Let’s take a look at “Best Smartphone For November 2016”. The ones that give the most bang for you buck. Last year, there was a big hiatus in flagship smartphones, thanks to the controversy surrounding Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 810 chipset. Particularly, it’s about the efficiency of that chipset – or lack thereof. It was a dark year for smartphones

Skip a year ahead, and here we have a brand new generation of chips in the market. So what’s the best smartphone for November 2016? Of course, I’ll be focusing on the lesser-known smartphones here. That means no Samsung Galaxy S7/edge or iPhone 6/7/Plus for that matter. I’m going to cover smartphones of a few price points which I think will be the most appealing for now.

The best smartphone for November 2016 for me is not the most expensive smartphone money can buy – because we know that the iPhone 7 is expensive but it offers some really unappealing selling points to the us all.

Today, I’ll be pointing some of the critically acclaimed smartphones as of now while pointing out its pros and cons. Then, I’ll recommend you what I think is the best for the best smartphone for November 2016.

Honor 8

Honor 8

The absolute best smartphone for a 5.2-incher. For some reason, smartphone sizes have evolved from 3.5-inches to 5.5-inches as a standard. There are many people who still wants a smaller smartphone with flagship specifications – case and point the Xperia lineup of smaller-than-5.5-inches smartphones in the previous years.

The Honor 8 is definitely best smartphone for November 2016 in the 5.2-inch flagship category. I think Honor got it right with the Honor 7 last year, but accentuates its specialty even further this year with the Honor 8 (review here). There are a few things that I have to list down on why I really like the Honor 8:

Pros

  • Fingerprint reader is really fast and has a near-perfect success rate even after 1 month of using it. Also has self-learning capabilities.
  • Fingerprint sensor is also a pressable button, also known as the Smart Key.
  • Runs on HiSilicon’s Kirin 950 chipset (explained here) with octa-core processor. All of these are manufactured with 16nm FinFET technology (explained in detail here).
  • Has fast charging (9V 2A) to get 47% of its 3,000mAh battery in 30 minutes.
  • Dual-rear-facing camera a la the Huawei P9. Takes real good picture too – samples here!
  • Beautifully manufactured back glass. Gives a unique flair to its aesthetic, thanks to its 15-layer glass a.k.a. the Aurora glass.
  • Comes in 4 different colours – white, black, blue, and gold!
  • Actually has an IR blaster!
  • Has knuckle gesture that might be useful for some only.
  • Priced from RM 1,699

Cons

  • Different price for storage option with  different colour.
  • Camera doesn’t have OIS.
  • EmotionUI could be better.
  • Corners get scuffed easily, especially the camera area.

Click here to get an Honor 8 for yourself!

ASUS ZenFone 3

ZenFone 3

Ah, the ASUS ZenFone 3. It’s does not have the highest end hardware with underutilized performance. I’ve reviewed this piece of magnificent device not too long ago. When there’s under-utilization, there tends to be a waste of battery life too. Not to mention extra cost that we’ll have to pay for something that we don’t even use.

Anyway, the ASUS ZenFone 3 is definitely my personal favourite when it comes to the 5.5-inch devices too. Personally speaking, the ZenFone 3 wins best smartphone for November 2016 for battery-performance balance, alongside with its camera and everything else. They really did understand what customers need and catering for us all. Now what do I mean by that? Here’s my list of pros and cons about the ASUS ZenFone 3.

Pros

Cons

  • Colour availability
  • A little too slippery

Wanna get yourself an ASUS ZenFone 3? Check the links below.

Click here for the ASUS ZenFone 3 5.2-inch (ZE520KL) version.
Click here for the ASUS ZenFone 3 5.5-inch (ZE552KL) version.

OnePlus 3

oneplus 3

It’s definitely a highly-recommended smartphone of 2016. Ever since its super-surprising debut on the OnePlus One 2 years ago, there had been quite a lot of buzz and rumours surrounding what wonders the OnePlus 2 will bring. Needless to say, we were all disappointed. Unluckily for them though, they were caught up with the Snapdragon 810 issue too. Not even the OnePlus X can save them.

Skip a year later, and we have the OnePlus 3. This is a major comeback for OnePlus as a whole, and we can agree that comeback is realHere are the main highlights about the OnePlus 3.

Pros

  • 16MP camera.
  • Has OIS.
  • Equipped with the top-class Snapdragon 820 chipset, with quad-core processor; manufactured in 14nm with FinFET tecnhology.
  • Has 6GB of RAM.
  • OxygenOS is very close to vanilla Android experience.
  • Has Dash Charge (fast charging).
  • Very low price of RM 1,749.

Cons

You can get that very low price of RM 1,749 from Lazada. Click here to have a look!

Sony Xperia XZ

Sony Xperia XZ

Sony is really putting out some great smartphones this year. Over the years, the Xperia lineup of devices evolved from being a generic flagship smartphone to flagship waterproof smartphones. Sony’s build quality has always been renowned to be great too.

Pros

  • Stereo front-facing speakers
  • 23MP rear-facing camera with EIS only, uses PD-AF and laser autofocus technology
  • 13MP selfie camera
  • Has Triluminos display with X-Reality Engine for that beuatiful display quality.
  • Equipped with the top-class Snapdragon 820 chipset, with quad-core processor; manufactured in 14nm with FinFET tecnhology.
  • Has a standardized Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0.
  • Waterproof!

Cons

  • Price
  • Only 3GB RAM
  • No OIS

Prices for the Xperia XZ starts from ~RM 2,469. Click here to check out the deal!

Moto Z

Moto Z

With Project Ara ended prematurely, there’s a gap in all of us fans of modular smartphones. The first ever debut since Lenovo’s acquisition on Motorola’s smartphone division has been mesmerizing with the Moto Z. We’ve talked quite in-depth about it here, too.

Moto Z

Pros

  • Modularity with wide range of accessories.
  • Multiple different back covers if no accessories are used.
  • 2K resolution display.
  • Equipped with the top-class Snapdragon 820 chipset, with quad-core processor; manufactured in 14nm with FinFET tecnhology.
  • Has Fast Charging.
  • Moto’s promise that these accessories will last for few generations of devices to come.

Cons

  • Price of the the entire modular ecosystem, especially accessories.
  • 5MP selfie camera.

The price of the Moto Z starts from RM 2,288, and will start shipping on 24th November 2016. Click here to pre-order now. You can even get the Moto 360 at RM699.

Honor 5C

Honor 5C

I’ve reviewed this smartphone not too long ago too. It’s a tiny little smartphone smartphone with commendable specs. In a way, it’s like the Honor 8’s little brother. I highly recommend this smartphone for those don’t see a need to invest on a smartphone priced higher than RM 800.

Pros

Cons

  • EmotionUI can be further improved.
  • Camera is very basic.

Again – the price of RM698 for the Honor 5C is definitely the main highlight here. For its specs, I can ignore all of its cons.
Check out the deal right here!

ASUS ZenFone 3 Max

 

 

ASUS ZenFone 3 Max
Review coming soon!

The ASUS ZenFone Max is a very basic 5.2-inch smartphone with extremely long battery life in mind. It’s not the first time that ASUS ever cooked up a smartphone like this either. Yet this approach is extremely effective, and gives the user beyond a day’s worth of battery life in a single charge.

Pros

Cons

  • MediaTek chipset.
  • 720p display.

Before I tell you the price – I’ll have to tell you this – there’s another 5.5-inch version of the ZenFone 3 Max with laser autofocus coming soon. So if need a larger smartphone with an overkill amount of battery life, then get that instead.

Anyway, the ASUS ZenFone 3 Max 5.2-inch version is priced at ~RM649. Check out the deal right here!


Wrap up

So what’s the best smartphone out there? Highest end flagship devices irregardless of budget, I’ll go with the Sony Xperia XZ. Waterproof is a pretty big deal for me, especially for a smartphone that costs >RM2.5k. Also, it has stereo front-facing speakers! I’ve also seen some complaints regarding how loose the magnetic mechanism is on the Moto Z, so I’ll pass on this generation and have a look at the next instead.

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Personally speaking, I’m torn between the ASUS ZenFone 3 and the Honor 8. Why? They both have superior performance. However, the size and feature difference sets them pretty far apart from each other. I really like the Honor 8 for all the feature it offers, but most of it will not be used. Also, EmotionUI can really be improved further. The ASUS ZenFone 3 doesn’t have all of those potentially unused features – but instead gives more value to day-to-day features like its camera.

On the subject of sub-RM,1000 smartphones, it comes down to a single deciding factor – the battery. The ZenFone 3 Max’s battery is just insane. Get that and you’ll never have to worry about losing juice in the middle of the day.


Do you like our buyer’s guide for the best smartphone for November 2016? Share this with your friends if you find it helpful or learned a thing or two! That’ll let us know that you like it and we’ll have more of these coming down in the future.

Also, let us know what you think of our best smartphone for November 2016 guide down in the comment section below!

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The enthusiastic nanoelectronic engineer who found his way into simplifying the world of tech for everyone. Introverted, but noisy. Nice to meet you!