Android One or Lumia 535 – Who Will Win the Battle of the Budget Smartphone?

Google’s Android One has finally made it to the UK. What began as an attempt to bring advance smartphone technology to the developing world, Android One has resulted in a line of affordable top of the line handsets. The first Android One device to be available in the UK is the Karbonn Sparkle V, and Google is hoping that it well make an impressive impact on the mobile phone market. But the Karbonn Sparkle V faces some stiff competition. Namely, Microsoft’s own entry into the budget smartphone market, the Lumia 535. Both the Karbonn Sparkle and the Lumia 535 are competitively priced, retailing for about £100 each. But which is the better value? Let’s compare the two, and find out which budget smartphone offers the most for the money.

Display Comparisons

When it comes to consumers and their smartphones, display quality is one of the most important selling points. After all, this is the primary access point, and consumers look for a display that is sharp and vibrant. The Karbonn Sparkle V sports a 4.5 inch IPS LCD display, with a resolution of 480 x 584 and a pixel density of 218 ppi. That’s very good, but it can be bettered. The Lumia 535 boasts a 5 inch display, with a resolution of 540 x 960 and a pixel density of 220 ppi. Clearly, on specs alone, the Lumia 535 wins out in the display department, delivering sharper, and more vibrant, images.

Camera Comparisons

What would a smartphone be without a camera? Both the Karbonn Sparkle V and the Lumia 535 feature 5MP autofocus rear cameras with LED flash. Both support geotagging, and can shoot 480p video at 30 frames per second. There, the similarity ends. The Lumia 535 also includes a 5MP front camera, more than slightly outclassing the Karbonn Sparkle’s 2MP front camera.

Hardware Comparisons

Display quality and camera performance may be what lures the buyers in, but it’s what’s under the hood that counts. As to hardware, the Karbonn Sparkle and the Lumia 535 are pretty much on equal footing. The Sparkle V comes stock with a quad-core Cortex-A7 processor clocked at 1.3 GHz and supported by 1 GB RAM. Microsoft’s Lumia 535 is driven by a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 200, clocked at 1.2 GHz and supported by 1 GB RAM. For pure processing power the two handsets are evenly matched, and buyers will find that it’s pretty much level pegging when it comes to performance and reliability. As to connectivity, each device offers Bluetooth, MicroUSB and WI-FI.

Memory Comparisons

When it comes to memory and storage capabilities, the Lumia 535 comes out ahead of the Sparkle 5. The Lumia offers a standard 8GB of memory, while the Karbonn only offers 4GB. Both handsets feature a microSD slot for expansion, but here again the Lumia wins out with a possible 128GB of storage as compared to the Karbonn’s limited 32GB.

Battery Life Comparisons

Battery life is an important consideration when buying any smartphone, regardless of price point. The Android One Karbonn Sparkle comes with a 1700 mAh Li-Ion battery that promises 8 hours of talk time with a standby time of up to 160 hours. For battery life, Microsoft’s Lumia 535 beats the Karbonn hands down. The 535 boasts a 1905 Li-Ion battery with a talk time of 12 hours and an impressive standby time of 552 hours. When it comes to battery life, the Android One Karbonn runs a poor second.

Software Comparisons

Finally, it’s time to compare software and operating systems. The Lumia 535 runs Windows 8.1 out of the box, complete with standard Microsoft features like MixRadio and Here Maps. The Karbonn Sparkle V runs Google’s Android 4.4.4 out of the box, but is scheduled to receive the Android 5.0 Lollipop update in February of 2015. In many ways, smartphone software is a matter of personal taste. That being said, the Karbonn Sparkle V slightly edges out the Lumia here. As an Android One device, the Sparkle V will receive all of Google’s regular updates, giving it a slight edge over Microsoft’s Lumia 535.

With the Android One line, Google is making a strong play for the UK budget smartphone market. But point for point, Microsoft’s Lumia 535 is giving them a run for their money. While Google’s Android One Karbonn Sparkle V offers great features at an affordable price, Microsoft’s Lumia 535 slightly bests it when it comes to overall performance. Still, with Android 5.0 Lollipop on the horizon, and with Google’s stream of regular updates, the Karbonn Sparkle V remains an attractive handset for the price. Only time will tell which will win the battle of the budget smartphones.

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