2016 has been another great year for the smartphones! We have seen thousands of new phones launching in 2016, while some of the smartphones were unable to make their mark in the industry, others achieved a milestone through their sales record or their innovative features.
Like you might have encountered some unforgettable moments in the last year, there were some phones which will be never forgotten. While the flagship phones are always popular, there are many phones from 2016 which were offered in the budget segment and they had overtaken flagship phones in terms of their popularity.
So to give you a glimpse of some of the most popular phones in 2016 here’s the list of 21 Most Popular Phones of 2016:
1. Samsung Galaxy Note 7:
The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 was supposed to be the best flagship smartphone of 2016 but, it turned out to be the most controversial smartphone. Due to the battery explosion controversy, Samsung had to make a global recall of millions of Note 7 units from all over the world and stop the production as well. This failure of Note 7 caused Samsung a heartbreaking loss of over $ 17 billion and dented the image of the company as well.
In initial stages, Samsung tried to tackle the situation by announcing updates and exchange programs, but to no avail as the replacements of the Note 7 were also catching fire. Seeing the gravity of the explosions, the FCC and airlines banned the Note 7 from all flights, including in hand-carry and checked luggage. It was also trolled heavily on social media.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 has a 5.7-inch Quad HD Super AMOLED curved dual edge display and a 14nm Octa-core Exynos 8890 processor, clubbed with 4 GB LPDDR4 RAM. It bears a 64 GB (UFS 2.0) internal memory, expandable up to 256 GB via a microSD card and runs on Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow. The Galaxy Note 7 features a new S pen with 0.7mm tip. Its Smart Select lets you easily create and share GIF animations and new Air Command functions for magnifying and translate. It has iris scanner along with the fingerprint sensor for additional security. It is IP68 dust and water-resistant. The Note 7 sports a ‘Dual Pixel’ 12 MP rear camera, a 5 MP front-facing camera and a 3500 mAh battery with fast charging support on wired as well as wireless. The smartphone is discontinued now and though, it could not deliver anything it is still one of the most popular smartphone of 2016.
2. Apple iPhone 7/ iPhone 7 Plus:
Apple’s iPhone are always among the most popular list of smartphones with some upgrades and innovations each year. Apple ditched the 3.5 mm headphone jack with these smartphones. Apple iPhone 7 features a 4.7-inch (1334 x 750 pixels) display, while the iPhone 7 Plus flaunts 5.5-inch Full HD display, both phones have 3D Touch display technology. Both the smartphones run on company’s own A10 Fusion 64-bit Quad-core processor, coupled with six-core GPU and M10 motion co-processor.
On the camera front, the iPhone 7 sports a 12 MP rear camera, while the iPhone 7 Plus bears a 12 MP dual rear cameras. Both feature 7 MP front camera and are IP67 certified water and dust resistant. Both houses a fingerprint sensor which is now press sensitive with the new generation Taptic Engine. The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus comes in 32/128/256 GB storage variants and the prices starts from Rs. 60,000, and they are surely one of the best smartphones in the world right now.
3. Freedom 251:
While the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 was the most controversial phone in the world, India produced it own. The Ringing Bells Freedom 251 was the most controversial smartphone of 2016 in the country and a biggest tech disappointment as well for people who ordered the phone. The biggest highlight of the phone is, it was offered for sale in India at a promotional price of just Rs. 251, making it as the cheapest smartphone in the world. However, the pricing of the smartphone attracted many controversies. An FIR was also filed against Ringing Bells Director Mohit Goel and the company president Ashok Chaddha stating that the phone is bogus and the promotion is a Ponzi scam.
The Freedom 251 comes with a 4-inch touchscreen display with a resolution of 540×960 pixels. It is powered by 1.3 GHz Quad-core processor, coupled with 1 GB of RAM. The phone packs 8 GB of internal storage that can be expanded up to 32 GB via a microSD card. As far as the cameras are concerned, the Ringing Bells Freedom 251 packs a 3.2-megapixel rear camera and a 0.3-megapixel front shooter for selfies. It runs on Android 5.1 Lollipop and is powered by a 1450 mAh removable battery.
However, hardly anyone has got the phone till now and still there is no word about its availability and it’s unclear at what price it will be sold now, if it gets back into the market.
4. Redmi Note 3:
Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 is still one of the most popular and powerful budget smartphone in India. It has a full metal unibody design and it was the first product from Xiaomi to feature a fingerprint sensor in India. It flaunts a 5.5 inch Full HD IPS LCD display. Under the hood, it has Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 650 processor. It comes in two variants, 2 GB RAM with 16 GB storage space and 3 GB RAM variant with 32 GB storage space.
The Note 3 sports a 16 MP rear camera and a 5 MP selfie camera. It is backed by a big 4050 mAh battery with quick charging support. The fingerprint sensor can also unlock the phone with your lips. So, just kiss the Redmi Note 3 to unlock it. It also packs an infrared blaster. It comes in Silver, Gold and Dark Grey colour variants and price starts from Rs. 9,999.
5. OnePlus 3:
OnePlus 3 was one of the most powerful mid-range flagship smartphone of 2016. The smartphone features a 5.5 inch Full HD Optic AMOLED 2.5D curved display. It is powered by Snapdragon 820 SoC, clubbed with 6 GB RAM and 64 GB internal storage.
OnePlus 3 packs a 16 MP rear camera, an 8 MP front camera and a fingerprint sensor. It is backed by a 3000 mAh battery with a new Dash Charge technology that can charge the phone up to 60% in just 30 minutes with the 5V-4A charger. It comes at a price of Rs. 27,999.
6. Samsung Galaxy S7/ S7 Edge:
Samsung’s Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge are one of the best flagship phones in the world. The Samsung Galaxy S7 features a 5.1-inch Quad HD Super AMOLED display, whereas, the Galaxy S7 Edge flaunts a 5.5-inch Quad HD Super AMOLED display and dual edge screen. Both are powered by the company’s own Exynos 8890 Octa-core SoC in India, coupled with 4 GB of LPDDR4 RAM and run on TouchWiz UI based upon Android 6.0 Marshmallow. They also feature an ‘Always On’ display and a fingerprint sensor integrated into the physical home-button.
Both the flagship smartphones boast a 12 MP ‘Dual Pixel’ rear camera and a 5 MP selfie camera. Both the phones come with 32 GB of internal storage, expandable up to 200 GB via a microSD card. Both are IP68 certified dust and water-resistant and support MST for Samsung Pay. The Galaxy S7 is packed with a 3000 mAh battery, while S7 Edge is backed by a larger 3600 mAh battery, both supporting the fast charging and wireless charging features. The Galaxy S7 costs around Rs. 43,400, while the S7 Edge costs around Rs. 50,900.
7. Moto G4 Plus:
Motorola’s Moto G series smartphones are always very popular and trusted and the 2016’s Moto G4 Plus is one of the most reliable and trusted budget smartphone. The Moto G4 Plus flaunts a 5.5-inch Full HD display. It is powered by an Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 processor. It comes in two variants, one with 2 GB RAM and 16 GB internal storage and another with 3 GB RAM and 32 GB internal storage. The fingerprint sensor is integrated into the physical home button.
The Moto G4 Plus feature a 16 MP rear camera and a 5 MP selfie camera. It runs on Android 6.0 Marshmallow out-of-the-box. It is backed by a 3000 mAh battery with Turbo power charger that can give 6 hours of usage with 15 minutes of charging. It starts from Rs. 13,499.
8. Google Pixel/ Pixel XL:
Google finally entered into the smartphones market with its own Pixel branding giving a tough competition to Apple’s iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. Both the Google Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones are built using an aerospace-grade aluminum unibody design with polished glass combination and are the first smartphones to come with built-in Google Assistant.
The Google Pixel and Pixel XL share almost similar specs except screen size and battery. The Google Pixel has 5-inch Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) AMOLED display, while the Google Pixel XL has a 5.5-inch Quad HD (1440 x 2560 pixels) AMOLED display, both with Corning Gorilla Glass 4 protection. Both come with unlimited online storage for photos and videos in Google Photos and support quick charging offering 7 hours of battery life in just 15 minutes. The Google Pixel starts from Rs. 57,000 and Pixel XL starts from Rs. 67,000 and are one of the best smartphones in the world with purest Android experience.
9. Xiaomi Mi 5:
The Mi 5 is a flagship smartphone from Xiaomi. It was the first phone running Snapdragon 820 in India. It has a thin metal frame and glass body. The Xiaomi Mi 5 features a 5.15 inch Full HD display, curved 3D Ceramic glass. Under the hood, it has 1.8 GHz Snapdragon 820 64 bit quad-core processor, coupled with 3 GB RAM.
It sports a 16 MP rear camera and a 4 megapixel front-facing camera. It features a fingerprint sensor integrated into home button, and an infrared sensor. It offers 32 GB internal storage and runs on Android 6.0 Marshmallow with the company’s own MIUI 7 on top. It comes in black and white colour variants in India and is priced at around Rs. 22,999.
10. Lenovo Vibe K5 Note:
The Lenovo Vibe K5 Note is one of the elegant mid-range smartphone with good multimedia experience. It is a full metal unibody smartphone with 5.5-inch Full HD display. Under the hood, it has 1.8 GHz Octa-core MediaTek MT6755 Helio P10 processor, coupled with 3 GB and 4 GB RAM variants.
The Vibe K5 Note boasts a 13 MP rear camera and an 8 MP front-facing camera. It bears 32 GB of internal storage and runs on Android 6.0 Marshmallow. The fingerprint sensor is mounted at the rear panel and it is backed by a 3500 mAh battery. It also comes with the Secure Zone feature that allows you to secure all your information and lets users install 2 instances of apps like WhatsApp in one device. It starts from Rs. 11,999.
11. LeEco Le 2:
The LeEco Le 2 features a 5.5-inch Full HD IPS in-cell display. It is powered by an Octa-core Snapdragon 652 processor, coupled with Adreno 510 GPU and 3 GB LPDDR3 RAM. It comes with 32 GB (eMMC5.1) internal storage and is backed by a 3000 mAh battery with fast charging.
The Le 2 houses a 16-megapixel rear camera with dual-tone LED flash, f/2.0 aperture, PDAF and an 8-megapixel front-facing camera. It includes a fingerprint sensor, infrared sensor and Dolby Atmos system. It runs on Android 6.0 Marshmallow based EUI 5.5 on top and is the first phone in the world to come with Continual Digital Lossless Audio (CDLA) audio standard through USB Type-C port. It comes at a price of around Rs. 11,999.
12. LG G5:
The LG G5 is a full metal body first true modular flagship smartphone and packs some interesting features along with 5.3 inch Quad HD ‘Always-on’ display. It has a removable battery slot which acts as a modular slot (for hardware expansion). The LG Cam Plus and LG Hi-Fi Plus with B&O play are compatible with this modular slot. The phone also supports the LG 360 VR.
The LG G5 is powered by 64-bit Snapdragon 820 Quad-core processor, coupled with Adreno 530 GPU and 4 GB of RAM. It comes with 32 GB of internal storage, expandable up to 2 TB via a microSD card and runs on LG Optimus UX 5.0 UI based on Android 6.0 Marshmallow. It sports 16 MP and 8 MP dual rear cameras setup on the rear and an another 8 MP front-facing camera. It is backed by a 2800 mAh removable battery with Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 support. It also features a fingerprint sensor and Infrared Blaster. It now comes at a price of around Rs. 38,990.
13. Vivo V5
The Vivo V5 is a selfie-focused smartphone that comes with 20 MP Moonlight Selfie camera. It comes with a metal body design and a 5.5-inch HD IPS 2.5D display. It is powered by a 1.8 GHz MediaTek MT6750 octa-core processor, clubbed with 4 GB of RAM. It comes with 32 GB of inbuilt storage which is expandable up to 128 GB via a microSD card.
The 20 MP front-facing camera is equipped with Sony IMX376 sensor, f/2.0 aperture, 5P lens and Moonlight LED flash. While on the rear, it packs a 13 MP camera with LED flash and PDAF. It runs on Android 6.0 Marshmallow with Funtouch OS 2.6 and is backed by a 3000 mAh battery. The fingerprint sensor is embedded under the home button. It comes in Crown Gold and Space Grey colour options. It is priced around Rs. 17,980.
14. Coolpad Note 3 Lite:
The Coolpad Note 3 Lite was the cheapest smartphone with fingerprint scanner in India when it was launched. It features a 5-inch HD display. It is powered by 1.3 GHz Quad-core MediaTek MT6735 processor, coupled with 3 GB of RAM. It comes with 16 GB of internal storage that can be expanded up to 32 GB via a microSD card.
The Coolpad Note 3 Lite packs a 13-megapixel rear camera and a 5-megapixel front shooter for selfies. It runs on Android 5.1 Lollipop and is powered by a 2500 mAh battery. The fingerprint sensor is mounted on the rear panel. It is a dual-sim 4G smartphone with connectivity options like Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth, USB OTG, FM. It comes in champagne white and black colour variants and is priced at Rs. 6,999.
15. Redmi 3S/ 3S Prime:
The budget smartphones Xiaomi Redmi 3S and Redmi 3S Prime were launched at Rs. 6,999 and Rs. 8,999 respectively and are massively popular and the best choice for low-budget buyers. Both the phones crossed 1 million sales in less than four months on Flipkart, achieving a new milestone. The Redmi 3S and Redmi 3S Prime are almost similar, except the former has 2 GB RAM and 16 GB internal storage while the latter has 3 GB RAM and 32 GB of internal memory along with the fingerprint sensor.
Both the smartphones feature a 5-inch HD IPS display and are powered by 1.5 GHz Octa-core Snapdragon 430 processor, coupled with Adreno 505 GPU. It runs on Android 6.0 Marshmallow based MIUI 7 on top. Both the Redmi 3S and Redmi 3S Prime sport a 13 MP rear camera, a 5 MP front-facing camera, and are packed with a 4000 mAh battery. Connectivity options include 4G VoLTE, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.1, GPS + GLONASS.
16. Moto Z/ Moto Z Play:
Motorola Moto Z and Moto Z Play are popular/affordable and one of the finest modular phones which come with Moto Mods accessories like JBL SoundBoost speaker, the Moto Insta-Share Projector, Hasselblad True Zoom Camera, Incipio offGrid Power Pack and style shells with finishes like real wood, leather, and fabric.
The Moto Z measures only 5.2 mm in thickness and is ultra-light. It flaunts a 5.5-inch Quad HD AMOLED display and has a 2.2 GHz Quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 SoC, 4 GB RAM, 64 GB storage, expandable up to 2 TB via a microSD card. It sports a 13 MP rear camera. It doesn’t feature a 3.5 mm headphone jack and is backed by a 2600 mAh battery with TurboPower charging.
The Moto Z Play flaunts a 5.5-inch Full HD Super AMOLED display, it has a 2 GHz Octa-core Snapdragon 625 SoC, 3 GB RAM, 32 GB internal storage, expandable up to 2 TB via a microSD card, a 16 MP rear camera, a 3510 mAh battery with Turbo charging that offers 8 hours of battery life in just 15 minutes. Both the phones run on Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow and have a 5 MP front-facing camera with LED flash and include a fingerprint sensor. The Moto Z Play comes at a price of Rs. 24,999 and the Moto Z at Rs. 39,999.
17. Samsung Galaxy J5 Prime/ J7 Prime:
The Galaxy J5 Prime and Galaxy J7 Prime are first mid-range smartphones from Samsung sporting a full metal unibody design. Both come with a front-mounted fingerprint scanner, run on Android 6.0 Marshmallow-based TouchWiz UI and come with S Power planning and S Secure features.
The Galaxy J5 Prime sports a 5-inch HD display, 1.4 GHz quad-core Exynos CPU, 2 GB RAM, 13 MP rear camera, a 5 MP front-facing camera with LED flash, 16 GB of inbuilt storage, expandable up to 256 GB via microSD card. It runs on Android 6.0 Marshmallow and is backed by a 2400 mAh battery. It also houses the fingerprint scanner.
The Galaxy J7 Prime is an upgraded version of the Galaxy J7 (2016). It sports a 5.5-inch Full HD IPS LCD 2.5D display, a 1.6 GHz Octa-core Exynos 7870 processor, 3 GB RAM, 13 MP rear camera, an 8 MP selfie camera with LED flash, a 3300 mAh battery. It comes with 32 GB of internal memory, expandable up to 256 GB via a microSD card. Both the phones come in Black and Gold colors and are priced Rs. 14,790 and Rs. 18,790 respectively.
18. HTC 10:
HTC launched its full-metal unibody designed flagship smartphone – HTC 10 in May 2016. It flaunts a 5.2-inch Quad HD Super LCD 5 2.5D curved glass display. It is powered by a 64-bit Quad-core Snapdragon 820 processor, coupled with Adreno 530 GPU and 4 GB RAM. It comes with 32 GB internal storage, expandable up to 2 TB via a microSD card and runs on Android 6.0 Marshmallow based HTC Sense 8.0 UI on top.
The HTC 10 boasts a 12 MP (HTC Ultrapixel 2) rear camera and a 5 MP autofocus front-facing camera, and both come with OIS. It is backed by a 3000 mAh battery with Quick Charge 3.0 support and also have a fingerprint Sensor, HTC BoomSound, Dolby Audio, and three noise cancellation microphones. It comes in Carbon Grey and Topaz Gold colour variants and is priced around Rs. 45,000. It is a very good phone but we didn’t got anything to highlight about the phone, which also explains its status in the market – lost!
19. Oppo F1s:
The Oppo F1s is another popular mid-range selfie-focused smartphone with a 16-megapixel selfie camera. It flaunts a 5.5-inch HD IPS display with Corning Gorilla Glass 4 protection. It is powered by Octa-core MediaTek MT6750 processor, clubbed with Mali T860MP2 GPU. It comes in two variants – 3 GB RAM with 32 GB storage and 4 GB RAM with 64 GB storage, expandable up to 128 GB via a microSD card. It runs on Android 5.1 Lollipop based ColorOS 3.0 on top.
The F1s sports a 13-megapixel rear camera and a 16-megapixel front-facing camera. It is packed with a 3075 mAh battery and also bears a fingerprint sensor integrated into the physical home button. Connectivity options on the smartphone includes 4G LTE with VoLTE, WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n (dual-band), Bluetooth 4.0, GPS. It measures 154.5 x 76 x 7.38mm weighs 160 g. It comes in Gold and Grey colour variants.
20. Apple iPhone SE:
The Apple iPhone SE is the Special Edition 4-inch iPhone which got popular due to its extensive pricing. It sports a 4 inch display with screen resolution of 640 X 1136 pixels at density of 326 ppi. It is powered by the Apple A9 64-bit SoC and M9 motion coprocessor, clubbed with PowerVR GT7600 (six-cores) GPU and 2 GB RAM. It runs on iOS 9.3 (upgradable to iOS 10.2).
The iPhone SE sports a 12 megapixel iSight camera on the rear and a 1.2 megapixel camera at the front. It comes in two storage variants -16 GB and 64 GB. It is backed by a 1642 mAh battery. It supports “Always On” Siri functionality, Live Photos, Touch ID fingerprint sensor and an NFC chip for Apple Pay. The iPhone SE comes in Silver, Gold, Space Grey and Rose Gold colour variants. It was earlier launched at Rs. 39,000 but, now starts from around Rs. 29,000.
21. Asus Zenfone 3:
Asus launched its Zenfone 3 Series in India in August this year. The Zenfone 3, Zenfone 3 Deluxe and Zenfone 3 Ultra and Zenfone 3 Laser are the 4 models under the Zenfone 3 series. The Zenfone 3 and Zenfone 3 Laser are mid-range models, while the Zenfone 3 Deluxe and Zenfone 3 Ultra are high-end models. All the phones come with a fingerprint sensor, USB Type-C port and run on Android 6.0 Marshmallow with Zen UI 2.0 on top.
The Asus Zenfone 3 Deluxe is the world’s first full-metal smartphone with the invisible antenna. It flaunts a 5.7 inch Full HD Super AMOLED display, quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 SoC, 6 GB RAM, a 3000 mAh battery with Quick Charge 3.0 support. The Zenfone 3 Ultra sports a 6.8-inch Full HD display, Octa-core Snapdragon 652 processor, 4 GB RAM, 64 GB, internal storage, 4600 mAh battery with Quick Charge 3.0 support. Both the smartphones house a 23 MP rear camera and an 8 MP front-facing camera.
We know there are still many popular phones like the Moto E3 Power, Lenovo Vibe K5 Plus, Honor 8, Zuk Z1, Lenovo Vibe P1m, Yu Yunicorn (and the list goes on……) which are not in this list but, as we had to choose only the Top 21 we had to take some hard decisions. If you believe any of these phones or some other phone should be in the list of 21 Most Popular smartphones of 2016, let us know via the comments section below.