This is the segment that’s making flagships obsolete, and as Indians spend more on their smartphones, it’s becoming more and more relevant. You pay about half of what premium smartphones cost you, but get about the same performance and features. And that’s the definition of the worth droolworthy, isn’t it?
Here’s the thing, though. The High-end smartphone segment is a tough one to judge. The offerings here are incredibly varied, and OEMs are hitting various user types. For example, you have phones that provide long battery lives, while lowering performance. You also have phones with incredible cameras, but at the expense of other elements. It’s a good thing we take everything into consideration when determining the best performing smartphone.
We have seen phones like the Asus Zenfone 3 and Moto Z Play this year, which lacked speed, but almost made up for it with their cameras and battery lives. There was also the Xiaomi Mi 5, which initiated the battle in this segment.
It doesn’t take long to pin-point the best overall performer in this segment, but choosing a best buy is another story. In fact, we don’t have a best buy for you here, because the winner is the most value for money smartphone to buy today.
Zero1 Winner: OnePlus 3
We used the OnePlus 3 for a good two weeks before the device was launched anywhere, and in that time, we were dazzled. In fact, we were dazzled enough to put our neck out there and call this the best value for money smartphone of 2016.
The OnePlus 3 has it all, a Snapdragon 820 SoC, a good camera, more RAM than any of us need right now, and an AMOLED display. It performs almost as well as any Android flagship in the market right now, and costs about half of that. Its performance is only about 10% lower than the iPhone 7 Plus, and that’s saying something.
If that wasn’t enough, the OnePlus 3 has 6GB of RAM, which makes it harder to slow this phone down. Also, it allows OnePlus to add more features via software updates in future.
Our luminance meter recorded readings of 800 Lux at maximum brightness. Moreover, the camera on the OnePlus 3 is great, too.
In the 20-30k price range, the OnePlus 3 is without a doubt the best smartphone you can buy, and it’s also the flagship to get when you can’t afford something in the premium segment.
Runner Up: LeEco Le Max 2
Surprisingly, the only phones with 6GB RAM are in the 20-30k segment right now. Sure, you don’t need this much RAM, but as we said above, it makes your phone future ready. The LeEco Le Max 2 has all the specs of the OnePlus 3, but falls short because of its UI.
It scores high on benchmarks, but doesn’t perform as well as the OnePlus 3. That’s because of the huge 5.7-inch QHD display. It’s a good display, but we found it a tad dim, and it takes away from the phone’s pure graphical performance. LeEco’s eUI is also heavier than OxygenOS and takes a toll on the SoC and its performance.
The Le Max 2 also loses a few points on camera performance. It’s an improvement from the Le Max (from last year), but not as good as the OnePlus 3, Asus Zenfone 3 or the Moto Z Play.
It is about 15% slower than the OnePlus 3 in real world performance, and costs about the same. Even if you don’t use LeEco’s content package, this phone is ahead of any other in the 20-30k price bracket.
Best Buy: OnePlus 3
Didn’t we already say that the OnePlus 3 is the most value for money in the market today? That obviously makes it the best phone to buy in this price segment as well. That automatically makes the OnePlus 3 the best mid-ranged flagship that you can buy today.