Best all-rounder: Motorola Moto G (16GB), Rs. 13,999
The Moto G has been our favourite mid-budget phone since the day it was launched. Motorola really shook up the market, redefining our expectations and sending a strong message to local and global competitors alike. There's a lot to like about the Moto G (Review | Pictures) - it has the best balance of features in this price segment, including a good screen, fantastic build quality, and fast-track access to the latest versions of Android as and when they're available.
Our main problem with this device is its lack of support for microSD cards. That means you're stuck with 16GB of storage space (less, after factoring in the OS and overheads) which is just barely enough to keep us going.
Best value: Lenovo S660, Rs. 11,000 (approximate street price)
With the Lenovo S660 (Review | Pictures), the company has managed to deliver a solid phone that almost rivals the Moto G. It did very well in our battery life test and felt pretty solid overall, but it is built around a weaker MediaTek SoC, has a lower resolution screen, and still runs Android 4.2.
Still, it should be able to get you through most everyday tasks, and Lenovo hasn't skimped on the microSD card slot. The end result is a very competent, value-oriented phone that outclasses everything else at and around its price point.
Best phablet: Huawei Honor 3C, Rs. 14,250 (approximate street price)
Phones with big screens are popular, but how much do you have to trade off to get one for less than Rs. 15,000? Not much at all, it seems, if you know where to look. Huawei might not be a well-known brand in India right now, but if the Honor 3C's specifications are to be believed, it will be very shortly.
No other phone in this price range can boast of a 5-inch 720x1280-pixel screen, 8-megapixel camera and 2GB of RAM. The processor is a middling quad-core MediaTek MT6582, which might be the only downside here.
Best Qwerty phone: BlackBerry 9720, Rs. 14,000 (approximate street price)
Nearly all smartphones today are solid rectangular blocks with touchscreens, and if you prefer physical keyboards you're basically left out in the cold. Well, not entirely: BlackBerry still has a few models catering to the die-hard Qwerty market. The BlackBerry 9720 (Review | Pictures) is the best model in our price range.
It's based on the outdated BlackBerry 7 platform and its small square screen isn't much good for movies or games, but that won't matter if work is your main priority. For a little more money you can get the more modern BlackBerry Q5, so the 9720 really serves a niche within a niche.
Best camera: Xolo Q1200, Rs. 13,500 (approximate street price)
The Xolo Q1200 (Review | Pictures) is priced right up against the Moto G, so it obviously has to do something very special for us to consider it. Xolo seems to have picked out one particular weakness - the Moto G's camera - and attacked it full strength.
We were more than impressed with the quality of images captured in a variety of lighting situations. It's still a low-end phone camera, but it's more than enough for the sort of shots you'd want to post on Facebook when you're out having fun with friends.