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Stylish handsets

Phone makers are now focusing on design so that your next smartphone doesn't just work well but looks beautiful too

As it continues to rain smartphones in the Indian market, it’s notable that the battleground for manufacturers has shifted from pure specifications and hardware to design. The result is that unlike earlier, when most smartphones seemed to look alike (except for a few like the OnePlus One), recent weeks have seen a slew of devices that are trying to impress not just with what lies beneath, but also with what lies on the surface. Yes, it does seem that good-looking phones are back in fashion as brands try to score on both substance and style. Best of all—unlike earlier, you do not have to pay a bomb to get a phone that will turn heads. So if you are looking for a phone that scores in the style stakes without compromising on performance, here are seven options worth checking out.

OnePlus X

16, 999

OnePlus has been known for its large-screen phones with sandstone-finish backs, but with the X, the company has decided to change the design language. Not only does the OnePlus X sport a smaller 5-inch display, its back is smooth and made of Onyx black glass (there is a limited-edition ceramic back option too)—definitely a head-turner. The frame holding it together, 6.9mm thin, is a metal one. That said, it packs in some serious hardware muscle—the display is a Full HD AMOLED one, powering the phone is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor with 3 GB RAM, storage stands at 16 GB, and the phone also comes with what OnePlus claims is one of the fastest cameras (13 megapixels) around.

Sony Xperia Z5 Premium

62,990

Sony’s product design always stands out, and the Xperia Z5 Premium just shows why. The phone has been grabbing attention for being the first to offer a 4K display and also boasts of high-end hardware (a Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor, 3 GB RAM, 23-megapixel camera), but it is a treat for the eyes as well. Some might not like the slightly shiny finish of the gold version, but the smooth mirror finish on the chrome edition is a sight for sore eyes, as is the precision-etched Xperia on its back. And this is a pretty tough beauty too—in the best Xperia Z tradition, the Z5 Premium too is water- and dust-resistant, so you can carry it through rain or sandstorm without any fear of damaging it.

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HTC One A9

29,990

Yes, there is a distinct similarity to a certain phone made by a company in Cupertino, but the fact is that the One A9 is perhaps the most striking phone we have seen from HTC in a while. Its curved edges and metallic frame (HTC claims it has made it super thin without compromising on strength) make it an absolute joy to hold. For a metal phone, it is surprisingly slim at 7.26mm and light (143g). And its hardware is respectable too—a 5-inch Full HD display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 processor, 3 GB RAM, 32 GB storage and a 13-megapixel camera that HTC claims is among the best in the business.

Lenovo Vibe S1

15,999

With an all-glass curved back and smoothened edges, the Vibe S1 is one of the most good-looking phones around. Lenovo has even used special silk print technology to place its logo on the back, steering clear of engraving it. The result is a very good-looking phone that is 7.8mm at its thickest point, and is comfortable to hold. Nor is it delicate—the front and back are Gorilla Glass, and it rests on a metal frame. It comes with an impressive specification sheet too—a 5.0-inch Full HD display, octa-core processor, 3 GB RAM, 32 GB storage, 13-megapixel rear camera and dual front-facing cameras that allow you to take a selfie against just about any background.

Apple iPhone 6s (Rose Gold)

62,000

They might offer a fantastic user experience, but the new iPhones (the 6s and 6s Plus) are similar in design terms to their predecessors, even though Apple claims the glass and aluminium used in its construction are superior. But that doesn’t take away the fact that these sleek phones are great to hold and use. If you place an iPhone 6 and 6s next to each other, spotting the difference without touching the devices is almost impossible. Unless, of course, you happen to use the rose gold edition, a colour option that is exclusive to the new iPhones. Of course, it comes with all the hardware and software (retina display, A9 processor, 12-megapixel camera, iOS 9.2) that makes the iPhone the icon that it is.

Obi Worldphone SF1

11,999 onwards

If you want a phone that absolutely stands out in a crowd, then perhaps this is it. Yes, the Obi Worldphone SF1 does come with a decent specification sheet (5-inch display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 processor, 2 GB/3 GB and 16 GB/32 GB storage, 13-megapixel rear camera) but what makes it different from any other phone out there is its “floating display"—its 5-inch display is slightly raised above the rest of the phone, making it stick out. The outline of the display is also printed on the back—a welcome change from the plain affairs we are used to. It might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it is certainly a spin on phone design.

Qiku Q Terra

19,999

Whoever said large display phones had to be ungainly? Yes, the Qiku Q terra sports a 6-inch display and cannot be called a compact device by any stretch of the imagination, but it has squeezed that display into a frame that is smaller in length than the iPhone 6s Plus, which actually has a 5.5-inch display. The reason for this compactness is that the Terra’s display is edge-to-edge, with almost no bezel on the sides. Round that off with a metal body and flagship-level hardware (Full HD display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor, 3 GB RAM, dual 13-megapixel cameras, 16 GB storage) and the Q Terra becomes the best option for those who like big-screen phones.

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