Put INR 251 and a smartphone in the same sentence, most Indian buyers will be baffled and would not believe it to be true. However, it seems that the unbelievable has happened as a Noida-based company called Ringing Bells has launched a new device called Freedom 251, which costs a measly INR 251 (INR 291 including shipping charges of INR 40). While some cannot believe that one can buy a full fledged smartphone in just INR 251, we could not believe our eyes when we first read about it. Freedom 251 happens to be a revolution in the Indian handset market and a huge prop for Make In India campaign.
While government and other organisation have denied that this new smartphone has nothing to do with Make in India campaign, it can still prove to be a crucial tool to connect each and every Indian to the Internet. Its just so happens that the device has been priced extremely low to make it possible for literally anyone to buy a smartphone. This is a big step towards digital empowerment of Indian and the country will only emerge as a digital superpower at the end of it all.
The handset and its makers have already been embroiled in controversies as it is simply not possible to manufacture a smartphone with specifications like this in just INR 251. Experts have claimed that a device with specifications like this will cost atleast INR 2500 to manufacture only and it is unbelievable that Ringing Bells is selling it for just INR 251. However, since it is a small sum and if you are really interested in the device, you can go ahead and book one. At this price point anyone can afford to stay connected to the Internet, socialise more and learn more on the Internet.
Since the handset comes with a dirt cheap price tag, we cannot even expect decent specifications from the device and a warrant is a far fetched. However, Ringing Bells managed to surprise us on both count as the handset is not only decently specced but also comes with a valid warranty. Ringing Bells is offering a year long warranty for the handset so that even after being exceedingly cheap, you can replace or get repaired under warranty if it malfunctions or gets damaged. Therefore, the brand is assuring the buyer that they can purchase the handset with confidence and in case of any issue, they can claim warranty at any of its 650+ service centers.
Having seen entry level smartphone that comes with a price tag of INR 3000 atleast, we did not have high expectation from a handset that only costs a fraction of that. However, imagine our surprise when we went through the specifications sheet of Freedom 251. It comes with the last generation Android 5.1 Lollipop operating system at a time when most budget segment handset are still coming with Android Kitkat. There is a 1.3 GHz Quad-core processor running under the hood of the handset accompanied with 1 GB of RAM. Another pleasant surprise is that it comes with a 3.1 Megapixels rear camera and 0.3 Megapixels front camera when most entry level smartphones are missing the front camera. The battery under the rear panel is a 1450 mAh unit, which is slightly on a lower side, however, we did not expect a battery to be even provided at this price.
Most entry-level smartphones feature chunky and block like bar form factor with nothing much to boast about. We expected the same from Freedom 251, however, the device is quite easy on eyes and resembles an iPhone 5s from the front. The front panel of Freedom 251 flaunts a 4-inch display that offers a resolution of 540 x 960 pixels, another pleasant surprise. Ringing Bells has also painted the rear panel of the device in tricolor with Freedom 251 logo beneath it.
While the prospect of owning a smartphone this cheap is quite exciting, there are several controversies attached to the handset and the brand. According to rumours, Ringing Bells has not bothered to get BIS certification for its maiden handset, which means it can be hazardous to use the device. It is to note here that BIS certification is required to gauge safe levels of radiation emitted by the device and how safe it is to use them. However, it still has not managed to discourage Indian buyers from booking the smartphone and we are one among them. Once the device starts shipping, it will be exciting to see how it turns out to be.