Google's Android One program is picking up the pace with every passing quarter. If Xiaomi relaunched the program in September 2017 with the Mi A1, then it was HMD Global which took Android One to a whole new level by making all of its devices part of the program. For the unaware, Nokia launches all of its smartphones under Android One in India, while Xiaomi launches yearly one smartphone (at least it did the same in the last two years). Just yesterday, we got a new brand joining the list, which is Infinix. The Infinix Note 5 has been launched in India at a price of Rs 9,999, which makes it one of the best smartphones in the sub-Rs 10,000 price point.
Android One program ensures that the device comes with minimal bloat (in fact zero bloatware) and the promise of regular software updates from the manufacturer. Almost all the brands are using same stock interface, but they're using their own camera application to take full advantage of the cameras. For example, Xiaomi uses MIUI camera app on the Mi A2 while HMD Global uses the Nokia Camera app on all of its smartphones.
So if you're looking for a stock Android device with the promise of regular software updates, you've to go with any of the devices mentioned below depending on your budget.
1) Xiaomi Mi A2
The best Android One device available in the market right now. The Xiaomi Mi A2 was launched earlier this month in India at a price of Rs 16,999 for the 4GB+64GB storage option. The Mi A2 is possibly the best camera smartphone under Rs 20,000, thanks to its hardware setup. The phone sports a 5.99-inch Full HD+ display with 18:9 aspect ratio, runs Android 8.1 Oreo out of the box, comes powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 SoC. But the phone lacks a 3.5mm headphone jack, meaning you've to live a dongle life.
Xiaomi is currently selling the Mi A2 via flash sales every Thursday on Amazon India.
2) Nokia 7 Plus
Before the arrival of Xiaomi Mi A2, the Nokia 7 Plus used to be the king of Android One segment in India. HMD Global stated that the Nokia 7 Plus is the company's best device yet, and indeed, it's. The 7 Plus has a 6-inch Full HD+ 18:9 display on the front, and it's also powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 chipset. It has dual rear cameras and boots clean version of Android 8.1 Oreo. In fact, HMD also promised that the stable version of Android 9 Pie for Nokia 7 Plus would be released in the first half of September. Already, the 7 Plus has the Android Pie Developer Preview 4.
3) Nokia 6.1 Plus
This is my favourite Nokia smartphones released by HMD Global until now. Earlier, it was the Nokia 7 Plus, but since the time I started using the Nokia 6.1 Plus, it became my instant favourite. The Nokia 6.1 Plus has been launched in India as Flipkart exclusive at Rs 16,999. For the asking price, you get an Android One device running well-optimised Android 8.1 Oreo, a premium device with glass back, compact 5.84-inch display smartphone, Snapdragon 636 SoC which delivers reliable performance and a decent daylight camera smartphone too.
The Nokia 6.1 Plus should be your de-facto option if you want a premium and compact device under Rs 20,000. The Nokia 6.1 Plus will be up for sale in India later this month.
4) Infinix Note 5
This is an interesting smartphone, to say the least. The Infinix Note 5 is the cheapest Android One smartphone in India at a starting price of Rs 9,999 for the 3GB+32GB variant. The Note 5 flaunts a 6-inch display on the front, has MediaTek Helio P23 SoC under the hood, single 12MP shooter and 16MP front-facing camera.
More importantly, it runs a clean version of Android 8.1 Oreo and is backed by a 4500mAh battery. The Infinix Note 5 will be available for purchase via Flipkart starting from August 31.