When Micromax Canvas HD A116 hit preorder last month, it ensured such a frenzy among the mobile-crazy that the phone is still out-of-stock on nearly all online stores and major retail outlets in India.
Perhaps it was to be expected — after all, for nearly a year, the only quad-core smartphone in India, the Samsung Galaxy S3, was priced at more than twice the Rs 15,000 price tag on the Canvas HD 116.
Now, a month later, even as the Canvas HD remains out of stock, a flurry of cheap quad-core phones have hit the market in India, ranging from the Rs 12,500 Xolo Q800, and the latest entrants — the Karbonn Titanium S5 and S1.
To be fair, the Karbonn Smart Titanium 51 had been announced two weeks ago, but the model hit the first retailer – Snapdeal – only yesterday.
And just in case you thought all the competitors for the Canvas HD (like Xolo Q800 and Titanium S1) had a smaller, 4.5 inch display, Karbonn also unveiled a 5-inch model, the Titanium S5.
With the actual launch of the two Titanium models yesterday, the number of quad core smartphones available in India under Rs 30,000 has now reached four. While a Chinese manufacturer, Jiayu, has also promised a 5-inch competitor, the G4, the phone is yet to reach the market.
For now, therefore, the choice boils down to the Titanium S1 and the Xolo Q800 in the 4.5-inch category, and the Micromax Canvas HD A116 and the newly launched Titanium S5 from Karbonn in the 5-inch category.
Of course, the Samsung Grand is also a worthwhile consideration, but the phone is no comparison to the others in terms of raw power.
While all the other models (including the proposed Jiayu model) are based on the quad-core Mediatek MT6589 processor, the Samsung Galaxy Grand is based on a dual-core processor that pales in power comparisons and benchmarks.
In Antutu Benchmark tests, for example, the Samsung Grand scores about 7,500, while the Micromax Canvas HD scores above 13,000, hitting the Samsung model out of the park.
Since the Karbonn Titanium S1, S5 and the Xolo Q800 are all based on essentially same rough design involving the Mediatek MT6589 platform, their performance should be comparable to that of the Micromax model.
The reason for the super performance is that they are all built on the latest ARM architecture called Cortex A7. The A7 design is designed to drastically cut down the power consumption compared to the older A9 design, while increasing power by the use of four cores compared to the two cores in A9.
Till phones based on Cortex A15, like the Samsung Galaxy S4, come out, the A7 quad-core phones are likely to remain unbeaten.
In terms of price, the 5-inch model from Karbonn is priced at Rs 11,990 on Snapdeal, compared to the Rs 15,000 price tag on the Canvas HD model.
The main difference between the two models in specifications that the Micromax model comes with 1.77 GB of internal memory, while the Titanium S5 depends on an external card for memory.
Another possible area of difference is in display quality. The Micromax phone display has been reported to be of ‘tolerably high’ quality, while in case of Karbonn, the question is very much still open. Besides, the Micromax phone comes with an HD (720p) display, which has about 1 million pixels.
In contrast, the other three models — the Xolo Q800 and the Karbonn Titanium S1 and S5 — have only half the resolution (or qHD), with just 500,000 pixels on their displays.
The difference in resolution can be felt sharply on a 5-inch screen, unlike on a 4-inch display. As a result, among the 5-inchers, the Micromax model does have an edge over the others.
One of the phones that comes into consideration in this price rage is the Xolo A1000. Though it has a 1 GHz dual-core processor, it does come with a very decent HD display (720p) that really sets it apart from the others. For users looking for a great display, and who cannot get hold of the Micromax HD phone, the Xolo A1000 (priced at Rs 13,500) offers perhaps a better option than the other three quad-core models.
Xolo, which has some backing from Intel, regularly comes out with decent displays on its large-screen phones, unlike some brands like Micromax whose display quality can vary widely.
However, none of these models seem to come with Gorilla glass, though that may not be a big surprise, considering that the Samsung Galaxy Grand, which is priced 70% higher, also doesn’t have the feature.
The Titanium models’ displays are very much an unknown quantity in the equations right now, as the phones hit the Snapdeal website only yesterday. In addition, Snapdeal expects to take all of 12 days to dispatch the phones.
It is, therefore, likely to take at least a few days more to figure out how good the displays are, how good the build quality is etc..
From practically the only hands-on video of the Xolo Q800 on the Internet, however, the display on that model seems decent enough (see the video below).