4G feature phones are the flavour of the month ever since Reliance Jio launched the JioPhone in late July. The JioPhone is expected to put a pause on the popularity of smartphones among feature phone users, and introduce millions to the Internet. However, it is not the only 4G-enabled feature phone in the market. In fact, it is not even the first 4G feature to be announced in the country. If you are looking for a low-end 4G-capable handset but don’t want to be locked to the Jio network, there are several options out there. Check out the list of all the 4G VoLTE feature phones announced in India so far.
JioPhone is the handset that has made 4G feature phones part of the mainstream, even though it is yet to hit the market. The feature phone has a 2.4-inch QVGA (240x160 pixels) display, single SIM that supports only on VoLTE networks, microSD card support for storage expansion, torchlight, digital assistant, panic button, and support for 22 Indian languages as well as a phone-to-TV cable to mirror content to television screen. Qualcomm and Spreadtrum have confirmed their chips will be used in the JioPhone. There is no WhatsApp support for the phone at the moment.
As for the other hardware and software features, there is no official confirmation yet, but with the beta trials starting on August 15, we will probably know more in a week or so. The handset is free of cost, but you will have to make a refundable, upfront payment of Rs. 1,500; bookings for the device start August 24, and deliveries in September.
Following the JioPhone unveiling, Idea Cellular has confirmed plans to launch a 4G feature phone of its own, priced around Rs. 2,500. Unlike JioPhone, the Idea 4G phone will come with support for apps such as WhatsApp, Facebook and Google. It won't be locked to Idea's network either. Idea Managing Director Himanshu Kapania said the company is looking at ways to reduce the bill of materials to bring down the price, as the device will be sold unsubsidised.
The first 4G feature phone to be announced in India was the Lava 4G Connect M1, which supports Reliance Jio’s 4G VoLTE network. The Lava 4G Connect M1 has a 2.4-inch screen and is powered by a 1.2GHz quad-core processor (unspecified chipset) coupled with 512MB of RAM. It has 4GB internal storage, microSD card support up to 32GB, 1750mAh battery, and a VGA camera on the back. Lava says that apart from 4G, the feature phone supports 2G voice calling and EDGE connectivity. It is listed online at Rs. 2,899 but is presently out of stock.
The Micromax Bharat 1 was the second 4G feature phone to be announced in India, though it hasn’t hit the market yet. The handset has a 2.4-inch colour screen, 1.25GHz dual-core processor (make unknown), 1GB RAM, 8GB internal storage, and support for storage expansion up to 32GB. This 4G VoLTE phone has a 2-megapixel rear camera and 1500mAh battery, along with dual SIM support.
The latest 4G feature phone to be announced in India is the Intex Turbo+ 4G, which is part of the company’s new Navratna series. Interestingly, Intex told Gadgets 360 shortly before the JioPhone launch that it is in talks with Reliance Industries to contract manufacture the handset that will be marketed under the Jio name, and that the talks were in final stages. As for the specifications, the Intex Turbo+ 4G has a 2.4-inch QVGA display, dual-core processor, 512MB RAM, 2-megapixel rear camera, VGA front camera, 4GB internal storage, expansion support up to 32GB, and 2000mAh battery. Intex has not announced the price and release date of the handset yet.
The Jio Phone looks awesome but is there any catch? We discussed that on our weekly technology podcast Orbital, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts or RSS or just listen to this episode by hitting the play button below.