conditions to give a decent photo. Other issues present are the slow focusing during close-ups, which end up giving you blurred shots. Fonearena did say that the HDR mode improves the contrast and saturation but makes the final image look more artificial. Moving onto low light, the flash is pretty good and not overpowering, which is good. Images shot with the low mode did introduce quite a bit of noise which looks poor. The front camera with its 5Mpx sensor will capture even lesser details than the rear as reported by Fonearena. They felt the camera more suited for video calls and selfies only. To sum up the rear camera review by Fonearena, do not pick the 10.or.D if good photos is your primary concern. The 10.or.D can record videos up to 1080p @ 30fps. BGR found the video quality to be average.
Battery: Good battery life
Armed with a 3500mAh battery, the phone manages to sail through more than a days use with light use and gets a days worth of use with heavy use as reported by Fonearena. Being a relatively affordable phone you cannot expect Quick Charge and that can be seen in the charging time with the phone talking around 3 hours to charge completely.
Phones that didn't make the cut
Xiaomi’s most affordable offering set the market on fire with its good features, decent build and a low price tag of Rs.5000. What it fall back were two things, one the arrival of the 10.or.D with more RAM and double the internal storage and two the increase in the price of the Redmi 5A by Rs.1000. While the price rise was marginal it did diminish the Redmi 5A’s value for money.
Then there was the software, MIUI that we didn’t like givens its heavy nature especially on a low-end phone with limited resources. What further seals the deal for 10.or is the presence of a fingerprint sensor that the Redmi 5A lacks. Bringing all the points together we can simply see how nicely 10.or managed to outsmart Xiaomi at its own game of providing affordable not cheap phones.