From punch-hole cameras to high refresh rate displays, 2019 has been quite a polarizing year for smartphones. With companies like Realme finding the right footing this year, giants like Xiaomi have been forced to innovate and even companies like Samsung that are generally immune to market trends barring change have put the pedal to the metal in the Indian smartphone industry. I guess all that’s left this year is for team Techquila to crown the winners for this year and hurl tomatoes at the epic botches ( ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ). So without further ado, here is our list of the best smartphones that came out in 2019.
Best Ultra-Budget Offering – Under 10K
Ok, so if you’d asked us to pick a winner a few weeks ago this article would have taken a completely different direction. With Christmas almost upon us websites like Flipkart and Amazon have been at each other’s necks in a never-ending price war with smartphones. This is precisely why the Realme 3 Pro starts at a banger 9,999 INR on Flipkart and makes it our pick right in the nick of time.
With a banger good Snapdragon 710 under the hood and a very capable set of cameras, there’s not a lot going wrong for this phone. Couple that with the fact that this will be the first Realme phone to receive RealmeOS based on Android 10 and there’s no looking sideways at other options. If you’re really under a tight budget but still want the best features you can, then the Realme 3 Pro is the best smartphone you can get.
Best Budget Offering – Under 20K
Thought Xiaomi would bag this one? Much as it hurts us to pick just one winner in this category, the Realme X2 wins our hearts by a teensy bit. Despite the Redmi Note 8 Pro bringing in a lot of firepower and undercutting the X2’s price, the Realme wins this battle thanks to its AMOLED underpinnings. Let’s face it, the only thing you’re going to be staring at all day is your display and it definitely pays to make that experience as enjoyable as it can possibly be with the punchy AMOLED color science.
Best Value – Across Price Ranges
I really wanted to pick the Realme X2 Pro for this one, but the Redmi K20 Pro is quite hard to miss at the all-new 25,000 INR price tag and thus gets my seal of approval! The K20 Pro packs a lot of tiny nuggets for the price and most importantly offers the coveted Snapdragon 855 flagship chip coupled with a beautiful HDR AMOLED display. The Realme X2 Pro takes the crown of the best value smartphone across all budgets!
Flagship Killer Of The Year (You Know What It is)
Nothing offers the level of value and ludicrous equipment list that the Asus ROG Phone 2 offers and boy oh boy did it deliver. This is the only phone on this list that I’ve found myself giggling like a schoolgirl while using, surprising me at every turn. What lures me back to this phone personally after using its competitors is that amazing stereo speaker set-up that puts even certain dedicated Bluetooth speakers to shame. Combine that with the sweet RGB lighting, air-triggers, the highest refresh rate on any smartphone display (120 Hz) and you’ve got yourself a complete steal for 39,000 INR.
Best Smartphone Of The Year 2019
Obviously this category has no bar with respect to pricing but I still think I’m going to give this to the Asus ROG Phone 2. This is probably the only phone this year that absolutely nails the five pillars of a great smartphone and tosses in a complete census of intangibles that will make you grin from ear to ear. Sure, the camera isn’t exactly the best you can get on a smartphone today, but I hardly found myself complaining whilst I was neck-deep in the excesses that this phone kept surprising me with. Still not convinced about the camera part? Download a GCam port and move on!
While this year saw many new trends in smartphone design, we hope to see them being improved upon in 2020.