Ameya DalviFeb 20, 2019 17:54:13 IST
Old is gold, they say. It doesn’t always apply in the world of smartphones as technology advances at a brisk pace making older devices obsolete faster than one may like. But then there are a select few devices that can withstand the test of time, courtesy of that one standout feature whose goodwill even time cannot erode quickly enough. The only thing it can erode is their asking price, thankfully. Not everybody needs all the latest features or the raw processing power that the current flagship phones offer, nor can the majority afford them.
This is where some of the previous generation flagship phones make a compelling case. While their processing power is still more robust than most upper mid-range devices available today, their design is striking and far from being dated, and the camera quality and feature set is still comparable to the current premium lot. We have shortlisted five such devices that were the talk of the town not too long ago, and now with their significantly reduced price tags, offer excellent value for money.
Best flagship phones under Rs 50,000
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 needs no introduction. It was voted as the best phone of 2017 by several tech publications around the globe. Yes, it got my vote too back then, in case you are wondering. It is a perfect all-around phone with a powerful Exynos 8895 SoC, excellent 6.3-inch Super AMOLED QHD+ display and last but not the least, brilliant 12 MP + 12 MP dual rear cameras with optical image stabilisation and 2x optical zoom.
Despite being over a year old, the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 can compete well with any of the newer flagships on all fronts. The launch price of the phone was in the higher 60K range but its 6 GB RAM and 64 GB storage variant can now be purchased well under Rs 45,000. The storage can be expanded further by 512 GB using a microSD card.
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 price in India: Rs 43,990 for 6GB RAM/64GB storage
Huawei P20 Pro
Huawei flagships always had competent cameras but in the first half of 2018, they took giant strides to challenge Apple, Google and Samsung in the photography department. It all started with the triple camera system on the Huawei P20 Pro. While triple cameras are a gimmick on some phones, Huawei’s implementation is quite smart. The company opted for Leica optics with a combination of 40 MP sensor with 27 mm f/1.8 wide angle lens, a 20 MP monochrome sensor and an 8 MP sensor with an 80 mm telephoto lens. Each camera has a distinct purpose. The 40MP main camera uses Pixel binning and scales down the image to 10 MP but with lot more detail and great dynamic range than standard 10 MP cameras. The 20 MP mono camera lets in more light to improve the contrast. And lastly, the 8 MP camera provides 3x optical zoom, which is a rarity on smartphones. All three cameras are backed by optical image stabilisation. More importantly, the camera output is top notch and still among the best currently.
On the processing front, it is powered by Huawei’s previous flagship Kirin 970 SoC with 6 GB of RAM and 128 GB of internal storage. A sharp 6.1-inch Full HD+ AMOLED screen and a 4000 mAh battery that keeps the phone powered for over a day of standard usage rounds off a very attractive package. The phone was priced at 65K at launch but can now be purchased under Rs 50,000. Not a bad deal at all for one of the best all-round camera phones around.
Huawei P20 Pro price in India: Rs 49,999 for 6 GB RAM/128 GB storage
Best flagship phones under Rs 40,000
Google Pixel 2 XL
Speaking of camera phones, if you desired the Google Pixel 2 XL for its camera quality but was out of your budget then, now is a great time to consider it. This phone may be a year old but still has one of the best smartphone cameras around, surpassed only by a couple of handsets (including its successor) that are priced way higher. This phone can achieve with a single 12 MP rear camera that most phones cannot with two, three or even four cameras with a significantly higher number of megapixels. The camera output is excellent in all lighting condition, and particularly stands out in low light photography. If that wasn’t enough, it clicks some of the best portrait shots to date.
The camera is just one of the standout aspects of the Google Pixel 2 XL. Being a part of the Pixel family, it is among the first to receive the latest version of Android. It is powered by Qualcomm’s previous flagship chip Snapdragon 835 which is still more than capable of handling any task. Its QHD+ display is sharp and the 3520mAh battery manages to keep the device running for a day. The phone is selling for a great price in the Flipkart Mobiles Bonanza.
Google Pixel 2 XL price in India: Rs 37,999 for 4 GB RAM/64 GB storage
The OnePlus 6 hasn’t received a price cut but is still a good buy while it lasts. Many still prefer it over its successor, OnePlus 6T, and they have a point. The OnePlus 6 is a massive improvement over the OnePlus 5T in almost every department. The OnePlus 6T, on the other hand, is just an incremental update with a smaller notch on the screen. Plus the missing 3.5 mm headphone jack and the fingerprint scanner moving to the screen aren’t exactly smart moves if you ask me. The OnePlus 6 had no such issues.
Despite being three-quarters old, OnePlus 6 features the latest Snapdragon 845 SoC. The 8 GB RAM variant with 128 GB internal storage is still available on Amazon and sells for a couple of thousands lower than a similarly spec’d OnePlus 6T. It has a 6.28-inch 19:9 Full HD+ Optic AMOLED display with a notch. The front and back glass around an aluminium chassis makes the phone look classy. While on the surface, it seems to bundle the same 16 MP +20 MP combination seen on the 5T, the output is noticeably better, courtesy of wider 25 mm lenses, larger sensor and pixel size. Did I mention optical image stabilisation and ability to capture super slow motion videos at up to 480 fps? With the company providing regular OS updates, this is still a great phone to buy. Pick it while the stocks last.
OnePlus 6 price in India: Rs 39,999 for 8 GB RAM/128 GB storage
Best premium phone under Rs 25,000
LG’s previous flagship, the V30+ has always been a great looking phone and its aluminium and curved glass design still remain one of the best around. It is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC. It comes with a modest 4 GB RAM and 128 GB of internal storage that can be expanded further to 2 TB. A striking feature here is its 6-inch HDR10 compliant P-OLED display with 2880 x 1440 pixels (QHD+) resolution. The phone is IP68 rated dust and water-resistant too. In simpler terms, it can survive a dip in up to 1.5 metres deep water for 30 minutes.
Photography is taken care of by a 16 MP f/1.6 30 mm wide angle lens with 3-axis optical image stabilisation and a 13 MP f/1.9 12 mm ultra-wide lens. The quality of captured images is quite good but the HDR videos it records are even better. The premiumness doesn’t end there. The audio bits are taken care of by none other than B&O and you get a bundled headset from the same company too. For audio enthusiasts, this phone is a great option. The LG V30+ launched at around Rs 45,000 and is not selling for Rs 24,999 in the Flipkart Mobiles Bonanza sale. Needless to say, it’s an awesome deal.
LG V30+ price in India: Rs 24,999 for 4 GB RAM/128 GB storage
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