Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Are the best low cost smartphones now Windows Phones?

When it comes to the lowest cost smartphones in the market, you will still find Android running Gingerbread (Android 2.3.x) and Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0.x) or the Nokia Asha series. My own favorite in the low cost bunch is the Huawei Ascend Y300. With a Gorilla Glass protected 4-inch WVGA (480 x 800) display, a dual core processor, front and back cameras and a large 1730 mAh battery, it is one step ahead of Android flagship phones of 2010, and mid-level Android phones of 2011. Couple this with the fact that it runs a current enough operating system (Android 4.1 Jelly Bean) a Php5,490 suggested retail price and you have what amounts to a excellent value for money deal. Overall, the Huawei Ascend Y300 is a very nice package with no real weaknesses. It is built on three year old technology though.

Hauwei Ascend Y300

ODM phones sold by Cherry Mobile give you a quad core phone for Php6,990 and a 5-inch phone with a HD (720 x 1280) display for Php7,990.  These two have some very impressive specifications, but some serious limitations too. The quad-core Cherry Mobile Flare 2.0 is built on a Qualcomm S4 Processor with a quad core processor based on older technology and comes with an older generation Adreno 203 graphics chip.  The 5-inch HD display of the Cherry Mobile Omega HD is coupled with a old PowerVR SGX531 graphics processing chip which will result in lackluster 3D performance.

Windows Phone has two entry level offerings, the Nokia Lumia 520 and the Hauwei Ascend W1. On the face of its these two phones and their 4-inch WVGA displays, and priced at Php7,990 and Php8,990, the Lumia 520 and Ascend W1 look like more expensive equivalents of the Android powered Ascend Y300.
Nokia Lumia 520

But the similarity is only skin deep. The Lumia 520 and Ascend W1 which are built on current technology using Qualcomm's Krait processors built on still cutting edge 28 nm technology and the Adreno 305 graphics which Qualcomm released in the fourth quarter of 2012. The Ascend Y300 and Omega HD are based on an older 45nm ARM Cortex A9 processor and still sports the aging PowerVR SGX531. The four cores and Adreno 203 graphics in the Flame 2.0 are really are not faster than the dual core Kraits and Adreno 305 graphics in the Lumia 520 and Ascend W1. With the new Qualcomm chipset also comes support for faster HSPA data transfer speeds.

Huawei Ascend W1
Android phones still offer lower cost options, and come with more variety in terms impressive set of screen sizes and resolutions. However, the geek inside will really appreciate the Lumia 520 and Ascend W1. In terms of hardware, the Lumia 520 and the Ascend W1 are really the two best pieces of smartphone hardware at less than Php10,000. 

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