The iPhone has now won the best premium smartphone category two years in a row, but it’s Android that really owns the market. With over 80% market share, it’s the ecosystem that most Indian users are used to, and most future users will eventually be accustomed to. And being the dominant platform means there are just too many smartphones to choose from.
From last year’s 14nm fabrication process, this year we move to 10nm chipsets. The two big ones here are the Snapdragon 835 from Qualcomm and Samsung’s Exynos 8895. But while the processors bring evolutionary updates in terms of speeds, Android phones jacked up storage and memory this year. You can also get better screens at lower prices now, along with significantly better cameras.
2017 Zero1 Awards Winner: Google Pixel 2 XL
The Pixel 2 XL has had its issues, but its display is much easier to use with the “Saturated Mode” added to its software. Yet, the Pixel 2 XL comes with an iron-clad promise of Android updates, and an Android experience the way Google actually intended.
But what makes the Pixel 2 XL the best Android phone on the market is the excellent camera it sports. It doesn’t have the highest camera specifications out there, but Google’s software mumbo jumbo does the trick. The Pixel 2 XL camera excels at producing the best details possible. Images are extremely sharp and it edges past the iPhone X by a slight margin. In fact, we compared three of the best smartphone cameras today, to confirm that the Pixel 2 XL indeed has the best camera out there.
There are more things to like here. For instance, Now Playing is one of those little things that can turn you into a fan. Google wants this phone to be sold for its AI and ML prowess, and it has done a pretty good job of that.
Runner Up: Samsung Galaxy Note 8
If it wasn’t for the Pixel 2 XL’s camera, the Galaxy Note 8 would have been the best Android smartphone this year. It has 6GB of RAM, a display that’s rivalled only by the iPhone X and an excellent dual-camera system. Samsung had a lot riding on this phone, and it’s safe to say that the horrors of the exploding Galaxy Note 7 are behind it. The company doesn’t sell the Snapdragon version in India, but its Exynos 8895 has proven to be just as fast. While price doesn’t really matter in the premium range, the Note 8 is also slightly cheaper than the Pixel 2 XL.
Best Buy: OnePlus 5T
At a starting price of Rs. 32,999, the OnePlus 5T is without a doubt the most value for money Android phone you can buy today. Yes, it’s not an upgrade to the OnePlus 5, but it’s still a better phone. You get better low light camera performance and improved colour reproduction on the screen. Of course, 18:9 aspect ratio allows a bigger screen, but with the same overall footprint. The OnePlus 5T is incredibly fast. In fact, it’s even faster than the Google Pixel 2 XL at times. It recorded the highest benchmark scores amongst Android phones today, and has more RAM than all of its competitors.
All things considered, the OnePlus 5T is the phone to pick for everyone who wants the best of Android but can’t afford the exorbitant price tags on the Pixel 2 XL or Galaxy Note 8.