The budget smartphone category has started looking very appealing with the launch of smartphones that show off not only impressive design and style but power under the hood as well. Today we take a look at three very interesting budget smartphones.

Micromax impressed us by using quad-core processer smartphone in budget price, with the launch of the A116 Canvas HD. The Micromax Canvas HD boasts of a 720p HD display, and has an 8MP camera.

But that is not the only smartphone that launched with amazing features. We have seen Samsung launch the Galaxy Grand Duos. The smartphone brings with it a slew of Samsung exclusive features found on premium devices in a 5-inch form factor. The performance of the Grand Duos is quite impressive too.

Last week, we saw the launch of the Intel Atom Z2480 powered Xolo X1000 in India for Rs. 19,999. The smartphone impressed us in the 20 minutes that we spent with it, and we can’t wait for our review unit to arrive.

Since all the three smartphones are the budget representatives of their respective brands, we thought we’d compare the performance of each of them to see how they stack up against one another. Let us start with the specifications:

Name
Micromax A116 Canvas HD
Xolo X1000
Samsung Galaxy Grand Duos
Display size
5-inch
4.7-inch
5-inch
Display type
IPS
TFT LCD
WVGA
Display resolution (pixels)
1280×720
1280×720
480×800
Processor type
MediaTek MT6589
Intel Atom Processor Z2480
Broadcom (unknown chipset)
Processor cores
quad-core

Single-core Intel Atom with Hyper Threading

dual-core
Processor clock speed (GHz)
1.2
2
1.2
RAM (GB)
1
1
1
Built-in storage (GB)
4
8
8
Expandable storage
32GB via microSD card
32GB via microSD card
64GB via microSD card
Dual-SIM support
Yes
No
Yes
Rear camera (MP)
8
8
8
Front facing camera (MP)
2
1.3
2
Battery (mAh)
2000
1900
2100
OS
Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean
Android 4.0 ICS
Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean
Skin
Light skin (Unknown)
Light skin (Unknown)
TouchWiz
Preloaded apps

M!Store, M!Buddy, M!SMS, M!Zone and Hook Up.

NA

S Voice, Smart Stay (the display won’t go to sleep if it knows that you are reading), All share, Chat On and my service

Price
Rs. 13,990
Rs. 19,999
Rs. 21,500

The Xolo X1000 has the smallest screen of the three smartphones but only by a minor margin and shouldn’t make much of a difference to the average user. The resolution of the display is what makes the most difference. Both the Canvas HD and the Xolo X1000 have 720p HD displays whereas the Galaxy Grand Duos has a 480×800 pixel resolution giving it the lowest pixel density of the three smartphones.

The display of the Canvas HD looks gorgeous and very vibrant. The same can be said about the X1000. The brief time we spent with it, the response was smooth, and we also saw a few YouTube videos on it. Even though the Galaxy Grand has the lowest resolution of the lot, the display still gets the job done for everyday usage. It’s only when watching videos that we saw a yellow tinge in the display. This isn’t a big deal for the average consumer but it is present nonetheless.

The Canvas HD has a mere 4GB built in storage whereas the other two smartphones have 8GB built-in storage each. All of them support expandable storage via a microSD card.

Both the Samsung Galaxy Grand and the Micromax A116 Canvas HD support dual-SIM capabilities whereas the Xolo X1000 is a single SIM device. All three smartphones have an 8MP shooter at the back.

The Xolo X1000 has a battery capacity of 1900mAh, which is the lowest of three, whereas the Micromax A116 Canvas HD has a 2000mAh battery, and the Samsung Galaxy Grand has the highest capacity battery with a 2100mAh battery.

The only place where the Samsung Galaxy Grand Duos and the Micromax A116 Canvas HD share an advantage is that they run on Android 4.1 Jelly Bean straight out of the box, giving users access to features such as Project Butter and Google Now. The Xolo X1000 runs on the aged Android 4.0 ICS and will receive the Jelly Bean update this year.

If you are someone who likes a vanilla Android experience, you are better off sticking to the Micromax A116 Canvas HD or the Xolo X1000 as the skin on them is relatively light. The Samsung Galaxy Grand Duos has Samsung’s famous TouchWiz skin. TouchWiz is one of the better preloaded skins out there and gives users access to a bunch of features such as S Voice, Smart Stay (the display won’t go to sleep if it knows that you are reading), All Share, Chat On and My Service.

Under the hood, different SoCs power the smartphones. The Canvas HD has the MediaTek MT6589 where as the Grand Duos has the Broadcom SoC. The X1000 houses the Intel Atom Processor Z2480, which is Intel’s venture in the smartphone hardware segment. Below are some benchmark comparisons of the three smartphones.

Quadrant is a CPU, I/O and 3D graphics benchmark. The higher the score, the better optimized the smartphone is. Here, surprisingly the Xolo X1000 scored the highest whereas the Micromax A116 Canvas HD scored the lowest, despite having the most powerful processor on paper. The Samsung Galaxy Grand Duos landed right in the middle.

SmartBench 2012 is a multi-core friendly benchmark application that measures the overall performance of your smartphone. It reports both productivity and gaming indices. Simply put, if you need to run games and heavy duty apps, then SmartBench score should help you decide the device for you. Here there is no surprise that the Canvas HD has come on top and the score of the other smartphones is way behind. The Galaxy Grand comes second and the Xolo X1000 scored the least.

We are quite impressed with all three smartphones. However, each device will suit different usage scenarios:

  • If you want a vanilla Android experience and are looking for a powerhouse performer, dual-SIM capabilities, and also the ability to install custom ROMs, then we suggest you take a look at the Micromax A116 Canvas HD. It is the best budget smartphone in the sub-Rs. 15k price point.
  • If you are one who wants a trusted brand, a lot of preloaded Samsung goodies, dual-SIM capabilities, as well as a large display, then the Samsung Galaxy Grand Duos is a good choice. Put simply, this is the poor man’s Samsung Galaxy S III with all the goodies minus the great hardware.
  • If you want a premium build and finish, the best display of the lot, good overall performance, and can accept a slightly older OS (though Jelly Bean is promised by the end of the year), then the Xolo X1000 is the device for you. However, do note that the X1000’s gaming performance seems to be comparatively less, with an older-generation GPU.