When you spend a fortune on the latest flagship you expect the best of everything, the display, the camera, the processor everything. So to help you find the best phone for your money, we read through multiple review websites and customer reviews.
So sit back and read through all the work that we have done to help you find the best flagship smartphone for you.
Apple iPhone X
The iPhone X was launched to commemorate the 10 years of the iPhone series and its launch was a unusual departure from usual iPhone launches which consisted of the iPhone and an iPhone Plus model.
The Phone has an impressive display, one of the fastest processors made by Apple and an excellent camera making it one of the best iPhones Apple’s ever made.
There are a few quirks which include a bezel-less front and a rather controversial decision to do away with the home button, the even more controversial notch placement, and the ridiculously expensive price tag.
But if you want the best that Apple makes, look no further.
Best Android Smartphone
If Apple's iOS doesn't work for you and you need the productivity and customizability offered by Android then you should certainly look at Samsung's S9+ which is the best offering in the Android world.
The S9 is packed to its gills with innovative new features be it the double curved Super AMOLED screen without a notch, the fastest processor, a mobile first variable aperture dual camera and superb stereo speakers.
This is a really long post! Use these links to jump around.
Why Trust us?
We spend over a day reading through reviews from a lot of websites - from Gsmarena to Phonearena - to see if there was a consensus on which phone was the best. We then further verified this by reading through verified reviews on Amazon and Flipkart from people who actually have bought and used the product. Mainly, to make sure the big sites didn’t miss anything.
We also assessed the performance of each phone using benchmark data. We checked all the big ones - Antutu, Geekbench 4 benchmark, and GFXBench. This helped give us an idea about the phone CPU, GPU, Gaming, Battery and everyday performance.
How we selected?
We started by listing all the phones priced above Rs.50,000. The shortlist criteria we used to select the best of this lot we as follows.
- Processor: The most powerful flagship processors
- Camera: The highest rated by DXOMark
- Screen: Highest Resolutions with protective glass
We did not use base parameters like minimum RAM or storage as most flagships don't have more than 6 GB of RAM while the iPhone has just 3 GB of RAM.
With the phones, we shortlisted we then proceeded to pick the best which offered the best batteries, fast charging, and great software. Finally, we were left with the following three phones:
- Apple iPhone X
- Samsung Galaxy S9+
- Pixel 2 XL
Best Pick in detail
The best iPhone from Apple period
- Display: 5.8 inches, 2436x1125 resolution, 458 ppi,10 finger multi-touch support, HDR True Tone display, Proprietary Glass protection
- Hardware: Apple A11, 3 GB RAM, 64 GB internal storage
- Sensors and Extras: Ambient Light, Proximity sensor, gyroscope, accelerometer, barometer, magnetic sensor, face unlock camera,
- Expandability: 1 SIM slots, Lighting port
- Software: iOS
- Camera: 12 MP + 12 MP rear camera with quad LED flash, 7 MP front camera, 4K@30fps/60fps, 1080p@30fps/60fps/120fps/240fps
- Battery: 2716 with fast charging support
- Colors: Black, Gold, Pink Gold
- Price: Rs.84500 (64GB), Rs.99999 (256GB)
- Class leading screen
- Super fast processor
- Awesome cameras
- Good battery life
- Good speaker audio quality
- Excellent build quality
- Fast charging support
- The notch
- No home button
- No fingerprint sensor
- No fast charger in box
- Software needs work
- No headphone jack
- No dual sim
Design: Apples best and not so best all in one packaging
Every iteration of the iPhone has always brought a small change often too small to notice, but under the new leadership, Apple is getting bolder and bolder. First, there was the two iPhone per year strategy, next was the addition of a stylus with an iPad and now we have an iPhone that ditches the home button to make way for a notch.
iPhones have always been premium to look and touch, but the iPhone X feels the most premium of them all. The glass back and stainless steel sides all oozes style and quality.
But despite the gorgeous back its the front that gets all the attention because of the notch. In order to make way for the bezel-less new display, Apple was left with a tough decision of where to put the home button, the fingerprint sensor, camera sensor and earpiece. So what did one of the biggest mobile companies do? they got rid of the fingerprint sensor and switched to a face unlock feature, the home button was remote in favor of touchscreen gestures. That's two problems taken care of but what about the camera and earpiece? Manufacturers like Xiaomi have moved the front camera to the bottom and used a piezoelectric earpiece while Essential used a small cutout on the screen to accommodate the camera. But the iPhone went for a large notch as they had to integrate extra sensors for the Face ID.
We are personally not fans of the notch because of the screen real estate it wastes and also the fact that most apps don't make proper use of the notch, so we shall wait for Apple to improve on it in the next generation of the iPhone.
The phone has just one hardware connectivity port, the lighting connector and the phone still loses out on a 3.5mm jack. So you have one port to charge your phone, transfer data and listen to music through.
Software: One step forward and one step back
The iPhone X uses the latest iOS 11 but not everyone is happy with the software. The removal of the home buttons means a new set of gestures have to be learned as stated by Trusted Reviews, this increases the learning curve of the phone. They still loved some of the gestures like swipe halfway up the screen to switch apps and so on. Trusted Reviews also minutely pointed out how the apps aren't really designed to work with the different, much taller aspect ratio and they tend to leave black bars on the top and the bottom which looks quite ugly. This is bad because during the launch Apple talked a lot about how App developers should work with the notch and not around it.
There are improvements in Siri, in terms of UI design as well as contextual awareness. Siri now even suggests topics of interests and even syncs them with your other Apple devices.
Apart from that, the overall software is quite smooth to use but many websites complained about the rushed nature of the software, like GSMarena who said, "......the iPhone X-tailored version is a mess. Lots of the new gestures could have been done better - the line, the horns, the notch were all treated like last-minute obstacles instead of getting the smart solutions Apple is capable of."
But the iPhones score a lot of points for quick updates and software support. In a study conducted by (SecurityLab) showed that Apple was fastest at releasing updates once a security issue is detected. iPhones also have the longest software support duration of up to 5 years which is three years more than what Google supports on their own devices.
Hardware: Best in class hardware
The OLED display on iPhone X nails most of the important categories of brightness, color accuracy, and sunlight legibility. DisplayMate tested the iPhone's screen and found it to be one of the best displays on a mobile phone, specifically for the following reasons:
- Highest absolute color accuracy for any display (0.9 JNCD)
- Highest full-screen brightness for OLED smartphones (634 nits)
- Highest full-screen contrast rating in ambient light (141)
- Highest contrast ratio (infinite)
- Lowest screen reflectance (4.5%)
- Smallest brightness variation with viewing angle (22%)
What Hi-Fi loved the audio quality on the iPhone X despite the lack of the headphone jack. The stability of audio over Bluetooth was also good as reported by them. Commenting on the actual audio quality itself they said, "Bass is detailed, the midrange engaging and precise, and treble restrained, while maintaining expression and richness. The X copes brilliantly with texture and overlapping instruments, which aren’t always handled well by smartphones." The onboard stereo speakers also bring a huge improvement in volume as well as quality with it being the best amongst all iPhones. The only issue really is the fact that iTunes doesn't yet support Hi-Res audio.
The A11 Bionic chipset is one of the finest ever made by Apple, it comes with six cores, two high performance "Monsoon" cores and four power efficient "Mistral" cores. Also, all six of the cores can work simultaneously depending on the workload. Also for a first time, we have Apple's in-house developed three-core GPU, a departure from the PowerVR cores that Apple usually uses. Now coming to raw performance numbers the iPhone X is simply one of the best performing SoC's in the mobile world closely followed by the Samsung s9+ and iPhone 8. For a long time, we have seen Apple's SoC outperforming the Android competition despite fewer cores and lesser RAM. What this translates into the real world is you can play just about any game in the App Store without any lags or slowdowns.
Camera: The best Apple has to offer
The iPhone X carries forwards the same dual sensor layout as the iPhone 7 and 8 Plus, there is a 12-megapixel sensor behind the F/1.8 wide-angle lens and another telephoto sensor with a f/2.4 lens. The great thing is both the sensors are optically stabilized which makes it more capable in low light and fast moving shots.
DXOMark tested the iPhone X camera and found it had the accurate color rendering and white balance in almost all lighting conditions. Also despite the small sensor, the camera kept most details intact and even exhibited low noise. DXOMark also tested the bokeh mode and found it was in fact quite natural because the amount of blurring applied is much less than the other phones.
GSMarena found the iPhone X manages to take crisp photos even with the telephoto lens and the optical image stabilization (OIS) helps you take more stable shots. The OIS actually helps to even take great low light photos where you can choose the shutter speed as slow as 1/4 seconds while shooting handheld.
The video recording capabilities are also very good with effective stabilization in video and good details and natural color reproduction. But being slightly older than the Galaxy S9+ the iPhone lacks super slow motion video like 720p@960fps which the Galaxy supports.
Battery: Good battery life but terrible charging time
iPhones have traditionally had small battery sizes, great battery lives, and extremely slow charging speeds. The iPhone X is no different, the 2716 mAh battery is larger than most iPhones but smaller than most Android Phones, but the OLED screen sucks so less power, that the phone lasted 8 hours and 41 minutes in PhoneArena’s battery test.
Charging with the default charger is slow by today's standard with the provided 5W charger, Yes that's what Apple gives with their flagship phone. The iPhone X takes a slow 3 hours and 9 minutes to charge.
However, the iPhone X does support fast charging; Apple is just too snobbish to provide you a free fast charger. With a third party 18W charger or a 12W Apple iPad charger, you can juice up between 70-80% of the charge in an hours charge.
Best Android Phone
The best arrow in Android’s quiver
- Superb AMOLED screen
- Best processor amongst Android Phones
- Excellent cameras with super slow motion video
- Good battery life
- Good speaker audio quality
- Excellent build quality
- Fast charging & wireless charging support
- Slower updates than Pixel phones
- Bixby voice assistant needs a lot of work
Every year, Samsung greets us with a new and shiny S series phone. Every model trying to outdo the previous one. This year is no different with the S9 or is it?
On first glance, the S9 Plus looks no different than the S8 Plus which was actually a premium and handsome looking phone. However, you have to turn the phone around to see the improvements; A new more accessible location for the fingerprint sensor as well as a new secondary camera. Subtle.
What is also carried forward is the same display, a 6.2 inch Super AMOLED panel which is simply brilliant. Its Quad HD resolution and HDR support make it simply one of the best display on an Android phone. The Gamma value is on the dot at 2.2, delta e (color) values are low, the brightness is a plenty, however, the slightly higher delta e (grayscale) values makes the display less accurate than what the iPhone X has.
Talking about performance you get an Exynos 9810 and 6 gigs of RAM. The processor comes very close to the iPhone X in most benchmarks and is a treat to a game with. Although the hardware is top-notch the software isn't the best, especially in comparison to Pixel 2’s superior stock android.
The pièce de résistance, however, is the dual aperture rear camera, which can shift from F/2.4 all the way to a wide F/1.5. This is a first for any mobile camera and makes the S9 Plus a very capable shooter even in low light. You also get super slow motion video that is captured at a 960fps letting you.
Samsung phones are updated slower than Pixel phones but a recent survey shows that they still receive most of the security updates on time. Also Samsung’s Knox software comes with many enterprize security services baked into the phone. They are thus extremely secure when compared to regular phones. Most Samsung phones have received certifications from NSA and DISA for sensitive use.
When DXOMark reviewed the Samsung s9+ they rated it higher than Apple's iPhone X by 2 points. This was because of Samsung's superior and faster autofocusing, brighter and vivid colors and excellent resolution even at 4x magnification. The video recording is also good with the same vivid colors being captured that are also very smooth courtesy of the image stabilization.
To keep your phone secured Samsung has Face unlock along with Iris scan, which is slower than just using the fingerprint sensor. But a neat addition nonetheless.
And finally, to keep everything we mentioned above running you have a 3500mAh which according to PhoneArena lasts for 8 hours while taking only 105 minutes to fully charge.
Phones that didn't make it
Pixel 2 XL
The Pixel 2 XL was an important phone that showed the world that you don't always need flashy features and multiple cameras, phones can be simple and still be good.
The Pixel 2 XL makes a great phone for people who love stock Android experience. You get the first updates straight from Google and you are supported longer than other manufacturers. But the Pixel 2's hardware is older than the Samsung phone. The camera broke from the norm and carried a single sensor which is now outperformed by Samsung's superior variable aperture camera with super slow motion video support.
The Pixel's boxy design with a lot of bezels may not be to everyone's taste just like the stock software experience. Pixel's phones also have a lot of software issues with many users complaining, this is due to the speedy updates. But most issues are resolved quickly by Google.
Finding the best smartphone in market which fulfills all your needs is a tall order, but with improvements in technology we found two that come very close.
The iPhone X which is Apple's best iPhone undoubtedly takes the crown here, because of it superb display, camera, processor and gorgeous design. There are very few smartphones that can match it in terms of the sheer package that it is.
The Samsung S9+ is a rare blend of perfection for Android users. It has one of the best displays in its class, the fastest processor, a superb camera with some unique innovations and a design that for the time doesn't try to copy Apple. It's is one of the best Android phones in the market currently.