The year 2017 has been pretty eventful as far as smartphones are concerned. We saw the rise of Chinese brands like Xiaomi and Oppo. With all brands looking to launch value for money devices, we saw the companies competing rigorously in the budget and entry-level segment. On the other hand, flagship phones are pushing the boundaries to the next level. To sum up the year of smartphones in a sentence, as popular Youtuber Marques Brownlee once stated, Cheap phones are getting good, and good phones are getting cheaper.
Among the sea of good phones that made it to the market this year, there have been some that truly stood out. We have compiled a list of phones that have made it to the nominations in each price segment. Finally, we chose a deserving winner from these nominees.
Best Entry-Level Smartphone
Entry-level smartphones are the ones costing below Rs. 5,000. They are ideal for first-time smartphone users who don’t want to spend too much. Over the years, these smartphones have become better and come with adequate features given their price range. Brands like Intex, Micromax and Xiaomi dominate this price range.
Winner: Redmi 5A
If you are looking for an entry-level smartphone, the Redmi 5A is clearly the best phone out there. None of the other phones come even close to what the recently launched 5A has to offer. It comes with a good processor, decent cameras, an HD display and much more. For the first 50 lakh customers, the phone will be sold at Rs. 4,999. After that, its price would be Rs. 5,999 which is quite affordable as well.
Best Budget Smartphone
This is the most competitive price segment in India. Most customers in India wish to purchase a budget phone and there are numerous options by multiple brands. All of the nominated phones in this category are priced below Rs. 10,000 and come with very impressive specifications. At this price, some of them also have bezel-less displays, dual cameras and what not.
Winner: Redmi Note 4
The Redmi Note 4 is the most complete phone you can buy in under Rs. 10,000. Although the phone is now almost a year old, it still offers the best value for your buck. It has a superior camera, a Full HD display, impressive build quality, excellent processor and a decent 2GB of RAM. If you need more power and storage in the phone, a little extra money can get you that too. The Note 4 sold several million units in India this year and rightly so.
Best Mid-Range Smartphone
Just like the budget segment, this one is highly competitive as well, it was difficult to choose the best from this bunch of good phones. All of them come with their own set of pros & cons. But it finally boils down to the smartphone that offers a complete package without compromising on any major aspect. We have shortlisted phones priced below Rs. 15,000 for this category.
Winner: Xiaomi Mi A1
At the risk of being tagged as Xiaomi fanatics, the Mi A1 is the best product in the mid-range segment, according to us. Although rest of the nominated phones are really good devices with their specific merits, the A1 offers a good overall package. It fits dual-rear cameras, comes with an elegant design, has impressive specifications and more importantly, runs on stock Android. The Moto G5S Plus is a close competitor and is almost as good as the A1. But after the recent price cut, Xiaomi’s offering is Rs. 2,000 cheaper than Moto’s, at just Rs. 13,999. Thus, it makes the A1 a better value for money phone.
Best Budget Flagship Smartphone
A new segment of phones have now emerged, they don’t cost a bomb yet offer top-end features. These phones are priced somewhere between Rs. 30-40,000 and come with flagship level specifications. Although this segment isn’t plagued with too many phones, there are some really good choices if you’re looking to buy one in this price range.
Winner: OnePlus 5T
The OnePlus 5T is by far one of the best Android smartphones you can buy right now. It starts at just Rs. 32,999 and provides the best of everything. It has a flagship processor, the highest amount of RAM any phone has, a bezel-less display, dual-rear cameras and a headphone jack too. The 5T is as good as it gets at this price point. Even the Mi Mix 2 has similar specifications but lacks a good camera. The Honor 8 Pro gave a fitting fight to the OnePlus 5 but paled in comparison with the 5T. If you need a good Android phone and don’t want to spend a lot of money, get the OnePlus 5T.
Best Flagship Smartphone
These are the best phones money can buy, the most premium offerings from the world’s biggest phone manufacturers. For the first time, the iPhone and even the Note 8 breached the $1000 mark. In India, the iPhone X starts from Rs. 92,000 and the Note 8 retails from Rs. 67,000, both of them the most expensive offerings from their respective brands. Flagship phones are getting better every year and this was a particularly good year for flagship smartphones.
Winner: iPhone X
It was tempting to award the Galaxy Note 8 as the best flagship phone given how amazing it is. But the iPhone X seems like a better option in our opinion, it has got everything you would expect from a phone of this stature. An edge-to-edge display, excellent cameras, blazing fast performance and of course Animojis. Not that other phones don’t offer these things but iPhone X seems like a better overall package. It is surely a leap from older iPhones when we consider the little fundamental things that make an iPhone. John Gruber of Daring Fireball has some valid arguments in this regard, read here. So, if money isn’t a barrier, the iPhone X is a flagship device you should definitely consider.
That’s it, these were the best phones of 2017 across all categories, according to us. Each one of them stands out from the rest and offers good value for the money they cost.
As mentioned earlier, this was a great year for smartphones. It will be exciting to see what new trends catch up with smartphones next year, looking forward to everything that lies ahead in 2018.