Over the years, there's a truism that Apple's iPhones don't drop much in price, but most Android flagship will become much cheaper before long, so it's best to hold out for a little while and then get them in a deal. With the year-round e-commerce deals, the price cuts can be hidden as sales, but effectively the results are the same for customers. So you have people giving advice like "Never buy a Samsung at launch", but we started to wonder how true this really is.
To put this theory to the test, we decided to look at our own lists of the best phones of the year - both the overall list with the expensive high-end flagships, and the sub-Rs. 20,000 segment where most of the action lies. These lists are made up of phones that were released through 2017, and cover a wide spectrum of brands, so they can be used to generate a useful snapshot of the market. We then looked at the prices of the phones over the months since they've launched to see which ones really hold their value.
We did this by tracking the 2017 prices of phones on Flipkart and Amazon - not looking at offline sources - and then we discarded a few new phones such as the iPhone X, the Infinix Zero 5 Pro, and the OnePlus 5T because they are too new to have seen major price fluctuations. You'd expect the same for the Google Pixel 2, but you would be wrong, as you'll see below.
For one thing - the only phone that's been around on the market for more than a couple of months and still not received any price cut is the Coolpad Cool Play 6. It's gone out of availability a couple of times, but it's still on sale right now, and at the same price it was launched at. It's not something we were expecting to be honest, but the result is still a pleasant surprise. The Nokia 8 also held its value, staying steady since launch, although it has been around for less time than the Cool Play 6; still, it's a pretty good sign for people planning to buy a Nokia phone.
In general though, there does seem to be some amount of truth to the idea that Android phones get good discounts pretty quickly - the biggest ones being the LG G6 and Oppo F3 Plus, which have both been around on the market for a long time, and if you count the extra offers and bundled benefits, then the Google Pixel 2.
The phone launched at Rs. 61,000, and in short order saw a whopping discount bringing the price down to Rs. 39,999. But as you'll see from our chart below, the lowest price is listed as Rs. 49,999. Where does the extra Rs. 10,000 come from? Well, that's where the e-commerce discounts play into action; the phone didn't get a price cut, but Flipkart offered a further cashback of Rs. 10,000 on debit or credit cards for a short period. That offer isn't available anymore, but HDFC credit cards are still getting an additional cashback of Rs. 8,000 which is a pretty hefty amount, particularly so soon after the phone launched.
Samsung's phones have kept their price pretty well. Apart from the Galaxy Note 8, which has seen a maximum discount of 4 percent, the Samsung Galaxy On Max saw a discount of 11 percent, or roughly Rs. 2,000. We also checked the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ although they're not among our top picks for the year, and the smaller phone hasn't changed much in price either. However, the Galaxy S8+ has dropped 10 percent in price, down to Rs. 57,900.
Beyond that, it's pretty clear that the older a phone gets, the more the chances of finding a good deal on it - but that's not helpful if you're looking to get a good deal on a new-ish phone. If you don't mind waiting though, then pick from phones that launched more than six months ago, and there are some huge deals to be found.
In terms of individual brands, although we saw good discounts on both Lenovo and Moto, LG's higher end offerings really don't hold their price. The low-range brands might give a good discount in terms of percentages, but it works out to Rs. 2,000 or so in most cases. On the other hand, while LG's mid-rage LG Q6 didn't fluctuate too much, the LG G6 and before that the LG G5 both dropped in price hugely. If you're looking for a really good phone on a small budget, it might be worthwhile to set up a price tracker for the LG V30+, if historic trends for the brand are any indicator.
Interestingly, looking at the data like this also helped dispel the myth that Apple products don't drop in price. Thanks to the deals that e-commerce companies are pushing our way almost every alternate week now - Flipkart's held its first sale of 2018 last week - even the coveted iPhones are now available at pretty good deals if you're willing to hunt for them.
Overall, we'd say it's just a good time to be a consumer, because whichever brand you're interested in, you're almost definitely going to find the same kinds of deals and discounts now with only a couple of exceptions.
You can see the price data we gathered about Amazon and Flipkart from Keepa and other price tracking sites below - only data until 31 December 2107 has been considered for this analysis of 2017's best smartphones.
|Phones||Launch price||Lowest price||Best discount||Current Price|
|Samsung Galaxy Note 8||Rs. 67,900||Rs. 64,900||4 percent||Rs. 67,900|
|iPhone 8||Rs. 64,000||Rs. 54,990||14 percent||Rs. 54,990|
|iPhone 8 Plus||Rs. 76,000||Rs. 66,364||12.6 percent||Rs.67,345|
|HTC U11||Rs. 51,990||Rs. 44,999||13.4 percent||Rs. 51,990|
|LG G6||Rs. 51,990||Rs. 31,000||40 percent||Rs. 31,940|
|Google Pixel 2||Rs. 61,000||Rs. 49,999||18 percent||Rs. 49,999|
|iPhone X||Rs. 89,000||Rs. 87,400||2 percent||Rs. 87,400|
|Nokia 8||Rs. 36,999||Rs. 36,999||0 percent||Rs. 36,999|
|Lenovo K8 Plus||Rs. 10,999||Rs. 8,999||18 percent||Rs. 9,999|
|Xiaomi Mi A1||Rs. 14,999||Rs. 12,999||13 percent||Rs. 13,999|
|Lenovo K8 Note||Rs. 12,999||Rs. 9,225||29 percent||Rs.9,225|
|Moto G5S Plus||Rs. 15,999||Rs. 13,999||12 percent||Rs. 14,999|
|Samsung Galaxy On Max||Rs. 17,990||Rs. 15,900||11.6 percent||Rs. 15,900|
|Coolpad Cool Play 6||Rs. 14,999||Rs. 14,999||0 percent||Rs. 14,999|
|Oppo F3 Plus||Rs. 30,990||Rs. 17,999||41 percent||Rs. 19,790|
|Moto G5 Plus||Rs. 14,999||Rs.10,700||26 percent||Rs.12,199|
|Nubia Z11 mini S||Rs. 12,999||Rs. 10,999||15 percent||Rs. 12,999|
Editor's Note: The article has been updated to reflect correct lowest pricing for the Xiaomi Mi A1 and to clarify the 31 December 2017 cut-off for the data, which means prices from the latest Flipkart sale were not considered.