2019 has been a crazy year in terms of smartphone launches. A plethora of new smartphones have flooded the market this year, catering to all the segments, from budget to mid-range, to affordable flagship to the premium slot.
With such avalanche of smartphones at our disposal, it was also a very hectic year for us to review all those smartphones to let you separate the wheat from chaff depending on your requirements, which no doubt vary from person to person.
After careful scrutiny of various aspects of all the phones, we have settled on some of the top picks of the year scattered to different categories. We hope, our selection will leave you with smart choices so that you can choose the best devices for yourselves or the dear ones befitting the needs. So, here we go.
Best affordable smartphone under 10K- Redmi Note 8
When it comes to budget as well as the mid-range segment Xiaomi has always been a leading force in the Indian market. Despite there has been an influx of plenty of affordable smartphones, the Redmi Note 8 easily wins the laurels under the 10K segment.
An FHD+ notched screen, 48MP primary sensor led quad-rear camera setup, Snapdragon 665 SoC, and a decent 4,000mAh battery supporting 18W fast charging via USB Type-C port helps its cause. However, ad-infested MIUI skin can be annoying for some users.
Best mid-range smartphone under 15K- Redmi Note 8 Pro
In the sub-15K segment slot, the phone that captures our imagination most is the Pro sibling of the Redmi Note 8, i.e. the Redmi Note 8 Pro. The smartphone is packed with a MediaTek Helio G90T SoC, which is powerful and gaming-centric as well. Plus, it is mated to up to 8GB RAM.
The other notable features include full HD+ display with Gorilla Glass 5 protection, the quad-rear camera setup headlined by a 64MP primary sensor, and front-mounted 20MP selfie shooter inside the water-drop notch. A bigger 4,500mAh battery equipped with 18W fast charging draws charge via USB Type-C port, thus supplying the device with enough juice.
Best mid-premium smartphone under 25K- Realme X2
Besides Xiaomi, if there is one company that has taken the Indian smartphone market by storm is OPPO’s spin-off brand, Realme, which has been consistently offering affordable phones with competitive specs. However, it has also forayed into the mid-premium segment with the Realme X2.
The smartphone boasts of a compelling spec sheet dominated by a Snapdragon 730G SoC, up to 8GB RAM, 64MP quad-rear camera setup, and a 4,000mAh battery with 30W VOOC 4.0 fast charging support.
Besides that, an FHD+ Super AMOLED screen with an in-display fingerprint scanner, a 32MP notch selfie camera, and Gorilla Glass 5 protection for robustness further add to the USP of the phone.
Best affordable flagship of the year- Realme X2 Pro
Even before the mid-premium Realme X2, the company had already staked its claim to the affordable premium market with the Realme X2 Pro last month. And it clearly came on top, leaving other devices in the same ballpark behind.
The Realme X2 Pro is underpinned by the flagship Snapdragon 855 Plus SoC, which is also its main highlight. Nevertheless, the smartphone is also hailed for its smooth Super AMOLED notched display with 90Hz refresh rates as well as 50W SuperVOOC fast charging that fills the phone to brim in just 30 minutes.
Also, 64MP quad-rear camera, in-display fingerprint scanner, NFC, USB Type-C port, and 3.5mm headphone jack add to its heft further.
Best flagship of the year- iPhone 11 Pro
Getting the best affordable flagship out of the way, let’s now talk about the true best flagship of the year, which unsurprisingly boils down to the iPhone 11 Pro, the smartphone which comes with queer-looking and chunkier triple camera setup. However, it clicks amazing images and records great videos with the help of three 12MP sensors. Pictures in low light conditions also come out excellent thanks to the Night Mode feature added to it.
The iPhone 11 Pro runs iOS 13 and is powered by a 7nm Hexa-core Bionic A13 chip, which is the fastest mobile chip around. Unlike the predecessor, the iPhone 11 Pro has a matte textured finish for a better grip. On the downside, despite good 64GB built-in storage, it lacks storage expansion via microSD slot.
Best budget gaming smartphone- Redmi Note 8 Pro
Gone are the days when the game playing was a prerogative of the users of the premium or the upper mid-range smartphones. The budget, as well as low mid-priced phones, are also being designed with this aspect in mind nowadays.
And the Redmi Note 8 Pro, which earlier won our vote for the best mid-range smartphone under 15K, gets our approval for the best budget gaming smartphone as well. Driven by new MediaTek Helio G90T SoC and enhanced Game Turbo 2.0 mode the games like PUBG can be played at high settings without the irritating lags and stutters. The phone, however, exhibits some heating issues while playing high graphics games.
Best gaming smartphone- ASUS ROG Phone 2
If we consider out and out a gaming smartphone without the budget constraint, there are several smartphones such as the OnePlus 7T, the Nubia Red Magic 3s, and especially the iPhone 11 that we can’t overlook.
However, it is the ROG Phone 2 that wins hands down for not only its crazy specs but also the affordable pricing. Its claim to fame is the 120Hz AMOLED display along with the Snapdragon 855 Plus SoC paired with Adreno 640 GPU and 8GB or 12GB RAM, more than enough for no frames drop hardcore gaming.
A 6,000mAh battery with 30W charging support doesn’t let the phone give out in the middle of the extended gaming sessions. Also, an attachable AeroActive Cooler II provides an extra cooling boost for sustained performance.
Best affordable camera smartphone- Realme XT
If you are a camera buff and purely buy a phone for that purpose, we advise you to look no further than the Realme XT- the phone that was billed during its launch as India’s first smartphone with 64MP main camera using Samsung’s ISOCELL GW1 sensor backed by AI.
Other than the 64MP f/1.8 primary camera, the rear-mounted quad-camera setup includes an 8MP f/2.2 wide-angle sensor with a 119-degree field of view, a 2MP f/2.4 macro sensor, and a 2MP f/2.4 depth sensor. The selfie task is handled by a 16MP sensor equipped with Nightscape mode.
The phone churns out pixel-binned images with proper details. Night mode works fine, capturing less noise while the portrait images come out great with seamless edge detection. The autofocus works good, and images give better color resolution too. Video quality is also fine, but it is essential to mention that the wide-angle lens here can’t be used for video recording.
Other notable features of the phone are Snapdragon 712 SoC, up to 8GB RAM, 4,000mAh battery with 20W VOOC 3.0 fast charging, USB Type-C, as well as a 3.5mm audio jack.
Best camera smartphone flagship- iPhone 11 Pro
The best flagship of the year, iPhone 11 Pro, is also our pick for the best camera phone in the flagship realm. It is the first iPhone from Apple to have graced triple rear cameras and also the first to come with a telephoto lens.
The setup comprises a 12MP f/1.8 primary sensor, a 12MP 120-degree ultra-wide-angle sensor, and a 12MP telephoto lens. The camera interface is pretty simple that shows images to be captured in 1x zoom, 2x zoom, as well as in wide-angle mode. The photos captured look crisp and vivid.
Night mode significantly reduces noises and puts forth images with a good amount of details and the right proportion of brightness. The portrait mode allows users to view the output as well as make adjustments even before the photo is captured.
That said, it is the video capturing prowess that is the real deal about the iPhone 11 Pro. One can shoot 4K videos at 60 fps in cinematic video stabilization while the slow-motion videos can be captured in the wide-angle mode as well. The videos appear top-class and true-to-life. There is also an audio zoom feature to produce more dynamic video sound.
Best selfie smartphone of the year- Vivo V17 Pro
In the social media era, the selfie-taking habit of people has increased by leaps and bounds. As a result, smartphone manufacturers are mounting their phones with the best selfie camera possible. And amongst the lot this year, it is the Vivo V17 Pro, which wins the crown for the best selfie camera smartphone in our test.
The reason is obvious since the smartphone makes use of a 32MP and an 8MP selfie shooters attached to the pop-up slider at the top. The dual selfie cameras can click super-wide-angle images as well as bright selfies due to the super night mode feature.
Besides that, the rear of the phone is packed with a four-camera setup dominated by a 48MP primary sensor. The phone pumps power using a Snapdragon 675 SoC paired with 8GB RAM. An 18W fast charge-enabled 4,100mAh battery backs the phone that has Gorilla Glass 6 protection both on the AMOLED front display as well as the curved back panel.
Best battery smartphone- Samsung Galaxy M30s
Buyers, especially in the budget and mid-range segment, are far too sensitive towards the battery life of their phones. And the companies have realized that as most of the affordable phones these days are stuffed with beefy 5,000mAh battery.
However, Samsung’s Galaxy M30s, a low mid-range phone, takes this trend to a different level by using a humongous 6,000mAh battery that can easily last for about 1.5 days or 2 days on average usage. However, an 18W charger brick out-of-the-box takes a little longer to fill the battery to 100 percent.
Among other aspects, the Galaxy M30s features a 6.4-inch Super AMOLED display, 48MP triple-rear-camera setup, and a 16MP selfie camera inside a notch. The smartphone is underpinned by an Exynos 9611 octa-core SoC that works in sync with up to 6GB RAM and 128GB default storage, expandable up to 512GB using a microSD card.