Diwali is down and dusted. Christmas and New Year are incoming. You’ve either bought yourself a new phone, or probably waiting some more to buy one. Whatever be the case, it’s that time of the year when all major companies ranging from Google to Apple are done launching their smartphones in the market. Everything is almost out there which means there are more options to chose from now than it was probably a couple of months ago which is always a plus for buyers.
But too many options also mean that many buyers will have a hard time deciding which phone(s) to buy. After all, it’s an investment that you make. You would want absolutely the best, won’t you?
Cheapest phone(s) we recommend
Xiaomi launched the Redmi 3S and Redmi 3S Prime in India in August. Three months hence, the two continue to remain the benchmark budget phones to beat. Another reason why the Redmi 3S and Redmi 3S Prime still continue to dominate the affordable market segment is because not many companies, in fact none, have launched any dependable phone in and around there price category. Motorola’s Moto E3 Power could have been that phone, sadly, it left us wanting on more than one counts and therefore isn’t recommended for buying unless you’re hard-pressed to buy a phone with stock Android. Even in that case, you should be aware that the Moto E3 Power ships with Android Marshmallow and will not be updated to Android Nougat, not right now, not ever.
While the original, or more specifically, the standard Redmi 3S costs Rs 6,999 the Redmi 3S Prime which is a little heftier in terms of specs and features is available for Rs 8,999 all in typical Xiaomi fashion. The difference is a good Rs 2,000 and I uderstand that’s a huge thing, if someone is looking to buy a phone on a tight budget.
In that case, it is important that you understand the difference between the two versions. The Redmi 3S and Redmi 3S Prime essentially differ in RAM and internal storage. While the standard Redmi 3S comes with 2GB RAM and 16GB base storage, the Redmi 3S Prime comes with 3GB RAM and 32GB internal memory. Additionally, the Redmi 3S Prime also comes with a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner. Ideally, you should pick the Redmi 3S Prime. Should you be on a very tight budget though, the Redmi 3S wouldn’t disappoint you. Yes, it has lesser RAM, but 2 gigs of RAM on Rs 6,999 phone isn’t a bad deal, at all. Had the Redmi 3S been carrying a different (less potent) processor, things would be different. But since it is rocking the same processor, you’re not missing out on much. As far as internal storage is concerned, 16GB internal memory is just fine and there is of course expandable storage should you need more. The last bit, the fingerprint scanner is more a novelty than a necessity in this price bracket. Both the phones have the same all-metal premium body and a 4,100mAh battery inside.
Only problem is, these phones are very difficult to buy. Although, the company isn’t selling the phone via flash sales, the company sells them on pre-announced dates. Even on those days, the Redmi 3S Prime (and Redmi 3S) going out of stock in seconds is a common sight which can be frustrating for buyers.
Xiaomi however has a solution for this. It recently launched a phone called the Redmi 3S Plus which is simply the Redmi 3S Prime with 2GB RAM that can be purchased from physical retail stores.
Best phone under Rs 10,000
The Redmi Note 3 from Xiaomi is really nice, but, only if you’re looking for a bigger (and brighter) screen. The Redmi 3S Prime is everything that the Redmi Note 3 is in terms of all-round performance which means it is crazy good. The Redmi Note 3 is a little faster, since it’s carrying a more potent Snapdragon 650 processor, but it has a tendency to run warm when pushed to the edge. The Redmi 3S Prime doesn’t. Also, our tests have shown that the Redmi 3S Prime offers a better camera and better battery life in comparison.
Best phone(s) under Rs 15,000
“…all said and done, the Moto G4 Plus, at its price point, marks the perfect blend of hardware and software and that makes it a fairly cool option for buyers, the flat design notwithstanding,” is what we had written about the Motorola Moto G4 Plus in our full review.
The 3GB RAM and 32GB memory version of the Moto G4 Plus is available for Rs 14,999. Buy it for the camera and the stock Android experience.
You can also probably consider the Xiaomi Mi Max. The Mi Max is essentially a Redmi Note 3 clone — in every sense of the word — except that it has been made to order for people — if any — who like large-sized phablets. It’s a 6.44-inch giant but does not feel all that big when you start to use it. The Mi Max is well-built, has a good display, is a slick and very capable performer, has excellent audio and a fantastic battery life. The Mi Max with Qualcomm Snapdragon 650 and 3GB RAM is priced at Rs 14,999 in India. I understand that it won’t be for everybody, but for the select few who do consider buying this phone; it will get the job done.
Best phone(s) under Rs 25,000
The Asus ZenFone 3 (ZE520KL) with 5.2-inch display, 3GB RAM, 32GB memory and 2,650mAh battery will cost you Rs 21,899. And it’s still a fantastic phone for the price. The ZenFone 3 is the best-looking smartphone at its price point right now. Even more so, if you’re into shiny smartphones. It is equally well-built as well. The display is nice and bright, the all-round performance is pretty good, the cameras on-board are very good and the battery life is simply fantastic.
The Google Nexus 5X 16GB version and the Motorola Moto Z Play are also good options at under Rs 25,000.
Best phone under Rs 30,000
The OnePlus 3 6GB RAM and 64GB memory variant is one of those rare case studies where it’s hard to find a catch, simply because there isn’t any. It is an excellent smartphone, nay; it’s the best under Rs 30,000 smartphone that you can buy right now.
Best phone(s) under Rs 40,000
The Google Nexus 6P 64GB and the Apple iPhone 6 Plus 16GB are really good buys at under Rs 40,000. The two phones offer nothing short of the best, in their respective platforms: Android and iOS. While the Nexus 6P is as close as it gets to stock Android, straight from Google, the iPhone 6 Plus gets its real deal straight from house Apple. Both the phones are upgradable to the latest software. While the Nexus 6P can be updated to Android 7.0 Nougat the iPhone 6 Plus can be updated to the latest iOS 10.
Best phone under Rs 50,000
The best phone under Rs 50,000 has to be the Samsung Galaxy S7. It’s so good, it hits the iPhone 6S straight out of the ball park in almost every sense of the word. There are two areas where the iPhone 6S has an edge though: the screen and software. For everything else, there is the Samsung Galaxy S7.
Best phone(s) that money can buy
The iPhone 7 Plus and the Google Pixel XL are the best smartphones that money can buy right now. Both the phones represent absolutely the best from their respective quarters. They are the purest iOS and Android-based smartphones ever boasting of the latest and greatest in hardware specs at the same time. They have the best cameras on-board any smartphone as well.