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Best smartphones to use this Holi

Lots of colors and lots of movement. Holi is the festival when everyone wants to take the best pictures but that isn’t always possible because either their phones aren’t waterproof or don’t capture photos quickly enough. 

To avoid the plague of blurry photos or ruining your smartphone altogether, this list compiles the best water resistant and waterproof smartphones so that you can capture all your favorite memories this season.

Google Pixel 2

The Google Pixel 2 has one of the best cameras in the market. Quick to focus with in-depth clarity are consistent in every photo. Google always gets it right with its color accuracy, which is integral when you're taking Holi photos. 

Even if you’re taking low-light shots, the photos come out as though there’s plenty of light around you. 

The Pixel 2 has a 12.2MP rear camera with f/1.8 aperture and a 8MP front camera with f/2.4 aperture. The portrait mode deserves a mention because of its unique background blurring capabilities and 240 frames-per-second (fps) slow motion video capture feature. You can finally have shots of water fights and colored powder being thrown around in impeccable detail.

There’s just one aspect where Samsung and LG have an edge over the Pixel 2. Their phones can take selfies with just one hand gesture, where as with the Pixel you’re forced to tap buttons. This is results in an awkward expression as one person lunges for the button to click a selfie in groups.

It has a premium water resistant body in line with IP67, that is, it can survive in water that’s up to one metre deep.

Read the full review: Google Pixel 2

Apple iPhone X

The iPhone X has a camera that’s very similar to the camera on the iPhone 8 Plus but Apple has always had a reputation of having good cameras on their phones, so why change what’s not broken?

It has a dual 12MP sensor array and f/2.4 aperture, which is useful for taking macro shots as well as capturing the depth perception of any scene. It’s quick to focus without compromising on the quality of the shot thanks to the new A11 Bionic chip. The wide-angle lens and the digital zoom enables the iPhone to take excellent low-light shots. The only thing to keep in mind with low-light conditions is that the shutter speeds can be a little slow, so the photos may have a little blur and noise to them. 

The iPhone X makes special sense for Holi because of its 4K recording abilities that can record at 60fps to deliver videos with incredible detail though they will take up quite a bit of space on your phone. So if you’re planning on recording a lot of videos this season, then perhaps invest in the 256GB option since iPhones don’t have the option to expand memory using a microUSB card. 

The front camera has been termed the ‘TrueDepth’ camera by Apple. At 7MP, it has smart components added to it to make it one of the best cameras to take selfies with. Basically, what TrueDepth implies is that the background will be blurred and the Portrait options give you to choice to change the lighting in any scenario. Live Photos is a feature that Apple has improved with the iOS 11, where the photos can be looped, bounced or left for long exposure shots. 

Even the iPhone is IP67 certified like the Google Pixel 2, so it’s dust resistant and water resistant in depths upto one metre. 

All in all, the iPhone X’s camera may not be the best in the market, but it does deliver natural-looking photos that most people value.

Read the full review: iPhone X

Samsung Galaxy S8

The Samsung Galaxy S8 is another great flagship option. The images that you’ll capture will come out just the way you want them to look taking sharpness, light and color in to complete account.

There’s a 12MP camera on the rear and an 8MP sensor in the front, so both cameras perform pretty well in low light conditions. Sometimes even delivering photos that look a little better than the reality of the scene. 

Despite not having a dual-lens sensor on the back of the S8, which is the norm and has been featured in the new S9 and S9 Plus, the camera performs incredibly well in terms of details. 

A double tap on the power button will instantly open the camera, so that makes for easy access rather than dirtying your screen, which is useful when your hands are covered in gulal on Holi. It should be mentioned that the Bixby Vision component isn’t particularly useful, but for people who find the feature annoying, it can be disabled with considerable ease.

Over the years, Samsung has marginally improved its color reproduction to be more muted and natural and the sharpness, as always, is on point. But, certain images come out slightly overexposed. Another criticism that users seem to cite is that the quality of pictures seem better on the phone as compared to a computer screen. 

Overall, the Samsung S8 will deliver great shots for Holi except for one or two shots that may have a little too much light flooding in. 

The Samsung S8 is IP68 certified which is tad better than IP67 since the phone is water resistant up to the depth of 1.5 metres.

Read the full review: Samsung Galaxy S8

Sony Xperia XZ1

The Sony XZ1 has a 19MP Exmor RS back camera. What makes this camera special is the the five-axis image stabilisation (IS), f/2.0 aperture and an impressive 960fps slow motion video recording capability. 

The new feature that Sony’s added to the XZ1 is the ability to capture burst shots while focusing on the moving option which is a major boon for taking pictures during Holi. It even works pretty well thanks to Sony’s predictive phase detection auto-focus (AF) and allows you to take up to 100 photos in a span of 10 seconds. 

Another feature in this phone that sets it apart from the crowd is the Predictive Capture capability. The smile-detection mode snaps three shots before you hit the capture button, so that in case your tap isn’t on point, the XZ1 would have captured the shot anyway. 

The Xperia XZ1 allow users to switch between manual and auto mode, though on Holi since you’ll mostly be using the auto mode, the point-and-shoot option works really well. For when you want to take close-ups of your subjects, the macro mode performs excellently. 

Where this phone loses points is while taking low light shots. It struggles to focus with too much movement and flashing lights. The LG V30 Plus, Samsung’s S8 and the Pixel 2 all perform much better in this respect. Even the high dynamic range (HDR) mode, which is meant to brighten up the dark areas of a photo, doesn’t perform particularly well. 

The front camera is a whopping 13mp with a 22mm wide-angle camera. Selfies come out natural and there’s even an option to use your screen as a flash so that low-light shots come out nicer. 

The dedicated camera key on the right side of the device is another useful feature that plays into the XZ2 being the perfect phone for Holi. The ability to quickly launch your camera when you spot a scene that need to be captured is imperative during the festival. 

Combined with the fact that the smartphone is IP65/68 certified, the dust and waterproof feature of the phone can survive most situations.

Read the full review: Sony Xperia XZ1

Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro

If you’re on a budget and aren’t in the mood to invest in a flagship model, the Redmi Note 5 Pro is the next best option. The photo isn’t waterproof or water resistant so you will have to be careful, but at this price point, it’s one of the better cameras in the market. 

It has dual camera 12MP and 5MP RGB sensors in the back. The former has f/2.2 aperture while the latter has f/2.0 aperture. The front camera is 20MP, but it should be kept in mind that megapixel count is a poor predictor of quality for smartphones. What is a useful, is that a high megapixel camera can capture beter details when zooming into a scene. Since you’re not going to be doing that with a selfie camera, again, the point is moot. 

The rear camera is capable of capturing colors that are sharp and true to real life. The Bokeh effect also works pretty well, as the camera can completely focus on the foreground rather than displace focus of an overactive background.

In terms of video recording, the camera does come with image stabilisation but lacks 4K recording, which is a little perplexing since its Snapdragon 636 is capable of handling 4K video. 

The Moto G5 may still be a better option, but the Note 5 Pro produces warm and punchy colors that have reasonable detail. 

It can take reasonably fast shots that come out decent. 

Read the full review: Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro

Moto G5 Plus

The Moto G5 Plus is at the same price point as the Xiaomi Note 5 Pro, but what makes it better for Holi is that although it’s not entirely waterproof, it that it is splash and dust resistant. 

Even though the G5 Plus has moved down to a 12MP rear camera from the 16MP camera that was on the Moto G4 Plus, the overall camera capabilities are better. The Moto G5 Plus is better with low light shots because the aperture has been boosted from f/2.2 to f/1.7. The sensor being able to capture larger micron pixels in each photo is capable of reproducing accurate lighting and reduces the amount of noise in each picture. 

The camera can also capture 4K videos at 30 fps. The performance isn’t too incredible since it’s slow to focus and colors come out slightly muddled.

The front facing camera is just 5MP but it has been integrated with professional and beautification modes.

The hardware itself may not be too impressive, the software that the Moto comes equipped with is what stands out. It’s coupled with a multitude of features, has an intuitive quality and is quick to launch. 

The quick to launch component is something that’s especially useful for Holi and Moto even gives you three options on how you want to access your camera. You can with open it from the app, use the twist-to-open Moto action or double tap the power button.

Read the full review: Moto G5 Plus

Prabhjote Gill is the Senior Journalist at Business Insider India. She covering everything space, tech and defence at Business Insider India. She is also in-charge of allocating stories to junior writers.