Google’s Android operating system is currently ruling the mobile software world with well over 80 percent market share of the active smartphones in the world. Scores of OEMs across the world use Android or its modified versions to power their smartphones, simply because it offers them a varied level of freedom to customise and tailor it to the needs of their customers.
In the past couple of years, Android smartphones have been bundled with crazy specifications that brands are using in a bid to be one up against the competition. Specs like 6GB of RAM, a 4K display, and a 6,000mAh battery are all features that users don’t generally need but are being packed in any way. So, let's take a look at the best Android phones of 2016 as we deep dive into the competitive mobile market.
A list of the best Android phones wouldn’t be complete without the mention of a Samsung flagship. The S7 and S7 edge are the company’s latest offerings and are among the best Android phones in the world currently. Borrowing design elements from its predecessor, the S6, the S7 has a much more refined glass and metal body with newer color variants including black and blue.
The phones are also waterproof and dustproof. With 4GB of RAM and an octa-core Exynos 8890 processor, both the S7 and S7 Edge are beasts in terms of performance standards. With the upgrade, Samsung has made all the right changes for the customers. From upgrading battery capacity to using the new 12MP dual-pixel camera sensor, Samsung Galaxy S7 has all the right features for being termed one of the best Android phones in the world. One thing that the company could work on is the mechanism of their custom TouchWiz UI.
The Samsung Galaxy S7 is available at a price of around Rs 48,000 from most major retailers, while the S7 edge costs around the Rs 55,000 mark.
Related read(s): Samsung Galaxy S7 review | Samsung Galaxy S7 edge review
The OnePlus 3 has been one of the most anticipated smartphone launches since the company conceived its first product – the OnePlus One (review). This hype is because the company offers premium features at a price that is close to 50 percent that of its competitors. Rocking a 5.5-inch full HD display with high-end internals like 6GB of RAM and the Snapdragon 820 processor, the OnePlus 3 is, by all means, one of the best Android phones out there.
Apart from all the internals, it also has a completely revamped design. With a sleek metal unibody and colours like Graphite and Soft Gold, it is the most premium smartphone by OnePlus till date. The smartphone features a capable pair of 16MP and 8MP cameras, and runs the company's proprietary OxygenOS atop Android 6.0 Marshmallow. The OnePlus 3 provides decent battery life and can last an entire day on moderate usage.
The OnePlus 3 is available at a price of Rs. 27,999 exclusively via Amazon India.
Related read(s): OnePlus 3 review
Xiaomi’s Mi5 has been highly awaited by Xiaomi fans across the world. Giving it a complete makeover since the Mi4, the Xiaomi Mi 5 has a lot of design elements borrowed from the bigger Mi Note and Mi Note Pro, including a metal frame and curved glass back panel.
Looking at the features of the device, it can be easily said that the Xiaomi Mi5 is on par with the Galaxy S7 but comes at almost half the price. Taking on competition from OEMs like OnePlus, the Xiaomi Mi5 has features like a flagship Snapdragon 820 chipset and 3GB RAM. The Xiaomi Mi5 runs on MIUI that is based on top of Android 6.0 Marshmallow. It also offers Qualcomm's Quick Charging capabilities and comes with a 3,000mAh battery to power up the internals.
Xiaomi Mi5 is available in India at a price of Rs 24,999 through mi.com and other leading retailers.
Related read(s): Xiaomi Mi5 review
HTC hasn’t been having a good time in the smartphone industry for the past few years. After the huge success of their One M8 (review) back in 2014, the One M9 in 2015 failed to live up to the expectations of international buyers. Now, with the HTC 10, in 2016, the company is aiming to regain some market share. With features like the latest Snapdragon 820 processor and 4GB of RAM, the HTC 10 also has an improved design to give it the extra edge. The HTC 10 is available in India at a price of around Rs. 47,000 at most leading retailers.
Related read(s): HTC 10 review
Although the Google Nexus 6P is a smartphone that was launched late last year, it deserves a place in the best Android phones of 2016. With a successor coming soon, the Nexus 6P still boasts specs and features that can easily put most flagship of 2016 to shame. Being a successor to the massive Nexus 6 of 2014, the Nexus 6P is slightly more compact with a 5.7-inch display. With specifications like the Snapdragon 810 processor and a Quad-HD display, this phone runs stock Android. Apart from hardware and software goodness, the Nexus series is also known for good looks and design. The Nexus 6P continues the trend of great build quality by donning an aluminum chassis, which makes it look premium.
The Nexus 6P is available at a price of around Rs. 37,000 in India through most leading retailers.
Related read(s): Google Nexus 6P review
While the HTCs and the Samsungs of the mobile world are offering minor upgrades to their flagship smartphones, LG Electronics went a step ahead and revamped the entire idea of a smartphone design. Aiming to make modular smartphones a mainstream concept, the LG G5 is a step towards the future, in terms of how hardware and internals are used or modified. The G5 also adopts a metal unibody design that has a removable slot for access to the replaceable battery, and a port for different modules that allows users to add a camera grip and other proprietary accessories. In terms of specifications, the smartphone has the standard features you'd expect from a 2016 flagship – Snapdragon 820, 4GB RAM and a 5.3-inch 2K display are the usuals you can expect from a phone that is priced at par with the biggies.
The LG G5 is priced at around Rs 50,000 on most leading retailers.
Related read(s): LG G5 review
Huawei is a smartphone OEM that has been rising in popularity over the last few years, with a lot of credit going to its sub-brand Honor. The brand's latest flagship, the Huawei P9, features a 12MP dual camera setup at the rear that's been co-engineered with optics major Leica. Using a combination of one monochrome sensor and one RGB sensor, the P9 offers some of the best image quality you can get on a smartphone. It also features a 5.2-inch full HD display, octa-core Kirin 955 processor, 3GB / 4GB of RAM and the feature packed EMUI based on Android Marshmallow.
The Huawei P9 will be launched in India soon at an expected price of around Rs 40,000.
Related read(s): Huawei P9 first impressions
ASUS has remained a popular contender in India since launching its ZenFone lineup a couple of years ago. The brand is set to launch their 2016 flagship devices in India now – the ZenFone 3, ZenFone 3 Deluxe and the ZenFone 3 Ultra. Talking about the ZenFone 3, the phone sports a Snapdragon 625 chipset and 3GB / 4GB of RAM. It has a decent battery capacity of 3,000mAh. The premium ZenFone 3 Deluxe sports a Snapdragon 820 chipset and comes with up to 6GB of RAM and a 23MP rear camera. The ZenFone 3 Ultra sports a massive 6.8-inch display, a 23MP rear camera, a 4,600mAh battery and powerful stereo speakers. All the ZenFone variants feature metal bodies and fingerprint sensors.
Related read(s): ASUS ZenFone 3 first impressions | ASUS ZenFone 3 Deluxe first impressions | ASUS ZenFone 3 Ultra first impressions
The Galaxy Note7 is Samsung's flagship phablet that has just been launched in India. The Galaxy Note7 has a water-resistant body with IP68 certification. The phone features a 2K Super AMOLED 5.7-inch display that features support for HDR videos.
The Note7 is powered by an Exynos 8890 chipset and 4GB of RAM. It also sports the same 12MP dual-pixel camera sensor as seen on the Galaxy S7 series. One of the best things about this phone is the addition of an iris scanner. While fingerprint scanners have been a thing for the past few years, iris scanners are rare and use a different technology to unlock your phone. The new S Pen stylus on the Note7 is now more sensitive and comes with waterproof capabilities too. The smartphone will go on sale in India starting September 2nd for Rs 59,900.
Related read(s): Samsung Galaxy Note7 first impressions
LeEco (previously LeTV) recently launched its flagship smartphone, the Le Max2 with high-end specifications and an affordable price tag. Sporting a 5.7-inch QHD display, Snapdragon 820 processor, and 4GB / 6GB of RAM, the Le Max2 has a powerful 21MP camera sensor that has features like dual-tone LED flash, PDAF, and a f/2.0 aperture.
The Le Max 2 is also the world's first CDLA standard enabled smartphone. It ditches the 3.5 mm audio jack and uses USB Type-C for lossless digital audio. The Le Max2 also has Qualcomm’s Quick Charging feature built into the battery. The LeEco Le Max 2 is available in India for Rs 22,999 for the 4GB RAM variant and Rs 29,999 for the higher-end version with 6gigs of RAM.
Related read(s): LeEco Le Max2 first impressions
There it is then. The best Android phones of 2016 are pretty much summed up in the list above. Which is your favourite pick out of the lot? Or do you have one that's not on the list? Let us know in the comment section below.
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