Welcome to the third and final part of the smartphone roundup. In this price range you will find moderate to somewhat high end phones – even a few flagship models from yesteryear (we’ve taken out the Moto X, though). Again, specifications are somewhat similar across the board, with a few changes in the design and in some cases the UI. Our opinions are based on elements such as the build quality, quality of the display, overall performance and general polish of the device.

phones - midrange - top end

Nokia Lumia 730

We start off the list with the Lumia 730. Priced at around Rs 36,00, it’s powered by a quad core 1.2 GHz CPU along with 1GB of RAM – Lumias really aren’t as memory-hungry as their Android cousins. It has a 6.7 MP rear camera, featuring Carl Zeiss optics and a secondary 5 MP front facing camera.

This is where those Lumia optics really kick in. The camera is great, thanks to the Carl Zeiss lens, and the AMOLED display does a really good job of displaying colors, especially when it comes to looking through your favourite images and for video playback. It comes with Windows Phone 8.1 and it upgradeable to Lumia Cyan. The phone is rated with a standby time of around 600 hours with 3G and a talk time of up to 17h on 3G. Available at most mobile phone retailers in and around Colombo.

See Ideabeam: Lumia 730

Motorola Moto G (2nd Gen)

For around the same price, you can also get a Motorola Moto G (2nd Gen). This, as the name suggests, is the updated successor to the Moto G. Sporting a much larger 5″ 720*1280 screen , the new Moto G is powered by the same 1.2GHz CPU and has the same RAM and internal storage capacity with an 8 megapixel camera. It ships with Android 4.4.2 as its OS and is also upgradeable to Android 5.0 Lollipop once the update is ready. Fair warning: it’s rare.

Xiaomi Mi3

We looked at Xiaomi in the previous article and we find them again with their Mi3 model. Not to be mixed with the political figure, the Xiaomi Mi3 sports a 5″ Full HD IPS display with a quad core 2.3 GHz CPU backed up by 2GB of RAM and has either 16 or 32GB of internal storage (no microSD support though). Just to put things into perspective, that’s almost the same as 2013’s flagship, the Nexus 5.

The Mi3 runs a modified version of Android Jelly Bean 4.3 called MIUI (we first saw this in the Xiaomi Redmi and Note). In addition, the Mi3 also has a 13 megapixel rear camera and a 2 megapixel camera in the front. For a relatively unheard of brand in Sri Lanka, the build quality is quite good and the phone goes through the day to day activities without an issue. Few compromises have been made here. The battery is rated at around 500 hours of standby time with 3G and around 25 hours of talk time.

It’s priced at Rs. 38,900 at Dialcom, which is hugely overpriced compared to its killer prices in India. What’s surprisingly is that it’s still good value for money even with the massive bump in price.

LG G3 S

For Rs. 39,000 you can get your hands on a LG G3 S. Its basically LG’s flagship G3 mobile phone with a cut down 5″ screen (720p) and a quad core 1.2 GHz CPU and 1GB of RAM. It also has a 8MP rear camera and a 1.3MP front camera.

The G3 has had a mixed reception. The camera is good – but there are reports of the sensor giving issues after prolonged periods of use.There were some reports of the screen not being very clear. Given the availability of the HTC One Mini, it doesn’t make much sense to re\comment the C3 S. Available at most mobile retailers in Colombo.

HTC One Mini

If the LG model doesn’t suit your fancy, then take a look at the HTC One Mini. This again is a cut down model of a high end flagship, in this case, the HTC One. Sporting a 4.3″ 720*1280 screen, it runs on a quad core 1.4 GHz CPU and has 1GB of RAM – almost the LG G3. It retains the camera from its big brother, and therefore has HTC’s controversial Ultramegapixel camera on the back and  with a 1.6 megapixel camera in front. It even has the Beats Audio sound enhancement, which we found quite useful in the One.

Considering that it’s a lesser version of the HTC One released in 2013, the One Mini does a respectable job of playing the little brother. The build quality is sturdy and as an HTC product is not to be laughed at. It runs Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean and uses HTC’s proprietary Sense UI and BlinkFeed and is upgradeable to Android 4.4 KitKat and even Android 5.0 Lollipop.  The asking price is around Rs. 39,900, – you can find it at almost all mobile phone retailers.

See Ideabeam: HTC One Mini

Sony Xperia C3

At the Rs. 50,000 mark, you can check out the Sony Xperia C3. It’s a dual-SIM device looks a lot like any other Sony Xperia, with a 5.5″, 720p screen that incorporates Sony’s buzzword-laden technologies such as their Mobile BRAVIA Engine and Triluminos display. Powered by a quad core 1.2GHz CPU and backed up by 1GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage, it also has a microSD slot and runs Android 4.4.2 KitKat – albeit with Sony’s usual TimescapeUI.

The one problem is that the C3 looks pretty much like every other Xperia. Yu see one Xperia, and you’ve pretty much seen them all.

If you’re an avid fan of the Xperia line-up, a better deal would be the Xperia Z LTE. Priced at Rs. 43,600, this was a one time flagship model of Sony back in 2013 and still retains some of its former glory. Sporting a 5″ proper HD display, it is also IP57 certified – which in layman’s terms means that it can get a bit of water thrown at it without a fuss. Bit that does not mean that you can go around throwing water at it. It also takes really, really good photos.

Ideabeam: Xperia C3, Xperia Z

LG Nexus 5

The Nexus 5 was the flagship Nexus device of yesteryear. It made huge waves, and everyone knows the specs and its hook by now.

How does it fare now? Still hanging in there. Despite an upgrade to Android 5.0 Lollipop, the Nexus isn’t quite cutting it on the new OS – there are complaints with the recent OS update where users say that they are experiencing lags, crashes and severe battery drain. KitKat, however, is as stable as anything. Despite a sub-par camera, the Nexus 5 is one of the best stock Android experiences out there. The Nexus 5 is available for around 50,000 rupees, depending on who you talk to – anything more is too expensive.

Comments? Feedback? User experience with any of these or contenders? Drop us a line.

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