Most people want smartphones with the bells and whistles of an iPhone. It is an aspiration a lot of Indians have and, often, international brands aren't able to live up to it.
Apple, for obvious reasons, does. But the price of an iPhone makes it prohibitive.
But in the last couple of years, things have changed wildly in India. Chinese brand Xiaomi is the poster-child for this change. Now consumers can have their favourite bells and whistles and then some more on a phone that costs less than half of the iPhone's MRP.
With Xiaomi's charge, there's been a battalion of smartphone brands following its lead. India's Micromax is a good example and some more Chinese brands like OnePlus, Lenovo and Huawei are also good examples.
But Xiaomi's latest smartphone, the Mi 5, is in another league. The company, which is often referred to as the Apple of China, has come up with a phone that manages to even out design of the mighty leviathan from Cupertino.
Chiselled out of high quality materials like glass and metal, the Mi 5 is arguably the sexiest smartphone in the market. Yes, the new Mi 5 not only looks nicer than the iPhone, but it is also lighter and packs a bigger screen.
That 5.15-inch IPS display on the Mi 5 may have a pretty standard full-HD resolution, but as they say the devil is in the detail, but it is an insanely bright gorgeous screen. It works very well under direct sunlight; better than the new iPhone 6S or even Samsung's Galaxy S7.
Yep, it doesn't have whizz-bang features like 3D touch or waterproofing, but Xiaomi focusses on getting the basics right. Every function on the Mi 5 works like a class leader and it has the consistency of a surgeon. The display is only one example, the rocket-ship like performance is perhaps the biggest indicator.
The Mi 5 is armed with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820, 3GB RAM and 32GB of storage. Now these specifications may not mean anything to most people, but if you care to fuss then I can say that it seems faster than Samsung's new Galaxy S7 in use - which according to me was the fastest Android smartphone in the market. This alone is a tell-tale sign that Xiaomi hasn't skimmed on quality components.
If you trust the folks at research firm IHS, then it has been revealed that Qualcomm's new processor - at the heart of the Mi 5 - is the most expensive component going around in smartphones today.
It makes up $62 of the Rs 25,000 price tag of the phone.
The camera on the back of the Mi 5 is not as good as the Galaxy S7 or the iPhone 6S in most conditions, but it comes shockingly close. The 16-megapixel snapper takes consistently good photos that many would mistake for something from an iPhone, but it is the quality of the videos where it trumps Apple.
The software experience remains silky smooth and the battery life is on par with what you get from the Galaxy S7 and decidedly better than the iPhone 6S. So yes, essentially, the new Mi 5 is on many levels a better phone than the most popular smartphone on the planet.
And yet, it costs less than half. Previously, phones like the OnePlus Two and the Mi 4 came close, but they were riddled with compromises. The Mi 5 isn't. It truly shows that the age of the Rs 50,000 smartphone has ended.