Just about a week is left in the year and as always, it s been an interesting year for smartphones. We ve seen everything coming out of the industry, including innovation (LG and Moto go modular), a company deciding to be courageous (Apple sounding the death knell for the 3.5mm jack), another copying its rival’s playbook (Google going for vertical integration with Pixel phones), a high-end technology getting democratized (4G LTE) and even combustible smartphones (the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 fiasco). But which devices stood out this year? Also Read - Why smartphones must be classified as an essential product during COVID-19 lockdownsAlso Read - How is the Smartphone Industry Trend in 2021?
We ve put together a list of the best smartphones of 2016 irrespective of budget, features and function. Our list includes the 12 top phones that impressed us this year, and the ones that we at BGR India would recommend. Take a look at 2016 s finest smartphones. Also Read - Flipkart Smartphones Carnival sale: Deals on Apple, Samsung, Poco, Realme, more smartphones
Xiaomi Redmi 3S Prime Rs 8,999
The most affordable smartphone among our picks this year, the Xiaomi Redmi 3S Prime offered a fantastic combination of looks, build, specifications and features without bumping up the price too high. With a sleek metal body, fingerprint sensor and a 4,000mAh battery inside that kept the device running for close to two days during our testing, the Redmi 3S Prime is the affordable champion, and the smartphone we recommend you go for if you don t want to spend a lot of money.
Asus ZenFone Max (2016) Rs 9,999
The 2016 variant of the Asus ZenFone Max was a considerable improvement over the previous Max variant, because of the inclusion of a better SoC and screen, while retaining the fantastic battery life that made this device so practical for heavy users. The best part about this phone is its ability to reverse charge, serving as a power bank for your other devices, while retaining its power-friendly characteristics that help it get the most out of a full charge.
Lenovo K6 Power Rs 9,999
For a long time, no smartphone could compete against the sheer value on offer by the Xiaomi Redmi 3S Prime. That competitor finally came close to the end of the year in the form of the Lenovo K6 Power. With the same battery efficiency, fingerprint sensor and all-round capability of the Redmi 3S Prime, the Lenovo K6 Power also packs in additional multimedia features, including Dolby Atmos-tuned audio and Lenovo s own TheaterMax feature.
Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 (3GB/32GB) Rs 11,999
One of 2016 s favorite smartphones for reviewers and users alike, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 (3GB/32GB) offers high-end specifications for a decidedly affordable price. You get a 5.5-inch full-HD screen, 3GB of RAM, 32GB of storage and the powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 650 SoC, all for a price that s sensible and easy on your pocket. It offers buyers a serious power option; you get a capable smartphone that performs at levels that are close to flagship-grade, with a price tag that s anything but flagship-grade.
Lenovo Z2 Plus Rs 17,999
Among the most affordable top-spec smartphones available today, the Lenovo Z2 Plus has a lot of flagship qualities, despite its seemingly mid-range pricing. This includes the top-end Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 SoC under the hood, up to 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage, and a slim profile that has the phone looking and feeling fantastic. There s also a 3,500mAh battery with fast charging and a decent 13-megapixel rear camera, which makes this phone feel very flagship, despite its Rs 17,999 price tag.
LeEco Le Max 2 Rs 17,999
Although launched at Rs 22,999, the LeEco Le Max 2 makes our list thanks to a mammoth Rs 5,000 price cut that makes it an immense value-for-money proposition. It has the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 SoC, 4GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage, but what makes the Le Max 2 such an incredible deal at the price is the fact that it has a 5.7-inch 2560×1440-pixel screen, making it sharp and particularly good when it comes to media viewing. The excellent LeEco content services help sweeten the deal a little bit too.
Moto Z Play Rs 24,999
Bringing modular design and Motorola s flagship aesthetics and hardware at under Rs 25,000, the Moto Z Play offers a taste of the future of smartphones without forcing you to shell out too much. With an easy magnetic modular system and a handful on interesting mods already being revealed by Motorola, the Z Play works with all of the mods that were revealed for the more expensive Moto Z. While not as powerful as the Moto Z, the Moto Z Play strikes a great balance between features and specifications.
OnePlus 3 Rs 27,999
The company that popularized the term flagship killer also made 2016 s best flagship killer, the OnePlus 3. With a premium metal build, top-end specifications including a more-than-adequate 6GB of RAM and great software, the OnePlus 3 is the complete flagship smartphone, despite its sensible Rs 27,999 price tag. Although it s now been upped by the new OnePlus 3T, it s still a fantastic value proposition that makes it one of 2016 s easiest phones to recommend.
Honor 8 Rs 29,999
Bringing dual-camera technology and sensible camera smarts to the sub-Rs 30,000 price range, the Honor 8 is one of our favourite camera-centric smartphones of 2016. The two cameras work well to ensure great images in well-lit and low-light conditions, and ensures some of the sharpest and most well-composed pictures from a smartphone priced at under Rs 30,000. The great looks and build, and sharp screen make this a pretty fantastic device overall too.
Samsung Galaxy S7 Rs 43,400
Available today for far less than its original launch price, the Samsung Galaxy S7 is the powerhouse Samsung smartphone that offers the full flagship experience at a price that doesn t feel too high. Although the more expensive Galaxy S7 Edge has the unique curved screen, the S7 offers the same hardware and quality at a much lower price, only forgoing the curved edge screen that we consider an unnecessary luxury. It s got everything from the best camera on a smartphone to waterproofing, wireless charging and expandable storage, along with Samsung s winning brand image and popularity.
Google Pixel Rs 57,000
The first ever pure Google smartphone (no, the Nexus range doesn t count), the Google Pixel and Pixel XL marked the first time Google decided to brand and sell smartphones as its own products. And as was the case with the Nexus Range, the Pixel phones represent the Android experience in its truest sense, with a slick user interface, a great camera experience and the fantastic Google Assistant. It also finally brought Google into a head-to-head fight with Apple, taking on the iPhone 7 in what was to be the biggest smartphone one-on-one of 2016.
Apple iPhone 7 Plus Rs 72,000
Despite being the most controversial iPhone ever, the iPhone 7 Plus makes it to our list of the top phones of 2016, and is also the only non-Android device on our list. But as we mentioned, it isn t without some controversial exclusions, such as the lack of 3.5mm jack. What does work for the phone is the dual-camera setup with portrait mode, waterproofing and that incredible-looking Jet Black color option.
No matter what your budget, 2016 has had great options for you, and we ve also seen 10 different brands in our list, showing just how well the smartphone industry has developed as a whole. Do you have any suggestions for other great smartphones from 2016? Let us know via the comments.