It’s that time of the year again. 2017 is now behind us, and this is the time when we look at the year gone past and acknowledge the best smartphones that came our way. As is the case each year, smartphone tech grew by leaps and bounds in 2017, and we saw some really exciting devices and features. Dual cameras, 18:9 displays, face unlock and disappearing headphone jacks were just some of the noteworthy trends we saw. Some devices that landed in 2017, like the Apple iPhone X and the Google Pixel 2 duo for example, look set to define how the phones of the future will shape up. Others like the Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 set the bar for design and construction. 2017 was also the year when iconic brand Nokia made a comeback, LeEco rose up and then fell sharply, and Xiaomi cemented its position as a brand to reckon with. Now you know what we mean when we say 2017 was a year that will get a special place in the annals of smartphone history. Without further ado however, let’s get on with the awards.

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To help us zero in on the winners, we sought the help of industry watchers who track the personal technology segment very closely, and review smartphones on a daily basis. These are individuals well known in the Indian tech media space, each bringing years of experience and valuable insights to the judging process. Here’s an introduction.

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Before we take a look at the list of nominees for Phone of the Year 2017, here are the other categories that were adjudged as part of the annual awards. Click on the title to read the details, see the list of nominees in each category, and the respective winners. We’ll still give you a quick peek at the winners here.

Sexiest Phone of the Year

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The Apple iPhone X (review) was adjudged the runners up in this category. As the tenth anniversary iPhone, it had a lot riding on it and the iPhone X delivered with a gorgeous, all-screen front and drool-worthy looks. However, it was the Xiaomi Mi Mix 2(review) that took away the honours, winning the Sexiest Phone of the Year title with its ceramic body and mesmerising bezel-less design.

Camera Phone of the Year (below Rs 20k)

The Honor 7X(review) and the Honor 9i(review)were rated as joint runners ups for the Camera Phone of the Year (below Rs 20k). With very capable dual cameras on offer (the Honor 9i even offers dual cameras up front), these devices offered stellar photography results for those on a budget. Xiaomi’s Mi A1(review) took the lead though – the brands very first dual camera smartphone in the country (and also its first stock Android offering) proved to be unbeatable for those looking for great photos without breaking the bank.

Selfie Phone of the Year

This segment had a varied set of contenders, but it was the OnePlus 5T (review) that came in second, thanks to a powerful and capable 16MP selfie shooter that takes lovely self portraits. Google Pixel 2 duo, the Pixel 2 and the Pixel 2XL bagged the winners title though, all thanks to the pristine selfies they can capture, complete with the option of a special portrait mode.

Camera Phone of the Year

Samsungs Galaxy Note8 (review) came in second, courtesy powerful dual cameras (featuring dual optical image stabilisation) that capture stellar stills and videos regardless of shooting conditions. Despite sporting a single primary camera though, Google’s Pixel 2 and 2 XL (review) won the highly coveted title of the Camera Phone of the Year 2017. Loaded with Googles special algorithms and producing amazing results in all conditions, the Pixel 2 duo are your best bet if you’re looking for photography nirvana.

Most Innovative Phone of the Year

Apple-iPhone-X-9Dual cameras with dual OIS, an improved and more powerful S Pen and tons of features made the Samsung Galaxy Note8 win the runners up title for the Most Innovative Phone of the Year. It was the tenth anniversary iPhone though, the Apple iPhone X, that won this title this year. A near bezel-less design and a TrueDepth sensor with Face ID that allows you to unlock your phone without touching it or uttering a single word makes it highly innovative and charts a path for the future.

Budget Phone of the Year

The budget segment is ruled by Xiaomi and this award category proves that without a doubt. The Redmi 5A(review) was adjudged runners up for its loaded specs offered at a very reasonable price, but it was the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4(review) that walked away with the title of the Budget Phone of the Year. A well-rounded package that doesn’t involve any compromise, the Redmi Note 4 is certainly unmatched in this category.

VFM Phone of the Year

Value for money holds different meanings for different individuals, but one cant argue with the bang for the buck offered by the LG V30+ (review). A loaded smartphone that offers almost every feature expected of a 2017 flagship, that too at a very reasonable price, the V30+ was the runners up in this category. Unsurprisingly though, the OnePlus 5T won the title, being a solid mix of powerful specs and affordable pricing.

Debut Brand of the Year

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2017 saw many new brands entering the Indian smartphone arena, but it was 10.or that stood apart with its value-for-money offerings. The brand came in second, but it was Nokia that took the lead. It might be a comeback for the brand, but it got a fresh lease of life under HMD Global, and made 2017 a special year for smartphone history with its noteworthy smartphones.

And now, moving on to the nominees for the Phone of the Year 2017

Google Pixel 2 / Pixel 2 XL

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After Google killed the Nexus line and came up with its own Pixel smartphones in 2016, expectations were quite high as far as their successors were concerned. And Google delivered, for the most part at least. Surprisingly, the Mountain View major stayed away from the biggest trend seen in smartphones this year (dual cameras), but was still able to deliver exceptional camera performance with the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. Even otherwise, the two siblings brought tons of other goodies, including solid performance, superior AR capabilities, offline song recognition and one-squeeze access to the Google Assistant.

Samsung Galaxy Note8

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As the successor to the ill-fated Galaxy Note7, the Note8 had a lot riding on it. And not only did the Note8 manage to slay the old ghosts, it came as one of the most loaded, feature-packed and powerful smartphones of 2017. Dual cameras with dual OIS, a souped-up S Pen with screen-off memo-taking abilities, a large Infinity Display with a sexy bezel-less design, IP68 rating for protection agains liquid damage, powerful specs and a solid battery life – the Galaxy Note8 offers it all and then some more. But does it have what it takes to win the Phone of the Year 2018 title? Continue reading to find out.

Apple iPhone X

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2017 marked the tenth anniversary for the original iPhone, and Apple was expected to mark the occasion with a breakthrough flagship smartphone. And with the launch of the iPhone X, the Cupertino giant did exactly that. The device marks a lot of firsts, both for the brand as well as smartphones in general. The first iPhone to come with a bezel-less screen, the first to ditch the Touch ID fingerprint scanner and home button, the first with an OLED screen, the first to boast Face ID – the list goes on. The TrueDepth sensor hidden inside the notch on the front packs in loads of new tech, and the phone also offers most features expected of a flagship, including IP67 rating, wireless charging, dual cameras with dual optical image stabilisation and the trademark Portrait Lighting feature thats now available even for the front camera.

LG V30+

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Unveiled first at IFA, the V30+ took its own sweet time coming to India. We’ll forgive that, since the smartphone comes as a very well-rounded package overall. The V30+ ticks all the boxes for flagship features, including a gorgeous, bezel-less QHD+ display, dual cameras with wide angle feature and industry-leading f/1.6 aperture, IP68 rating, and solid audio capabilities. All said and done, the package becomes quite irresistible once you factor in the pricing. LG’s move of pricing the V30+ at a very reasonable Rs 44,990 (at launch time) ensured you get a very solid, high-end device without breaking the bank, and also made sure the phone found a place in our list of nominees for Phone of the Year.

OnePlus 5 / 5T

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OnePlus has always offered top-end specs at mouth-watering price points, and while the brand moved slightly higher up in the price segment in 2017, it still managed to rock our boat with the 5 and its upgraded sibling, the 5T. While the OnePlus 5 came as a solid contender with up to 8 gigs of RAM and dual cameras, it was the 5T that ended the year on a high note for the brand, by offering a more contemporary 18:9 display. Not just that, the 5T was even launched as a Limited Edition Star Wars version, making sure that the fans of the much-loved franchise stood up and took notice. The OnePlus 5 and 5T make it to our list of the best phones of 2017 as solid all-rounders that prove you don’t need to pay through your nose to get yourself a true flagship.

And the winners are

The Phone of the Year was possibly the toughest category to judge this time, mainly because all contenders seemed worthy for the title. The opinion of the jury members was divided, but at the end, there can only be one winner.

Runners up: Apple iPhone X and OnePlus 5 / 5T

As the most innovative and feature-packed iPhone in a long time, the Apple iPhone X came in a close second, tied with the OnePlus 5 / 5T which won asthe OnePlus flagships really offer a lot for their asking price.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy Note8

As Hitesh Raj Bhagat from The Economic Times puts it, includes all possible features, multiple phone unlock methods, iris scanning, best screen ever, was the first to include dual OIS dual camera, S-Pen enhancements.

Admittedly, the Galaxy Note 8 won by a very close margin, but eventually, it managed to score the highest overall making it the Phone of the Year 2017.

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