The world will probably get inundated with lists of the best smartphones of 2016 and these will be dominated by the usual suspects: Galaxy S7 edge, iPhone 7, Google Pixel and so on.
Certainly, these phones deserve all the hype and their respective placements in the pecking order, but there are outstanding mobile devices that have been largely ignored due to the fact that they do not have the brand power enjoyed by the likes of Apple and Samsung.
There are even reviews that include the iPhone SE in the greatest phones this year.
To rectify that, here is a list of the best underrated smartphones of 2016.
Xiaomi Mi Mix
Part of the reason why this device has received less attention from tech pundits is the fact that it is only currently getting sold in China. But just about anybody from other parts of the world can purchase it from China-based online retailers.
Now, the Mi Mix is a cutting-edge piece of technology due to its almost bezel-free display. This form factor has never been seen in the stable of any major smartphone manufacturers today. Samsung is only rumored to be introducing such feature in the upcoming Galaxy S8. There is even no assurance that it will get implemented.
The Mi Mix also sports the most powerful mobile chipset in the world today, the Snapdragon 821. As of this writing, there is a motley group of Android flagships that are outfitted by this technology.
The Mi Mix price, although quite hefty as a Xiaomi product, is still very reasonable. It is being sold for 3,499 yuan or around $510. For that price, you will also get other features found in top-of-the-line handsets such as fingerprint sensor and a premium ceramic body.
Certainly, the Mi Mix also has some flaws. The most notable involves the positioning of the selfie camera. To be fair, it is quite difficult to address this issue due to the nature of the device’s bezel-less display. There is also the fact that it ships with Android 6.0 Marshmallow and further aggravated by Xiaomi’s heavily customized MIUI theme.
Finally, the Mi Mix is also quite large, sporting a 6-inch display. This is, however, mitigated by the fact that the device itself is well-balanced, making it easy to use.
Huawei P9 Plus
Unlike the Mi Mix, the Huawei P9 Plus has already hit the U.S. market. This device is especially perfect for those users who are drawn to the iPhone 7 Plus for its dual camera technology. This Chinese-made Android phone also has dual camera modules. However, unlike the iPhone 7 Plus, which uses the secondary camera for optical zoom, Huawei P9 is using it to add a monochrome lens.
Huawei has collaborated with Leica to engineer the P9 Plus’s imaging technology. To provide more context, one should note that a normal color lens employs a Bayer filter that organizes light according red, green and blue streams before it hits the sensor. This process keeps away sufficient amount of light and this is where the monochrome sensor comes in. It provides the camera up to 100 percent more light sensitivity.
As a bonus, the P9 Plus does not look too shabby at all. In addition, you also get a long battery life. The downside is that it is up there with the big players in terms of pricing. It retails for around $730.
While one can argue that HTC enjoys bigger name recall than the two devices in this list, the fact remains that it is largely relegated in the shadows of its more prominent Android rivals like the Google Pixel and even the LG V20.
It has an impressive screen, registering 565 PPI density. It’s also equipped with all the necessary specs you’d expect from a flagship smartphone in 2016. It’s got a fingerprint sensor, a fast Snapdragon 820 processor, fast battery charging capability and a sufficient 3000 mAh battery. This will be the best mobile phone for you if you would like to stand out in a sea of Galaxies, Pixels and iPhones today.
HTC 10 costs around $524 at Amazon.