A survey of the reliability of local brands


Tux Fan

The premise is simple. Brands like Samsung and HTC charge a lot more for similarly spec'ed phones than local brands like Karbonn and Micromax. My question is very simple: are they using their brand value to overcharge or do local brands have genuine reliability problems.

Before you answer that, do spare a minute to hear my arguments:
1. All phones are made in China. No two ways about that. Right from Micromax, Samsung, HTC, to Apple. Major components are manufactured and assembled in China. The process and fabrication houses they use are also the same. The components they use (SOCs, Processors) are designed by very clever people (mostly in the US) on computers, and these designs materialize in China. They are tested on the same kind of test hardware and soldered by the same kind of pick and place machines. So do bigger brands actually gain anything by being bigger brands at the component level?
2. The designs and the software are published (or reverse engineered) and are freely available. It is not hard for anyone to build an Android enabled hardware today. [Case and point: Raspberry PI] So its not like big companies with larger research budgets have much to gain. And do remember most of these large companies spend more money on brand building and marketing than they do on integration RnD. [NOTE: When I say RnD, I mean mobile integration only. Samsung obviously spends a lot on other RnD like displays, memory etc.]

I have searched the internet looking for reliable data on an issue that is important to anyone in the market for a phone today: Are local brands (karbon, micromax) as reliable as "global" brands (samsung, htc).
I checked a consumer court aggregating website [*www.consumerdaddy.com/home.htm] and was shocked to find: all three - micromax, htc and samsung score poorly on it. So in terms of consumer cases, they are pretty evenly matched. Or, more likely the data set is biased.

It looks like most opinions out there are just that, opinions with no firm data backing them.

I would like to start a small survey [which can perhaps grow to be a reliable data source for others] on the matter. I would like to collect some data on your usage, duration of ownership and problems / praises for the phone.

Please fill out this form and post an honest reply about the phone you own.

Brand: eg: Micromax / Samsung / HTC / etc.
Model: eg: Galaxy S
Duration on Use: eg: A year / A month etc [It will be really nice if you can provide a date of purchase]
Problems Faced: eg: Faulty Touchscreen
Praises: eg: Works well in-spite of dropping from a table
Personal opinion: eg: I feel that micromax has a lower reliability

I intend to compile results every few days and post up on this thread itself. Perhaps this can be made a sticky?

UPDATE - Results
BrandWorking / ReliableMajor Failure
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In the zone
gr8, i wanted create a thread like this, it would be great for users to find out reliability of Indian Mobile brands. What actually separates them from international brands. unless we get know from customers who already used indian brands, we cannot find out the difference. we can read about Samsung, HTC, Apple phones anywhere in the world, but we cannot find information on indian mobile brands so easily, even specs are hard to find out sometimes, it will be really beneficial to everyone, this thread should be sticky. Phones like Micromax A110 makes it really hard to resist trying Indian Brands, so one has got to find out more about them. Infact there should be a dedicated thread on news, reviews, general discussions on Indian Mobile brands. There is absolutely no match to prices offered by Indian Mobile brands as far as core hardware-CPU/GPU, Screen is concerned.


Cyborg Agent
Brand: Samsung
Model: Champ GT-C3303
Duration on Use: 2 years
Problems Faced: Auto-Reboot (3 or 4 times), Lags many times, Touch response is not good, Many apps are not supported(even Opera Mini 4.4 is not supported).
Praises: I have dropped it many times. But, It still has not malfunctioned a single time.
Personal opinion: No comments


Broken In
Brand: Micromax
Model: Super Canvas 2 A110
Duration on Use: Date of Purchase: 9/11/2012
Problems Faced: Screen Flickering Issue. Display problem.
Praises: Price.
Personal opinion: Their price is very attractive. But, if a problem comes, then their service should be able to handle the request promptly. I took my device to service center for the display problem. They said it will take at least 2 weeks to change the display. I thought manufacturing the whole device won't take more than 10 days.


Tux Fan
Brand: Samsung
Model: Galaxy 5
Duration on Use: 3 years now. Gave it to my mom after her phone conked.
Problems Faced: None what so ever. [Samsung's Custom UI is not so good for this low end a phone, but that is not really a problem]
Praises: Its been battered about a lot. No major hardware issues.
Personal opinion: They built a reliable, quality phone. No two ways about it.
Reliable: Yes

Brand: Nokia
Model: N70
Duration on Use: 3 years active. 5 so far(?) Mom used this one [Its in a drawer now. Battery gone]
Problems Faced: Really really underpowered processor
Praises: Ahead of its time.
Personal opinion: You could entrust this to store nuclear launch codes.
Reliable: Hell Yes

Brand: Dell
Model: XCD-35
Duration on Use: 10 Months - Gone for repairs
Problems Faced: Touchscreen broke down. Would not respond to touches on certain parts of the screen. The speaker made some crikly noises too. [Common problem according to the internet, solved by blowing into it]
Praises: Great specs, solidly built.
Personal opinion: Phone is under warranty. The dell service center has taken 2 months now, but no news of the phone. I cant really commend their service. [Did not get a backup phone either]. TBH it was a let down.
Reliable: No.


Extreme Gamer
Brand: Nokia
Model: 1100
Duration of Use: 8 Years[2004 Dec]. Still active.
Problems Faced: OS had gone corrupt 7 years ago. Working fine till now after reflashing. Not a single problem.
Praises: Extremely durable. Works great for what it was built for. Great build quality.
Personal opinion: As good as[if not better] a typical Black and White Nokia could get in its golden days

Brand: Nokia
Model: N70
Duration of Use: 5.5 Years. Early 2007. Still active.
Problems Faced: No 'repair' kind of problems. But the hardware is weak and lags a lot. Also, poor display quality and resolution.
Praises: Read PDFs, Office and supported lots of app even for its time.
Personal opinion: Overall an awesome device of that age. Deserves to be remembered forever.

Brand: Samsung
Model: SGH-C170
Duration of Use: 5 Years. Late 2007. Currently inactive.
Problems Faced: No 'repair' kind of problems. But the phone had poor battery backup when taken outside of areas with good signal strength. Input starts to lag as the message size grows in case of SMS. Paint/colour coating on the buttons got peeled off pretty soon.
Praises: Extremely slim. Used to be an attention catcher back in the day. Mobile Tracker. Good screen for its time and price.
Personal opinion: A decently packed device with good looks. Not so practical for travelling out of city due to the battery issue mentioned above.

Brand: Nokia
Model: 6300
Duration of Use: 3.5 Years. Still active.
Problems Faced: Screen used to flicker lightly during network usage(like calls, sending messages and GPRS). Got corrected by itself. Now it appears once in a few months. But doesn't stay more than a few hours. Extremely poor battery life.
Praises: Extremely rugged. This used to be my alarm phone. So, have dropped it not less than 80-100 times till now(not exaggerating). I had broken the screw of the back panel. So during one fall, the LCD panel got ejected from the case, rolled through the stairs. After that, it had developed a complete, horizontal line of black dead pixels. But it started to get itself corrected pixel by pixel and within 15-20 days, the LCD got back to the original condition.
Personal opinion: I haven't seen a phone as rugged as this. The screen was awesome for its time.

Brand: Sony Ericsson
Model: Naite J105i
Duration of Use: 2 years. Still active.
Problems Faced: Camera had stopped working. Got corrected by itself after a couple of months.
Praises: Decent hardware. Plays 320x240 videos at high bit rate with ease. Supports 3G. Supports video calling. Good battery. Overall a decent package for 5k back in 2010.
Personal opinion: Sony's UI in candybars used to be good and it had its own class.

Brand: Samsung
Model: GT C-3322 Metro Duos
Duration of Use: 1 Year, 2 Months. From Oct 2011. Still active.
Problems Faced: No 'repair' type of problem. But it does have fair share of problems. Even though the phone has 45MB of internal memory, only 4.5MB can be used for apps. In that 2.1MB is filled with irremovable IM apps. The biggest problem is that, it restarts 1 in 5 times when you hit 'reply' to an SMS and type the first character. It'll be a huge pain for those who buy this phone for messaging. I bought this for making calls(Dual SIM) and using opera mini. So, not much of a problem as I send about 1 message in 10 days from this phone. Also, input starts to lag as the message size grows(common with low end samsungs). Random reboots occasionally.
Praises: I have dropped this phone for about 15-20 times(It's my current alarm phone), no problems. Great battery life. So, it's good for long time browsing, music (and movies too :p). Good options for call blocking.
Personal opinion: Lower end Samsungs have a pretty bad OS, UI and a cheap feel.

Brand: Sony
Model: Xperia Tipo ST21i
Duration of Use: 3 days. Still active.
Problems Faced: None yet.
Praises: Decent phone.(Haven't explored much yet)
Personal opinion: Screen is pretty poor. The hardware is mediocre. Sony's Xperia phones of last year in this price range used to come with better CPU, GPU and screen.
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Ambassador of Buzz
Brand: Samsung
Model: Galaxy Y
Duration on Use: 13 months. Date Of Purchase: 23 Oct 2011
Problems Faced: None
Praises: Fairly Good ,if not excellent developer support.
Personal opinion: Good for the price. Wouldn't mind local brands but i doubt their customer care.


Brand : Nokia
Model : Nokia N95 8GB
Duration on Use : 3.5 Years.
Current status : Lying UnUsed.
PRoblems Faced : DIsplay Flickering, Flex Cable , Signal Problems.
Praises : Outstanding SQ in Stereo Speakers.Good Camera.
Personal Opinion : Was good at the time of launch 2008, but the slider was poorly built.Always had issues with them.

Brand : Nokia
Model : Nokia 6630
Duration : ALmost 8 Years.
Problem Faced: None , yet.:)
Current status : Lying UnUsed.
Praises : Excellent build quality.Have hit couple of person with that actually.:p
Personal Opinion : Purchased it back in ~2004 , and its still functional.

Brand : Nokia
Model : 5310 XM
Duration : 2 years.
Current status : Lying UnUsed.
Problems : SLider causes issue with display. Microphone Busted.Display Flickers. 3.5mm Jack gone Kaput.

Brand : Sony
Model : K310i SpiderMan Ed.
Duration : Around 2 Years.
Current status : Lying UnUsed.
Problems Faced : Epic battery drain. Couldn't even last an hour on standby after full charge. Crappy JoyStick.
Praises : Was good for the price.

Brand : Nokia
Model : 100
Duration : Around 2 Month.
Problems faced : None Yet.

I Have also used MicroMax A110 for few days , feels good for the price.

I Still prefer Nokia in terms of Build quality. Though , Nokia N95 8GB and 5310 XM had given me nightmares. I will never buy a slider phone in future.
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Nokia 5310:
This one gave me a hard time initially with the phone rebooting every now and then.. a software update fixed the issue after few months.
Good: its still in use after 5 years.. sound quality is good..
Bad: software

Galaxy s:
Even after 8-10 drops in hard floor, drop from motor bike, the phone still runs great..
Has excellent dev support.. i still suggest people to buy this phone second instead of buying a mid range dual cores like xperia u..
The reason for that is because of huge internal memory, 2 gb rom means you wont run out of space for apps..
Most importantly custom jelly bean ROM is flawless on galaxy s.. it runs better than all the dual core phones stuck with gingerbread or ics..

Atrix 4:
This was a huge let down.. the screen became unresponsive after few months of use, used to heat up a lot while gaming,


Gamer in me
Brand: Sony
Model: Xperia Tipo ST21i (Single Sim)
Duration of Use: 2-3 months.Still active.
Problems Faced: A rare touch miss.
Praises: Android ICS, Sound quality, Considerable performance for the price.
Personal opinion: A value for money it seemed, until people have stated applauding Mmx Canvas A110 :p .


Retired Forum Mod
Brand: Nokia
Model: 1100
Duration on Use: more than 7yrs. got stolen.
Problems Faced: battery died after 5yrs.
Praises: its was a BRICK
Personal opinion: first mobile bought by dad. used it till 2011 and then upgraded to some other mobile.

Brand: Nokia
Model: 2600
Duration on Use: more than 5yrs. and still functional but no longer used.
Problems Faced: replaced battery & cover once.
Praises: Its a Nokia
Personal opinion: mom's first mobile. Later upgraded to Samsung E3210.

Brand: Motorola
Model: ROKR E6e
Duration on Use: bought: 2008, started giving problems by 2010. stopped working by 2011.
Problems Faced: battery dead and now doesn't turn on.
Praises: extremely durable body.
Personal opinion: was my first smartphone. dropped it, threw it, bricked it. still survived. later battery backup reduced to just 2-3hrs and finally died.

Brand: Nokia
Model: 2700 Classic
Duration on Use: 3yr and still functional.
Problems Faced: USB port cover torn off & D-Pad got so loose it doesn't function properly.
Praises: Solid Nokia build quality. Battery life is also good.
Personal opinion: Typing is pain as keypad is tough and so is the build quality.

Brand: Samsung
Model: E1252
Duration on Use: 2yr and still functional.
Problems Faced: none.
Praises: cheap & comfortable keypad.
Personal opinion: Signal reception is not the best. At least not on par with my LG or the Nokia.

Brand: Samsung
Model: E3210
Duration on Use: 1yr and still functional.
Problems Faced: none.
Praises: comfortable keypad & 3G for extremely low price.
Personal opinion: Bought it for 2.4k for using it as a 3G modem but never got the chance.

Brand: LG
Model: P500
Duration on Use: 1yr and still functional.
Problems Faced: dust under the screen.
Praises: Android, excellent build quality and superb battery life. Survived over a dozen falls.
Personal opinion: Matte finish, big battery and lastly a community that keeps releasing new Android roms. Glad purchased this mobile.


In the Zone
Brand: Nokia
Model: 3310
Duration on Use: more than 8yrs
Problems Faced: replaced battery. They stopped making battery for this phone now.
Praises: But it would still work if it has battery
Personal opinion: Dropped it like 100 times. First phone in my family. Also my first phone too.(It will always remain special):D

Brand: Nokia
Model: Nokia 5530 XpressMusic
Duration on Use: ~ 2years . Still under use.
Problems Faced: It has a resistive touch screen. So literally you have punch the screen with your fingers sometimes to get things done on the screen. Also small 2.8 in screen
doesn't help either
Praises: Excellent music player. Sound quality is superb. Also strong built.
Personal opinion: Nice phone for what I paid :D

Brand: Sony Erricson
Model: Xperia Arc S
Duration on Use: ~ 8 months.
Problems Faced: Nothing yet. 512 MB RAM is just not enough sometimes.
Praises: Beauty queen :D. Anyone seen or used the phone would definitely say the same. Camera is also great. Touch screen is super responsive. Also 4.3in screen size is good.
Personal opinion: Was expensive. But now I use this device to do most of the tasks which I used to do on my PC.


Brand: Samsung
Model: Wave 3
Duration on Use: 7-8 months
Problems Faced: None except lack of applications
Praises: Premium build Quality
Personal opinion: Bada sucks.
Reliable : Yes

Brand: Nokia
Model: N8
Duration on Use: 2 years
Problems Faced: None
Praises: Solid Build, FM Transmitter, Camera
Personal opinion: One of the best phones by Nokia
Reliable: Yes

Brand: Nokia
Model: N73ME , E63
Duration on Use: 4-5 years
Problems Faced: The N73 required quarterly joystick replacements after a couple of years.
Praises: Build Quality, Speakers for N73
Personal opinion: Good support. Decent phones even now.

Brand: Micromax
Model: Countless dual sim phones
Duration on Use: roughly 7-8 months each
Problems Faced: they got lost
Praises: cheap
Personal opinion: easily replacable if you lose one

Brand: Samsung
Model: Galaxy S2
Duration on Use: one and a half year (still using)
Problems Faced: got bricked once.
Praises: Dropped a lot of times, never gave any trouble.
Personal opinion: Awesome phone

Brand: Apple
Model: iPhone 4
Duration on Use: 2 years
Problems Faced: The Front / Back Glass broke time and again
Praises: Good customer support
Personal opinion: I'm never gonna use one of these again.

red dragon

Master troll
Brand: Apple
Model: iPhone 3g
Duration on Use:from 2008
Problems Faced: Zero!
Praises: still works like day1 with slightly shorter battery life(but lasts for more than a day with data turned off)
Personal opinion: My wife loves it more than her GS2!
Reliable:Hell Yeah!!


Ambassador of Buzz
Brand: Nokia
Model: Asha 311
Duration on Use:2nd Dec 2012
Problems Faced: Zero!
Praises: great loudspeaker.
Personal opinion: VFM!!!
Reliable: Of course man!! Its a Nokia remember???


Brand: Samsung
Model: T989 Galaxy SII
Duration on Use: 6 months. July '12 - current
Problems Faced: Buggy T-Mobile ICS ROM. Freezes up often and requires restart.
Praises: Good performance on everything i throw at it.
Personal opinion: Hardware wise.. no complains.. The best screen i have seen on a device (4.5" Super AMOLED Plus). Software wise, GB was really good. No complains. ICS update ruined it a bit cause of buggy ROM. Hopefully upcoming JB update fixes it. If u try custom ROMs, this is a beast of device for anything available on Play store currently. Samsung as usual, can be fully trusted.

Brand: Motorola
Model: Defy
Duration on Use: 21 months. April '11 - current
Problems Faced: Moto ROMs sucked. No official update after Froyo. After a lot of abuse including falling from moving vehicle, :p there was a loose capacitor inside the device. Phone was factory resetting itself on its own after rebooting.
Praises: Amazing build quality. Can take a huge amount of abuse with negligible external wear. Custom ROMs of JB is also very smooth.
Personal opinion: Sad thing that Moto is closing shop in Asia. Their devices are some of best built ones u can get. With loads of updated custom ROMs available, this is a classic device. Moto can be trusted with their products for quality. Not so much for their software and update.

Brand: Samsung
Model: 5233GT (I think) Star
Duration on Use: 35 months. Jan '10 - current
Problems Faced: Digitizer had to be replaced after 2 yrs.
Praises: Was a great device at that time. Loved the big touch interface. Survived a lot of abuse. Still used by my dad regularly after replacing screen digitizer.
Personal opinion: Decent device for the time it was released. Took a lot of abuse and it shows on the surface. But still works. So, i can trust Samsung with the longevity of their products. :)

Previous phones were stolen(SE K series) or broke down in a couple of months(chinese models mostly, and some local).. so nothing to write about.

BTW.. if anyone has faced 'Zero' issues with their devices... must not be trying to push the phone too hard. I can state that there are 'no' phones which dont have 'any' issues at all. Except perhaps the cheap Nokia model of past.. They didnt have anything to be pushed anyways. :p


Broken In
Brand: Nokia
Model: C6
Duration on Use: 1 year and 9 months .
Problems Faced: Touchscreen and keypad stopped working suddenly.
Praises: Works well in-spite of dropping many times.
Personal opinion: Never to buy touch screen Nokia mobiles.


Brand: Micromax
Model: Q5fb
Duration on Use: roughly 2 years
Problems Faced:
1. some function keys (call accept and a utility button) stopped working for no reason. then worked perfectly after 2-3 months (during monsoon, so that may be a factor)
2. music player stopped working (didnt read from the memory cards, but phone could read the card). again got better in end (after almost 7 months)
3. a couple of keys have fallen out.
4. trackball is less responsive than before and has started to skip
5. keys squeak when pressed (like they were not properly glued and were having friction)
6. not exactly a problem, but i lost the battery cover :(
7. screen is actually a protrait mode screen installed in landscape mode, so display looks radically different from left and right sides. on another phone, you'd tilt it up and down for better view, however, in this phone, you have to tilt it left right.

Feels really classy. the back battery cover is made of high quality metal with matt finish, with the rest of the backside covered in non-skid grey rubber(??). The first time i held the phone, it didnt feel like it was just 3k bucks phone, it felt like it cost more.
Solidly built phone. dropped it a couple of times, no major damage.

Personal opinion: eg: I feel that this micromax phone is entirely usable, barring a few oddities. might buy thier products again.
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