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Realme C1, Nokia 6.1 Plus, iPhone XR: Best phones to buy in December

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Realme C1, Nokia 6.1 Plus, iPhone XR: Best phones to buy in December

With only a few weeks left to go before 2018 comes to a close, it is now safe to say that the following list of phones are some of the best you can find this year

October is usually when most major smartphone launches take place after which there is a lull until CES in January. But strangely that has not been the case this year. Even after the new iPhones and Pixels, a lot of companies continued to launch some new smartphones all the way into December. Late November, Huawei announced the Mate 20 Pro in India. Earlier this week, we got the Oppo R17 Pro in the country. And in a few days, HMD will be bringing the Nokia 8.1 to India. It's safe to say that this has been a really busy year for smartphone launches.

With only a few weeks left to go before 2018 comes to a close, it is now safe to say that the following list of phones are some of the best this year. We take a look at phones ranging from affordable to the ultra premium to help you find the right phone for your budget.

Best phone(s) under Rs 10,000

Realme C1: Rs 6,999

Realme has surprised everyone by offering some really impressive phone in the budget segment, which is not an easy feat to achieve in today's competitive scenario. After laying the groundowrk with the Realme 1 and Realme 2, the company took thing up a notch with the Realme 2 Pro, C1 and U1. The Realme C1 (Review) is the cheapest phone with a notched display. It is in fact very similar to the Realme 2, but at a cheaper price point.

The Realme C1 sports a 6.2-inch notched display, Snapdragon 450 chipset coupled with 2GB of RAM. It houses a 4,230mAh battery similar to the Realme 2. The entry-level smartphone comes with a 13MP + 2MP dual camera setup on the back with PDAF and f/2.2 aperture, and a 5MP front-facing sensor. It ships with Android 8.1 Oreo with Oppo's ColorOS 5.1 on top

Redmi 6: Rs 8,499

The Redmi Note 5 was so far one of the best value smartphones under Rs 10,000, but Xiaomi has quietly discontinued the phone this week. But that's okay because Xiaomi has more than enough budget phones to take its place such as the Redmi 6.

The Redmi 6 comes with a 5.45-inch HD+ Full-Screen display with 1440 x 720 pixels resolution and an aspect ratio of 18:9. It offers AI-powered dual cameras on the rear panel. The smartphone includes a primary sensor of 12-megapixel and secondary sensor of 5-megapixel with 1.25 micron pixel size for depth shots. On the front, the phone carries a 5-megapixel sensor for selfies paired with AI portrait mode. It is powered by Helio P22 processor paired with up to 3GB RAM and 64GB storage.

Best phone(s) under Rs 20,000

Realme 2 Pro: Rs 13,990

By far the most impressive Realme phone this year, the Realme 2 Pro (Review) is probably the most powerful device you can get under Rs 15,000. With a Snapdragon 660 chipset running the show, you can expect nothing short of a beast while performing day-to-day tasks, browsing heavy apps and playing graphic intensive games like PUBG. But the Realme 2 Pro is not just about raw power as it also offers a premium dewdrop design with a bright and immersive waterdrop display.

Powering the Realme 2 Pro is an octa-core Snapdragon 660 AIE chipset with Adreno 512 GPU. This is coupled with up to 8GB of RAM for smooth and swift multitasking experience. The company is also touting a great gaming experience thanks to a powerful mid-range chipset. The phone will be offered with up to 128GB of internal storage, which is expandable up to 256GB via a microSD card. The Realme 2 Pro houses a 3,500mAh battery that will deliver a full day of battery life. It also supports dual 4G and dual VoLTE. The phone also offers 16MP sensors for all three cameras on board.

Nokia 6.1 Plus: Rs 15,999

HMD Global probably launched the most number of phones compared to any other company this year. And most of the Nokia phone launched this year have done exceptionally well by offering a classy and premium design along with good performance. The Nokia 6.1 Plus (Review) is a culmination of that and it is probably one of the most economically priced Nokia phones in the market.

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. Notably, the Android One phone got updated to Android 9 Pie, making it an even sweeter deal for anyone looking for an affordable smartphone with Pie.

Motorola One Power: Rs 15,999

Motorola hasn't had the most memorable year. The company managed to launch only a few phones in the Moto E, Moto G and Moto Z-series. It had to scrap the Moto X-series to cut down cost. Out of the phones that did launch, only a few managed to really break through in the Indian market, and one of them is the Motorola One Power (Review). The reason being we finally got an Android One phone from the company and it now also happens to be the only Motorola phone to run Android 9 Pie.

The One Power sports a 6.2-inch FHD+ display with a 19:9 aspect ratio. It is powered by a 1.8GHz Snapdragon 636 chipset which is coupled with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage with support for expandability. One major highlight is that the One Power houses a 5,000mAh battery that will deliver a good two days of battery life on a single charge. As for the camera, the One Power comes with a 16MP + 5MP setup on the back and a 12-megapixel sensor on the front. The One Power recently got updated to Android 9 Pie.

Best phone(s) under Rs 30,000

Poco F1: Rs 20,999

Now that we are nearing the end of 2018, it is safe to say that the Poco F1 is the most disruptive smartphone this year. Priced starting at Rs 20,999, the Poco F1 (Review) 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. The phone may not offer a premium glass design or a unique look, but it makes up for that by offering a flagship chipset at an affordable price. And if power is the only thing you're looking for, then the Poco F1 is your best bet.

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. Pocophone has confirmed that the Poco F1 will get Android 9 Pie as well as Android Q in the future.

Asus ZenFone 5Z: Rs 27,999

Asus quietly released two extremely impressive phones this year that managed to take on some of the biggest competition head-to-head. If it was the Zenfone Max Pro M1 in the budget segment, it is the Zenfone 5Z in the premium affordable segment. The Zenfone 5Z (Review) managed to take OnePlus to task by offering a Snapdragon 845 chipset along with a premium design language and fst charging at under Rs 30,000.

The ZenFone 5Z brings a tall 6.2-inch FHD+ display with a 19:9 aspect ratio. It is powered by a Snapdragon 845 chipset and the base variant comes with 6GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage. The ZenFone 5Z houses a 3,300mAh battery with fast charging support, supports stereo speakers and High-Res audio, among other things. The phone runs Android Oreo-based ZenUI and Asus says it has cut down on a lot of bloatware, keeping things cleaner and simpler. The dual camera setup includes a primary 12-megapixel sensor with large 1.4um pixels, f/1.8 aperture, dual-pixel phase detection autofocus, four-axis OIS and EIS. The secondary camera comes with an 8-megapixel wide-angle sensor for depth of field shots. Up front, the ZenFone 5Z sports an 8-megapixel sensor and the camera

Best phone(s) under Rs 50,000

OnePlus 6T: Rs 37,999

The OnePlus 6T (Review) succeeds the OnePlus 6 and is now the only OnePlus phone available in the market. It brings an updated design such as a bigger display with a smaller notch and an in-display fingerprint sensor, while keeping most of the internals the same as its predecessor.

The OnePlus 6T sports a 6.4-inch FHD+ AMOLED display and is powered by a Snapdragon 845 chipset coupled with up to 8GB of RAM. The glass on the front and back is also upgraded to Gorilla Glass 6. The 6T also loses to features - a physical fingerprint sensor and a 3.5mm headphone jack. Instead, the OnePlus 6T gets an in-display fingerprint sensor that will unlock the device in 0.34 seconds. The 6T houses a 3,700mAh battery with Dash Charge support and ships with Android 9 Pie. The 6T sports a 16MP + 20MP camera setup on the back with f/1.7 aperture and OIS + EIS support, and 16MP front-facing sensor. OnePlus is touting a new Nightscape feature that uses HDR algorithm to improve low-light photography.

Oppo R17 Pro: Rs 45,990

Oppo this week announced the R17 Pro in India. This is the first time the company is bringing its premium lineup to the country as it looks to grab a bigger share of the market. The R17 Pro comes with a unique gradient design, waterdrop display, Snapdragon 710 chipset and SuperVOOC flash charging among other things.

With the R17 Pro, you get tall 6.4-inch FHD+ Waterdrop display. The phone also gets the latest Gorilla Glass 6 protection on the front and back. The 3D curved rear panel is further made appealing as it gets a gradient design, called Radient Mist that is made up of blue and purple hues. Powering the Oppo R17 Pro is an octa-core Snapdragon 710 chipset. This is coupled with 8GB of RAM for a smooth multitasking experience.

The Oppo R17 Pro also offers an in-display fingerprint sensor and a triple rear camera system. The primary camera offers a 12MP sensor with a Smart Aperture feature that can switch between f/1.5 to f/2.4 depending on the lighting condition.The phone supports up to 50W SuperVOOC fast charging, which promises to charge the device from zero to 40 per cent in just 10 minutes and 100 per cent in just 40 minutes.

Best phone(s) that money can buy

Samsung Galaxy Note 9: Rs 67,900

The Galaxy Note 9 (Review) 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.

Google Pixel 3: Rs 71,999

The Pixel 3 sports a 5.5-inch FHD+ (2160x1080) OLED display with a 18:9 aspect ratio, while the Pixel 3 XL offers a taller 6.3-inch FHD+ (2960x1440) display with 18.5:9 aspect ratio and a very deep notch. They are powered by a Snapdragon 845 chipset that's paired with 4GB of RAM. The Pixel phones are offered in two storage options - one with 64GB of internal storage and another with 128GB of internal storage.

As for the cameras, Google has included two 8MP front-facing cameras, one of which offers a wide-angle lens for group selfies. On the back, both the Pixel phones come with a 12.2MP dual pixel sensor with 1.4 micron pixels, autofocus, dual PDAF, OIS + EIS and f/1.8 aperture. The regular Pixel 3 houses a 2,915mAh battery while the XL model gets a bigger 3,430mAh battery.

iPhone XR: Rs 76,999

The iPhone XR (Review) is not the most premium iPhone this year, but it is Apple's best iPhone for most people. This is because the iPhone XR brings most of the same features as the top-tier iPhone XS, and some downgraded features as well, at a price that's more reachable for a lot of people. In our review, we said that the iPhone XR offers is perfect for consumers looking to upgrade from an iPhone 8 or an older iPhone, and it works despite offering an LCD display and single rear camera.

In terms of size, the iPhone XR slots between the iPhone XS and XS Max. It gets a 6.1-inch LCD Liquid Retina HD display (1792x828). It is powered by the A12 Bionic chipset and brings 3GB of RAM. The iPhone XR also supports Face ID and ships with iOS 12. The single 12MP wide-angle camera on the back comes with OIS and f/1.8 aperture. The front sees a 7MP TrueDepth camera similar to the other two iPhones.

Huawei Mate 20 Pro: Rs 69,990

The Mate 20 Pro is the first Mate-series phone in India and it is all kinds of premium. The flagship offers a 6.39-inch 2K+ (1440x3120) OLED display with 538 ppi pixel density and 86.90 screen-to-body ratio. It is powered by the latest Kirin 980 chipset from Huawei which is based on a 7nm process that delivers a marked improvement in performance and power efficiency over its predecessor. This is coupled with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage. The Mate 20 Pro houses a 4,200mAh battery with 40W SuperCharge support.

The other big highlight is the Leica-branded triple camera matrix setup on the back. The system includes a 40MP wide-angle lens with f/1.8 aperture, a 20MP Ultra wide-angle lense with f/2.2 aperture and an 8MP telephoto lens with f/2.4 aperture. The cameras also support laser and phase detection auto focus as well as AIS (AI-based stabilisation). On the front, the Mate 20 Pro sports a 24MP 3D depth sensing camera.