Google’s Android operating system is ruling the mobile world with well over 80 percent market share of the active smartphones globally. 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 flavours of Android. Sometimes, these phones are also filled with more than just the regular suite of Google apps, and include the brand’s own apps plus third-party ones; commonly referred to as 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 currently.
Google Nexus 6P
Although the Nexus 6P (review) is a smartphone that was launched a while ago, it surely deserves a place in this list because it is one of the best Nexus flagships. The Nexus 6p is a successor to the massive Nexus 6, that was launched in 2014 and featured a 6-inch screen. 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 has been updated to stock 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 31,000 in India through most leading retailers.
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.
Google Pixel / Pixel XL
Marking the end of the Nexus smartphones, the Pixel duo from Google established the search engine giant’s first proper foray into the smartphone business. Both the Google Pixel as well as the Pixel XL (review) are the first smartphones to carry a ‘made by Google’ branding. Underneath the hood of the Pixel smartphones, users will find an industry-leading Snapdragon 821 processor which has been aided by 4GB of RAM. While the Pixel comes with a 5-inch full HD display, the Pixel XL comes furnished with a 5.5-inch Quad HD display. For software, the smartphones boot stock Android Nougat and utilise the refreshed Pixel launcher. Built from a blend of glass and metal, the Pixel smartphones retail upwards of Rs 55,000.
The Moto Z (review) is currently Lenovo’s flagship smartphone. It is the company’s first attempt at a modular device, after the LG G5 was launched earlier last 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 available in India at a price of around Rs 39,000.
Moto Z Play
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 is available in India at a price tag of Rs 24,999
Moto G5 Plus
Motorola updated its popular G series this year with the Moto G5 Plus (review). The smartphone, other than running stock Android Nougat, comes with a refreshed design and is made entirely out of metal. The G5 Plus is fairly compact too and comes with a 5.2-inch full HD display. Underneath its metal chassis, users will find a Snapdragon 625 octa-core processor which works in tandem with 3GB of RAM. Similar to its predecessor, the Moto G5 Plus also clicks stellar pictures with its 12MP rear-facing sensor and 5MP selfie shooter. Backed by a 3,000mAh battery, the G5 Plus is capable of punching out up to 5 hours of SOT.
The Moto G5 is available in India from Rs 14,999.
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.