The top phones in 2016 for every budget

This has been quite a year for the smartphone. What once was a too-expensive piece of gadgetry has found a niche in the mid-range markets. We’ve seen typical big releases from top brands like Samsung and Apple this year, but there are many other brands that jumped through hoops to deliver some of the most affordable and feature-packed devices out there.

We’ve rounded up the best smartphones to consider for every budget, and there are a lot to choose from. 

As much as it looks like a bizarre rehash of the iPhone 5, the iPhone SE is actually a decent and affordable device. Apple made sure to reach out to the “I prefer using only one hand on my phone” market in a time of large and bold displays. Some people just want small phones. If you love the simplicity of iOS but wdon't want to shell out a car down payment for the Apple experience, then the iPhone SE is your total package 

Runners-up:

Moto Z Play: The “lite” edition of Motorola’s sleek modular smartphones packs a more powerful battery than its higher-tiered siblings and a more palatable price: P22,999. 

Huawei Google Nexus 6P: Google partnered with China-based Huawei this time to deliver this new iteration of its Nexus line of smartphones. Equipped with a Samsung AMOLED display, this is a unique-looking device. At P29,990, it's for those who want a Google phone but either can't wait for or afford the Google Pixel.

OnePlus 3: For P20,990, the OnePlus 3 has garnered some wow’s for its great balance of high-end look, 6GB RAM, fast charging with good battery life, and decent camera quality.

PHP 30,000 - PHP 40,000

Top Pick: LG V20 (P35,900)

V20. Photo from LG

V20.

Photo from LG

At P35,990, this big phone is literally a handful and technically a phablet, but it sure does pack a lot of features. Loaded with Android Nougat and a Snapdragon 820 chipset, this device is one of the fastest in its range. It has a dual camera feature, something Apple made a big deal out of in its iPhone 7 Plus.

But this V10 successor is more than just a good phone for photography. t's even better for audiophiles as its hardware supports lossless media playback and can toggle between standard definition and hi-fi, making it a worthy and flexible entertainment device. It doesn’t fall short on audio recording, either. 

Runners-up:

Sony Xperia XZ: If you're more into action photography though, we recommend the 37,990-peso XZ, which is packed with technologies to capture action shots with great sharpness and accuracy. Overall, a refined flagship from Sony’s Xperia series, retaining the line's signature water and dust resistant features and distinct "It's a Sony" feel. It's also great for PlayStation gamers with the PS4 remote play feature included. 

Galaxy S7 Edge: Endemic to the Galaxy family is the beautiful Super AMOLED display, which explains the hefty P39,999 price tag. The Edge display is still pretty cool, and did we mention that this phone is water-resistant? It's still one of the most eye-catching phones out there. 

Motorola Moto Z: Moto Z is upgradeable to Android Nougat, which is not something most Android phones are capable of. This super thin modular phone is an industry standout in the same way the Motorola Razr flip phone was back in its heyday. Priced at P33,999.

PHP 40,000 and above

Top Pick: Google Pixel / Pixel XL – if you can wait for it!

PIXEL. Photo from Google

PIXEL.

Photo from Google

The phone hasn’t been released in the Philippine market yet, but it is highly anticipated by tech junkies and Google fans. Who better to make hardware for the Android OS than the makers of the OS themselves? Google’s Pixel phones have generated much hype for this reason alone. The namesake is apt, given that the phone is the epitome of ‘cute.’

The camera is fast even in HDR mode (its default) and picture quality is said to top that of upper-tier players Apple and Samsung. But what’s special about Pixel is the built-in Google Assistant feature. Android-powered phones often have custom OS that try to integrate anywhere from attractive features to little nice-to-haves, resulting in bloatware and ugly interfaces. You won't have to contend with these in Google's own phone. 

Runner-up:

Apple iPhone 7 Plus: This headphone jack-less device may seem to be an unpopular choice for people averse to change, but there’s a bevy of accessories to remedy that. The iPhone, despite its sky high price tags will always be a strong contender, thanks to the casual comfort offered by the iOS and the continuing strength of that Apple logo. – Rappler.com

Anne was an IT professional for 7 years before wading into the unpredictable pool of freelance writing (and parenthood). Her interests are reflected by her favorite apps: Evernote, Simplenote, and the native iOS camera.