“These are the phones to get if you want to experience Android in its purest form”
It is not surprising that Google’s Android now has over 90 percent market share of the active smartphone user base. One of the main reasons behind its success is that the mobile OS is open source, which means manufacturers can tweak it to best suit the hardware offered by their smartphones. This is how brands can offer phones with their own customised Android builds. While most of these skins and builds come with a ton of features, they often tend to be resource hungry and lag behind in getting updates.
However, there are phones which offer Android in its vanilla avatar too. While the Pixel series of devices from Google are known to offer the same, they are surely not the only options you have, especially after brands like Lenovo, HMD Global, Moto and even Xiaomi have joined the herd. Here is a list of top smartphones which boot stock Android out of the box.
Google Pixel 2 / Pixel 2 XL (Rs 61,000 onwards)
Google Pixel 2 duo is arguably the best Android smartphones money can buy, and of course, among the very few offerings to offer the latest Android 8.0 Oreo. Successors to the Pixel and Pixel XL, the second-gen Google-branded smartphones differ in the display size and battery capacity. The Pixel 2 features a 5-inch display, while the Pixel 2 XL sports a 6-inch screen which follows the latest trend of 18:9 aspect ratio. Inside, the phones are powered by the most powerful processor from Qualcomm (at the time), the Snapdragon 835 coupled with 4GB RAM. Both devices flaunt a 12-megapixel rear snapper, which captures impressive images across all situations, along with offering a portrait mode.
Related read: Google Pixel 2 XL review
Google Pixel / Pixel XL (Rs 35,000 onwards)
While the original Pixel siblings are more than a year old, they still remain capable offerings. Underneath the hood of the Pixel smartphones, users will find Snapdragon 821 processors, 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 have started receiving updates to Android Oreo. That said, both devices are slated to get successors on October 4th, so you might want to hold buying one of these until then.
Related read: Google Pixel XL review
Nokia 8 (Rs 36,999)
The Nokia 8 is the first Android flagship under the Finnish brand. It comes with a premium metal unibody design with top-of-the-line specifications including a Snapdragon 835 SoC, 4GB of RAM and a crisp 5.2-inch 2K IPS LCD display. And just like other handsets in Nokia’s portfolio, the 8 also boots stock Android out of the box… Android 7.1.1 Nougat, to be precise. However, the key highlight of the device is its dual 13MP rear cameras with Zeiss optics, which use a monochrome and an RGB sensor to produce an overall better image. For those wondering, the Nokia 8 will be available on Amazon India and select brick-and-mortar stores starting October 16th.
Moto G5s Plus (Rs 15,999)
With the Moto G5s Plus, Lenovo launched an upgrade to the Moto G5 Plus in less than six months since the launch of the latter. And while that may be a hard thing to hear for the owners of the G5 Plus, for those of you looking to buy a new stock Android phone, the G5s Plus looks like a potent choice. That’s because it rocks features like a 5.5-inch full HD display, an octa-core Snapdragon 625 SoC, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of expandable storage and Android 7.1 Nougat in its unadulterated form. The G5s Plus too gets a dual 13MP rear camera setup, which works in a similar fashion to the Nokia 8.
Xiaomi Mi A1 (Rs 14,999)
Who would have thought that a Xiaomi device will feature in a list of the best stock Android phones? Nonetheless, the Mi A1 is here and it’s here to stay. The phone flaunts an eye-catching aluminium design, and comes loaded with some impressive specifications for its price – a 5.5-inch full HD display, Snapdragon 625 SoC, 4GB of RAM and dual 12MP rear cameras. On the software side of things, the phone reboots the Android One program and offers stock Android 7.1.2 Nougat, with a planned upgrade to Android Oreo before the end of the year. So, those of you who held back buying a Xiaomi device because of the company’s MIUI platform, the Mi A1 might be a perfect choice for you.
Related read: Xiaomi Mi A1 review
Moto Z2 Play (Rs 27,999)
Among recent launches from the Lenovo-owned Motorola, the Z2 Play is a powerful smartphone which ships with stock Android Nougat operating system. Similar to its predecessor, it comes with the same 16-pin connectors on the rear panel with support for Moto Mods. The front panel of the phone houses a 5.5-inch full HD AMOLED display and a 5MP selfie shooter. The phone comes with the Snapdragon 626 SoC, mated to 4GB of RAM. Other specs of the handset include 12MP DualPixel primary camera, a water-repellent nano coating, a fingerprint sensor and a 3,000mAh battery. The smartphone can be picked up for Rs 27,999 from Flipkart and offline stores across India.
Related read: Moto Z2 Play review
Lenovo K8 Note (Rs 12,999 onwards)
The K8 Note from Lenovo looks like a solid package for sure. We say this because the Android Nougat-toting device phone almost all the boxes one would wish at an affordable price. A 5.5-inch full HD display, a deca-core MediaTek MT6797D SoC, up to 4GB of RAM, up to 64GB of expandable storage, a mammoth 4,000mAh battery and dual 13MP + 5MP cameras at the back… you name it, and the K8 Note has it.
However, if you wish for a smaller device, you can have a look at the K8 Plus, which tones down the specs a little but keeps the stock Android, dual cameras and the large 4,000mAh battery at an even more affordable price of Rs 10,999.
Moto E4 Plus (Rs 9,999)
The Moto E4 Plus is a budget offering from the Lenovo-backed brand, and as usual, ships with Android Nougat in its stock avatar. This time around the brand has shaken a few things around and unlike its predecessors, the newest E-series handset flaunts a metal unibody design. However, the mainstay of the handset is the beefy 5,000mAh battery under the rear panel, which is the most powerful in the Moto lineup. On its fascia, there is a 5.5-inch HD display with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 layered with oleophobic coating. The spec sheet also includes a 1.4GHz quad-core MediaTek MT6737 processor mated to 3GB of RAM, a 13MP primary camera and a 5MP selfie shooter. The handset is available exclusively on Flipkart.
Related read: Moto E4 Plus first impressions
This brings us to the end of the list. Do you have any favourites up there? Drop us a comment and let us know.