Another week, another set of festive sales. Flipkart and Amazon Diwali sales kicked off on October 14, with deals and discounts on smartphones, televisions, and other electronics. Usual suspects like cashback offers, exchange discounts, no cost EMIs, buyback guarantees etc. were of course there to make the deals sweeter. If we talk about the Flipkart sale offers, 64GB variants of iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus are available at Rs. 59,999 (MRP Rs. 64,000) and Rs. 67,999 (MRP Rs. 67,999), and Lenovo Z2 Plus at Rs. 8,999 (MRP Rs. 17,999). The 40-inch Sony Bravia full HD LED smart TV can be purchased at Rs. 44,998 (MRP Rs. 51,900), and Macbook Air 2017 at Rs. 49,990 (MRP Rs. 56,990).
As for the Amazon sale offers, the iPhone 7 32GB variant is selling at Rs. 37,999 (MRP Rs. 49,000), Xiaomi Redmi 4 64GB at Rs. 9,499 (MRP Rs. 10,999), and Asus ZenFone 3 32GB at Rs. 10,999 (MRP Rs. 22,999). The Amazon Kindle Paperwhite Wi-Fi version is selling at Rs. 7,999 in the sale, while the Fire TV Stick is up for grabs at Rs. 3,499, with additional Rs. 499 cashback if you are a Prime member. If you had your eye on OnePlus 5 64GB variant, the handset still costs Rs. 32,999, but there are bundled offers such as extra Rs. 4,000 off on exchanging an old smartphone, 12-month accidental damage insurance, Rs. 250 Amazon Pay cashback and no-cost EMI for 12 months.
Airtel announced a partnership this week with Karbonn, which brings down the effective price of the Karbonn A40 Indian Android smartphone to Rs. 1,399. This is an effort to hit back against the Jio Phone, which offers 4G Internet access, but is not a smartphone. Under the offer, customers will have to pay Rs. 28,999 to purchase the phone but will get refunds of Rs. 1,500 over a three year period.
To be eligible for the refund, the buyer needs to purchase recharges of Rs. 169 every month for 36 months; alternatively, they can choose to purchase recharges worth Rs. 3,000 for the first 18 months and get back Rs. 500, and another Rs. 3,000 for the next 18 months for the remaining Rs. 1,000 refund. The 4G-capable Karbonn handset has a 4-inch display, Android 7.0 Nougat OS, 1.3GHz processor, 1GB RAM, 8GB storage, 1400mAh battery, and 2-megapixel cameras on the front and back.
Jio also launched a new offer for its 136.8 million telecom customers that provides 100 percent cashback on Rs. 399 recharge. The offer runs till October 18, the day before Diwali, and will entitle customers to eight coupons of Rs. 50 that they can redeem while purchasing recharges of Rs. 309 or more after November 15. Even Jio users whose plans are active right now can avail the offer; if they buy the Rs. 399 recharge by October 18, the pack will become effective only after the current one’s validity ends.
Airtel launched a new Rs. 999 postpaid plan this week, which offers 50GB of data and unlimited calls for 28 days. Aimed at consumers with high data consumption, the Airtel plan also offers free calls on roaming. The new Rs. 999 Airtel plan is available for both new and existing users, and comes with the company’s data rollover promise under which it will carry forward unused data to the next billing cycle. Apart from this, the company will be providing its Airtel Secure service for free for a period of six months with plan, under which the operator will get the phone repaired from an authorised service centre in cases of liquid and accidental damage.
But OnePlus 5 has a lot of competition in the market now, as Nokia 8 went on sale for the first time in India in the Amazon sale. Priced in India at Rs. 36,999, Nokia 8 is also available via offline retailers such as Croma, Reliance, Sangeetha Mobiles, Poorvika, and BigC, among others. The Android 7.1.1 Nougat smartphone has a 5.3-inch QHD display, Snapdragon 835 processor, 4GB RAM, 64GB internal storage, up to 256GB microSD card support, and a 3090mAh battery.
The Nokia 8 camera setup’s highlight is the «bothie» feature that captures photos and videos from the front and rear cameras simultaneously. On the back, you get two 13-megapixel sensors, a wide-angle lens, PDAF, IR range finder, and dual-tone LED flash. In the front is a 13-megapixel shooter as well, with PDAF and f/2.0 aperture; all three cameras come with Carl Zeiss optics.
Then there’s the new Xiaomi Mi MIX 2 in India to give competition to both OnePlus 5 and Nokia 8. Launched in the middle of the week, Mi MIX 2 is priced in India at Rs. 35,999 and sports a 5.99-inch bezel-less display with 18:9 aspect ratio. It goes on sale on October 17 in the country, and will be available via Flipkart, Mi.com, Mi Home retail stores, and other Xiaomi offline partners.
Based on Android 7.0 Nougat, the Mi MIX 2 packs the Snapdragon 835 chipset too, with 6GB RAM and 128GB storage; there is no support for storage expansion. On the back it sports a 12-megapixel sensor with 5-element lens and f/2.0 aperture, while the selfie camera has 5-megapixel resolution and supports facial recognition.
While the two phones are still fresh, there are already rumours of OnePlus 5T launching in November. OnePlus 3T launched soon after the OnePlus 3 with minor upgrades, but there will be more significant changes in OnePlus 5T compared to the current flagship. It is said to have a 6-inch full-HD+ (1080×2160 pixels) resolution with 18:9 aspect ratio. According to a leaked image, the handset will have very narrow bezels, similar to what other flagship handsets are offering nowadays.
Coming back to the Indian smartphone market though, there were some new discounts announced, and Airtel fired a salvo against the Jio Phone. First up, Samsung Galaxy C9 Pro got a price cut in India, its second price cut since it launched, in fact). The move by Samsung saw the price of its first smartphone with 6GB RAM drop from Rs. 31,900 to Rs. 29,900; it was launched at Rs. 36,900. As for the specs, Galaxy C9 Pro has a 6-inch full-HD AMOLED screen, octa-core Snapdragon 653 SoC, 16-megapixel cameras on the front and back, 64GB storage, microSD support up to 256GB, and 4000mAh battery.
Lenovo-owned Moto also announced it is slashing the prices of select phones under a Diwali offer. The offer runs till October 21, can be availed only via offline stores, and will provide customers 100GB of additional Jio data as well as no cost EMIs via Bajaj Finserv and Home Credit. With the ‘Special Diwali Offer’, Moto E4 price in India is Rs. 8,199 (MRP Rs. 8,999), Moto G5 is down to Rs. 10,999 (MRP Rs. 12,599), and Moto M to Rs. 12,999 (MRP Rs. 16,999). The Moto Z2 Play saw the biggest price drop, from Rs. 29,499 to Rs. 24,999.
Also this week, Xiaomi partnered with Big Bazaar to sell its popular Redmi Note 4 and Redmi 4 smartphones in the large format retailer’s 240 stores. This is part of Xiaomi’s offline aggressive push; it already sells its phones in other retail chains, such as Croma, Vijay Sales, and Sangeetha. In Big Bazaar stores, the Redmi Note 4 and Redmi 4 will come with a range of offers, including no cost EMI for ICICI Bank card holders.