The year 2016 would be remembered for democratizing technology. This was the year when you need not have to buy the greatest hardware to access latest technologies like 4G. You could easily buy a smartphone for less than Rs 10,000 and use it with no compromises. High resolution 2.5D displays, metal unibody design, octa-core processors, high capacity RAM, water resistance… you could get just about everything without breaking the bank. Also Read - Top tech news today: Pokemon Go Fest 2021, Qualcomm smartphone and moreAlso Read - Android 12 public beta rolling out now: How to install on your Google Pixel phone
In our #BGRIndiaAwards series, we have already seen the best budget smartphones, the best value for money smartphones and the best flagship killer smartphones of the year. But for some, it does not cut it if they are not using the latest and greatest smartphone money could buy. This edition of #BGRIndiaAwards celebrates the absolute best smartphones of 2016. Also Read - Google I/O 2021 Event to bring Android 12: Compatible devices, expected release date, confirmed features
#1 Samsung Galaxy S7
Meet the only smartphone to ever get a perfect score in our review. I called the Samsung Galaxy S7 the perfect smartphone in my review. With top-of-the-line hardware, the best camera on a smartphone, waterproofing, wireless charging, expandable storage, premium design, you name it, the Galaxy S7 had it. And to top it all, Samsung managed to launch it at a sub-Rs 50,000 price point and managed to regulate the price throughout the year, unlike in the past where Samsung flagship phones would lose a third of their value within the first quarter. Currently retailing under Rs 44,000, the Samsung Galaxy S7 is still the best smartphone you can buy.
#2 Apple iPhone 7 Plus
Apple‘s pair of iPhones for 2016 have been the most controversial ever. Be it not refreshing the core design, which is usually the case after the ‘s’ cycle, to removing the 3.5mm audio jack, even devout Apple users raised their eyebrows when Apple decided to be courageous. Despite all the controversy, the iPhone 7 Plus had a lot going for it — the new dual camera setup with the uber cool portrait mode feature, water proofing (finally!) and an incredible all day battery life. And need we remind you about the glamorous Jet Black version?
#3 Google Pixel
Google’s first outing with its own branded smartphone impressed us with all the Googley-ness it brought along. With its pair of Pixel smartphones, Google is finally going after Apple with devices where it is able to integrate both the hardware and software experience and the first pair of Pixel smartphones did impress. Right from the Google Assistant, which blows Siri out of the water, to the camera experience and the slick UI, the Pixel smartphones ticked every box. However, the Pixel did seem as a hurried up product, with its eccentric design that was clearly inspired by the iPhone and featuring a glass “window” at the rear just to be different. The lack of waterproofing and the iPhone equivalent price tag, however, ensured the Galaxy S7 had nothing to worry about, just yet.
#Notable Mentions: Moto Z, HTC 10
True to its heritage, Motorola continued to push boundaries even under Lenovo, rather than simply churning out devices that are indistinguishable from others. In 2016, in channeled the spirit of its most iconic phone ever — the RAZR V3 — and came up with the sharp, sexy and modular Moto Z. We called it the Tony Stark of smartphones and while being a capable smartphone on its own, the Moto Mods added new functionalities. The “Mods”, however, are limited at the moment in terms of their capabilities and in some ways pricing, but this is one trend we will keep our eyes peeled for in 2017.
HTC might have had a forgettable 2016, but the HTC 10, reminded us once again why HTC was once a smartphone brand you couldn’t ignore. The phone didn’t quite ooze oomph like the other smartphones in this list but it did manage to stand up to everything we expect from a flagship smartphone. A few years ago, when HTC did have the brand pull, this smartphone would have been in the top three of our list but sadly that’s not the case any more. At the end of the day, the phone was overpriced in our books, considering you could get the Galaxy S7 for lesser.
In a way, it tells more about how aggressive Samsung has been this year and how it obliterated competition in the flagship segment, despite what happened with the Galaxy Note 7.