Welcome to TechRadar India Awards 2020 — our annual celebration of the best of tech that the year had to offer!
As your source for all tech buying advice, we believe it is only fitting to end the year by talking about the products that truly stood out. After going through hundreds of devices for our detailed reviews and buying guides, while adapting to the new normal, we decided to expand to many more categories this time to include segments that have become a lot more important in our lives now.
Apart from giving due recognition to the makers of these products, we also hosted a massive giveaway! Head to the bottom of this article to know if you've won. If you did, your prize will be reaching you any day now...
Prefer to watch instead of reading? Check out our awards show in the video below!
While we get to witness the Indian market mature from the front seat, it’s also important for us to keep testing methodologies updated so that it represents the preferences of the users. This meant revisiting the best-rated launches, comparing them to the other stand-outs from the segment and evaluating things that truly matter. To keep the awards as inclusive as possible, all brands were invited to participate and share their products. Mind you! There was no entry fee nor did any of the participants indulge in monetary exchange with us for any favours. TechRadar works for consumers, not brands.
Furthermore, we invited the most prominent names in the Indian tech space for detailed discussions around each award to get additional perspectives and include more opinions to be extra sure. While doing so, we also made it a point to include only the products that are easily available as of press time, so as to negate any special access we may have.
We pride ourselves with our thorough testing and opinions on products, and we swear by them. Having said that, we’re also aware that it’s not humanly possible to be an expert at everything. To help us spread our expertise and ensure that we’re on the right track, we’re also bringing the finest minds in the Indian tech media space on-board for the TechRadar India Awards 2020. Meet your jury:
- Ritesh Bendre, Counterpoint Research
- Dhananjay Bhosale, YouTuber
- Ershad Kaleebullah, MySmartPrice
- Tushar Mehta, XDA
- Sumukh Rao, TechPP
- Jhinuk Sen, Hindustan Times
- Mukul Sharma, Stufflistings
- Sandeep Sarma, RevAtlas
- Khumail Thakur, Stuff India
Best Budget Phone: Realme 7 Pro
We’ve often said how great a market India is for budget smartphones. While the year started a little rough due to GST revisions and a few other factors, by the end, everyone was back on track and the segment continued to surprise us. Quad-cameras, fast charging, high refresh rate displays, premium materials all trickled down. We also saw many more players get serious about their presence in this space such as Samsung, Micromax and Motorola. Our finalists will hardly surprise you if you followed this space. The top 3 include the Poco X3, the Realme 7 Pro and the Samsung Galaxy M31s.
Dhananjay Bhosale: This was a really close one but, the best budget smartphone under the price of Rs 20,000 is going to be the Realme 7 Pro. With its great AMOLED panel watching content on the device is an amazing experience. 65W fast charging is crazy at this price point. Not just that, it has a reliable camera setup which clicks good pictures, reliable battery life as well and the design which is not that bulky and that's what Realme 7 Pro was our choice. But, the Poco X3 was not far behind if you are looking for a higher refresh rate display and higher capacity battery, then that can be the device for you.
Best Phone under Rs 30,000: OnePlus Nord
Let’s go up the price ladder to the best phone under Rs 30,000. This segment had a bit of a slow start, but in the second half of 2020 we saw incredible options from companies that we wouldn’t usually expect to see here. OnePlus made an exciting comeback to this segment with the Nord, while Realme added a new series of flagships. Samsung’s M series also matured to get included on the list, while Google surprised everyone with the pricing of the Pixel 4a. Our top picks are thus the OnePlus Nord, the Samsung Galaxy M51 and the Google Pixel 4a.
Sumukh Rao: The reason we picked the OnePlus Nord is because in a lot of ways the Nord democratizes solid hardware and software and makes it available at an affordable price point. We all know that the OnePlus phones have been climbing the price ladder of late and the Nord is a nice refreshing addition to the OnePlus portfolio and makes their hardware and software combo available to a lot more people. The OnePlus Nord ofcourse gets the Snapdragon 765 5G chipset and along with that the Oxygen OS which is a fan favourite makes the experience all the more better and of course you also get the 90Hz AMOLED display which is just the cherry on top.
Best Affordable Flagship: Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro
Flagships usually have the most attention around launches, but with the premium segment accounting for only about 5% of the Indian smartphone market, affordable flagships end up being the natural alternative. Tho We did have to revise our price band to account for the challenges that 2020 brought on the industry, leading to a higher upper price limit. Regardless, these phones offer incredible value for money without major compromises. The finalists include the OnePlus 8T, the Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro and the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE.
Tushar Mehta: Our pick for the best affordable flagship of 2020 is the Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro. This is because of four reasons: First, the 108MP camera; second, the Snapdragon 865 processor; third, the fluid 144Hz display; and fourth, the long-lasting 5000mAh battery. No other phone under the Rs 40,000 price bracket offers all of these features. So, congratulations to Xiaomi and the Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro for winning this one.
Most Popular Phone: OnePlus Nord
While most of the categories in the TechRadar India Awards were decided by the jury that have been invited from across the industry, we felt that the Most Popular Phone category should be decided by our audience themselves. Hence we opened it up for a poll where the Realme 7 Pro, OnePlus Nord, and the Poco X3 turned out to be the final contenders. Just to clarify all three of the contenders put up quite the fight in terms of popularity and one of them finally took the honours.
Mukul Sharma: The award here goes to none other than the OnePlus Nord. Good specifications, value for money, absolutely amazing marketing across all the leading social media platforms, and an AR launch nonetheless, the OnePlus Nord had it all. Kudos to OnePlus for pulling this off.
Coolest Innovation: Asus ROG ScreenPad Plus
The best part of our job is that we get to experience a lot of technological advancements as they get ready for prime time. Sure, some might not make it to market, but as engineering marvels they have us excited. So let’s take a step away from the market and into the future, and talk about products that tried to do something very different and kind of succeeded. Extremely fast charging, swivelling phones, foldables, intricate cameras, multi-screen laptops and more! Some of our favourites were the AirOwater Dewpoint water generator, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2, the LG Wing, Asus’s new ScreenPad Plus laptops and the Sennheiser Ambeo soundbar.
Khumail Thakur: And the coolest innovation of this year is the ScreenPad Plus on the Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 15. It is the only laptop that has a dual-screen - a meaningful dual screen that can be used for work and play. And, it's significantly better than the last year's model.
Best Designed Product: Microsoft Xbox Series S
The design of a product is an often overlooked aspect of a purchase decision, but can easily convert to regret in hindsight. Think about it: for an object that you will be interacting a whole lot, shouldn’t it be more than just functional? Something that looks good, something that stands out, something that is easy to use while offering a lot. The thing with technology is that it is undeniably going to be a bigger part of our lives with time, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that we should be reminded of their existence all the time. Our shortlist included phones such as the Vivo X50 Pro and the Samsung Galaxy Fold 2, unique approaches like the Galaxy Buds Live, iterative upgrades such as the Dell XPS 13.
Aakash Jhaveri: The winner is the new Xbox Series S. For a product that is meant to last for years, it does a great job at being functional, minimal and yet being iconic. The best part? It can actually fit inside a TV cabinet.
Best Camera Phone: Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max
Smartphone cameras seemingly have no upper limit. Each season we think that we’re approaching a point of saturation, but then manufacturers surprise us with innovative solutions to new challenges. Yes, multiple lenses might seem like a gimmick, but advancements such as bigger sensors, folded optics, smart scene optimizers and AI to assist in photography help democratize photography the way earliest smartphones aimed to do. Since there is no single best way to achieve this yet, you’ll also notice the differences in the approaches our finalists take with their cameras: the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, the iPhone 12 Pro Max and the Vivo X50 Pro.
Sandeep Sarma: The Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max wins the large sensor that is capable of giving incredible dynamic range through images as well as the overall consistency - be it the ultra-wide angle camera or the telephoto camera which offer up to 2.5x reach. Now, this also has a Lidar camera which improves the overall edge detection when it comes to portraits and also assists in autofocus during low-light situations. It supports Pro RAW, you also get Dolby Vision HDR support up to 4K 60fps in terms of video and the consistency across all lenses and all cameras in insane which is the reason why this is the best camera phone especially considering it does videos and images. If I were to nitpick, the only thing I’d point out is the lack of manual controls but the overall UI is also very simple and easy to use and thus this is our camera phone of the year.
Best Gadget: Xiaomi Mi Robot Vacuum Mop P
The Best Gadget category unlike the other categories is an open one. And by that we mean any and every gadget that was released in the year 2020 has a chance of winning. And we have to mention that we had quite the difficult time to choose the finalists for this category where any gadget can win based on how useful it is, and how well rounded its features are along with just how well priced it is. The jury had to wade through a long list of products to finally choose the best to contend for the top spot. We also considered how our usage and preferences changed over the last few months, looking at which products became more important to our lives while deciding our shortlist. And it finally came down to the ViewSonic M1 Mini Plus portable projector, the Dyson Coralle hair straightener, and the Xiaomi Mi Robot Vacuum-Mop P.
Jhinuk Sen: It’s been an interesting year for everyone and particularly for tech. Gadgets that we often took for granted became vital overnight when the world went into lockdown and that's exactly why this particular gadget won the best gadget category for us: the Xiaomi Mi Robot Vacuum Mop-P. Basically one look and you’ll know why this product mattered as much as it did this year. With all of us having to take on household chores on ourselves, we got a robot that could vacuum and mop - that’s literally 80% of our daily household cleaning done right there. The Xiaomi Mi Robot Vacuum Mop-P came with the auto-recharge feature which is really cool. So if it ran out of juice in the middle of the cleaning cycle, it’d go right back, charge up and get cleaning again without you having to move a muscle. Of Course, all of this came with a smart app control - literally the one thing we cannot do without nowadays. But, most importantly though, it was affordable. There are other robot cleaners in the market that cost a bomb. And, here was Xiaomi doing what it does ever so often - making a perfectly good product for cheap and in a year when it really mattered.
Best Work from Home Laptop: Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5
On to laptops and we have to admit, that laptops have probably been one of the most prominent gadgets of 2020. This was aided by the fact that people were confined to their homes because of a pandemic raging outside. And as workstations shifted from offices to homes, the need for laptops grew. And there were some laptops that were a pleasure to work on. And we decided to decide the best laptop based on its work from home experience since that was significant for the present year. We selected laptops based on certain criteria, primary among those were how well built it was while being lightweight. Besides this, we looked at the tech inside as well as how well attuned it was to entertainment with better displays and audio along with reliable battery life. All of those factors were also weighted against their price. We finally came down to the Dell XPS 13, the 11th gen Acer Swift 3 and the Lenovo Flex 5 as our finalists.
Bodhisatwa Ray: And the winner for best work from the home laptop category is the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5. The Flex 5 simply beat out the competition on almost all the qualifying factors. This includes battery, audio, performance, weight, and pricing. Yes, pricing was a big factor since it happened to tick a lot of boxes while being priced lower than the competition. Ryzen 4000 as a platform continues to amaze us. And to top it all the Lenovo Flex 5 is a 2-in-1 laptop that also comes with a stylus.
Best Wearable: Samsung Galaxy Watch 3
Once the lockdown was relaxed across the country, the demand for wearables grew tremendously. While many brands launched budget smartwatches - we also saw Samsung, Apple and Oppo launch full-fledged smartwatches. The finalists for the Best smartwatches category include- Oppo Watch, Samsung Galaxy Watch 3, and Amazfit Bip U. We’re considering the best products at each price point that will support most smartphones.
Srivatsa Ramesh: Our pick for the best smartwatch of the year 2020 is the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3. This is the latest iteration in the lineup featuring the iconic rotating bezel which surprisingly no other wearable maker has implemented. The classy design and top-end specs allow the watch to run smoothly which is way better than the competition. The battery life is also very reliable considering it is a fully-fledged smartwatch. As a fitness tracker, the Watch 3 packs in more than what others offer. The Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 is a perfect smartwatch for most smartphone users.
Best True Wireless Earbuds: Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2
If there is one product category that really exploded in 2020, it has to be truly wireless earbuds. Every smartphone manufacturer and every audio company tried their hand at making a pair, and customers were quick to adopt them. With an estimated 700% growth over last year, TWS went from cool to have to essential real quick. Moreover, the competition also brought many nifty features to the budget segment such as gesture controls, hi-res playback, noise cancellation and more. Overall, the most notable offerings were the Lypertek Levi, the Oppo Enco W51 and the Sennheiser Momentum true wireless 2.
Ershad Kaleebullah: And the award for the best truly earbuds goes to none other than the Sennheiser Momentum Truly Wireless 2. Of course, they offer excellent sound quality over their predecessor and better bass response as well. But most importantly, they also have excellent noise-cancelling technology and the battery life has been improved as well.
Phone of the Year: Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra
Saving the best of the last, it’s time for TechRadar India’s best phone of the year! While still a minority, these devices show us the absolute limits of what is possible in terms of software and hardware. Factors such as the design, software support and premium features were also given higher importance here, as a high-end phone should have as few compromises as possible. Lastly, we rounded things off by considering which would be the easiest phone to recommend to a person who has no budget constraints but wants the most capable smartphone in the market. Thus, our finalists include the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, the OnePlus 8 Pro and the Vivo X50 Pro.
Ritesh Bendre: So, our phone of the year is the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G. It’s been over 9 years since Samsung introduced the original Galaxy Note and since then we have not seen a legit stylus competitor for the entire series. In particular, if you wanna talk about the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, it is one of the best looking phones of the seasons and it probably has one of the best-looking displays and it comes with powerful and capable cameras. And, in fact, the OneUI Android skin is more matured and just being a pretty interface. But one of the biggest wins for the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra comes in the form of the S Pen stylus obviously and its functionality. The Samsung Pay, Samsung Dex mode, and also the integration with Microsoft. So, these are one of the best things about the phone. In fact, if it offered a slightly consistent performance and battery life, it’d have been a perfect phone.
- Aakash Jhaveri: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2
- Bodhisatwa Ray: Logitech G502 Lightspeed gaming mouse
- Srivatsa Ramesh: Xiaomi Mi Box 4K
- Ritesh Bendre: Sony ZV1 vlog camera
- Dhananjay Bhosale: DJI Mavic Mini
- Ershad Kaleebullah: Zoom video conferencing
- Tushar Mehta: Improved haptic feedback on phones
- Sumukh Rao: Apple iPhone 12 Mini
- Jhinuk Sen: HP Elite Dragonfly
- Sandeep Sarma: Dyson V11
- Khumail Thakur: Quick Resume on the Xbox Series S/X
SanDisk Ultra Dual Drive Luxe flash drive: Varun Saini, Sanchit Jain, Pooja Dharamshi, Vaibhav Sahu, Vinoo P
AMX XP35 3-port fast charger: Neeraj Chhajed, Ramu, Aakash Sharma, Tejas Nopany, Chandraprakash Jaiswal
Phone/laptop skins from Capes India: Visisht Perumbudur, Raghvendra Singh Kaurav, Abhijeet Kumar Mehta
Amazfit Bip U smartwatch: Sujit (Kumar), Shivansh Raj Srivastava, Aman Kumar, Parmarth Kalra, Mohd Imdaad
Honor Watch ES: Harsh Doshi, Vishmita Bangera
Stuffcool QC 3.0 18W PD powerbank: Aayush Panikkar, Kaushal Kumar Jha, Mahesh Vishwakarma, Piyush, Bhuwnesh Sharma
Xiaomi Mi Watch Revolve: Anu Modi
Xiaomi Mi Smart Speaker: Kavishree Meshram
Xiaomi Mi Automatic soap dispenser: Nitesh Satpathy
Redmi Earbuds 2C: Vinod Chaudhary
Needless to say, 2020 was a great year for technology, and it gets us excited for what next year will have in store for us. We hope you enjoyed TechRadar India Awards 2020, and have a great holidy season ahead!
A big thanks to our editorial, design, video and admin teams for helping us pull this off in record time amid challenges <3