Meet the new breed of cheap Octa-core Phones in India priced Rs 10,000-20,000

A slew of cheap octacore phones have hit the Indian market over the last one month, starting with the iBerry Auxus Nuclea X, Gionee Elife S 5.5, Intex Aqua Octa and ending with the launch of the Panasonic P81, Wickedleak Wammy Neo, Alcatel One touch IDOL X+ and the Karbonn Titanium Octane Plus in the last few days.

From the information available so far, it looks like the Alcatel One touch IDOL X+, followed by the Karbonn Titanium Octane Plus, is the most value-for-money option among the ones launched so far.

     Karbonn Octane Plus
Karbonn Octane Plus

It has only been a year since cheap quad-core phones were launched in India, and already octa-core phones are here to replace them. The highlight, of course, is the new Mediatek MT6592 chipset that has eight ARM A7 cores. Most of the quad-core phones have Mediatek’s older chip solution with four ARM A7 cores.

In other words, the new octa-core phones are twice as powerful. Indeed, going by scores of 26,000 on benchmarking application Antutu compared to 13,000-15,000 for the quad-core chips, that seems about right.

Nine relatively cheap Octacore Android phones have been launched so far in India, out of which six have 5 inch displays and one, Gionee Elife E7 Mini, has a 4.7 inch one. Theh remaining two, the Panasonic P81 (5.5 inch) and the Intex Aqua Octa (6 inch) have bigger displays.

As far as display resolution is concerned, only three have full HD displays – the Gionee Elife S5.5, the Alcatel One touch IDOL X+ and the Karbonn Titanium Octane Plus.

Unfortunately, the phones with bigger displays, the Panasonic P81 and the Intex Aqua Octa, come with 720p HD screens and not full HD 1080p screens. While 720p displays are not very poor, when you’re spending Rs 15,000-20,000, you might want to spend it on something that gives a premium feel. A full HD display would set the phone apart as they will offer a finer, life-like picture.

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The cheapest of the lot is the Wickedleak Wammy Neo, which is priced at just Rs 12,000 – lower than what many quad-core phones are priced at.

The Wammy, available on the company’s website, will start shipping from June 6. Interestingly, the Wammy, which has a normal HD display, is one of the four phones that have 2 GB of RAM. It is not clear why the other phones, such as the two Gionee models and the iBerry and Panasonic models, have been given only 1 GB of RAM.

           Panasonic P 81
Panasonic P 81

It may be noted that unlike higher end models from the likes of Samsung and HTC, these phones do not come with a video out in the form of HDMI output. So connecting these phones to a bigger display to take advantage of their powerful processors would be difficult for now.

Only one of the phones have an AMOLED display – the Gionee Elife S 5.5, which also comes with a full HD screen.

Another key factor to be noted is the Android version on these phones. All except one come with Android Jelly Bean 4.2. While Jelly Bean is not a poor operating system, in terms of smoothness and responsiveness, Android Kitkat 4.4 is far ahead. The Kitkat platform achieves this by using less memory and processing power.

Out of the nine Mediatek MT6592-based mid-range octacore phones available in India, only one comes with Android Kitkat — the Karbonn Titanium Octane Plus, which is priced at Rs 18,000. It does have a full HD display and 2 GB of RAM, but has only a 2,000 mAh (2 Ah) battery, which may restrict its mobility.

Alcatel One touch IDOL X+

In terms of looks, the Gionee Elife S 5.5 is likely to appeal the most due to its full HD AMOLED display, but the Rs 20,000 price-tag may discourage many prospective buyers.

The cheapest full-HD, octa-core phone is the Karbonn Titanium Octane Plus, coming in at Rs 18,000.

In terms of looks, the Intex Aqua Octa and the Panasonic P81 have the most understated looks, while the Karbonn Octane Plus has the most distinctive look of all. The Gionee Elife S 5.5 will probably appeal to those who like two distinct bars at the top and the bottom, while the Gionee Elife E7 Mini will appeal to those who like sharp angles.

In terms of value for money, the Alcatel One touch IDOL X+ scores the highest at this point. Costing just Rs 17,000 (to be launched soon by Flipkart), the phone offers the best deal among the lot as of now. On the other hand, Micromax Canvas Knight A350 offers the least value for money.

    Gionee Elife S 5.5
Gionee Elife S 5.5

One of the important things to note is that a new breed of Octa-core phones, based on a new, more powerful Mediatek chip, are expected to hit the market around September. The phones would be based on the MT6595 chipset, instead of MT6592. The MT 6595 chipset will incorporate the more powerful A-17 processor cores from ARM.

The new chip, which will incorporate ARM’s big.LITTLE technology,  will result in longer battery lives. In addition, the performance of the new chip will be at least twice as better for most applications, as the four A17 cores will be at least twice as powerful as the A7 cores they are replacing.