With the Avurudu season coming up, many of you may or may not be on the lookout for a new mobile phone. Well, fear not. We are here to rescue the day. Here is your one-stop guide to help you purchase a mobile phone. What we’ll try to do here is give the reader an idea of what kind of mobile experience they can expect at different price points in the Sri Lankan consumer mobile market.
We’ll start by looking at different price points and recommending our pick of phones in those categories. Primarily, we used www.mymobile.lk and Dialcom (since they carry brands and models not commonly found elsewhere) as our main research sources. For the purpose of this guide, we are keeping a margin of c. Rs. 1000 for each price category as we estimate this is a standard discount one could get at the physical store over the online prices shown on vendor websites in Sri Lanka.
A phone less than Rs. 5000
Nokia 108 Dual Sim at Rs. 4,400.00 – In this category, the options are quite basic, as one might expect. The 108 should give you the usual stellar battery life of Nokia feature phones, a basic screen TFT colour screen and VGA resolution camera.
A phone less than Rs. 10,000
Huawei Honor Bee/ Huawei Honor Y5C at Rs. 10,900 – This is one case where we will invoke our Rs. 1,000 margin and recommend the Honor Y5C. It comes in at Rs. 10,900 so slightly over our target budget but it does offer 8GB of internal memory and 1GB of RAM (both double of its Samsung counterpart in this price range, the Samsung Galaxy Ace). We also compared it to the Nokia Lumia 430, running on the Windows Phone OS, which is known to run better on low end devices that Android, however the Y5C got the recommendation due to its 8 megapixel (MP) camera sensor over the Nokia’s paltry 3.15MP shooter.
A phone less than Rs. 20,000
Huawei Honor 4C at 20,900 – Another Rs. 1000 extra to play with and another win for Huawei.
The Honor 4C offers a 5” 720p display, beating that of the Samsung Galaxy Core Prime, as well as packing Huawei’s self-made octa-core Kirin 620 processor. The phone comes with 2GB RAM, a 13MP camera and a decently sized 2550mAh battery making it a compelling pick. You should notice that most of these specs on paper will rival specs from higher-tier phones – Which shows you how much bang for your buck you’re actually getting at a reasonable price of approximately Rs. 20,000.
A phone less than Rs. 30,000
Samsung Galaxy J7 at Rs. 30,000 – The Galaxy J7 becomes a bit of an easy recommendation in this category given its all around strong package. It’s a 5.5” screen phone which would make it a little big but big is in style now so we’re overlooking that. It has a mid-tiered Snapdragon 615 which should keep things pretty smooth, paired with 1.5GB of ram (a little low but not a deal breaker) and 16GB of internal storage, upgradeable via microSD card. Under the hood there’s a 3000mAh battery which should last you about a day as well.
Honorable mention goes to the Samsung Galaxy J5, which comes in at Rs. 27,500.00 just in case the J7 is too big for you.
A phone less than Rs. 40,000
Meizu MX5 at Rs. 40,000 – This may seem like an oddball choice but at this price point, the Meizu MX5 is looking like a really strong contender against the bigger players. It has a full HD (1920×1080) display, with metal build, a fingerprint sensor and a 20MP camera. It also has dual sim and a large 3,150mAh battery.
A phone less than Rs. 50,000
OnePlus X at Rs. 48,000 – This might be a somewhat controversial pick, but the OnePlus X features premium build quality and a fast Snapdragon 801 processor. The phone’s internals are somewhat old, being 2014’s flagship specs, but they still outperforms 2015 mid-tier specs (e.g. Snapdragon 6XX processors). The phone has a 5” Full HD AMOLED display which has great colours and is a decent size for most people.
The downsides are the lack of quick charging and that the phone is slippery as hell. But if you want a clean solid Android experience, this is the phone for you.
A phone less than Rs. 60,000
LG Nexus 5X at Rs. 55,000 – At under 60K, we’re into current gen mid to high-end specs and the Nexus 5X is the mid-tier 2015 Nexus phone for everyone. It comes with a fast Snapdragon 808 processor, the latest version of Android, a great 12MP camera, front facing mono speaker, and the a rear-facing fingerprint sensor (called Nexus Imprint). Don’t let the numbers fool you, the 12MP snapper on this baby is as good as some of the phone in much higher price brackets (e.g. iphone 6S and Nexus 6P).
This also comes with fast charging and USB C connector. So what’s the catch? The phone is all plastic, so it doesn’t feel that premium, and at this price, you’re limited to 16GB storage (although there is a 32GB variant as well).
A phone less than Rs. 75,000
Samsung Galaxy S6 at Rs. 73,000 – Some of you might be thinking that the S6 is a little old now that the S7 was just launched, however the S6 can still hold its own in the mobile phone ring. It has a fast Exynos 7420 octa-core processor, a gorgeous 2560×1440 Super AMOLED display, a great 16MP camera and good design and build combining both metal and glass. Currently the prices we have taken are for the 64GB which is a special offer from Dialcom.
The downside to the S6 is the relatively small battery combined with the top-end internals leads to battery life which is somewhat lacking.
A phone less than Rs. 100,000
Samsung Galaxy S7 at Rs. 98,900 – The king of the hill in the world of Android at the moment. Best in class display, best in class camera, high end 2016 specs, fingerprint sensor, superb design which is easy to hold and waterproof to top it off! This phone has it all, performance and prestige and makes very very few compromises – the tinny speaker being one of them. Other than that, very few corners have been cut making it the overall choice for anyone looking for a high end Android device.
A phone over Rs. 100,000
Iphone 6S and 6S Plus/ Galaxy S7 Edge – The S7 Edge is the big brother to the S7 above and has much of the same features except with curved glass edges on either side of the display. The S7 Edge features a larger display (5.5”) and battery (3,600mAh) which should help to get longer use for hard users.
The iPhone 6S and 6S Plus are great choices for users who prefer Apple’s iOS operating system over Google’s Android platform. We kept both phones in the above Rs. 100,000 category, as the only iPhone 6S we found below Rs. 100,000 is the 16GB model, which we feel is a little low for a good mobile experience in 2016. Both phones feature the latest in processing technology from Apple and offer fast, fluid performance with Touch ID being one of the fastest fingerprint sensors on any mobile device, and the 12MP camera being a fantastic shooter – up there with the best. Battery life on the 6S is supposed to be average, to very good on the 6S Plus. On the whole, iPhones don’t compare exactly to Android, since the operating systems are different, but suffice to say that both phones offer a premium mobile experience.
So there you have it folks, this is our take on the best your money can get in today’s local market. Honorable mentions go out to the Galaxy Note 5 and Nexus 6P in the high end, as well as the OnePlus 2 in the mid-upper tier. As always, these are just our opinions but we hope they’d help you in making the best decision for your next phone purchase – Thanks for reading and happy shopping!
Thoughts? Comments? Feedback? We would love to hear from you. Leave a comment in the section below.