Philips Xenium S309: Good affordable option

Amsterdam-based diversified technology company Philips Electronics launched two Android smartphones in India in August - Xenium I908 and Xenium S309 - priced at Rs.11,799 and Rs.4,999, respectively.

We got our hands on the entry-level Xenium S309 and this is what we thought:

Philips Xenium S309

What is good? The phone has a different two-tonned design and is strikingly light in spite of its size. It comes with a good performing five-megapixel auto focus camera unit with LED flash which supports decent-sized-good resolution photographs. The screen size is a good 4-inches in dimension and presents fairly good image quality in a 400 x 800 pixels resolution. The battery, which is a 1,600 mAH unit, seems to be quite capable of serving the user for at least 24 hours. The 1 GHz dual-core processor and the 512MB RAM performs fairly good while switching between apps. Philips has done a good job with designing its menus and icons on the stock Android KitKat. The time clock is specially a beauty to look at. First-time smartphone users will find the menu intuitive and easy to grasp.

What doesn't work for the phone? The basic problem, in our opinion, is that there are many rivals in the market that are offering quite some upgraded features or specifications in the same price-bracket. In short, the phone is tad too expensive keeping in mind the specifications.

The internal memory is too low for a good first-time smartphone experience. There are quite a lot of essential apps and Google's own updates which will fill up the memory, rendering the user to check the number of apps being used. The RAM is too less and could be switched to a 1GB module. There are some lags and hangs waiting for the user. Although the front camera comes with a flash, it is a video graphics array (VGA) unit which gives a feeling of the ancient times. A minimum of two-megapixel should have been incorporated.

Verdict: A good device to start a smartphone experience but the phone may not seem as smart as some consumers would like. Having said that, Philips has definitely done two things right with the phone - the rear camera and the battery.

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