The year 2016 has been an exciting one for smartphone sales in India. Even as smartphone shipments slowed down in the rest of the world, India continued to show robust growth throughout the year. Call it the Reliance Jio effect or users shifting from feature phones to smartphones, we witnessed significant uptick across price segments. Also Read - Moto G4 Plus gets Android 8.1 Oreo, Moto Z3 Play receives Android Pie UpdateAlso Read - Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 reportedly starts receiving MIUI 10.2 final software update
Yesterday we announced the #BGRIndiaAwards in the sub-Rs 10,000 segment and today we take a look at the best value for money smartphones — devices priced between Rs 10,000 and Rs 20,000 that provided the most bang for the buck. This is the fastest growing smartphone segment, and an especially crucial one considering it appeals to people who are upgrading from an affordable smartphone and have greater expectations from their phones than any other price segment. ALSO READ: BGR India Awards: Best Budget Smartphones of 2016 Also Read - Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 MIUI 10 update rolling out; brings many changes
The Rs 10,000-20,000 segment is estimated to grow 86 percent in calendar year 2016 over 2015 and was the fastest growing segment in 2016 than other price bands. Most of the global and Chinese smartphone players like Oppo, Vivo were the biggest contributor to the segment and hence saw an uptick in their ASP. This was the year when we have seen Indian smartphone users also now upgrading to mid-smartphone segment, Tarun Pathak, Sr Analyst, Mobile Devices and Ecosystems at Counterpoint Research, told BGR India.
This segment now contributes to approximately 19 percent of the total smartphone market and is estimated to contribute close to 22 percent in 2017. The number of smartphone launches in this segment were also doubled 2016 over 2015, he added.
Now, as we get ready to bid adieu to the year 2016, BGR India team had a big debate to pick the best smartphones in the sub-Rs 20,000 range. After a good long argument, here is our list of the best mid-range, value for money smartphones of 2016.
#1 Lenovo Z2 Plus
This was a no-brainer, really, with the Lenovo Z2 Plus topping the list for everyone in team BGR India. With prices starting at Rs 17,999 for 3GB RAM + 32GB storage variant and Rs 19,999 for 4GB RAM + 64GB storage variant, the Lenovo Z2 Plus is the most affordable smartphones powered by Qualcomm s Snapdragon 820 SoC. The smartphone has a lot going in its favor, which included the slim profile, 5-inch full-HD (1080p) display, 13-megapixel rear camera and 3,500mAh battery with fast charging feature. In short, the Lenovo Z2 Plus was really a dream come true — a power packed, no-nonsense smartphone with flagship specs available for loose change. ALSO READ: Lenovo Z2 Plus hands-on and first impressions
#2 Xiaomi Redmi Note 3
If we had a sub-Rs 15,000 category, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 would have been wearing the crown. Priced at just Rs 11,999, the Redmi Note 3 redefined what a smartphone can offer at that price point. It features a battery that lasts long (really long), a relatively powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 650 SoC, 3GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage, fingerprint scanner, VoLTE support… we could go on and on. All this is enclosed in a metal unibody casing, which makes it appear high-end. If we were to nitpick, we would point out the average camera performance, but that would make us too greedy. ALSO READ: Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 Review: The game changer, again!
#3 LeEco Le Max2
We are cheating here a little, but who wouldn’t when you get so much for so less. The LeEco Le Max2 takes the third spot on the list, purely based on the killer hardware it offers for the price. Launched for Rs 22,999, LeEco recently gave it a permanent price cut, and it is now available for Rs 17,999. For this price, you get a 5.7-inch QHD display (1440 x 2560pixels), Qualcomm s Snapdragon 820 SoC, 4GB of RAM, 32GB onboard storage and a 3,100mAh battery. Call it ambush marketing or smart pricing, the LeEco did just enough to win our hearts and a spot in #BGRIndiaAwards. ALSO READ: LeEco Le Max2 review: A powerhouse, but
#Notable mentions: Motorola Moto G4 Plus and OPPO F1s
The Moto G4 Plus was one of the highly anticipated smartphones, especially considering the kind of benchmark set by previous Moto G smartphones. With good hardware on board and near stock vanilla Android OS, it is also the first Motorola smartphone in modern times to bring the fingerprint sensor for biometric authentication. The Moto G4 Plus is also the first smartphone under Rs 20,000 range to get Android 7.0 Nougat update. It also features water resistant nano coating to avoid damage from accidental splash of water or drizzling rain. However, it got a little overshadowed with other Chinese smartphone makers offering better hardware for the price. ALSO READ: Motorola Moto G4 Plus: Hands-on and first impressions
Lastly, while other smartphone makers had been focusing offering better specifications, OPPO went ahead to target the niche — selfie-loving — audience with the F1s. Design wise, the OPPO F1s does have striking similarities with the Apple iPhone 6s, but it was the 16-megapixel selfie camera making for a standout feature. The smartphone also features a 5.5-inch HD display, MediaTek octa-core SoC, 3GB RAM and 32GB onboard storage, along with a 3,075mAh battery. ALSO READ: OPPO F1s hands-on and first impressions: One for the selfie lovers
With the year 2017 less than a fortnight away, we re excited to see what the future beholds for smartphone buyers. While the above list of smartphones is carefully handpicked by BGR India team, we d like to hear from you if you agree with our selection or if you have some of your own picks. Feel free to let us know in the comments section below or tweet away with #BGRIndiaAwards.