Smartphones that don’t clutter Android
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Buying a smartphone for sheer hardware prowess and ignoring software elements such as the type of interface and the level of app clutter can ruin the entire user experience. While one can always install launcher apps later, such as Google Now or Pixel launcher, to bring in some sense of familiarity, these can only change the basic layout. Deep down, a custom UI remains active draining on your phone’s resources. If you are looking for a phone with stock Android UI, you can consider one of these.
OnePlus 3T is one of the few phones other than the Pixel smartphones that run the latest 7.1 (Nougat) version of Android. It has kept things simple by sticking to stock Android layout. The few differences it offers include the option to change the background colour in the app drawer and move the on-screen navigation keys to the lower bezel on the front panel. The phone is powered by Qualcomm’s top-of-the-line Snapdragon 821 quad-core chip with 6GB RAM and comes in 64GB and 128GB variants. It is a big-screen phone with a 5.5-inch display and resolution of 1,920x1,080p. For a big screen phone, it’s quite light (158g) and handy.
BlackBerry DTEK 50
The DTEK50 doesn’t impress much with its hardware, but on the software front, there is some good work that needs to be appreciated. Though the interface is laced with lots of hidden BlackBerry elements, the plain Android interface looks familiar and easy to use. The phone runs Android 6.0 (Marshmallow) and offers some unique features such as Blackberry Hub, DTEK security app and hardware-level device encryption. The phone is driven by Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 octa-core chip with 3GB RAM, and offers 16GB internal storage and 256GB expandable storage. It offers a 5.2-inch screen with 1,920x1,080p resolution. It is a light phone, weighing just 135g.
Moto G5 Plus
Moto G5 Plus is one of the few sub-Rs20,000 smartphones that run Android 7.0 (Nougat) out of the box. True to the Moto tradition, it uses a near-plain version of Android with a few handy customisations. The interface has elements of both Google Now and Pixel launcher. There is no app drawer but the search bar is there. You can also remove the on-screen navigation keys and use the physical home button on the lower bezel as the return as well as the multi-tasking button. The phone runs on Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 octa-core chip with 4GB RAM and offers 32GB storage. It has a 5.2-inch display with a resolution of 1,920x1,080p.
Lenovo Z2 Plus
Lenovo Z2 Plus
The Z2 Plus is unlike any other phone selling under the Lenovo brand name. It runs a stock Android UI over Android 6.0 (Marshmallow). Lenovo has made some subtle changes to improve upon the user experience. For example, the shortcut and notification panel have been separated. Swiping down opens notifications and swiping up opens up quick settings panel. The phone is also the most powerful phone at this price point. It runs on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 chip with 3GB RAM in a 32GB variant and 4GB RAM in a 64GB model. It has a screen size of 5 inches with a resolution of 1,920x1,080p.
Panasonic Eluga Ray Max
Panansonic’s new smartphone uses a plain Android interface and not the Eluga UI used in earlier phones by the company. The phone runs Android 6.0 (Marshmallow) with an AI (artificial intelligence)-enabled personal assistant called Arbo. It works by tracking user behaviour to provide suggestions and reminders based on the user’s location and time of the day. The phone is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 octa-core processor with 4GB RAM. It offers a 5.2-inch display with a resolution of 1,920x1,080p. The phone has a removable metallic back cover.
Coolpad Note 3s
Coolpad Note 3s comes from a phonemaker which doesn’t mind putting aside its custom UI to try new things. The Note 3 runs Android 6.0 (Marshmallow) with a stock Android interface which has a few similarities with the Cyanogen OS. The number of pre-loaded apps on the phone is also limited. The Note 3s has a 5.5-inch display but offers resolution of 1,280x720p. It is not a basic device, driven by Qualcomm Snapdragon 415 with 3GB RAM. It offers 32GB internal storage and can take microSD cards up to 32GB.