Like clockwork, Xiaomi continues to rule the roost in the budget and mid-level segment this September, even as we board the hype train to witness some of the biggest launches the world of smartphones has ever seen. Lots of good stuff is incoming, especially in the top-tier flagship phone segment. If you’re looking to splurge now, well, it’s better to wait for some more time before buying your next phone.
For every other price range, here are all the top phones that you can buy in the Indian market this month.
Cheapest phone(s) we recommend
Xiaomi Redmi 4
The Redmi 4, Xiaomi’s Redmi 3S Prime HD remaster, was launched in India in mid-May at a starting price of Rs 6,999 for the 2GB RAM and 16GB storage variant going all the way to Rs 10,999 for the top end 4GB RAM and 64GB storage variant. The Redmi 4 is also available in 3GB RAM and 32GB memory version for Rs 8,999. Although, the Redmi 4 has been around for a while, the fact that it brings in some hard-to-get hardware specs at some really rock-bottom prices make it quite a steal: even in September. No other phone still comes close to it as far as value proposition is concerned.
It looks really premium, feels really premium, has a pretty neat display, churns out dependable performance, comes with good-enough cameras and most importantly killer battery life.
Boasting of a full-metal body — with a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner — the Xiaomi Redmi 4 comes with a 5-inch 720p display and an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 435 processor under the hood. It sports a 13-megapixel rear camera with PDAF and a 5-megapixel front-facing camera. On the software side, the Redmi 4 comes with Android 6.0 Marshmallow-based MIUI. It is further backed by a 4,100mAh battery.
Xiaomi Redmi 4A
If you’re someone who is on an even tighter budget, Xiaomi’s ultra-affordable Redmi 4A , that sells for Rs 5,999, is the phone to buy. Think of it as an even more affordable Redmi 4: an ideal feature phone replacement if you’re someone who is also looking to make a switch to a ‘smart’ phone for the first time. It’s as basic as basic gets, and yet, it is feature packed to the brim once you get a hang of it. Most importantly, it costs next to nothing.
If you’re someone who is looking for a basic smartphone at dirt-cheap prices, but, also someone who loves to flaunt it, the Redmi 4A should get the job done. The phone, although plastic, feels premium from every nook and corner and is also quite high on specs for its price as long as you know its limitations.
In terms of hardware specs, the phone comes with a 5-inch HD IPS display with a 720p resolution. It is powered by a 1.4GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 processor coupled with Adreno 308 GPU, 2GB RAM and 16GB of internal storage which is further expandable via micro-SD card slot. The dual-SIM phone runs Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow-based MIUI 8 out-of-the-box and supports 4G LTE (VoLTE-ready) connectivity.
On the camera front the Redmi 4A comes with a 13-megapixel camera on the rear with f/2.2 aperture along with autofocus and an LED flash. On the front you get a 5-megapixel snapper. The phone is backed by a 3,120mAh battery which is non-removable.
FYI: Xiaomi has recently launched an all-new variant of the Redmi 4A in India with more RAM and more storage. The upgraded Redmi 4A with 3GB RAM and 32GB storage — keeping all the other specifics constant — will cost buyers in India Rs 6,999 which is interestingly the same price that the base model of the Redmi 4 retails at.
Best phone under Rs 10,000
Xiaomi Redmi Note 4
The Redmi Note 4 is easily among the best-selling phones that Xiaomi has ever come out with, and the phone still manages to hold its ground in the under Rs 10,000 price segment even though it was launched in January. Xiaomi VP and India MD Manu Kumar Jain, only recently, announced that the company had sold 50 lakh units of the Redmi Note 4 phone in the country in 6 months since launch. The Redmi Note 4, in fact, “broke all records to become No. 1 selling smartphone in Q1 & Q2.”
Backed by a premium design, top-notch performance and fantastic battery life, the Redmi Note 4 still remains to be the smartphone to beat at its price point. Follow up to the much successful Redmi Note 3; the Redmi Note 4 exists primarily to correct the camera shortcomings of its predecessor, according to the company. The phone comes with a 13-megapixel camera on the rear with f/2.0 aperture, Phase Detection Autofocus and dual-LED (dual-tone) flash. On the front, the Redmi Note 4 comes with a 5-megapixel camera.
The Redmi Note 4 boasts of a full-metal body and a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner. It comes with a 5.5-inch 1080p IPS LCD display and is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor clubbed with Adreno 506GPU. The base 2GB RAM and 32GB storage version of the Redmi Note 4 sells for Rs 9,999 and supports expandable storage of up to 128GB via a hybrid micro-SD card slot as well. The dual-SIM phone runs Android Marshmallow-based MIUI 8 and supports 4G LTE (VoLTE-ready). The Redmi Note 4 is further backed by a 4,100mAh battery.
Best phone(s) under Rs 20,000
Xiaomi Mi A1
Xiaomi only recently launched the Mi A1 in partnership with Google. The Mi A1 in typical Xiaomi fashion is a phone that’s high on specs and low on price. But, it’s unlike any other Xiaomi phone that you’ve seen before. By miles. The Mi A1 does not ship with Xiaomi’s custom ROM MIUI. It’s an Android One-based phone that runs a near 100 per cent version of stock Android.
The Mi A1 runs stock Android 7.1.2 Nougat out-of-the-box and will be updated to the recently announced Android Oreo by the end of this year, Xiaomi has confirmed. Xiaomi (and Google), in fact, went so far as to say that the Mi A1 will also be getting Android P – or whatever Google decides to call the Android O successor – when it launches later next year.
Just like the Redmi Note 4, the Mi A1 is also powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor. Unlike the Redmi Note 4, the Mi A1 has stock Android at its core. The combination — a deadly one at that — ensures the Mi A1 feels faster in almost every sense of the word in comparison to the Redmi Note 4 that runs MIUI: a custom ROM based on Android.
The Mi A1 further comes with a dual camera setup on the rear — 12-megapixel + 12-megapixel — where one lens is wide-angle while the other is telephoto (or zoom lens). This dual camera system offers 2X optical zoom and 10X digital zoom (just like the iPhone 7 Plus) and therefore should technically result in clearer distant shots and professional bokeh effects in portraits. The system is further aided with phase detection auto-focus and a dual-LED (dual-tone) flash but there is no optical image stabilisation. On the front, the Mi A1 comes with a 5-megapixel camera.
Elsewhere, the Mi A1 comes with an all-metal body that looks remarkably like the iPhone 7 Plus. The phone comes with a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner and USB Type-C for charging and data syncing. It comes with a 5.5-inch 1080p screen, 4 gigs of RAM, 64GB of internal storage which is also expandable, and a 3,080mAh battery under the hood.
At Rs 14,999 the Mi A1 offers a premium (and solid) design, a brighT screen, blazing-fast performance, capable dual-camera machinery and great battery life. But more importantly, it ships with the purest form of Android that you can get right now apart from a non-Pixel phone.
Moto G5S Plus
The Moto G5S Plus — which is being billed as special edition Moto G5 Plus — offers upgrades primarily in the camera and battery departments over the original. There are a few tweaks here and there, but overall, the Moto G5S Plus should technically entail in better photos and better battery life than the ‘not so special’ edition Moto G5 Plus.
“Dual 13MP rear cameras (one colour + one monochrome) in the Moto G5S Plus, combined with special photo enhancement software, makes it easy to do more with your photos. Selective focus mode makes it easy to take professional looking portraits on your phone, adding a beautiful blurred background effect. Or, have fun trying selective black and white coloring or replace background mode which give your photos a whole new look,” says Motorola.
The dual camera system on-board the Moto G5S Plus technically entails in better low light photos and photos with shallow depth of field effect or bokeh, something on the lines of an iPhone 7 Plus. Also, the monochrome sensor on-board, can additionally, help shoot photos in true monochrome or black and white so that there quality would be better in comparison to photos that are tweaked into B&W via image filters.
Elsewhere, the Moto G5S Plus is carved out of aluminum and is available for buying in lunar gray and fine gold options. It comes with a front-mounted fingerprint scanner and boasts of the exact same core hardware as the Moto G5 Plus, which means that the Moto G5S Plus is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor. It comes with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage which is expandable. The dual-SIM Moto G5S Plus is a 5.5-inch phone (1080p) that runs Android 7.1.1 Nougat software and is backed by a 3,000mAh battery. The phone costs Rs 15,999 in India.
Best phone(s) under Rs 30,000
Huawei Honor 8 Pro
The Honor 8 Pro is simply a bigger, more powerful Honor 8 with the same dual camera setup packed inside an all-metal unibody design, and just like the Honor 8, the Honor 8 Pro is also a fantastic value for money buy. The phone is available for Rs 29,999 in India.
The Honor 8 Pro has two cameras on the rear — dual 12-megapixel Sony IMX286 with dual-LED (dual tone) flash — wherein one takes monochrome shots the other takes photos in colour (RGB). The phone’s software algorithm then merges both the images into one and creates the final photo. The monochrome images can take in 300 per cent more light and 50 per cent more contrast than coloured photos, according to the makers. So basically, the phone can ideally take better low-light photos than rival top-tier phones thanks to its dual-lens system, if the company is to be gone by. And it does. The Honor 8 Pro, in addition, also has an 8-megapixel camera on the front.
Elsewhere, the phone comes with a 5.7-inch Quad-HD (2560×1440 pixel) screen and Huawei’s home brewed octa-core HiSilicon Kirin 960 processor clubbed with Mali G71 MP8 GPU and 6 gigs of RAM, and 64GB of internal storage which is also expandable.
The dual-SIM Honor 8 Pro runs Android Nougat-based Emotion UI 5.1 and support 4G LTE. There’s USB Type-C for charging and data syncing and a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner for security. The Honor 8 Pro is further backed by a 4,000mAh battery.
Moto Z2 Play
Last year’s Moto Z Play was a spectacular phone in all its right. This year’s Moto Z2 Play is even better and an ideal replacement if you’re someone who hasn’t already crossed paths with the original Moto Z Play. Just like the Moto Z Play, the Moto Z2 Play brings the Moto Z family’s modularity to the affordable mid-range segment. But being an affordable mid-range modular phone — and a modular phone done right — isn’t the only USP of the Moto Z2 Play, for its loyalties lie elsewhere. The Moto Z2 Play, just like the Moto Z Play before it, has a battery life to die for.
The Moto Z2 Play, priced at Rs 27,999, uses a Qualcomm Snapdragon 626 processor and comes with 4GB RAM and 64GB storage. The phone comes with a 5.5-inch Super AMOLED display with a Full-HD (1080P) resolution. One particular interesting bit about the Moto Z2 Play — as opposed to its predecessor — is its main camera. This camera uses a 12-megapixel image sensor that has a pixel size of 1.4um. Just like its predecessor the Moto Z Play, the Moto Z2 Play also comes with a decently-sized 3,000mAh battery and when paired with Qualcomm’s efficient Snapdragon 626, metes out excellent battery life.
The Z2 Play further comes with a full-metal body and has a fingerprint sensor on the front and on the back the phone has pogo pins through which Moto Mods can be attached to it. It also comes with Type C connector. Also the support for micro-SD card has been provided.Like other Motorola phones, the Z2 Play also uses an almost unmodified version of Android. It is powered by Android Nougat 7.1, which is the latest version of Android.
Best phone(s) under Rs 45,000
The hype around the OnePlus 5 may have fizzled off, but, you can’t deny the fact that it’s still very much the most powerful phone at its price point. So, what if the OnePlus 5 looks a lot like the iPhone 7 Plus? At least, it looks good, while at it. It comes with the latest in hardware – and up to 8 gigs of RAM that quite frankly speaking is ridiculous in 2017 – and dual cameras.
The dual camera system in the OnePlus 5 features “a tailor-made 16-megapixel camera, supported by a 20-megapixel telephoto camera. While the 16-megapixel camera — Sony IMX 398 — features a large f/1.7 aperture, the secondary 20-megapixel camera — Sony IMX 350 – features an f/2.6 aperture. The dual camera system on-board the OnePlus 5 is capable of shooting photos with shallow depth of field, or bokeh effect through a specialized portrait mode. There’s also a dedicated Pro Mode for pro users. The system is also capable of recording 4K videos and shooting in RAW file format. Sadly, the OnePlus 5’s rear camera system isn’t assisted with Optical Image Stabilisation. On the front, the OnePlus 5 comes with a 16-megapixel camera.
The OnePlus 5’s dual camera system may be a hit or a miss — it is in fact not as good as hyped by the company in question — but it doesn’t take away the fact that the OnePlus 5 is the most powerful phone that you can buy at its price point right now. It runs Android 7.1.1 Nougat-based OxygenOS out-of-the-box and is as blazing fast as blazing fast can be right now.
The OnePlus 5 starts at Rs 32,999 for the base 6GB RAM and 64GB storage version and goes all the way to Rs 37,999 for the top-end 8GB RAM and 128GB storage version.
Best phone(s) money can buy: Wait for it
If you ask anyone with a little technical know-how about phones and when and when not to buy them, he/she will tell you August-September is definitely not the best time to buy a high-end flagship phone. Even if you’re looking to splurge and money is not a constraint. It’s better to wait now and save yourself the regret that these upcoming phones will bring to your party should you have already spent your cash on something else:
Samsung Galaxy Note 8: September 12
Apple iPhone 7S/iPhone 7S Plus/iPhone 8: September 12
Asus ZenFone 4 series: September 14
Nokia 8: September end-October beginning
LG V30: Early October