The HTC One X9 is a classic example of a mid-range handset. It has marginally better hardware than budget offerings - a 5.5-inch 1080p display, a Helio X10 SoC, 32 GB of storage, a 13-megapixel camera with OIS, and a metal build - but it just doesn't do enough for the price. It's not a terrible phone, but it's simply too expensive.
In the past we’ve had no trouble recommending the Moto G for those after a fantastic budget smartphone. In 2016, Motorola has expanded the Moto G line and the $250 Moto G4 Plus is the most fully featured of the bunch. It shares the same display, SoC and design with the basic Moto G4 but upgrades the camera and includes a fingerprint sensor.
The OnePlus 3 is a superb piece of hardware at an affordable price point. This 5.5" handset is Snapdragon 820 SoC powered, there’s a huge 6 GB of RAM, 64 GB storage, a fingerprint scanner, and 16MP camera with OIS. OnePlus has finally ditched their ludicrous invite system, too.
The new Xperia X series may not carry the same name as its predecessor, the Xperia Z, but there’s no mistaking these products for a revolutionary change. I've been testing the the top-end Xperia X Performance for a few weeks now and I've found it to be remarkably similar to the Xperia Z5, sadly this design is getting stale.