If you are someone who has a keen interest in the consumer tech segment or are the go-to guy for device buying opinions, you must have been asked about the ‘best smartphone’ to buy. Getting hold of this Holy Grail however, is a tough task, and there is no perfect answer.
Every user has different needs and expectations from their smartphones, and one person’s perfect smartphone might not exactly be the pick for others. Although it is quite tough to filter out the best smartphone, there are definitely best options according to specific needs. Here we list down the best smartphones for every need, which you can get in 2016.
Best Big Phone – Samsung Galaxy Note7
Big phones mean phablets, or the overgrown children of phones and tablets. The Samsung Galaxy Note7 (first impressions) is the company’s flagship phablet that recently launched in India. The phone has a water-resistant body with IP68 certification, which means it can survive in water up to a depth of 5 feet for around 30 minutes at a stretch. Furthermore, the phablet also comes with an improved S Pen, Samsung Knox, a new iris scanning feature, HDR photo and video capabilities and a Quad HD Super AMOLED 5.7-inch screen display.
The Note7 is powered by the company’s very own Exynos 8890 and 4GB of RAM that gives it the extra oomph for gaming. It also sports a similar 12MP Dual Pixel camera sensor as seen in the Galaxy S7 series. One of the best things about this phone is the addition of an iris scanner. While fingerprint scanners have been a thing for the past few years, iris scanners are rare and use a different technology to unlock your phone. The new stylus on the Note7 even lets you use it underwater giving the divers out there something to do while at work.
The Galaxy Note7 is available in India at a price of Rs 59,900 from most leading retailers.
Best Small Phone – Apple iPhone SE
Yes, the newly-launched iPhone SE (review) is the best small phone currently. But, not without its share of flaws. Crudely put, the SE is a shrunken-down version of the iPhone 6s and was launched as an apparent alternative to consumers who wanted the 4-inch screen back.
Although it might be debatable, the era of small screens is fading away in the time of increasing video content. With no change in design as compared to the iPhone 5s, the iPhone SE has internals going in its favour, fortunately. The Apple A9 processor and PowerVR GPU make the SE a worthy competitor to current Android flagships. Basically, it can be termed as a powerful dynamite in a tiny package. There’s not much to compare in this segment and most of the other small phones are mid-rangers. So, the award goes to the Apple iPhone SE.
The Apple iPhone SE is available in India at a starting price of around Rs 35,000 from all leading retailers.
Special Mention – Xiaomi Mi 5
Xiaomi’s Mi 5 has been highly awaited by Xiaomi fans across the world due to the two-year delay for an upgrade to the average Xiaomi Mi 4. Finally having upgraded its flagship smartphone range in 2016, Xiaomi made sure the launch had all the specs in the right place. Giving it a complete makeover since the Mi 4, the Xiaomi Mi 5 (review) has a lot of design elements borrowed from the bigger Mi Note and Mi Note Pro. What’s more notable is the fact that it’s among the lightest and most compact phones in the Android arena.
Looking at the features of the phone, it can be easily said that the Xiaomi Mi 5 is on par with the Samsung Galaxy S7 but comes at almost half the price. Taking on competition from OEMs like OnePlus and Lenovo, the Xiaomi Mi 5 has features like a flagship Snapdragon 820 chipset, 3GB RAM and a 16MP rear-facing camera sensor. The Xiaomi Mi5 runs MIUI that is based on top of Android 6.0 Marshmallow. It also offers Qualcomm Quick Charging capabilities and comes with a 3,000mAh battery to power up the internals. It also has a curved glass body to add to the aesthetics.
Xiaomi Mi 5 is available in India at a price of Rs 25,000 through the official website and other leading retailers.
Best Budget Flagship – OnePlus 3
When you are on a budget and can’t spend more than Rs 30,000 for a high-end smartphone that will last you more than two years, your best bet will be the OnePlus 3 (review).
The OnePlus 3 has been one of the most anticipated smartphone launches since the company conceived its first product – the OnePlus One. This hype is because the company offers premium features at a price that is close to half that of its competitors. Rocking a 5.5-inch full HD display with high-end internals like 6GB of RAM and the Snapdragon 820 processor, the OnePlus 3 is, by all means, one of the best Android phones out there.
Apart from the loaded internals, it also has a completely revamped design. With a sleek metal unibody and colours like grey and gold, it is the most premium smartphone by OnePlus till date. The biggest disappointment about the phone is that it has had to compromise on the battery part due to the sleek all-metal body. Despite offering similar battery capacity as its predecessor, the OnePlus 3 provides a decent level of battery life and can last an entire day on moderate usage.
OnePlus 3 is available at a price of Rs 28,000 exclusively via Amazon India and the official website.
Special Mention – LeEco Le Max2
Nobody can say that Chinese brand LeEco hasn’t even completed a year in the Indian market. The company has been making the right moves, as with a few devices, it has caught consumers’ fancy. That’s evident from our Mobile Phone landscape report for the H1 2016 as well, since LeEco is the only brand that has been able to find a place among the top 10 most popular brands. The LeEco Le Max2 is the brand’s flagship, and can surely be termed as a flagship killer.
At Rs 22,999, the LeEco Le Max2 is the most affordable smartphone in India with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 chipset. It’s coupled with 4 gigs of RAM and features 32GB storage on board. The LeMax 2 is also a delight for entertainment enthusiasts as it comes with a one-year subscription to the brand’s Supertainment ecosystem, which is further augmented by the large 5.7-inch display bearing a rich 2k resolution. The camera department includes a 21-megapixel primary camera and an 8MP secondary shooter. It sips juice from a 3,100mAh battery.
If you’re looking for more power, then the higher-end variant of the LeEco Le Max2 packs in a beefy 6GB of RAM and 64GB storage.
Best Stock Android Phone – Google Nexus 6P
Although the Nexus 6P is a smartphone that was launched late last year, it currently is the most powerful phone that you can get in the market with pure Android OS. With a successor coming soon, the Nexus 6P (review) has specs and features that can easily put any flagship of 2016 to shame. Being a successor to the massive Nexus 6 of 2014, the Nexus 6P is slightly more compact with a 5.7-inch display. With specifications like the Snapdragon 810 processor and a Quad-HD display, this phone runs stock Android and offers an unparalleled experience in terms of performance and fluidity. Apart from hardware and software goodness, the Nexus series is also known for good looks and design. The Nexus 6P continues the trend of great build quality by donning an aluminum chassis, which makes it look premium.
The Google Nexus 6P is available at a price of around Rs 37,000 in India through most leading retailers.
Best iOS Phone – Apple iPhone 6s Plus
iOS is limited to solely Apple’s smartphones and there isn’t much to choose from here apart from getting the latest device. The iPhone 6s Plus (review) is currently Apple’s most premium smartphone that is due for an upgrade in September 2016. It practically has everything that you would require in a flagship. From great hardware performance to brilliant software optimisation and superb camera optics, the iPhone 6s Plus has most of these things packed into a sleek metal unibody design, albeit with unsightly antenna lines on the back.
While the design and feel of the device are extremely similar to the previous iPhone 6 Plus (apart from weight and thickness), the biggest difference is the new camera. Sporting the new Exmor 12MP camera sensor, the iPhone 6s Plus has loads of features like OIS and 4K recording to make it one of the best smartphone cameras that the market can currently offer. Another big addition that comes to the new series of Apple’s iPhone is 3D Touch. This game changer involves the use of a pressure sensitive display to judge different actions by detecting the amount of pressure.
The Apple iPhone 6s Plus is available in India at a starting price of around Rs 50,000 from all leading retailers.
Best Windows Phone – Microsoft Lumia 950XL
Windows 10 on a phone was a swell idea from Microsoft, but then, the lack of apps, falling market share and steep pricing are all factors that make Lumia phones unattractive phone choices. Especially when you plan to invest over half a lakh rupees into your next smartphone purchase.
On the other hand, if you are a huge Windows fan, the Lumia 950XL (first impressions) is the best phone for you. It offers seamless connectivity over Windows devices – PCs, tablets, smartphones. You can even use the Iris scanner for some extra security.
The Microsoft Lumia 950XL is available in India at a price of around Rs 40,000 from all leading retailers.
Best Camera Phone – Samsung Galaxy S7 edge
Off late, Samsung’s flagship smartphones have been the benchmark for superior smartphone photography. Borrowing design elements from its predecessor, the S6 edge (review), the S7 edge (review) has a much more refined glass and metal body with newer color variants including black and blue.
The phone is also waterproof and dustproof. With 4GB of RAM and an Exynos processor, both the S7 and S7 edge are beasts in terms of performance standards. With the upgrade, Samsung has made all the right changes for the customers. From upgrading battery capacity to using the new 12MP Dual Pixel camera sensor, the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge has all the right features for being termed one of the best Android phones in the world.
The Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge is available at a price of around Rs 55,000 from most major retailers.
Most Innovative Phone – LG G5
While the HTCs and the Samsungs of the mobile world are offering minor upgrades to their flagship smartphones, LG went a step ahead and revamped the entire idea of smartphone design. Aiming to make modular smartphones a mainstream concept, the LG G5 (review) is a step towards the future, in terms of how hardware parts and internals will be used or modified.
The G5 also adopts a metal unibody design that has a removable slot for access to the replaceable battery and a port for different modules that allow users to expand the phone’s capabilities by adding a camera grip and other proprietary accessories. While this design is not technically a popular method, it definitely has a niche audience, which is what the company is trying to reach in a recent phase that has left them craving for demand.
In terms of specifications, the smartphone has standard features to expect from a 2016 flagship. Snapdragon 820, 4GB RAM and a 5.3-inch display are the usuals you can expect from a phone that is priced at par with the biggies.
The LG G5 is priced at around Rs 50,000 on most leading retailers.
Best Multimedia Phone – HTC 10
HTC has always had multimedia features going in its favour. Whether it is audio quality or display resolution, HTC has been a favourite among multimedia junkies. With the HTC 10 in 2016, the BoomSound is better than ever before with the Hi-Fi edition and a superb set of speakers on the front. That’s not all, the smartphone also has a dedicated DAC chip and thus provides a better listening experience while using earphones.
To compliment the superb multimedia experience, it also has top-of-the-line specifications like Snapdragon 820 chipset and 4 gigabytes of RAM. The 5.-2-inch display offers impressive colours and is extremely sharp, thanks to a QHD resolution. For imagery, it flaunts a 12-megapixel Ultrapixel camera at the back and a 5MP Ultrapixel front snapper, and both of them are optically stabilised. A 3,000mAh battery keeps the HTC 10 alive.
So, there’s an ultimate list of the best smartphone as per your needs. Which one would you go for? Let us know in the comments below.