With just a few more months to go before 2018 comes to a close, most smartphone manufacturers have released their best phones. Apple and Google are perhaps the only two companies that are yet to announce their flagship iPhones and Pixels, respectively. As a matter of fact, HMD Global is also yet to bring out its 2018 flagship Nokia phone, but the company has left us with around 10 budget to mid-range smartphones already. August was pretty busy and important month for smartphone launches in India and the first week of September also saw a few phones from the likes of Xiaomi.
The August was an important month was because we saw the launch of a new Xiaomi sub-brand called Pocophone. More important, the brand came out with the Poco F1 which completely shook up the affordable segment in India by announcing a Rs 20,000 phone with a Snapdragon 845 chipset. This is the kind of phone that suddenly hits the reset button, making us re-examine what we should expect from a smartphone now, be it in the budget segment or the high-end. Of course, the Poco F1 makes the list of the best phones you can buy in India this month, but we also have a bunch of other phones that we feel offer great value for their price.
Cheapest phone worth buying
Xiaomi Redmi 6A: Rs 5,999
Launched earlier this week, the Redmi 6A replaces the Redmi 5A from last year and comes in at a similar price tag of Rs 5,999. The Redmi 6A is part of Xiaomi new Redmi 6 family that includes the Redmi 6 and Redmi 6 Pro as well. While it's still early in the day to know just how good the 6A is, it's worth mentioning that the phone is among the cheapest you can buy with an 18:9 display. If the 6A manages to bring the same all-round reliability as the 5A for an entry-level phone, then it should be worth considering.
The Redmi 6A comes with a 5.45-inch HD+ display and is powered by a MediaTek Helio A22 processor coupled with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage which is expandable up to 256GB via a microSD card. There's a 32GB variant available as well that will cost Rs 6,999, but if you're going to spend that much you may as well go for the Redmi 6 instead. The Redmi 6A comes with a 13MP rear camera and a 5MP front-facing sensor, houses a 3,000mAh battery and support dual 4G SIM cards.
Best phone(s) under Rs 10,000
Xiaomi Redmi Note 5: Rs 9,999
Xiaomi continues to be a force to recon with in the budget segment and the company just added a few more devices to its existing portfolio of low-cost phone, making it harder for the competition. The Redmi 6 might be out now but until we review the device we will continue to suggest the Redmi Note 5 under Rs 10,000, simply because its an impressive all-rounder that offers good performance and battery as well as an 18:9 FHD+ display.
The Redmi Note 5 is powered by a 2GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 chipset with Adreno 506 GPU. Similarly, it comes in two variants - one with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage and one with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage, expandable up to 128GB via a hybrid microSD card slot. The device sports a 12MP rear camera with dual LED flash and PDAF and a 5MP front-facing sensor.
Best phone(s) under Rs 20,000
Nokia 6.1 Plus: Rs 15,999
The sub-Rs 20,000 segment saw the most action last month. Notably, HMD launched the stunning Nokia 6.1 Plus, a phone that was highly anticipated ever since the company announced it as the Nokia X6 in China. HMD also priced the device competitively at Rs 15,999, which was a pleasant surprise. The phone is perhaps the best-looking device in this segment right now thanks to an edge-to-edge notched display on the front and an all-glass body. The phone also boasts of an impressive performance and stock Android Oreo as part of the Android One program. I reviewed the device recently and called it one of the best Nokia phones from HMD so yet and its pricing makes it a terrific competitor to the Redmi Note 5 Pro.
The Nokia 5.1 Plus brings a 5.8-inch FHD+ (1080x2280) TFT display with a 2.5D Corning Gorilla Glass 3 on top and an aspect ratio of 19:9. Powering the device is an octa-core Snapdragon 636 chipset paired with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage, which is expandable up to 400GB via microSD card. The Nokia 6.1 Plus bears a dual camera setup which includes a 16-megapixel primary sensor with f/2.0 aperture and a 5-megapixel secondary sensor with similar aperture. The phone houses a 3,060mAh battery with support for fast charging via USB Type-C port.
Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro: Rs 14,999
Xiaomi's Redmi Note 5 Pro is still a powerhouse of a phone that continues to fight off the competition in this segment. With a powerful processor, a large battery and some stellar cameras, the Note 5 Pro is worth every penny even now. It sports a 5.99-inch FHD+ display with an 18:9 aspect ratio. It is powered by a Snapdragon 636 processor, which is coupled with either 4GB or 6GB of RAM along with 64GB of internal storage. Thanks to a powerful as well as a power efficient chipset, the Redmi Note 5 Pro is a smooth and fast phone no matter what you throw at it.
Apart from a solid performance, the Redmi Note 5 Pro also comes with some of the best cameras in this segment. The 12MP + 5MP dual camera setup on the back manages to capture some crisp and detailed photos under good light and more importantly they also manage to hold well under low-light. While the Redmi Note 5 Pro ships with Android Nougat with MIUI on top, it can be upgraded to Oreo now. The phone also houses a large 4,000mAh battery that will keep you going for a good day and a half to two days.
Best phone(s) under Rs 30,000
Poco F1: Rs 20,999
It's not often that we see a smartphone completely disrupt the market in a way the Poco F1 did last month. Priced starting at Rs 20,999, the Poco F1 is the cheapest with a Snapdragon 845 and is tagged as a flagship killer of the kind OnePlus used to be back in the day. Arguably the most surprising phone to come out this year, the Poco F1 is perhaps the best value for money phone right now and is the one to go for in the mid-range segment, if you're lucky enough to claim it during the flash sale.
The Poco F1 brings a 6.18-inch FHD+ display with a 18.7:9 aspect ratio. It is powered by a 2.8GHz octa-core Snapdragon 845 chipset coupled with up to 8GB of RAM and 256GB of internal storage. The dual camera setup on the back includes a 12MP + 5MP setup while the front gets a 20MP selfie sensor. The phone also houses a large 4,000mAh battery to take you through a good day and a half.
Best phone(s) under Rs 50,000
OnePlus 6: Rs 34,999
The Poco F1 may be the new flagship killer in town, but it does come with a few tradeoffs. While it matches the OnePlus 6 in terms of performance, the design itself is pretty cheap and unappealing. The OnePlus 6 now seems a little more expensive, but it comes with a far better design language thanks to an all-glass body. With reports that the onePlus 6T could launch in October, you can either buy the OnePlus 6 right now or wait for the next flagship.
The OnePlus 6 brings mostly all the top-end hardware in 2018 including a Snapdragon 845 chipset with up to 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. The phone sports a 6.28-inch FHD+ AMOLED display with a 2.5D Gorilla Glass 5 on top. It sports a 16MP + 20MP dual camera setup with OIS, EIS and f/1.7 aperture and a 16MP front camera with EIS. It houses a 3,300mAh battery with Dash Charge support and runs Android 8.1 Oreo.
Honor 10: Rs 32,999
Honor has proved time and again it's capable of bringing out some stunning phones across various price segments. The Honor 10 is te company's current flagship phone in India and the company justifies its price tag by not only bringing a stunning design that includes an all-glass design with an aurora colour scheme on the back and an edge-to-edge 5.84-inch Full-HD+ IPS LCD notched display up front.
Apart from the looks, the Honor 10 also brags about some serious hardware that includes a AI-based Kirin 970 processor coupled with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage. The phone holds a 3,400mAh battery and Android 8.1 Oreo-based EMUI 8.1. The Honor 10 also brings some impressive cameras that includes a dual rear camera system that comprises of a one 16-megapixel colour or RGB sensor and another 24-megapixel monochrome sensor, and a 24-megapixel camera up front.
Best phone(s) money can buy
Samsung Galaxy Note 9: Rs 67,990
The Galaxy Note 9 is a return to form for Samsung and is perhaps the best flagship from the company to date. It gets everything right and ticks all the boxes for a flagship which includes a stunning AMOLED Infinity Display, best-in-class cameras, excellent performance and even an all-day battery life. The Galaxy Note 9 brings everything great about the Note 8 and the S9+ and adds something more to it. And the new S Pen with Bluetooth support also gives you more reasons to use the stylus now.
The Galaxy Note 9 sports a 6.4-inch screen with QHD+ (2960×1440) Super AMOLED Infinity display. It is powered by an Exynos 9810 chipset with the base variant getting 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage. Samsung has also fitted a large 4,000mAh battery, which is a major bump from the Galaxy Note 8 as well as the Galaxy S9+. The device runs Android Oreo out-of-the-box with Samsung's Experience UI on top. You get a 12MP + 12MP dual camera setup with dual OIS and the f/1.5-2.4 variable aperture feature that has won the Galaxy S9 phones a lot of praise. The front camera is also similar at 8-megapixel and F/1.7 aperture.
Before we go
We did not include phones from Google and Apple in this list because both the companies are set to announce their new flagships in the next two months. Apple will announce three new iPhones on September 12, all of which will be based on the iPhone X. These iPhones are expected to come to India soon after and the 6.1-inch LCD iPhone could be priced more reasonably than the iPhone X which costs a whopping Rs 1 lakh.
Google is also expected to announce the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL. Both the phones are expected to bring full-screen displays, only the XL variant is expected to come with a notch. While the Pixel 2 phones are still fantastic options to buy in India, we recommend waiting for another month to see what Google has in store for us.