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Moto X Style to Meizu MX5: Top mid-range phones this Diwali

Moto X Style or OnePlus 2 or Meizu MX5 or should you get Android Marshmallow running Nexus 5X? We list out the top mid-range phones worth considering this Diwali

We are looking at phones priced under Rs 40,000 in this list. The options include Moto X Style, Gionee’s 6-inch phablet Elife E8, OnePlus 2, Moto X Play and Google’s Nexus 5X.

The mid-range smartphone market in India has a number of solid options to choose from. There’s Motorola with its new Moto X Style and Play range, the pure Android Nexus 5X and the OnePlus 2.

We are looking at phones priced under Rs 40,000 in this list. The options include Moto X Style, Gionee’s 6-inch phablet Elife E8, OnePlus 2, Moto X Play and Google’s Nexus 5X. Below is the list based on price and where each phone stands.

Top mid-range smartphones for Diwali

Here is a quick look at the top mid-range smartphones for Diwali. *

Moto X Style : 29,999 price.

Apple iPhone 5s : Rs 53,500
Nexus 5X :  Rs 31,990 (for 16GB) and Rs 35,990 (for 32GB) price.
Meizu MX5 : Rs 19,999
Gionee Elife E8 :  Rs 34,999
Moto X Play : Rs 18,499 (16GB version)
Oppo R7 Lite :  Rs 17,990
Lenovo Vibe P1 : Rs 7,999
OnePlus 2 :  Rs 24,999 price.
Vivo X5 Pro : Rs 28,650
Price is for base model
MOTO X STYLE
In our review, we saw that Moto X Style has a lot to offer for its price. It is basically playing the OnePlus style game in the Samsung Galaxy territory. The large 5.7-inch WQHD display, 21MP sensor and dual front stereo speakers make it a worthy buy given its Rs 29,999 price.

The Moto X Style has one of the best cameras among Android smartphones right, which clicks pictures with crisp details. Moto X Style is powered by an hexa-core Snapdragon 808 processor which makes multi-tasking and gaming a joy on this smartphone. Motorola has also added 4K video shooting to its camera options and it doesn’t heat up like other flagship smartphones.

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Moto X Style retains the design of original Moto X which was one of the best designed Android smartphone in 2013. The new Moto X Style is huge, but fits nicely in the palm and the textured rear gives it an attractive look and good grip.

The new 5.7-inch display comes with a resolution of 1440 x 2560 pixels and it is undoubtedly the best display ever packed into a Motorola smartphone. The display can get super bright and extremely dim too. If the display is set to maximum brightness at night time, it is good enough to act as a flashlight. Also the ambient display works intelligently and like Moto X 2014, users can wave their hands to activate the display and see the notification. Both the Moto X phones before had weakest cameras in the category and this time Motorola has turned to Sony for image sensors. The result: one of the best camera sensors in an Android smartphone right now. For starters, the 21MP image sensor takes great pictures in broad daylight. The pictures are crisp and colours are extremely accurate. Also the 20 million pixels image gives you enough freedom to zoom into finer details.

The Moto X Style gets the trademark near-stock Android operating system with few Moto additions. Everything from Moto Display to Moto Voice work as advertised and Moto Voice is something that you would use over longer time. The Moto X Style leaves no room for complaints when it comes to performance. Thanks to Snapdragon 808 and 3GB RAM, Moto X Style can handle anything from gaming to basic web browsing without any noticeable lag.

 

NEXUS 5 X

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Nexus 5 will go down the books as the most liked Nexus smartphone of all time and Google turned to LG this year again to rework the magic. Nexus 5X is a spiritual successor to Nexus 5 and it shows the moment you see the device. It has those edges and similar plastic design.

Nexus 5X comes with improved specs like 5.2-inch display and Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 chip. The biggest improvement is the 12.3-megapixel rear camera. Nexus 5X’s camera is really good and it won’t disappoint even at full zoom.

If pure Android experience is all that you want, Nexus 5X is an apt choice in this price range but you will need to get that 32GB storage model for storing all those beautiful pictures and 4K videos.

For people who love to drool over specs, the Nexus 5X might sound uninspiring for the price. Having said that a Nexus smartphone is all about the pure and elite experience and definitely not just specs.

After seeing the Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X smartphones, there is always this feeling that Google might have clubbed both of them- the all-metal Nexus 6P in the 5.2-inch Nexus 5X form factor. But sadly, Google wants buyers to choose between plastic and metal. And more importantly between 5.2-inch and 5.7-inch displays.

What is good?

LG Google Nexus 5X has the right form factor. It is easy to grip, lightweight and fits perfectly in your palm or pocket. The display quality is decent, however, sunlight visibility is not the best.

The best part of the Nexus 5X story has to be Android Marshmallow. The new Android operating system changes the equation altogether. It is neat, smooth and makes life a lot easier with features like ‘search apps’, instant Google Now and battery optimisation.

The camera quality is superior. Images appear natural with good colour reproduction. You can shoot 4K video without any sort of troubles at all. Even at full zoom, the camera will not disappoint you.

The fingerprint scanner is definitely the best in the business. The battery life of the device is decent and no doubt the device takes very little time to get fully charged.

ONE PLUS 2

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OnePlus 2 still sets the benchmark high for building a flagship smartphone but at lower costs than the competition. The OnePlus 2 was called the ‘2016 flagship killer,’ a hype that it has found tough to live up to.

OnePlus 2 has great camera and its build quality is definitely the finest you can in this price segment. But in our month-long review, we noted some performance and battery issues with the device.

What is good

This phone has a lot of things going for it. For me, the goodness starts with the design of the phone, especially the black sandstone finish of the rear panel. It looks both premium and practical, offering a superb grip. The matte finish metal frame running around the phone adds to the top-end feel of this phone. Despite my apprehensions with the Snapdragon processor, the phone offers great overall performance. You can do everything you would on a top-end smartphone like the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 or the LG G4 and this phone will not so much as give out a whimper. It does heat up once in a while and thankfully it is only once in a while, a big achievement if you are running on any top-end Snapdragon processor. OnePlus is claiming that it did some tweaks to reduce the thermal footprint and it shows. All benchmarks put this phone at the top, ahead of the Meizu MX4. I loved the camera of the OnePlus One. It was good enough to convince me that I did not have to lug around a DSLR wherever I went. In fact, I shot most of the photos and videos of CES 2015 using that phone. I would do that again with the OnePlus 2 if needed. I am confident really of this phone camera.

MOTO X PLAY

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Motorola’s Moto X Play is a combination of decent design, great camera, beautiful display and a battery that will force you to use it more. In our review, we have called Moto X Play as a killer smartphone for under Rs 20,000. The fact that Moto X Play supports microSD card support, even buying the 16GB variant is not a bad deal. With Flipkart offering great discounts on Motorola smartphones, Moto X Play is a great buy for those looking at buying a 5.5-inch Android smartphone under Rs 20,000.

What is good?

Moto X Play offers a 5.5-inch 1080p Full HD display, which should delight you. The colours and viewing angles are good. Despite having a 5.5-inch display, the Moto X Play is easy to hold and doesn’t feel bulky. The device is delightfully smooth and is powered by an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 CPU with 2GB RAM. The performance should easily please most users. Moto X Play can cater to most of the performance needs. In general, users can expect a lag-free experience. The device is surprisingly fast and should be able to satisfy the performance needs of most users. The battery life of the device is again better than others in this price range. You can expect the device to last over a day easily. Users can also get over two days by switching to power saving options.

Gionee Elife E8

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Gionee Elife E8 is the largest smartphone in this price range. It has a gigantic 6-inch display which is one of the best among the pack. Gionee Elife E8 offers nice viewing angles and decent visibility under direct sunlight. The star feature of Elife E8 is its camera. The 24MP rear camera is fast and the colour reproduction is pretty accurate. It also features lossless zoom option.

WHAT IS GOOD?

The device comes with a good display which is essential for a big screen smartphone. The viewing angles are good and sunlight visibility is decent. While the display is quite bright; it doesn’t hurt the eyes. The star feature of the Elife E8 has to be the camera. Gionee Elife E8’s 24-megapixel rear camera. The camera is fast and colours are pretty accurate. Coming to the ‘lossless zoom’ feature, the device does well but there is obviously grains visible while shooting at full zoom. The front camera is quite pleasing too.

On the performance front, the Elife E8 is a delight. You won’t face lags. Games run smoothly and multi-tasking is not a problem. Another good aspect of the Elife E8 is that it comes with ample storage. It offers around 53GB of internal storage which can be further expanded to 128GB via microSD card.

Meizu MX5

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For all those geeks out there, Meizu MX5 is a smartphone built and designed for you. The Meizu MX5 packs a great camera and super-fast performance. Meizu MX5 sure looks like an iPhone but it is a beast when it comes to performance benchmarks. This phone has been made to take on load and you will love multi-tasking or playing games on it.

What is good?

The best thing about the phone is definitely its performance. This phone has been made to take on load and you will love multi-tasking or playing games on it. In fact, the MX5 is much ahead of the competition in most of the benchmarking scores. While that does not say much, this MediaTek powered phone will not give you much reason to complain at least in the short run — this disclaimer because some Android phones have been acting weird after a few weeks in recent times. The other good thing is the camera and it is among the best in the Android space. In fact, I don’t mind putting this very close to the OnePlus 2 camera which I really love. But then comes the added advantage that this offers a bunch of photo settings which the OnePlus phone does not. Also, it is a really fast auto-focus on the camera. Then 4K camera is good and stays relatively cool while you are shooting. This phone has a decent, though temperamental battery. I got well over 12 hours on one day despite being on 4G and just 10 hours the next. But still this seems to have among the better batteries in this range. The FlyMe UI is very easy to navigate and has fewer elements to complicate your life. Also, the phone has the bare minimum apps out of the box and leaves it to the user to fill up as he needs.

Apple iPhone 5s

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Its definitely two years old but it is still the best option for those looking at buying a smartphone that fits nicely in their hand.  Apple iPhone 5s has undoubtedly one of the best smartphone cameras and while it may lack 4K recording, don’t let this be a deal breaker. Get iPhone 5s if you love Apple’s closed ecosystem in a compact package.

Design

The iPhone 5s is as elegant as its discontinued predecessor (iPhone 5). There are two noticeable changes on the body. The home button is now convex and is encircled by a silver ring,measures taken to accommodate the fingerprint sensor dubbed Touch ID. The flash has two LEDs instead of one.

All four buttons (lock,home,volume and ringer) feel solid and are responsive. Available in three colours (space grey,silver and gold),and weighing 112 grams,the 5S is one of the lightest smartphones in the market. The metal casing lends it a premium feel. The good thing about the screen size is that the iPhone feels good to hold and will easily fit in small palms. However,a little more width would greatly improve typing experience. Those who have typed long emails on bigger smartphones will have some trouble adapting to the 5s.

Touch ID

Fingerprint scanners have been around for a few years. Many laptops have had these,although most of them were difficult to configure and did not work well. Those days are now gone. Apple’s implementation of the fingerprint is almost perfect. It takes less than a minute to let the device store the print of each finger,up to a total of five. Touch ID recognises the fingerprint almost instantly and once I got used to it,unlocking other phones felt cumbersome. Touch ID makes passwords,codes and patterns feel outdated. There were two instances when Touch ID failed to activate,but entering the passcode unlocked the phone and I didn’t face the issue again.

For those worried about fingerprint data being stolen,Apple says the data is stored on the device and not online. It can only be used to unlock the phone and while installing apps. The technology is exciting and would be even more useful if the fingerprint could be used to lock apps such as WhatsApp or Dropbox,where users store private data.

Performance

The iPhone 5s houses Apple’s A7 processor,which is twice as powerful as its predecessor (A6). The phone also has a motion co-processor called M7. This chip can collate data from the compass,gyroscope,accelerometer,and other sensors. M7 helps iPhone 5s check movement,speed and direction without draining battery life. A simple use is illustrated by a fitness app called Nike+Move,which tracks movement and speed during workouts. More advanced use could involve integration with navigation apps,where users are warned if they exceed speed limits,etc.

The iPhone 5s feels just as fast as the 5c and 5,but the true power of the processor can only be judged after more apps are designed for the A7.

All these improvements are like buds — they will bloom in the future. But if the iPhone 5s has one flower in full bloom,it has to be the camera. Although it retains the same megapixel count (8),the iPhone 5s camera marks a major improvement over its predecessor. The pictures are sharp and there is no time lag between shots. What it lacks in resolution,it more than makes up for in terms of quality and speed. Low-light performance is very good and colours were reproduced accurately most of the time. Many users will find the burst mode useful. It lets you capture 10 pictures,select the best frame and delete the rest in just three clicks.

The phone ran out of charge after a day’s use (30-odd calls,200+ messages,five hours of reading ebooks,browsing,social networks and an hour of streaming music over wi-fi).

Lenovo Vibe P1

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Just days ahead of Diwali, Lenovo announced two new smartphones for the Indian consumers. The Vibe P1 is the latest addition to the smartphone line-up. Lenovo Vibe P1 is for those looking at going days without charging their smartphones. The Vibe P1 features a 5000mAh battery that has a standby time of up to 648 hours. It features a 5.5-inch full HD display and is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 processor. Stay tuned for our review of Lenovo Vibe P1.

Oppo R7 Lite

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The Oppo R7 Lite offers premium build and great performance. We called the R7 Lite’s Color OS interface as user-friendly and is easy to get things started on this one. The battery life is the strongest point of this smartphone. The only disappointment being the lack of full HD panel.

What is good?

Overall, the Oppo R7 Lite will impress any buyer. The Color OS interface is quite friendly and has everything a user might need to get started. As mentioned, the killer looks of the smartphone make it something to really fall for.

The camera quality is decent but low light photography might disappoint you. The multimedia experience is also decent, although nothing exceptional given the price.

One of the major highlights of this device is the battery life. The device will easily last you over a day. I managed to get around two days with WiFi usage during office hours.

Vivo X5 Pro

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In our review, we called Vivo X5 to be robust and a phone that has been built to last. The full HD display works well even in bright sunlight. The best thing about Vivo X5 Pro is its camera. It is one of the fastest in the range and offers great clarity with pictures.

What is good?

The phone overall offers you the feeling of something robust, something that will last. And that itself is an achievement these days. The build quality is really good and the plastic at the rear and front does not feel flimsy.

The phone has a very good Full HD display that works well even in bright sunlight. However, the company needs to take a look at whether it needs to use up so much space and above and beyond the display, which thankfully is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3.

The phone offers decent performance and you will not have issues with multi-tasking. I tried some high-end games and was happy with the graphics as well as with the response offered by the device.

The best things about the phone has to be its 13MP rear camera. The camera is one of the fastest I have used, certainly in a phone that is not priced like a flagship. The sapphire lens offer great clarity in the photos and there is a great level of detail even in low-light shots.

With touch-to-click activated you can see how fast the auto-focus works on this phone and that is impressive. The only time there is even a slight lag is when you are trying to shoot macro. The camera app packs a few presets — even one for PowerPoint presentations — and it pretty much covers all common uses cases.

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