Rehan HoodaDec 22, 2016 17:31:00 IST
Smartphones are one of the most important gadgets in our life and each year smartphone makers from all over the world compete to make the most impressive, sleek and fastest smartphone in the market. Apart from the usual bits of improved processor, a little bit of change in the design or the increased RAM or the battery life, there is nothing different or radical that most of these companies want to attempt.
Even though there aren't a lot of companies that go beyond the industry standards to make and attempt something radical. But still, some companies try and attempt something different, and those are the ones that tend to stand apart in the huge sea of smartphones. We have made a round up of the smartphones that left a mark in the year 2016. Here are some smartphones that were crucial and changed the tech world in their own way.
Google Pixel XL
Google Pixel XL, the first smartphone from Google, is the most important smartphone of the year quite simply because it is the first time the software giant has dived into hardware. It was significant because the Pixel series was the reason why the beloved Nexus line was killed. The Pixel also marked a significant hike in the price to (almost) match the price of Apple iPhone.
The Pixel XL provides the ultimate Android experience with the latest Android Nougat 7.1.1 with Google Assistant baked inside. Pixel was not only the first foray into hardware for the company, but in addition, it was a smartphone with many firsts. Google revamped the ROM update mechanism with revamped system architecture and it was also the first smartphone to come with Daydream support. We reviewed the Android powerhouse and you can check out if you should buy the smartphone. One important thing to note is that in extended testing we concluded that Pixel has the best smartphone camera till date, even beating Apple iPhone 7 Plus by a mile.
Samsung Note 7
The year 2016 will be incomplete without discussing Samsung and Samsung Note 7 because of everything that happened. On one hand, when most of the smartphones left a mark in 2016, the only thing(s) Samsung Galaxy Note 7 left was smoke, fire, unused fire-proof boxes, tumbling profits, destroyed trust and annihilated environment after the explosive year by Samsung. The most ironic part is that Samsung rushed Note 7 out in the market to compete with Apple iPhone 7 and this move backfired big time for the company as back to back recalls of the smartphones left the company without any flagship to compete with the competition.
Samsung delayed working on S8 to investigate the cause of battery fires and explosions in Note 7. The company recently concluded the investigation and had submitted the detailed reports to regulatory bodies across the globe. We can expect a public release of the report soon as the company promised that it would publish the cause of explosions to everyone.
OnePlus 3 was one of the important smartphones for 2016 as it reaffirmed that OnePlus is here to stay. After the failure that OnePlus 2 was, everyone thought that the company is a one-hit wonder in the sea of unknown Chinese companies. But with the launch of OnePlus 3, the company turned off the noise by proving everyone that it indeed can make 'flagship-killer' smartphones without much buzz.
The company took the world by surprise with the launch of OnePlus One in 2014. This year the OnePlus 3 became an instant hit and the company raised the stakes by releasing OnePlus 3T. OnePlus 3T is an upgraded version of OnePlus 3 with a new processor, slightly bigger battery and a 16MP front camera. We reviewed both the smartphones and reached a conclusion that this is the best smartphone regarding performance only second to Apple iPhone 7 Plus. OnePlus 3T may lack Daydream or the new update mechanism and Android Nougat 7.1 but these features are coming soon.
Apple iPhone 7 was being considered to be one of the most lacklustre iPhones ever with no buzz in the usual markets according to analysts. But the lack of competition from Samsung or LG pulled people to iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. Another significant change that Apple made was dropping 3.5-mm headphone jack along with the introduction of 256GB internal storage options for users in need for more internal storage.
The iPhone 7 was the first flagship by Apple to sport waterproof capabilities. The company also added a dual-lens camera setup with different focal lengths for shooting in standard as well as zoomed modes on the iPhone 7 Plus. The company also added a portrait mode to add natural Bokeh using data from both the lenses to give a natural depth-of-field. iPhone 7 and 7 Plus launch was aligned with the launch of iOS10, one of the most significant updates by the company to iOS.
Moto Z and Moto Mods
The Moto Z was one smartphone that we were looking out for as it had the potential to change how we look at handsets. It was also the only smartphone that allowed one to add and enhance capabilities through modules made by third party vendors. The smartphone pulled in more interest after Google axed Project Ara making Moto Z and the Moto Mods, the only hope for truly modular smartphones. The company promised that it would release 12 mods each year and all mods will be backwards as well as forward compatible with upcoming smartphones.
We reviewed the Moto Z and were stunned by the build quality and performance of the smartphone along with the entire idea of mods. But the company should drastically improve the experience before even assuming that the offering will be taken seriously by the consumers.
LG G5 was the first real smartphone to sport dual camera and the ultra wide perspective was one of the core points of attraction os the smartphone. The company announced the smartphone, and everyone was excited about the latest smartphone in the G series by LG. After a detailed review of the smartphone, we were disappointed in the build quality of the smartphone along with the lacklustre camera and the extremely limited 'Modular'-functionality that the company was touting when the smartphone was announced.
The company had announced different modular accessories for the smartphone that ranged from removable batteries, camera and battery mod, Bang & Olufsen-designed DAC mod for improved audio quality along with other mods in the pipeline. But the surprisingly expensive pricing of the smartphone effectively killed it before it even took off in the market.
Xiaomi Mi MIX
Xiaomi Mi MIX, a concept smartphone by Xiaomi was the talking bout of many during the year. Nobody was expecting a nearly bezel-less design this year, but Xiaomi sneaked in with the quite announcement of this almost perfect looking smartphone. It wasn't released worldwide and only served as a limited launch smartphone. It also came with a unique "Cantilever piezoelectric ceramic acoustic technology" to replace the traditional earpiece for audio. The smartphone looked something straight out of some Sci-Fi movie from early 2000's.
It did not win any laurels for its performance by the design and execution itself ensured that Xiaomi had the bragging rights to an innovative design.
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