2014 was a big year for the Indian smartphone industry. The dynamics of the market changed this year with the re-entry of Motorola and the onslaught of Chinese manufacturers, who launched some great smartphones at extremely competitive prices.
Of course, the top end of the market remains dominated by big players like Samsung and Sony.
But with so many smartphones, which ones can be called the best in the business? Take a look at our list of favourite Android smartphones of 2014 to find out…
1. Sony Xperia Z3 — Rs 51,990
The hardware-software integration is so good that it can give the latest iPhones a run for their money.
On the hardware front too it is stalwart and packs a 5.2-inch Full HD screen, 2.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon 801 processor, 3GB RAM, 20.7MP camera and 3,100mAh battery.
2. Samsung Galaxy Note 4 — Rs 58,300
It has a 5.7-inch 2K (1440x2560p) display, 2.5GHz quad-core Snapodragon 805 processor (the latest in the market), 3GB RAM, 16MP rear camera and 3,220mAh battery in a package that costs Rs 58,300.
The S Pen stylus is much closer to the mouse of computer in terms of features than ever before, making it a must-have feature for all professionals.
3. OnePlus One — Rs 21,999
It’s hard to match the value-for-money quotient of OnePlus One, a smartphone that offers a 5.5-inch Full HD screen, 2.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon 801 processor, 3GB RAM, 13MP rear camera and 3,100mAh battery at just Rs 21,999.
The sandpaper back (in the black version) also adds to the smartphone as no other manufacturer has used this material before.
4. Xiaomi Mi 3 — Rs 13,999
Xiaomi arrived in India with a splash, riding on the success of its Mi 3 smartphone.
The Rs 13,999 smartphone offered class-leading features, such as a 5-inch Full HD display, 2.3GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor, 2GB RAM, polycarbonate body with magnesium alloy frame, 3,050mAh battery and 13MP rear camera.
Though Xiaomi has stopped the sale of the smartphone, it remains one of the best models to hit the country this year.
5. HTC One M8 — Rs 49,990
2014 saw the launch of several good Android smartphone, but very few come close to HTC’s One (M8) in terms of the premium quotient.
HTC built upon the well-received all-aluminium design of last year’s One smartphone to make a smartphone that is more refined and better looking.
In terms of features, this Android 4.4 smartphone packs a 5-inch Full HD screen, 2.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon 801 processor, 2GB RAM, 5MP front camera, front-facing BoomSound speakers and 2,600mAh battery.
6. Second-Generation Moto G — Rs 12,999
While Moto G was a real game-changer in the Indian smartphone market, we picked the successor to be part of our list of best Android smartphones of the year as it offers a much better deal than the original model.
The second-generation Moto G has an 8MP camera, microSD support up to 32GB and a bigger 5-inch screen, matching what rivals like Asus Zenfone 5 offered.
Other key features of the second-generation Moto G are HD screen resolution, 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 400 processor, 1GB RAM, 2MP front camera, 2,070mAh battery and Android 4.4 (upgradeable to Android 5.0)
7. Samsung Galaxy Alpha — Rs 39,999
A beautifully crafted smartphone, it is extremely thin and light and can easily beat any iPhone on these parameters. Though the asking price of Rs 39,999 seems a little high for a phone with a HD screen, Samsung Galaxy Alpha makes up for this by keeping the screen size at 4.7-inch, thus eliminating pixilation with 312ppi pixel density.
Other key features of the Android 4.4 (KitKat) smartphone are 1.6GHz octa-core Exynos 5 processor, 32GB internal storage, 2GB RAM, 12MP rear camera, fingerprint sensor and heart rate monitor.
8. Lenovo Vibe Z2 Pro — Rs 32,999
Lenovo’s Vibe Z2 Pro has pushed the envelope in terms of value for money this year. This smartphone comes with a 6-inch 2K (1440x2560p) screen, 2.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon 801 processor, 3GB RAM, 32GB internal storage, microSD card support up to 128GB, 16MP camera on the back and 5MP in front and 4,000mAh battery, all topped off with Android 4.4 (KitKat).
It can even be considered a better option than Google’s Nexus 6, which has similar hardware but costs over Rs 10,000 extra.
9. Huawei Honor 6 — Rs 17,999
2014 is the year that smartphones with 2GB RAM and price tags under Rs 20,000 became common. But Huawei took this even further by launching Honor 6, which is the only smartphone under Rs 20,000 to offer 3GB RAM.
The smartphone has all class-leading features, such as a 5-inch Full HD screen, 1.7GHz octa-core processor, 3,000mAh battery, 13MP rear camera, 5MP front camera, 16GB internal storage and microSD support up to 64GB.
10. Asus Zenfone 6 — Rs 15,999
Asus’s Zenfone 6 is the best option for those who want a phablet at a budget. Though a HD (720p) screen on a 6-inch panel results in a not-so-great 245ppi pixel density, the rest of the package more than makes up for this one chink in the armour.
This phablet comes with Android 4.3 (upgradeable to Android 4.4), has 16GB in-built storage, microSD card support up to 64GB, 1.6GHz dual-core Intel Atom Z2560 processor, 2GB RAM, 13MP rear camera and 3,300mAh battery.