When you consider build quality, specs, pricing and all around performance of a smartphone, OnePlus 3T has the most to offer.
This year has been great for affordable smartphones, as it seems that affordable phones are getting better and better. We've seen a number of really affordable devices that offer nice specs, build quality and general experience, while a number of companies actually introduced affordable flagship devices. Some devices out there can be directly compared to the top of the line devices which costs over $700, and cost almost half as much, devices like the OnePlus 3T, for example. Well, as the year is coming to an end, we've decided to round-up our top 3 picks for the best value smartphone of 2016, as many people are looking to buy a really solid smartphone and not spend a whole lot of cash to do so. This was certainly now an easy job as there are quite a few devices which could fit into this category and are worth mentioning, but we had to make a choice, so, read on if you're interested.
Winner – OnePlus 3T
The OnePlus 3T is at the very top of our list. This smartphone was introduced back in November, and it starts at only $439. Now, this is not exactly chump change, but when you consider that the device features really solid build, top of the line specifications and great software on the inside, your perspective could change. As it was the case in the previous two years, OnePlus' flagship can stand next to the most expensive offerings out there, devices which cost (almost) twice as much, like the Galaxy S7 Edge, HTC 10, LG V20, and so on.
The OnePlus 3T is made out of metal, and the biggest gripe with its design seems to be the camera hump on the back which protrudes quite a bit. The phone is not exactly that innovative when it comes to the design, but if you're not looking for something flashy, this will do the trick for sure. Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow comes out of the box on the OnePlus 3T, and on top of it, you get OnePlus' OxygenOS skin, which is essentially stock Android with some added features from OnePlus, and most of those features are actually quite useful, which is yet another positive thing when it comes to the OnePlus 3T.
On top of all that, the phone ships with Dash Charge, which is OnePlus' proprietary fast charging technology, and is capable of charging up the OnePlus 3T from 0% to 60% in just 30 minutes. This phone also sports a 5.5-inch fullHD Optic AMOLED display on the front side, which is quite saturated, and the company actually allows you to choose whether you'd like to use it with a pentile or RGB matrix, you can select your preference through the developer settings. The phone packs in 6GB of RAM, and its 16-megapixel main camera is quite capable, we're looking at a camera which comes with OIS (Optical Image Stabilization) and f/2.0 aperture. Great build, top of the line specs, solid software and an affordable price point are the main reasons this phone is at the very top of our list.
Runner-Up – Moto G4
Motorola had introduced several smartphones this year, including their flagship Moto Z devices, and some more affordable offerings, like the Moto G4, for example, their budget mid-range smartphone. The Moto G4's design is quite understated, the device is made out of polycarbonate and it looks rather plain, which really doesn't have to be a bad thing, especially if you prefer clean design with not much flare to them. That being said this phone does bring a lot to the table, especially if you consider we're talking about an extremely affordable device here which can be purchased for less than $200.
The Moto G4 comes with a 5.5-inch display, 2GB of RAM and Qualcomm's Snapdragon 617 SoC fuels this smartphone. On top of all that, you also get a 3,000mAh battery here, and Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow out of the box, while Android 7.0 Nougat is on the way as well. The phone's 13-megapixel camera is actually a solid performer as well, as long as you keep in mind that this is a budget phone which costs less than $200, as we've already mentioned. All in all, you do get a lot for the price, which is why we've opted to include this smartphone on our best value Android smartphone list for this year.
Honorable Mention – Honor 8
The Honor 8 is the company's flagship for 2016. This smartphone is not exactly the most powerful device out in the market, but it does offer a really solid spec sheet. It arrives with a 5.2-inch Full HD display, 4GB of RAM and Huawei's HiSilicon Kirin 950 processor which was their flagship SoC for 2015. The Honor 8 costs $399 and it is comparable to the OnePlus 3T in that department, even though it comes with inferior specs compared to OnePlus' offering.
The Honor 8 is also a beautiful smartphone mainly thanks to the fact it is made out of glass and metal, and its back cover looks gorgeous thanks to quite a few layers of glass Honor implemented there in order to reflect light in a really interesting way. It is also worth mentioning that Honor 8 comes with Huawei P9's optics, more or less, as it comes with identical camera sensors and software, even though Leica's lenses are not included on this smartphone, compared to the Huawei P9. In any case, the Honor 8 definitely deserves to be on this list, and if you're looking for a smaller device under $400, this is a great option.