Most smartphone lovers (apart from Samsung Galaxy Note 7 enthusiasts) will agree with us that 2016 has been a great year.
Even though nothing revolutionary made it to the world in the first half of 2016 (although LG G5 was close to this with its semi-modular design), the second half has seen the Xiaomi Mi MIX take all the credits thanks to a new design that has never been seen before in smartphone history. Google also made changes to its traditional Nexus lineup and instead came in with the Pixel phones. Huawei has been making strides and Apple has not stayed behind either.
As far as smartphone designs are concerned, every smartphone maker seems to be getting their pieces together finally. However, there is still works to be done on the inside, especially when looking at the performance hardware. Apple has seemingly conceded defeat when it comes to the RAM wars, but the iPhone maker stepped up its game as far as storage is concerned, beating all major competitors with 256GB storage options. However, it is the 6GB RAM smartphones that are now running the show.
Interestingly, little-known Chinese makers are the only ones into this 6GB RAM craze. To make sure this is not the only selling point, the OEMs have been coming in with some amazing smartphones carrying all the flagship specs you find in the likes of Samsung Galaxy S7, LG V20, Sony Xperia XZ and flagships from other known smartphone makers.
Huawei Mate 9 Pro
Top of the list if the recently announced Huawei Mate 9 Pro. Well, it sounds harsh to classify a company that sits third in terms of global smartphone sales, only behind Samsung and Apple, as a little-known smartphone OEM. But given its scarce popularity in the U.S., which is the leading smartphone market in the world, it is easy to say that Huawei is still a growing brand.
If you haven’t heard of the Huawei Mate 9 Pro, well, this is a beast of a phone. The Mate 9 Pro packs a solid 5.5-inch QHD AMOLED panel and weighs just 169g. Under the hood, you get a HiSilicon Kirin 960 SoC, an octa-core processor clocked at 2.4GHz and is paired with a Mali-G71 MP8 GPU as well as 6GB RAM. You get expandable storage of 128GB – but there is a smaller variant of 64GB which also carries a smaller 4GB RAM.
The back of the Huawei Mate 9 Pro is a dual lens camera setup with 20MP and 12MP lenses that are powered by Leica optics. You get OIS, f/2.2 aperture, PDAF and dual-tone LED flash. The front part has an 8MP sensor with f/1.9 aperture. Other sensors such as fingerprint, proximity, accelerometer, and compass, among others are also available. The Huawei Mate 9 Pro comes preinstalled with Android 7.0 Nougat and is powered by a 4000mAh battery.
Xiaomi Mi MIX
Fast on the heels of Huawei Mate 9 Pro is the Xiaomi Mi MIX – a huge 6.4-inch phablet that also boasts a great design, specs and features as well. The phablet has a resolution of 2040 x 1080 pixels on its IPS LCD panel and packs the latest Snapdragon 821 SoC alongside a 6GB RAM and 256GB of onboard storage. The major highlight of the phone is the fact that it has a 91.3% screen-to-body ratio with no bezels on three sides. The bottom bezels houses a selfie sensor of 5MP while the back has a 16MP snapper.
The Xiaomi Mi MIX comes preinstalled with Android Marshmallow, but it should receive a Nougat treat this coming year. Things like fingerprint sensor, LTE, USB-C and so on are available. You also get support for fast charging on the huge 4400mAh battery on board.
Just recently, OnePlus 3T was launched – something that led to the OnePlus 3 being discontinued in the U.S. and Europe. The phone has every design aspect you find on the discontinued handset, but the changes are on the inside. There is a newer Snapdragon 821 SoC on board alongside the usual 6GB RAM. You get a new storage option of 128GB with the same RAM as the 64GB variant, but the OnePlus 3T carries a new 16MP selfie sensor alongside a 16MP primary camera. The battery unit stands at 3400mAh with support for fast charging, but you will have to deal with Android Marshmallow, at least for a few weeks from now.
Other features of OnePlus 3T include a 5.5-inch Optic AMOLED screen with Full HD resolution, a fingerprint scanner, LTE connectivity and more.
Vivo Xplay 6
Another 6GB RAM smartphone from China is the latest Vivo Xplay 6. Announced in November 2016, the phone has yet to be released. In addition to the massive RAM, you also get a phone that has the latest Snapdragon 820 SoC and is powered by Android Marshmallow out of the box. The screen size stands at 5.46 inches – an AMOLED panel with QHD resolution. Unlike most models here, the Vivo Xplay 6 comes with support for both GSM and CDMA networks, meaning those on Verizon Wireless and Sprint are welcome aboard.
The 6GB RAM is paired with a storage of 128GB and it gets even better with the cameras. Like the Huawei Mate 9 Pro, you get an Xplay 6 flagship with a dual-lens camera setup of 12MP and 5MP lenses. There is OIS, PDAF, f/1.7 aperture and dual-tone LED flash. The phone competes on the same level as the OnePlus 3T when it comes to selfies. You get a 16MP snapper with f/2.0 aperture alongside a 4080mAh battery to keep the phone alive. Other features such as fingerprint sensor, LTE connectivity, and more are also on board.