Smartphones are quite possibly the most necessary gadget to have in this day and age. Whether you’re just starting, or are a seasoned veteran, the smartphones just keep getting better and better every year. Now, it’s quite debatable to judge the best smartphone you can have right now because of many factors like specifications, price range, sizes, operating systems and subjectivities, i.e. personal preference. Therefore, we’ll not get into a fight between iOS vs Android, or Apple vs everyone else, we’ll cut straight to the chase and feature the 10 best smartphones that came out this year.
Yep, you thought I was going to start with the Apple route just like everyone else, didn’t you? The fact of the matter is though, the OnePlus 3T is a beast of a smartphone to have in the BDT 38,000-44,000 price range. OnePlus has always given flagship specs at budget prices and the “T” iteration (think of it as a OnePlus 3 S/Plus) update holds up the promise. You get a blazing fast Snapdragon 821 processor, 6GBs of RAM, a gorgeous 1080p HD display, both cameras at 16MP with OIS, fingerprint sensor and a decent 3400mAh battery in a beautifully made all aluminum body. All on a sudden, the flagship killer has bumped up the standards to a different level of high. Hardly surprising, when this is the company’s 4th smartphone so far. Only problem is, the budget king is now getting more and more expensive in every iteration, something OnePlus needs to address as they find tough competition from the likes of Xiaomi, Honor and Huawei.
Google Pixel XL
Google took a bold step this year and completely erased the Nexus brand of smartphones. After so many years of collaborations with Samsung, LG, HTC and Huawei, they decided it was time to put Android as the smartphone king throne once and for all. Enter the Pixel, a phone made by Google. Yes, even though underneath it’s HTC, Google wants to show that is now a force to be reckoned with by putting their own name on it. And the specs definitely say so. Think of all the best specs a phone can have packed into a block of aluminum. Yes, the design may be a bit uninspiring (and unfortunately doesn’t have waterproofing), but it’s a refreshing change. With a camera boasting Electronic Image Stabilization (EIS) using lasers, it currently has the best smartphone camera in the market. The Pixel XL is the one to have if you can afford it’s $750 price-tag. And it comes with the unbeatable firsthand updates, just like the Nexus did. We’ll definitely miss the Nexus, but it’s high time Google played as a proper contender to its arch rival, Apple.
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
Samsung had a devastating year. The discontinued Note 7 was supposed to be the better half of the S7 Edge, but they failed horribly. Still, it makes me wonder how amazing the S7 and the S7 edge actually are. It’s safe to say, in Bangladesh at least, two smartphone names will always get the popularity vote: Samsung and Apple. Samsung’s Galaxy S7 Edge is by far the most beautiful smartphone released in 2016. It has specs that truly make it a flagship. And with prices coming down and the S8 coming soon in the horizon, it is a great time to have one. Officially you can get one for around BDT 75,000, but there are far cheaper options. It’s unique curved glass display is unmatched in the smartphone industry and competes with the Google Pixel XL as the best android smartphone in the world. If you’re not into the curved glass and big size, you can get the S7, which is pretty much exactly the same as the S7 Edge for a much less price.
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
Where do I start with this one? Months and months of typical Apple “leaks” marketing and the omission of the beloved headphone jack, Apple proves yet again that it knows the smartphone game more than anyone else. Yes, I’m no fan of Apple and their work is highly questionable, but I can’t help admiring the things that they do get right. If you’re familiar with or accustomed to the Apple ecosystem, there is only one phone you need, and that’s the iPhone 7 Plus. Even if you’re trying Apple for the first time, this latest one will not disappoint you because it boats the fastest ever chip and best optimized operating system ever fitted to a smartphone. It’s too good and laughs at the other android flagships’ faces. The battle between Apple and everyone else may be old, but it is still quite deadly. The smartphone industry is getting highly saturated and everyone is trying to copy, innovate, optimize to their best. And I like the competition. Although I do have to admit, of all the things apple got right, it also got things wrong with the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. It’s sad that they have gotten rather boring and played really safe with this one.
Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 (and 3 Pro)
Xiaomi, in the list with all these giants? You’ll only be surprised if you had been living under a rock for a the last few years. The Chinese tech giant is now a household name in Bangladesh. If you haven’t used their phones, chances are you have used their powerbanks, headphones or other phone accessories. But Xiaomi is a market leader when it comes to budget phones, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 Pro now goes for as little as BDT 12,000 in local mobile phone shops and is arguably the best bang for the buck phone right now in Bangladesh. Released in October, the newest version of the Redmi Note series, the 4 is an upgraded and better looking phone than the old 3 Pro. With a massive 5.5” 1080p screen, 13MP f2.0 main camera, 3GB RAM, 64GB ROM with microSD card slot expansion up to 256GB, fingerprint sensor and a huge 4100mAh battery, it’s very surprising that this is only BDT 17,000. That is a lot of smartphone for the money. And the prices will definitely drop in the coming months.
Xiaomi Mi 5
If you want something a bit more premium from Xiaomi, afraid not, they got you covered. Xiaomi’s “Mi” series is just that that. Starting from as little as BDT 23,500- 40,000 the Mi 5 phones (Mi 5, Mi 5s, Mi 5s Plus) offer almost similar specs as OnePlus, with the 5s Plus offering same if not better specs than the OnePlus 3T. And that says a lot about Xiaomi. Xiaomi also offers it’s MiUi 8.0, based on Android 6.0 Marshmallow. They have the premium phone range on their sights with the recently released Chinese-market only Mi Mix, a beautiful phone with a bezel less display: something nobody else could quite materialize before them. So be sure to keep an eye out for Xiaomi next time you’re out and about for a new smartphone.
A bit of an underdog, the LG V20 was released back in October. You’d think the first phone that would feature the newly released Android 7.0 Nougat would be a Google phone, but truth be told, it was this one. The V20 goes for around BDT 57,000 in the premium price range for smartphones. Hardly surprising, when you see it comes with flagship specs A 5.7” IPS 1440p display mated to 16MP back camera with 4K video recording capabilities. It also boasts a dual camera lenses even before Apple could take the credit for it. Also, LG kept its dual screen (a small secondary top OLED screen) from the predecessor V10. Very innovative, but it never got the limelight. The V20 is a solid contender, nonetheless.
HTC’s latest offering this year was the HTC 10. They took the best of last year’s One M9 and made it far better. Keeping its design language and simplifying the UI was a good call. They also improved the camera, performance and battery life. It also has the best sound reproduction capabilities of any smartphone and beats the flagships out of the water when it comes Audio. HTC has worked quite hard on this one but it was short lived compared to other beasts that came this year. Still, it gives us hope that HTC will make sure to keep that in mind next year and this is by far the best smartphone HTC has produced till date. HTC just needs to innovate now, it’s been too long they’ve been playing it safe. If you do want one, they are currently going for around BDT 44,000.
Huawei Mate 9
The makers of the Nexus 6P really pushed hard when it comes to innovation with their Mate 9. It’s a great bang for the buck smartphone having almost flagship specs. With a massive 5.9” 1080p display and brilliant battery life thanks to the 4,000mAh battery, it sure makes quite an impression. The design is minimal and understated with lots of color options. However, the same does not quite reflect in the Emotion UI (a skin on top of Android 6.0). It’s a bit clunky and they could have made it miles better. It does also come with a fingerprint sensor and 4K video recording. With prices from $500, it can surely be a contender.
Motorola Moto G4 Plus
It’s surprising that included this one, while I could’ve added Sony, but their Xperia series is struggling and global sales have gotten worse. Motorola on the other hand, now under Lenovo ownership, have kept things fairly straight forward. The Moto G when it first came out in 2013 was amazing because it was the budget king and gave everything that you could want without killing your wallet in the process. They have kept that formula intact with the 4th generation Moto G. The latest G4 Plus has an almost vanilla Android UI that is clean, simple and beautiful, 1080p display, 4GBs of RAM, 3000mAh battery, fingerprint sensor and a 16MP camera. Pretty much enough to get you going. You can get all that for around BDT 19,000. This is very surprising as I bought the original G back in 2013 for BDT 18,000. You get so much now, but the price is more or less the same. And this is why it is still one of the best smartphones of 2016.
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