It’s been over a week now, the new JioPhone Next has been launched, and I too have had one for an entire week now; this review will help you as I give a complete honest judgement about this “ultra-affordable” smartphone. Well, already a lot of media friends have shared their judgement about the JioPhone Next, and to some extent, it’s true, Jio needs to fix a few things.
The JioPhone Next can either be availed entirely with a one-time payment of Rs.6499 or bought using up to 24 months EMI. Reliance is targeting this smartphone for those customers who are looking to buy via EMI, which makes this another disaster; why?
It is because even though you are buying it paying a small amount of money each month but you are paying more in the long term. However, there’s no denying that along with the smartphone, you get data & calls as well but is it worth spending that amount over a thing whose value degrades within a month or so?
To make an entry-level smartphone usable and fast for everyday use requires phenomenal engineering at heart. Here, the JioPhone Next runs on Pragati OS, powered by Android OS that has been engineered by both Jio and Google to bring Pragati (meaning progress) for all while offering a seamless experience at an affordable cost.
Reliance Jio’s partnership with Qualcomm has helped them use a Qualcomm QM215 mobile SoC, which helps to optimise device performance, audio and battery. This is paired with 2GB of RAM and 32GB of storage that’s expandable (up to 512GB).
You have a basic 5.45-inch (720×1440) display protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3. In terms of connectivity, you have both 4G LTE and dual-SIM support, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1, a headphone jack, and a micro USB port. There are basic sensors like an accelerometer, light, proximity, and you also have a dual microphone.
Glad to see, Jio has put a respectable battery that ranges from 3,400mah (rated) to 3,500mAh (typical), this should give enough juice for an entire day. Also, if you closely notice, it is one of the few smartphones these days that has a removable battery, so even if someone’s battery is damaged two or three years down the line you can replace it.
For the camera, you get a 13MP rear sensor and 8MP front-facing shooter, for a ₹6499 smartphone, you cannot expect more. However, the close integration between Jio and Google has helped to get the best out of these two sensors, while you see the Camera Go app to be the default camera application being used.
Google has carefully optimised the app for JioPhone Next and taking pictures doesn’t lag much because of this. Thanks to the partnership with Snapchat, the Indian-specific Snapchat Lenses directly in the application, you can take images with HDR, Night, and Portrait modes. For flash, you get a rear LED flash and display flash for selfies and yes, you can record 1080p videos at 30FPS from both cameras.
This smartphone is packed with key Google features like Maps, Search, and Nearby Share for offline sharing. Useful features like Assistant, voice interaction, text-to-speech, and Google Lens translation has been integrated carefully, keeping the size of apps in mind, and most Google apps use the “Lite” version to save space.
You also get a slow but decent charger, and it typically takes some time to charge the smartphone from 0 to 100%.
What do you get in the box?
Although these days even flagship smartphones are skipping on chargers, cables, Jio does provide you with both of them, but it’s really slow. Also, there’s a removable battery that can last longer and can be changed if it fails in the long. Then, you have the warranty card and all the paperwork as well.
The design of the JioPhone Next is pretty good for a budget smartphone but it does look like an old phone with a new design, well, to cut costs it’s okay but when you are paying Rs.6,499 you will want a more design. A minimum dew-drop notch style design is expected or a display covering more screen-to-body ratio, it’s good for basic things but nothing revolutionary.
I did expect the design to be old not with removable batteries, but it is a good thing as people can replace batteries and use the JioPhone Next in the long run. However, when someone pays that much amount of money for such an old design it doesn’t feel right, the blue back cover is soothing but not in line with 2021.
The JioPhone Next has a decent 5.45-inch display that reminds me of the old smartphone era when there were no notches or hole-punch cameras. Though in 2021 this looks very old for those who want their first smartphone, for them, well this might not be a bad display.
The 720×1440 resolution display here is able to play 720p as well as 1080p videos as well which is a good sign as the latter provides much better quality while watching movies or shows. The brightness of the display is not too shabby or extraordinary but can be used outdoors which is a good sign, overall, as a display for an entry-level smartphone, the JioPhone Next has good potential.
This is the only thing about the whole JioPhone Next that has made me more sceptical than ever! It equips a very nominal Qualcomm QM215 mobile SoC that performs very poorly though it optimized with Pragati OS (unofficial Google Go OS), however, still when you will use it for an extended period, the smartphone will slow down.
If you see the Geekbench score of this SoC you could have an heart attack though but this is what it is with 2GB DDR3 RAM and 32GB of internal storage, fortunately can be expanded. However, the optimization of Google apps is excellent and if you use mostly the “Lite” apps then the smartphone could work better.
Some apps like Google Camera Go deserves real credit as it gives a snappy experience while clicking photos, also all Google optimized apps performs well. However, the main problem starts when you start using it for few days as apps start to take more RAM and storage, the experience gets choppy.
Though the clean Pragati OS has a lot of Google specific features which cannot be seen on a regular Redmi or Realme smartphone at this price, however, you will see stutters, jitteryness when using it for a long time.
The experience could have been better if there was 3GB RAM and a MediaTek G series or Snapdragon 400 series chipset used for the price. Well, if it was price under Rs.5k then I would have told this kind of performance is bearable for the price, however, at Rs.6,499, performance seems disappointing to me, highly not recommended for enthusiasts.
As you see in the camera samples, the rear 13MP camera performs great during daylight and thanks to Google’s optimization via its own camera app, this entry-level smartphone takes some really good images. The colors are really punchy and life-like, so, for an entry-level smartphone, the JioPhone Next does have a good camera.
I am really impressed with the focussing and even though it lacks a good SoC, that generally possess a better ISP, the Google Camera Go helped the JioPhone Next some really nice shots. Indeed this is one of the best cameras I have seen on an ultra-affordable smartphone.
On the selfie front, the 8MP front shooter is decent in good lighting condition and you cannot expect more from a budget smartphone to be honest. The lighting and the skin tones are quite accuarate, not as detailed it could be, but I am pretty happy with the results.
On the connectivity front, you do get an older Bluetooth 4.1 and no Wi-Fi 5 support, just supports 2.4GHz band, so a bit disappointing again. Also the 4G internet data is limited to Jio only, which comes as no brainer but the speed or network reception is not great, its decent for everyday usage.
You can easily connect to earbuds or wireless headphones, and talk but the receiving end may find your voice to be slow at times. On the other hand, when you go to other room keeping your JioPhone Next in another place, you will notice a delay or a lag in connectivity. Overall, the connectvity seen on this smartphone is what you expect from an entry-level smartphone with room for correcntion.
Audio & Microphone
Though you have only one speaker, but it is quite loud and I did enjoy playing music on it or just watch YouTube videos. Even for those who cannot afford a smartphone and want a cheap solution for online classes i.e. for basic education, this is a nice option. The microphone is decent, nothing too extraordinary but could have been better.
The removable 3,500mAh battery is quite good for everyday work and lasts throughout the day easily, I watched movies, YouTube videos, listened endless music and did some social media browsing, however, the battery lasted the entire day. One thing to point out is that the charger is quite slow to charge the JioPhone Next and takes up to 2 hours to fully charge the smartphone.
As its removable, suppose, it gets wasted at some point of time, you can at least have option to buy a separate one and use it long-term. This is a really good effort by Jio targeted for those who need long-lasting smartphone at ultra-affordable rates.
The entire media has given criticized about the JioPhone Next and I will not do that but make Jio realize what they should do. This smartphone is never intended for enthusiasts or one who has a smartphone already but for those who want their first Android smartphone.
I really appreciate Jio’s partnership with Google and Qualcomm to make a decent smartphone but if you are judging on the basis of the upfront price of the smartphon i.e. Rs.6,499, this is quite costly.
The cheap SoC from Qualcomm is only tolerable when the price is aggressive, if it would be Rs.4k, I would have happily recommended it, or say even Rs.5k, one could stretch but for 2GB RAM and such SoC I wouldn’t advice.
On a personal basis, I used it seriously only for few days and rest of the days I mostly played songs on it, good for secondary smartphone but never as a primary device. My personal suggestion to Jio would be please make the price more aggressive if they want to target ones who do not have smartphone.