Diwali is just days away, and for a lot of people, that's an opportunity to treat yourself to the new smartphone that you've been waiting for a while to buy. You might want to gift one to someone special too - either way, buying a smartphone can be pretty confusing. Gadgets 360 regularly publishes lists of phones that you can choose from, but if you're just looking for a couple of quick recommendations before you shop, then you've come to the right place.
You need only look at our Diwali Shopping Guide - we've listed the three best options at three budget levels: under Rs. 15,000, under Rs. 30,000, and no constraints. These are the three *best* phones in each category. We restricted the list to phones we have reviewed in-house at Gadgets 360, to ensure the quality of our picks. We also only considered smartphones that are less than six months old, because older ones might be missing out on updates and the latest components.
Finally, we're looking for the best smartphone, so if a device is strong in one category (e.g. great battery life or camera quality but poor performance or display quality) but weak in others, we discarded it - the idea is that these are the best overall options, whether you're buying for yourself or as a gift.
Under Rs. 15,000
We already did a list of the best phones under Rs. 15,000, and the results haven't changed much. Our top picks for phones were pretty easy to make, as these three are easily a cut above the competition on the ratings front.
1. Lenovo Zuk Z1
The Lenovo Zuk Z1 (review) is a very good all-round pick, which also has an excellent battery. Availability can be a bit of an issue with this phone, but if you can get one, it’s a great pick.
2. Xiaomi Mi Max
Although the Xiaomi Mi Max (review) is a great pick on paper, there’s one consideration that might take it out of the running for some – sheer size. Its 6.44-inch screen means that it is practically the size of a tablet. If you are fine with this, you get a phone that’s overall very good – and which lasted a stunning 21 hours in our video loop battery test.
Motorola Moto G4 Plus
Motorola has been quite popular in this price bracket for a while, and the Motorola Moto G4 Plus (review) is a good pick. Although the camera could be better, the phone is otherwise an all-rounder, and it’s also one of the better looking ones you can get at this price.
Under Rs. 30,000
Once the budget goes up to Rs. 30,000, picking just three models gets a little trickier, as the competition heats up. That said, the OnePlus 3, which launched in June this year, makes a particularly strong showing. Here are the three picks under Rs. 30,000.
1. OnePlus 3
There is a lot to like about the OnePlus 3 (review), and it's one of the few devices that has scored a perfect 10 in our performance tests. It packs 6GB of RAM, and it's not lacking in terms of any other specifications either. This phone has good battery life, great design, and excellent performance.
2. Huawei Honor 8
Launched just this October, the Huawei Honor 8 (review) is one of the few options that can come close to the OnePlus 3 in its price range. Although it doesn't pack as much RAM (it has 4GB), it's still pretty cutting-edge, delivering good performance in an very aesthetically pleasing package. On the other hand, this phone is one of the few new Android models that doesn't support more than one SIM. If that isn't a dealbreaker, this is a great pick under Rs. 30,000.
3. Asus ZenFone 3
The Asus ZenFone 3 (review) is a great looking phone that also has a really good display and fingerprint scanner. It's an overall performer that won't let you down, though it is a little expensive. If you spot a deal though, then you should really consider getting this phone.
No budget limits
Don't have any budget constraints? Then you're going to have your pick of the very best phones available right now, and they're all pretty great. Personal taste becomes a big factor in the process of choosing a phone. Here are some of the best ones we've reviewed.
1. Google Pixel XL
The latest and greatest from the world of Android, the Google Pixel XL (review) offers a great display, superb performance, and a killer camera. The design is a bit polarising, and it's definitely expensive, but it's a great phone despite all that.
2. HTC 10
Another phone with over-the-top performance, the HTC 10 (review) is gorgeous and has a brilliant display as well. Battery life is a bit of a letdown for a phone at this level, but otherwise, it's an exceptional device.
3. Motorola Moto Z
One of the most ambitious phones to be launched recently, the Motorola Moto Z (review) delivers good performance, and offers a sleek design, great display, and strong battery life too. It is expensive, and the placement of the fingerprint sensor leaves something to be desired. The modules themselves are interesting, and if you want a phone that really stands out, the Moto Z is an extremely compelling option.
It's worth noting that there are some phones which were launched a little before the cutoff date that are also definitely worth considering. For example, the Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge are still superb performers which you can consider instead. Also, although we haven't completed our full review of the new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, they are also excellent phones to pick, and deliver a largely unmatched experience. Another interesting option to consider is the LG G5, which, like the Moto Z features a modular design, allowing you to customise its capabilities.
These are our top three picks in three different price bands. Any of these phones would be a great gift this Diwali - for yourself, or for someone else. Are you planning on getting one of these for yourself? Let us know via the comments.