Best Android phones in India

If you’re in the market for the best smartphone in India and are not going the iPhone way (pretty much why you’re here), you’d still need to make the decision amongst the best Android phones in India. All these devices are powerhouses that are brimming with features, but with a couple of marquee elements that make them stand out.

However, form and function are subjective, and often the specifications sheet or the marketing pitch doesn’t tell you the complete picture. In this roundup, we’re looking at the absolute best Android phones in India right now, and the ones you can’t go wrong with.

Editor’s note: We will update this list regularly as new Android phones in India launch.

Samsung Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus

The back of the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus.

The Samsung Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus may appear to be quite similar to their predecessors on the surface, but there are actually quite a few upgrades and improvements across the board. The overall design language remains largely the same. But a more refined design with reduced bezels above and below the gorgeous infinity displays allow for a more manageable handling experience. The fingerprint scanner has also been moved to a much better position and no longer needs an awkward stretch to get to.

Samsung has also finally decided to focus on an area that has been sorely lacking in the past – audio. The Galaxy S9 devices are the first Samsung smartphones to feature stereo speakers that are tuned by AKG. Samsung also partnered with Dolby to add the Atmos codec to the Galaxy S9 to provide an enhanced, immersive experience.

The Galaxy S9 camera is a 12MP super speed dual pixel sensor, while its larger sibling tacks on a secondary 12MP telephoto lens. Of course, there a bunch of new software features as well, like dual aperture, multi-frame image processing, and 960 fps slo-mo video capture. If you’re looking for a smartphone with a great camera, the Samsung flagships definitely delivery. Apart from the larger display and the dual rear camera setup, the Galaxy S9 Plus also comes with 6GB of RAM, compared to 4GB with the Galaxy S9.

The Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus are priced at 57,900 rupees and 64,900 rupees respectively for the 64GB version, going up to 65,900 rupees and 72,900 rupees for the 256GB storage iteration. Falling in the middle of that price range is the 128GB variant. There is a lot more competition as the year has progressed, but these phones are still among the best Android phones in India right now.

Specs

Samsung Galaxy S9

  • 5.8-inch Super AMOLED display with 2960 x 1440 resolution
  • 2.8GHz octa-core Samsung Exynos 8910 processor
  • Mali-G72 MP18 GPU
  • 4GB RAM
  • 64/128/256GB built-in storage, further expandable via microSD up to 400GB
  • 12MP rear camera, 8MP front-facing camera
  • 3,000mAh battery
  • Android 8.0 Oreo
  • 147.7 x 68.7 x 8.5mm, 163gram

Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus

  • 6.2-inch Super AMOLED display with 2960 x 1440 resolution
  • 2.8GHz octa-core Samsung Exynos 8910 processor
  • Mali-G72 MP18 GPU
  • 6GB RAM
  • 64/128/256GB built-in storage, further expandable via microSD up to 400GB
  • 12MP and 12MP dual rear cameras, 8MP front-facing camera
  • 3,500mAh battery
  • Android 8.0 Oreo
  • 158.1 x 73.8 x 8.5mm, 189grams

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Huawei P20 Pro

best android phones in India - Huawei P20 Pro

Dual rear camera setups have almost become standard in the smartphone space. So of course, Huawei had to push the boundary and tack on a third camera with their latest flagship, the P20 Pro. Luckily, this is more than just a gimmick and makes the P20 Pro once of the best smartphone cameras around, offering a DSLR-like experience and quality.

Each camera serves a different purpose. The main 40MP sensor captures rich color, the 20MP secondary monochrome sensor captures additional details, and the third 8MP telephoto lens is used for zoom and additional focal length. A bunch of features like 3X Optical Zoom, 5X Hybrid Zoom, 4D Predictive Focus, 960fps slo-mo recording, and more, are available. The camera also has Huawei’s new AI-assisted stabilization (AIS), which lets the P20 Pro take long-exposure shots without a tripod. You also get a great 24MP shooter up front.

It’s not all about the camera, even if that is more than enough reason to buy this phone. You get excellent performance, courtesy of its flagship hardware, and an impressive battery life because of the large battery and a Full HD+ display. The P20 Pro is also a beautifully designed smartphone, though only one color variant is currently available in India.

The only variant of the Huawei P20 Pro in India with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage is priced at an expensive 64,999 rupees. It is worth every penny for the camera alone and is easily one of the best Android phones in India right now.

Specs

  • 6.1-inch AMOLED display with 2240 x 1080 resolution
  • 2.4GHz octa-core HiSilicon Kirin 970 processor
  • Mali-G72 MP12 GPU
  • 6GB RAM
  • 128GB built-in storage, not expandable
  • 40MP, 20MP, and 8MP triple rear cameras, 24MP front-facing camera
  • 4,000mAh battery
  • Android 8.1 Oreo
  • 155 x 73.9 x 7.8mm, 180grams

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OnePlus 6

An image of the OnePlus 6 held out in a person's left hand with the screen on.

OnePlus continues to push the boundaries of price vs specifications and has another flagship killer on their hands with the OnePlus 6. You get a new all-glass build and a notched display design this time around, and this is only the start of how OnePlus has properly made the jump into flagship territory.

Unsurprisingly, this phone also has the latest and greatest specs available – a Snapdragon 845 SoC, 6 or 8GB of RAM, and up to 256GB of storage. The cameras have been improved this time around too. It comes with dual 16 and 20MP rear camera setup. There are also slow-motion video modes that allow for 720p footage at 480fps and 1080p at 240fps. You can also shoot 4K video at 60fps.

While everything about the OnePlus 6 screams “premium,” the company’s aggressive pricing strategy remains in place. The price of OnePlus’ flagships have admittedly increased over the years, but the OnePlus 6 remains significantly cheaper than the likes of the Galaxy S9, the Huawei P20 Pro, and even older flagships like the Google Pixel 2 XL.

Also, the OnePlus 6 is probably going to be one of the first devices that will receive Android P when it launches. If you don’t want to splurge on the Pixel 2 or wait for the Pixel 3 series, the OnePlus 6 is an excellent alternative for those who are looking for timely software updates.

The OnePlus 6 starts at just 34,999 rupees for the 6GB RAM and 64GB storage iteration. The 8GB RAM variants are priced at 39,999 rupees and 43,999 rupees, coming with 128GB and 256GB of built-in storage respectively. With its impressive specifications and more affordable price, the OnePlus 6 is one of the best Android phones in India right now.

Specs

  • 6.28-inch AMOLED display with 2280 x 1080 resolution
  • 2.8GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor
  • Adreno 630 GPU
  • 6/8GB RAM
  • 64/128/256GB built-in storage, not expandable
  • 16MP and 20MP dual rear cameras, 16MP front-facing camera
  • 3,300mAh battery
  • Android 8.1 Oreo
  • 155.7 x 75.4 x 7.8mm, 177grams

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Asus Zenfone 5Z

best Android phones in India - Asus Zenfone 5Z

OnePlus 6 may have started the trend of the affordable flagship, but there are now many competitors that are looking to make their own mark in this segment. Asus is back with a bang this summer in India with a couple of fantastic offerings – one undercuts Xiaomi in the mid-range market. And the other, which is the Zenfone 5Z, takes on the OnePlus 6 and other high-end phones in the flagship arena.

The specs sheet of the Zenfone 5Z looks very similar to that of the OnePlus 6. You get the Snapdragon 845, 6 or 8GB of RAM, up to 256GB of built-in storage, and a 3,300mAh battery. The OnePlus 6 does have a leg up, at least on paper, in the camera department, with the Zenfone 5Z coming with a 12MP and 8MP dual rear camera setup and an 8MP front-facing shooter.

Asus has liberally tacked on the term “AI” to the various features of the phone even if it oversells the actual capabilities of the device. Some are impressive though, like AI Charging, that stops the phone from charging to 100 percent overnight. That doesn’t mean you won’t get a fully charged phone, it just means the phone will charge to 100 percent right before you wake up, once it gets to know your sleeping habits.

Asus has also focused on the audio experience, with the ZenFone 5Z coming with two five-magnet stereo speakers driven by dual amplifiers to ensure maximum volume. It also supports Hi-Res Audio files encoded at up to 24-bit/192KHz sample rates and supports DTS Headphone:X for 7.2-channel virtual surround-sound when using headphones.

The Zenfone 5Z is slightly more affordable than the OnePlus 6, which makes it a more enticing option for some. The 6GB RAM and 64GB storage version is priced at just 29,999 rupees. The 8GB RAM iterations with 128GB and 256GB of storage are priced at 32,999 rupees and 36,999 rupees respectively.

Specs

  • 6.2-inch AMOLED display with 2246 x 1080 resolution
  • 2.7GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor
  • Adreno 630 GPU
  • 6/8GB RAM
  • 64/128/256GB built-in storage, expandable via microSD up to 512GB
  • 12MP and 8MP dual rear cameras, 8MP front-facing camera
  • 3,300mAh battery
  • Android 8.0 Oreo
  • 153 x 75.7 x 7.9mm, 155grams

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Honor 10

honor 10 review

Honor has made a name for itself in the entry-level and mid-range Indian market. The company is hoping to continue that success in the affordable flagship category as well with the Honor 10.

You can expect flagship performance with the Honor 10 given the fact that you get the same processing package, RAM, and built-in storage as the Huawei P20 Pro. There are obvious differences between the two of course, but if performance is what you’re looking for, the Honor 10 delivers at a flagship level but at half the price. The Honor 10 features a beautiful, notched-display design, and comes with the now expected dual rear camera setup of 16MP and 24MP shooters. Up front is an impressive 24MP unit as well.

The Honor 10 is not only in direct competition with the likes of the OnePlus 6 and the Asus Zenfone 5Z, but with one of its own devices – the Honor View 10. The View 10 also comes with the same processing package, but the cameras aren’t as good. That said, the View 10 has a more standard design (no notch) that some may prefer, is slightly cheaper, and is one of the best Android phones in India under 30,000 rupees.

Speaking of price, the Honor 10 is not that much more expensive. Only one version of the device is currently available in India with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage and is priced at just 32,999 rupees.

Specs

  • 5.84-inch IPS LCD display with 2280 x 1080 resolution
  • 2.4GHz octa-core HiSilicon Kirin 970 processor
  • Mali-G72 MP12 GPU
  • 6GB RAM
  • 128GB built-in storage, not expandable
  • 16MP and 24MP rear cameras, 24MP front-facing camera
  • 3,400mAh battery
  • Android 8.1 Oreo
  • 149.6 x 71.2 x 7.7mm, 155grams

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Special mentions – Oppo Find X and Vivo Nex

vivo nex

Vivo Nex

Ever since the launch of infinite displays and the 18:9 and beyond display aspect ratio, OEMs have seemingly been working towards the goal of a bezel-less smartphone. We’ve seen devices with notched displays and devices like the Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S that puts the camera below the display.

But none have managed to do as much as Oppo and Vivo. The Oppo Find X and the Vivo Nex feature impressive screen-to-body-ratios of 92.5% and 91.2% respectively and offer unique implementations to address the front-facing camera issue that an all-screen design creates.

Starting with the Vivo Nex, the front-facing camera is housed inside the chassis of the phone and pops up when required. You get a huge display but a handling experience that is manageable enough courtesy of the reduced bezels. Vivo also stays at the cutting edge with the in-display fingerprint scanner.

Oppo takes things one step further with the Find X by keeping both the front and back completely plain. All the cameras are housed in a moving window at the top that pops up whenever the camera is needed. There is no fingerprint scanner though, with Oppo utilizing 3D mapping and face recognition software to let you unlock the device. Yes, this means that every time you want to unlock the phone, the window pops up, which I have to admit, looks really cool.

oppo find x

Oppo Find X

Of course, you do get the latest and greatest in hardware with both smartphones, so you aren’t compromising on performance just get a unique looking phone. There is a reason though that these devices come under special mentions, and that’s mostly because it’s still not known how these devices will survive the test of time.

The Vivo Nex has its fair share of issues. The in-display fingerprint scanner isn’t nearly as fast as a regular one and often requires multiple attempts to unlock the phone. The software isn’t great either and seems to slow the device down despite the high-end specs it features. The Oppo Find X is definitely the more refined and the better option of the two but is more expensive. Having the top pop up every time you need to unlock it may be problematic in the future. Durability is a concern as well since there aren’t any cases currently available to protect the all-glass smartphone.

Both the Oppo Find X and the Vivo Nex are solid first attempts at what will hopefully be the future of the smartphone. However, you may have to adjust to the teething problems that occur with any first generation device. The Find X comes with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage and is priced at 59,990 rupees. The Vivo Nex offers 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage and will set you back 44,990 rupees.

Specs

Oppo Find X

  • 6.42-inch AMOLED display with 2340 x 1080 resolution
  • 2.8GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor
  • Adreno 630 GPU
  • 8GB RAM
  • 256GB built-in storage, not expandable
  • 16MP and 20MP rear cameras, 25MP front-facing camera
  • 3,730mAh battery
  • Android 8.1 Oreo
  • 156.7 x 74.2 x 9.4mm, 186gram

Vivo Nex

  • 6.59-inch Super AMOLED display with 2316 x 1080 resolution
  • 2.7GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor
  • Adreno 630 GPU
  • 8GB RAM
  • 128GB built-in storage, not expandable
  • 12MP and 5MP rear cameras, 8MP front-facing camera
  • 4,000mAh battery
  • Android 8.1 Oreo
  • 162 x 77 x 8mm, 199gram

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So there you have it for this roundup of some of the best Android phones in India! Something to keep in mind though is that while this list focuses on new releases, 2017 flagships remain great choices as well, with phones like the Samsung Galaxy Note 8, the LG V30 Plus, and the Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL

On a budget? Don’t forget to check out our roundups for –