Google’s Android operating system is currently ruling the mobile software world with well over 80 percent market share of the active smartphones in the world. Scores of OEMs across the world use Android, or its modified versions, to power their smartphones, simply because it offers them freedom to customise the OS according to the needs of its customers.
What this essentially means is that brands like Samsung, LG, HTC, Xiaomi, and the like, sell smartphones with their own favours of Android. Sometimes, these phones are also filled with more than just the regular suite of Google apps, and include the brand’s very own apps; these apps are called bloatware. All this customisation tends to make the operating system heavy on the storage and also causes the phones to slow down over a period of time if they aren’t optimised properly. Another major issue is that OEMs take their own sweet time to update their smartphones to the latest version of Android.
This is precisely the reason why some people prefer a more straightforward stock Android experience on their smartphones. There are not many smartphones out there that actually offer such an experience. Here’s our pick of the best options for stock Android smartphones you can find in India in 2016.
Google Nexus 6P
Although the Nexus 6P (review) is a smartphone that was launched late last year, it surely deserves a place in this list because it is currently the latest Nexus flagship. With a successor coming soon, the Nexus 6P has specs and features that can easily put any flagship of 2016 to shame.
The Nexus 6p is a successor to the massive Nexus 6, with a 6-inch display, that was launched in 2014. The Nexus 6p, in comparison, offers a slightly more compact 5.7-inch display. With specifications like a Snapdragon 810 processor and a QHD display, this phone runs stock Android Marshmallow, and is soon due for an update to Android Nougat. It also offers an unparalleled experience in terms of performance and fluidity. Apart from the hardware and software goodness, the Nexus 6P comes with a sturdy aluminium chassis, which makes it look premium.
The Nexus 6P is available at a price of around Rs 37,000 in India through most leading retailers.
Google Nexus 5X
Apart from the Nexus 6P, Google also announced a second, more affordable Nexus smartphone in 2015. The successor to the older Nexus 5, the LG Nexus 5X (review) is a sub-Rs 25,000 smartphone with decent specifications and design. The Nexus 5X was one of the first phones to launch with the Nexus Imprint security feature – or a fingerprint scanner for the layman.
The smartphone, other than running a stock version of Android, also offers a decent 12MP rear camera that comes with features like laser autofocus, and HDR for photography and videos. The front camera on the Nexus 5X is a decent 5MP one, with the same aperture as on the rear. Moving on to the other specifications of the phone, the Nexus 5X utilises a Snapdragon 808 processor and has 2GB of RAM for multitasking. On the front is a decent 5.2-inch screen with a full HD resolution. The phone runs tAndroid 6.0 Marshmallow and you can expect an Android N update soon enough.
The Nexus 5X is available in India through leading retailers for a price of around Rs 21,000.
Google Nexus 6
The Nexus 6 is Google’s flagship for 2014. Made by Motorola, the Nexus 6 was hugely criticised for having a massive form factor, which is generally unsuitable for a flagship smartphone. Despite all the criticism, customers praised the Nexus 6 for its beautiful 2k display and the performance on stock Android.
The Nexus 6 was one of the best phones of 2014 but unpopular due to the screen size. It has a huge 5.96-inch quad-HD display adorning the front of the device. It uses the short-lived but powerful Snapdragon 805 chipset and has 3GB of RAM. It also has a 13MP rear sensor packed with OIS and HDR for clearer pictures and stable video. The phone will be updated to Android N shortly.
The Nexus 6 is available in India through leading retailers for a price of around Rs. 25,000.
Motorola Moto E3 Power
The latest Motorola budget smartphone, the Moto E3 Power (review), is an affordable smartphone but with decent specifications for the price. The biggest plus point of this device is the 3,500mAh battery that it packs under the hood. Combined with stock android, this phone can easily last up to two days on a single charge.
It even has an improved 8MP camera sensor on the back and a 5MP selfie camera.
The Moto G4 (review) is the company’s fourth iteration in the highly-successful Moto G series of smartphones. This series of smartphones has been known to offer high-end performance and software at an affordable price. In fact, the original Moto G is the most sold product on Flipkart since its inception. The Moto G4 has VoLTE and turbo charging features.
The Moto G4 now comes with a huge 5.5-inch full HD display. The phone uses the latest mid-range processor, the Snapdragon 617. With 2GB of RAM and stock Android, the Moto G range has never had any issues with multitasking. The 13MP rear camera has an improved dual-tone LED flash for aiding in low-light photography.
The Moto G4 is available in India through Amazon India for a price of around Rs 12,500.
Moto G4 Plus
The Moto G4 Plus (review) is the premium variant of the company’s fourth iteration in the highly-successful Moto G series of smartphones. This series has been known to offer high-end performance and software at an affordable price. The Moto G4 Plus has a fingerprint sensor and turbo charging features.
It has similar specs like the Moto G4; there’s a 5.5-inch full HD display and a Snapdragon 617 processor. However, the G4 Plus offers you a choice between 2GB and 3GB of RAM. The 16MP rear camera is also upgraded with support for laser autofocus and phase-detection autofocus (PDAF).
The Moto G4 Plus is available in India through Amazon India for a price of around Rs. 15,000.
Moto Z (upcoming)
Soon to be launched in India, the Moto Z is currently Lenovo’s flagship smartphone. It is the company’s first attempt at a modular device, after the LG G5 was launched earlier this year. It brings with itself accessories known as Moto Mods, which paves the way for future modular phones from Lenovo.
Being the company’s most ambitious venture into the flagship smartphone segment in a long time, the Moto Z has top-of-the-line specifications to complement its uniqueness. Running the Snapdragon 820 chipset and coupled with 4GB of RAM, the Moto Z will mostly run anything you throw at it with aplomb. The rear camera has a brilliant 13MP sensor that can be upgraded with Moto Mods. It also has a QHD display with the industry-standard 5.5-inch screen size.
The Moto Z is expected to be available in India in October at a price of around Rs 50,000.
Moto Z Play (Upcoming)
Yet to be launched in India, the Moto Z Play is the affordable version of Motorola’s flagship range of smartphones this year.
The smartphone, other than running stock Android, also has a decent 16MP rear camera that comes with features like laser autofocus, and a dual-tone LED flash for photography and videos. The front camera on the Moto Z Play is a decent 5MP one for selfies and video calling. Moving on to the other specifications of the phone, the Moto Z Play utilises the Snapdragon 625 processor and has 3GB of RAM for multitasking. On the front is a decent 5.5-inch FHD display. The phone runs the latest Android 6.0 Marshmallow OS and you can expect an Android N update soon enough. Of course, sharing the Moto Z lineage, it also supports modularity with support for Moto Mods.
The Moto Z Play will be available in India next month with a price tag below Rs 30,000.
That brings us to the end of the list. The best stock Android phones in India are all pretty much summed in the list above. Which is your favourite pick out of the lot? Let us know in the comment section below.