With the year drawing to a close, its time to pick the best smartphones of 2016. Here are the Dgit Zero1 Awards for 2016.
The Digit Zero1 Awards are a time honoured tradition for us. It is that time of the year when we pick the best products we reviewed over the past 365 days. Today, we concern ourselves with the best smartphones of 2016.
The best smartphones of 2016 were those that won us over, almost broke the market, and put their competitors in a fix. These are phones that have been tried, tested, and tested even more, before being given the tag of the best performing smartphones of 2016.
They’re expensive and not everyone can buy them, but almost everyone wants a taste of these devices. The best premium smartphones of 2016 gave us a taste of the future, with dual-cameras and modular designs.
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
The iPhone 7 Plus combined a dual-camera with a powerful SoC, to present what is easily the best performing smartphone of the year. You may question Apple for not changing the design, or the obscenely high prices, but if you can afford it, the iPhone 7 Plus is the fastest phone you can buy, with one of the best cameras out there.
It’s sad that Apple won’t bring the dual-camera to the smaller variant, but that doesn’t take anything away from speed. The iPhone 7 is as fast as its bigger variant, and vertically integrated ecosystem augments that performance even more. There’s also a slightly smaller screen, allowing higher frame rates for graphics. This is one fast smartphone.
The first real modular smartphone worth buying, the Moto Z has a great camera and great performance. Motorola has tuned the performance to reduce lags, and the Snapdragon 820 is a fast, fast smartphone. The Moto Mods snap on without hassles, and the phone is fast enough to not stutter whenever you use them.
The best high-end smartphones of 2016 can take on any premium smartphone, and live to tell the tale. They don’t cost a bomb, but deliver nearly unparalleled value, and they’ve been making premium smartphones obsolete for a while now.
The OnePlus 3T is 48% faster than the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge in loading games, that’s exactly what Pete Lau claimed. When testing, we realised that the OnePlus 3T is an incremental upgrade over the OnePlus 3, but that just means its better than the best. The OnePlus 3 was the undisputed best performer earlier, and so is the OnePlus 3T now.
LeEco Le Max 2
LeEco made quite the splash in the Indian market, and the Le Max 2 is its flagship device. It has a Snapdragon 820 SoC, 4GB of RAM, and at the reduced price of Rs. 17,999, it’s just a great deal right now. We would have preferred a better camera on this one, but one can still not deny the speed and overall performance of this smartphone.
The best mid-ranged smartphones of 2016 are actually the ones that you and I usually buy. They see huge demand, but it’s also easy to make the wrong choice with these. Never fear, we got you covered.
Lenovo Z2 Plus
Lenovo did the unthinkable. It brought a flagship class SoC at a budget price. The Lenovo Z2 Plus starts at Rs. 17,999, and it performs almost like a flagship. There’s room for improvement, but this is still the best smartphone you can buy for the price.
LeEco Le 2
The LeEco Le 2 was the phone to beat in the budget market almost all of this year. In fact, had it not been for the Z2 Plus, this would easily have been the fastest smartphone in the sub-20k segment this year.
If there’s anything that sells more than mid-ranged smartphones, it’s a budget smartphone. There weren’t many budget smartphones this year, but the best budget smartphones of 2016 do leave us with a taste of the future.
Xiaomi Redmi Note 3
At Rs. 9999, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 is hands down the best performer in its price range. That usually means low battery life, right? Wrong. The Redmi Note 3 lasts for a full day, and then some more. It seems Xiaomi will have a tough time topping its own efforts next year.
Xiaomi Redmi 3s Prime
In a way the smaller version of the Redmi Note 3, the Redmi 3s Prime looks almost the same, is fast for its price, and has even more battery life than the Redmi Note 3. Easy choice, right? The Redmi 3s Prime is arguable one of the most balanced smartphones we've reviewed in 2016.
It’s Google’s world, we just live in it. But as long as we’re alive, we get to choose what the best Android smartphones of 2016 are. Here’s what we picked.
Google Pixel/Pixel XL
They’re called the first ever truly Google-made smartphones, and they’ve redefined Android this year. If you can afford them, you’ll be buying the best and fastest Android smartphones in the market today, and with cameras that rival the iPhone.
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
Before things blew over for Samsung (see what we did there?), there was the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge. The company’s only remaining flagship is still a great smartphone, and it has one of the best cameras, behind the Pixel and iPhone.
The Pixel marks the death of Google’s Nexus brand, and if there’s one smartphone that can pick that up, it’s the OnePlus 3T. The most value for money smartphone of 2016, the OnePlus 3T is pretty much like the new Nexus.
What’s the one thing you need other than unparalleled performance? It’s a good camera. Well, here are the best camera smartphones you can buy today.
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
You would think the dual-camera is why we picked the iPhone, right? Well, not really. In our tests, the iPhone produced the most natural colours, and its images are as sharp as smartphones can do today. The dual-camera actually became more of an add-on for us.
Google Pixel/Pixel XL
Depending on your preference, the Google Pixel and Pixel XL may very well be considered better camera phones than the iPhone. They produce really nice colours, and the dynamic range is extremely high. That, combined with almost no shutter lag, makes this one of our favourite cameras this year.
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
The Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge took an early lead this year, as far as cameras on smartphones were concerned. If it wasn’t for the other two, the S7 Edge would still be the best. In fact, it can still go toe-to-toe with them in the low-light imaging department.
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