Which smartphone should you buy under Rs 20,000? Here's a comparison of top choices
Which smartphone should you buy under Rs 20,000? Here's a comparison of top choicesIBTimes India/Sami Khan

The battle of mid-range smartphones is getting more by the passing day. Gionee is the latest competitor in the premium affordable smartphone segment in India, which has several new players, such as LeEco, fighting for dominance. While these Chinese brands try to take over the Indian smartphone market, one of the first international brands to set foot in India — Xiaomi — will not just sit and watch.

Gionee has the Elife S6, LeEco is betting its Le 1s and Xiaomi is expected to launch the Redmi Note 3 in India soon in the affordable smartphone segment in India. All three phones have a lot in common, but minor differences make them stand apart. We will look at individual specs and features of each phone to see if their respective strong points will help overtake rivals.

Design

LeEco Le 1s sports a full-metal sealed unibody with no visible screws for a seamless design. The Le 1s is made using aircraft-grade aluminium and a chamfered frame. The speakers are at the bottom alongside a USB Type-C port. The handset measures 151.1 x 74.2 x 7.6mm and weighs 169 grams.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 3, which is yet to be released in India, also sports a full-metal unibody with rounded corners and curved edges along the sides of the rear panel. The speaker is placed at the rear panel, which has a smooth finish. The handset measures 150 x 76.0 x 8.65mm and weighs 164 grams.

Finally, the newly-launched Gionee Elife S6 is a metal-clad handset reminiscent to its rivals. It has edge-to-edge glass covering the display like the Le 1s, and is slimmer and lighter than the other two. Gionee Elife S6 measures 151.9 x 74.6 x 4-6.9mm and weighs 147 grams.

Display

All three smartphones have displays measuring 5.5 inches, but the Gionee Elife S6 offers lower screen resolution than the Le 1s and Redmi Note 3.

Gionee's smartphone has an HD screen with 1280 x 720 pixel resolution and a Super-AMOLED display protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3. Comparatively, the Le 1s has a Full-HD IPS display with 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution, as does the Redmi Note 3. The Le 1s additionally has Floating Glass 2.0 technology integrated into the display, while Xiaomi offers unique sunlight/night display and reading modes.

Camera

The camera comparison can be tricky unless we have hands-on experience with the phones. But we are highlighting the camera specifications of each phone for this comparison.

LeEco Le 1s a 13-megapixel rear-facing ISOCELL 5P Lens camera with Blue Glass IR filter, f/2.0 aperture, 0.09-second ultra-fast focus speed, PDAF and LED flash. Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 also sports a 13MP primary camera with PDAF, HDR and dual-tone LED flash. Gionee Elife S6 has a 13MP primary camera with LED flash and Full-HD video recording.

All three smartphones have a 5MP snapper on the front for selfies.

Processor, RAM and storage

LeEeco Le 1s is powered by a 2.2GHz 64-bit octa-core MediaTek Helio X10 processor paired with 3GB RAM and 32GB fixed storage. Xiaomi Redmi Note 3, on the other hand, is powered by 64-bit hexa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 650 8952 chipset clocking speeds at 1.4GHz and 3GB/2GB RAM. Gionee Elife S6 has a 1.3GHz MediaTek MT6753 octa-core processor and 3GB RAM

Real-world performance remains unconclusive, but the on-paper specs reveal Gionee has the lowest processor. A recent report revealed Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 beat LeEco Le 1s on various performance levels except multi-tasking. So it is a close tie between Xiaomi and LeEco on this front.

Gionee Elife S6 has 32GB onboard storage with an option to expand further up to 128GB using microSD card. Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 will likely come in two variants, 16GB or 32GB with no mention of a microSD card slot.

Gionee Elife S6 takes lead on the storage department, thanks to its microSD card support exceeding the Le 1s' limitation.

Battery and add-ons

Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 has the biggest battery of all, measuring 4,000mAh, followed by Gionee Elife S6 that has a 3,150mAh unit. According to Gionee, the Elife S6 offers up to 33 hours of 2G talk time or 18 hours of 3G talk time. The Le 1s has a 3,000mAh battery, which supports quick charging tech.

There are several other add-ons that bring more value to these phones. The Le 1s and Gionee Elife S6 sport USB Type-C ports, but the Redmi Note 3 misses it. Other features available in all three handsets include fingerprint scanner, 4G LTE support, dual SIM card and standard connectivity options.

Price and availability

LeEco Le 1s takes the lead on this front with an attractive Rs 10,999 price tag. But the handset is available in flash sales held exclusively on Flipkart once a week. Xiaomi is yet to launch the Redmi Note 3 in India, which is expected to happen some time in March. Rumours suggest the price of the Redmi Note 3 will be around Rs 17,000. Gionee Elife S6 is also Flipkart-exclusive and available in gold, silver and rose gold. It is also costlier than the Xiaomi and LeEco smartphones at Rs 19,999.

Conclusion

In terms of price, LeEco Le 1s takes the lead and also offers competitive specs and features that more than justify the price tag. Gionee Elife S6 is just as good but gives in to the rivals on the performance and the pricing categories. Since the Redmi Note 3 is yet to be launched in India, Xiaomi is likely missing out on some early attraction. Interested buyers must wait for the official launch, but it offers promising specs if the pricing is set right.