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Budget phone for Senior Citizen

nac

Aspiring Novelist
This is for my mom. She is been using Redmi 4 2+16 variant for the last 5yrs. At the time of buying, we thought base variant would do. Didn't expect she would use so much that phone keeps popping up a message saying "not enough storage". After years of convincing, few months ago she started using 1 sim + memory card (till then she was using two sims), but still that's not enough as we couldn't change the storage location for some apps. She hardly has about half a dozen apps (at best less than 10 apps) other than the pre-installed ones. Other than not enough storage, it's laggy lately. I don't know if factory reset would fix that. Anyway, I have been asking her if she needs a new one for quite some time now. And now have started looking.

Prices have gone up a lot, it cost us 7k back then. It's current model (in it's line) Redmi 10 costs 10.5k. Poco C31 @ 8.5k seems decent enough for the use case. By the way, her use cases are pretty much generic.
  • Good call quality (Network reception, Wifi for internet) and a good messaging app.
  • Nice/decent user interface (I guess MIUI should do, but some of the reviews suggested that recent MIUIs have bugs)
  • Whatsapp, Google meet like apps
  • Ola, UBER, Google Map like apps
  • Youtube and some OTT apps
  • Browser
And general things like screen brightness's auto adjustments, Camera's image quality (I know can't expect a lot in budget models), Calculator, Notes etc.

4GB + 64GB seems like a standard variant. Obviously we would get less than 50GB of that. I don't know if I should go for higher storage variant. I am kind’a leaning towards dedicated memory slot models than hybrid and avoid going for 128GB/256GB variants.

1. Budget?

Trying to spend no more than what her use case demands. If her use case doesn't demand spending more, I don't want to spend more. It doesn't say the budget clearly. Minding the price of Redmi 10 and Poco C31, 8.5 to 10.5k are the range. So it's more like the pricing/her use case determines the budget. If wanna go for FHD display, have to spend 3k more.

2. Display type and size?

Redmi 4's 5" screen itself was big. Now all models I see are much bigger than that. :( :( :(
I don't know how the screen would look with the same HD resolution in a bigger screen. My guess is it would be little softer than the current one.

Few years ago FHD display models were selling under 10k. Redmi Note 11 with the same CPU (as Redmi 10), comes with FHD and that costs about 13k. Of course, it offers more than FHD for the extra 3k. At this point I am just wrestling with the idea.

3. Dual sim?

Definite yes to Dual sim. I guess all the smartphones nowadays comes with dual sim, right? Preferring 2 sim + memory slot models and not Hyrbid ones.
Using BSNL, Airtel and Jio. Dual 4G Volte. I don't know if I should bother with 5G phones. 5G launch is just around the corner and phone upgrade is not gonna happen every few years. So if I can/should go for 5G, than the phones should have good amount of bands supported.

4. Preferred choice of brand?

So far 4 smart phones in our family and 3 being Redmi (1s, 4 and Note 7 Pro) and HTC explorer. I don't see HTC in the market. So given the budget I guess I wanna stick with Redmi/POCO, the brands we are already used with. May be okay with Samsung and Motorola. Samsung for it's display and image quality from what I hear and Motorola for it's near stock android (though I don't know much about stock android). Big NO to Realme, Oppo, Vivo, solely because I don’t know much about them.

5. What camera option you want (flash, front facing camera)?

Not too keen on this section. As best as possible, I am sure all smartphones comes with some camera modules, that's enough I guess.

6. Preferred operating system? (Android, iOS,Stock Android etc).

iOS is out of the question. Android or Stock android.

7. Preferred connectivity options (Dual 4G,802.11AC/5Ghz(not 5g mobile network) wifi).

I guess all latest phones comes with 5G wifi, so yeah whatever the latest tech we can get in this budget.

BTW, heard Redmi note 11 has issues with Wifi connectivity. Not just that, Poco and Redmi phones which has refresh rates tend to be jittery even when scrolling (so I hear in reviews). If so please steer me off if I am heading that way or any such models with bugs in things we likely to use.

8. Primary use of handset (multimedia, camera, internet, gaming etc.)?
  • Good call quality (Network reception, Wifi for internet) and a good messaging app.
  • Nice/decent user interface (I guess MIUI should do, but some of the reviews suggested that recent MIUIs have bugs)
  • Whatsapp, Google meet like apps
  • Ola, UBER, Google Map like apps
  • Youtube and some OTT apps
  • Browser
And general things like screen brightness's auto adjustments, Camera's image quality (I know can't expect a lot in budget models), Calculator, Notes etc.

9. Any specific mobile phones in consideration?

Poco C31
- As it's the cheapest I could find (with all the above filters ON). G35 should be better than Redmi 4's CPU. At least that's what I assume after checking Antutu score of Redmi 4 (varying from 13k - 20k) vs 34k of G35. The biggest bummer I see is that it doesn't have IR blaster. She is been using IR blaster a lot, especially in the recent years. Prefer to have that, but don't want this to be a deal breaker.

Redmi 10 - Given the current pricing scenario, it's decent enough spec wise. Again no IR blaster.

Back of the head I am thinking; why not go for a small upgrade like FHD display. But then so much confusion and choices,

For FHD, gotta shell out 3k more than Redmi 10. Redmi note 11 has same CPU as Redmi 10, and review suggests performance wise it's no upgrade from Redmi note 10. Redmi Note 10S and Poco M4 Pro cost the same but higher memory and better performance as well, but they are not power efficient as SD680 of Redmi Note 11. Heck even 5G comes in that budget, Poco M4 5G.

10. Any other info that you want to share

Not buying right away. Don't know much about mobile phone market. Just want to have enough time before purchase to know about the market, models, pricing, features.

May be around independence day offer or around big billion days. There may be some models get launched between now and those offer days, don't know if I can expect Redmi 10 equivalent from Poco. I will be better prepared if I start now and can pull the trigger once I see the offers and not miss it. So the reason for starting this thread now instead of a week or two before purchase.

Back then reason for picking Redmi 4 vs 4a was full metal body. I guess today not many or no phones in this price range comes with full metal body, right? If there is any let me know.

Single speaker vs dual speaker, how big would be difference. Is it big enough to be a deal breaker?
 
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OP
nac

nac

Aspiring Novelist
Nice pricing for FHD and AMOLED display, bummer it has hybrid slot.
For some reason it didn't show up when I filtered for AMOLED phones in FK, yesterday. Still the same, don't know why.
 
OP
nac

nac

Aspiring Novelist
Samsung models in this price range is not appealing. Motorola G31, G51, 40 Fusion all comes with Hybrid slots. This pretty much leaves me with Redmi and Poco. We can leave the 5G models for now and if she stresses on IR blaster, then these 3 models are the ones I am left with.
Redmi Note 10S
Redmi Note 11
POCO M4 Pro

Let's see if Poco launches any models in the next few weeks/months (C4, M4, M3 Pro :Fingerx: )
 
Samsung models in this price range is not appealing. Motorola G31, G51, 40 Fusion all comes with Hybrid slots. This pretty much leaves me with Redmi and Poco. We can leave the 5G models for now and if she stresses on IR blaster, then these 3 models are the ones I am left with.
Redmi Note 10S
Redmi Note 11
POCO M4 Pro

Let's see if Poco launches any models in the next few weeks/months (C4, M4, M3 Pro :Fingerx: )
Get 128GB variant. Why does a senior citizen need more than 128GB of storage?
 

TheSloth

The Slowest One
^Yes. A little bit of knowledge about clearing the clutter on daily basis will save lots's of space over time and also makes the backup useful. I have taken backup of Whatsapp for some and 90% of the content is just meme or some other useless content. Next time when they have to refer some important screenshot from the backup it takes about 1.5hrs to go through 600 images. Just see the image and delete it right away from phone. I follow this for my phone strictly. Every few months I go and clear entire image and video directory of instant messengers..
 
OP
nac

nac

Aspiring Novelist
Get 128GB variant. Why does a senior citizen need more than 128GB of storage?
Last time I underestimated, this time just trying to be safe than sorry. She's been managing with 16GB all these while (ofcourse storage issue annoyed a lot), so I hope she would know how keep it under 64/128GB.

@ 11k Moto G31 looks really attractive with 2 red flags (IR blaster and Hybrid slot). Don't think would go for 128/256GB variants as we have spent on memory cards, OTG pen drive already (solely for phone use) thinking that we could them for the future phones as well if needed. So spending more soley for storage reason won't happen. Even if we go G31, it would be a 64GB variant.
^Yes. A little bit of knowledge about clearing the clutter on daily basis will save lots's of space over time and also makes the backup useful. I have taken backup of Whatsapp for some and 90% of the content is just meme or some other useless content. Next time when they have to refer some important screenshot from the backup it takes about 1.5hrs to go through 600 images. Just see the image and delete it right away from phone. I follow this for my phone strictly. Every few months I go and clear entire image and video directory of instant messengers..
I have taken hours of tutorial over the years. Practically, it's not working for her. I have to do it when I visit her, even then she doesn't like moving the files/videos/audios to OTG drive.

Seeing some news on new Mediatek G99 equipped phones. Guessing it's performance would be in line with G95/96. Even if there is any new features, these budget phone won't get to see them.
 
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Last time I underestimated, this time just trying to be safe than sorry. She's been managing with 16GB all these while (ofcourse storage issue annoyed a lot), so I hope she would know how keep it under 64/128GB.

@ 11k Moto G31 looks really attractive with 2 red flags (IR blaster and Hybrid slot). Don't think would go for 128/256GB variants as we have spent on memory cards, OTG pen drive already (solely for phone use) thinking that we could them for the future phones as well if needed. So spending more soley for storage reason won't happen. Even if we go G31, it would be a 64GB variant.

I have taken hours of tutorial over the years. Practically, it's not working for her. I have to do it when I visit her, even then she doesn't like moving the files/videos/audios to OTG drive.

Seeing some news on new Mediatek G99 equipped phones. Guessing it's performance would be in line with G95/96. Even if there is any new features, these budget phone won't get to see them.
I have simply turned off auto-download media on WhatsApp for my parents & they watch & delete some of the pics/videos they receive on whatsapp. Seems to be working well as my mother is managing with 64GB storage for years now, but I know she will want 128GB in the next phone. Hence I suggested getting the 128GB variant. Heck, I can live with 128GB variant personally for now, but since I don't use 2nd SIM, not a limitation on current phone.

Just get Redmi Note 10T 5G 128GB for 14k, some card offers are present, use those:
REDMI Note 10T 5G ( 128 GB Storage, 6 GB RAM ) Online at Best Price On Flipkart.com

Has what you want, IR blaster & 2+1 slot. If you are already paranoid about storage, don't get 64GB variant IMO. Lots of guides online on how to reduce ads on Redi phones. Rest, your call.
 
OP
nac

nac

Aspiring Novelist
I have simply turned off auto-download media on WhatsApp for my parents & they watch & delete some of the pics/videos they receive on whatsapp. Seems to be working well as my mother is managing with 64GB storage for years now, but I know she will want 128GB in the next phone. Hence I suggested getting the 128GB variant. Heck, I can live with 128GB variant personally for now, but since I don't use 2nd SIM, not a limitation on current phone.

Just get Redmi Note 10T 5G 128GB for 14k, some card offers are present, use those:
REDMI Note 10T 5G ( 128 GB Storage, 6 GB RAM ) Online at Best Price On Flipkart.com

Has what you want, IR blaster & 2+1 slot. If you are already paranoid about storage, don't get 64GB variant IMO. Lots of guides online on how to reduce ads on Redi phones. Rest, your call.
It's a default setting, I guess. Photo gets downloaded automatically, but video gets downloaded only when we click download. But she keeps them until she has no space left in the phone.

10T 5G has hybrid slot. That's wrong info on FK.


In fact, I jumped when I saw M3 Pro 5G for 11.5k last week (Guess it's a Poco version of 10T 5G) and with dedicated slot. But later I found out that it has hybrid slot.

The only 5G around in this price range from Redmi/Poco which has dedicated slot is Poco M4 5G. And price is about the same (as the 3 phones I narrowed), just lacks AMOLED and singe speaker vs dual speaker.

Yeah, I have seen those videos/tutorials of uninstalling/debloating Redmi phones some years ago and I have bookmarked them. I have thought about trying when she visits me. I either forget or feel like not messing with her phone. But I don't know, I have never seen ads (like full page ad I saw in Redmi debloating videos) in my mom's phone. May be I unintentionally setup the right way when I first setup the phone back in 2017 or may be I disabled them later, I don't remember exactly. If I did later then sure I didn't try it with ADB and debloating tool.

The 3 models I narrowed seems good to me.
Note 10S
Note 11
M4 Pro

Note 10S and M4 Pro both comes 6+64 as base variant for about the same money as 4+64 of Note 11.
All 3 has FHD and AMOLED 90hz10S only gets 60hz whilte the other two gets 90hz, IR blaster, dual speaker, UFS 2.2 support, RAM booster and comes with 33w charger.
Not keen on the camera setup. Just mentioning, Note 10S can shoot up to 4k 30p and 1080 60p 720 120p/240p? while the other two tops out @ 1080 30p.
Note 10S has CG5 Official site says 10S got CG5 but couple of youtube videos suggest its CG3, M4 has CG3, not sure about Note 11. My guess is atleast CG3.
 
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OP
nac

nac

Aspiring Novelist
Looks like the price of M4 Pro I have been seeing for the last week or so is a special price and now it has jumped to 15k. With festival offer I thought I could get it for around 10k - 11k. But now I have to day dream to reach that number from 15k. Taking this off of my narrowed list. Keeping Note 10S and Note 11. 10S launched about a year ago and it will get just one more Android update, to 12. Whereas Note 11 will get Android 12 and 13.

After checking Redmi Note 10, Redmi Note 11 seems like a downgrade.
Price hike and low spec... wonderful year I decided to get a new one :sad: :cry: :sad:
 
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YogeshCopper

Broken In
I just bought poco m4 pro 4g yesterday and the speakers are not loud enough. I upgraded from vivo y91i, the loudness is almost the same, clarity is better.

The display is amazing though.
 
I just bought poco m4 pro 4g yesterday and the speakers are not loud enough. I upgraded from vivo y91i, the loudness is almost the same, clarity is better.

The display is amazing though.
Unlike your requirement for the loudest speakers, most people will prefer core specs and display over speakers. I honestly don't consume media using speakers, it is always with my BT earphones.
 
OP
nac

nac

Aspiring Novelist
M4 Pro is now @ 12k, after offer 11.3k not 10.5k as they claim. I was expecting better than this, now I am in dilema whether I should I go ahead and place the order or wait and hope for a better deal in the coming months/sale around dushera/diwali.
 
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