In 2021, all major smartphone vendors brought new flagship offerings to India, from Apple to Samsung, OnePlus to Xiaomi, to please customers looking for an upgrade. The iPhone 13 series, the Samsung Galaxy S21 family, and the OnePlus 9 and OnePlus 9 Pro are just a few of the popular options. This year, a slew of new budget options hit the market to appeal to the masses. 5G connectivity was one of the most common features that emerged this year, particularly in India. High-refresh-rate displays and privacy-focused software tweaks were also chosen by smartphone manufacturers.
On this week’s episode of the Gadgets 360 podcast Orbital, host Akhil Arora talks about the best phones of 2021 in India with a panel of experts that includes Reviews Editor Jamshed Avari, Deputy Reviews Editor Roydon Cerejo, and Senior Reviewer Sheldon Pinto. Faisal Kawoosa, the Founder and Chief Analyst of market research and consulting firm techARC, has also joined the team.
In 2021, the smartphone market saw incremental updates, with companies such as Apple updating their flagships with minor changes. At the same time, some companies, such as Samsung, have improved emerging form factors such as foldables to make them more popular and useful to consumers.
We continued to see supply-chain constraints this year as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which prevented smartphone companies like Apple, Samsung, and Xiaomi from making significant changes to their lineups. As a result, there were downgrades on some fronts, and customers, particularly in the budget segment, had to make compromises.
As a result of the supply shortage, major companies have shown little interest in upgrading their low-cost smartphone models, particularly those priced between Rs. 10,000 and Rs. 20,000. As a result, many customers are still considering the Redmi Note 10 Pro and Redmi Note 10 Pro Max from last year.
To persuade customers amid supply-side issues, some brands, such as Redmi, Poco, and Realme, brought 5G phones to the budget segment. However, most of these models sacrifice some features or hardware components to support the next-generation cellular network. It’s also worth noting that telcos have yet to deploy 5G in India, and the Indian government has yet to announce a date for when 5G spectrum will be auctioned.
Google and Microsoft, for example, brought models like the Pixel 6 Pro and Surface Duo 2 to compete with the iPhones and Galaxies of the world. However, these new products did not make it to the Indian market.
According to Kawoosa, who cites internal research, people will spend up to 25% more in 2021 to upgrade their phones than they did previously. Better specifications and experiences are also driving consumers to purchase new phones these days, according to him.
The iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini are among the best phones of 2021, based on the value they provide for the prices we pay. If money isn’t an issue, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra is also a viable option. Samsung’s foldables, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Galaxy Z Flip 3, are also among this year’s standout options.
We also discuss what to expect in the coming year and which technologies are likely to become mainstream in the near future.
All of this and more can be heard by pressing the play button on the Spotify player embedded above.
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