There has never been quite a greater time for smartphone diversity than today, where the available gamut of feature-packed handsets range from fully spec’d, top-tier everything-you-need-plus-more devices; inexpensive but decent mid-range entries; and even budget phones that, while lacking the bells and whistles of higher-rank phones, still remain decent, passable, and functional.
Android primarily dominates the world’s smartphone market today, with iOS trailing second. There are a plethora of choices available, which makes choosing the definitive Android phone this year an almost daunting task. Whether one wants a sleek, premium-looking phone, or a beefy powerhouse, the overall Android library is crowded with alluring choices that deciding which is “best” quickly descends into subjective territory.
That said, the best isn’t always about what a phone’s spec sheet offers, what gimmicky features it comes packing with, and what brand it hails from. So here’s a definitive list of the greatest Android phones you can buy at this second — those that are great now, and will probably be great even a few years later.
(Photo : OnePlus)
OnePlus, makers of highly competent but affordable smartphones which are regarded as cult hits among the broad smartphone arena, came out with the OnePlus 3T last year, a minor upgrade to the already powerful and feature-rich OnePlus 3.
The phone is packed with a whopping 6 GB of RAM and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor — a combination which pushes it past other phones in terms of power and performance. It also packs a bigger 3,400 mAh battery, 16-megapixel front and rear-facing cameras, dual-SIM card slots, and up to 128 GB of internal storage.
The OnePlus 3T is basically a OnePlus 3 jacked with a bit of steroids. It’s available in Gunmetal and Soft Gold colorways. It’s also one of the best Android phones out right now, and one of the cheapest, too, at $439, for its premium specs.
(Photo : Google)
Released in late October, the Pixel and the Pixel XL, Google’s first foray in self-branded flagship territory after dropping the Nexus template it had long used for proprietary handsets, is a marvelous smartphone with a vanilla Android experience. The first to ship with Google’s Assistant baked into its software, both handsets were held in high regard upon release, particularly with its camera, which is touted as the best ever on a smartphone.
Under the hood of the Pixel and Pixel XL are the usual suspects: Snapdragon 821, 4 GB of RAM, high-capacity batteries, and up to 128 GB of internal storage. On the back is a 12.3-megapixel rear shooter and a fingerprint sensor. On the front is a 5-inch (Pixel), 5.5-inch (Pixel XL) AMOLED display, and an 8-megapixel front-facing shooter.
The design of both phones don’t offer anything unique, but that’s more of an industry limitation than Google’s own fault, given that there’s very little leeway with which to drastically alter the candybar form factor — long accepted as the standard smartphone design, phasing out flip, slide, and even twist phones of yesteryear.
All told, the Google Pixel and Pixel XL have easy sales pitches: if you want the best Android experience on a smartphone, get the one made by the software’s creators. Case closed.
Huawei Mate 9
(Photo : Huawei)
Chinese manufacturer Huawei has performed quite well stateside, which is an impressive feat on its own given Samsung’s and Apple’s stake on the U.S. smartphone market. Its Mate 9, a powerful and sleek smartphone, is a testament to Huawei’s U.S. inroads, helping it earn its “on-the-rise” profile.
The Mate 9 has a 5.9-inch display, a proprietary Kirin 960 processor, dual-SIM card slots, Leica-powered dual cameras, and pretty much premium specs. While its 1080p display leaves much to be desired, the Mate 9 is still a pretty powerful phone, greatly complemented by its high-capacity 4,000 mAh battery.
The Huawei Mate 9 is up there with top-rank smartphones, and users best cozy up with the smartphone should they want a different smartphone experience, but with up-to-speed features and specs.
Motorola Moto Z
(Photo : Motorola)
Lenovo-owned Motorola has done something truly unique with its flagship phones, one of which is the Moto Z, and that’s thanks to its Moto Mods, module, or “clip-ons” that attach to the back panel of the phones that gift it extra functionality, such as extra power, high-fidelity speakers, and more.
Moto Mods, although highly experimental, rekindle the concept of the seemingly impossible notion of smartphone modularity. If the smartphone audience grows to find Moto Mods as something that should be standard for every smartphones moving forward, it’s easy to imagine that that’s where the innovation truly lies, and we have Motorola to thank if that happens.
The Moto Z comes with a 5.5-inch Quad HD display, a Snapdragon 820 processor, 4 GB of RAM, up to 64 GB of internal memory, a 13-megapixel rear shooter, and a 5-megapixel front shooter. Its battery, however, is something of a bummer at only 2,600 mAh capacity. Still, it’s one of the best Android smartphones out there.
Samsung Galaxy S7, S7 Edge
(Photo : Samsung)
Since Samsung’s ill-fated Note 7 has secluded itself in the smartphone hall of shame, we’re turning instead to the Galaxy S7 and the S7 edge, the company’s extremely beautiful and powerful flagships at present.
In terms of specs, both the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge pack a punch. Both come with Quad HD displays: a curved 5.5-inch one for the S7 edge, and a 5.1-inch one for the base Galaxy S7 model. Both are equipped with a Snapdragon 820 chip, packed with 4 GB of RAM, have 12-megapixel rear-facing cameras and 5-megapixel front shooters, and can run the latest version of Android. It can’t be stated enough just how great Samsung’s Galaxy S7 and S7 edge are. Sure, it packs a steep price point. But one can’t go wrong by picking either of these two up.
Upcoming Android Phone: Samsung Galaxy S8
(Photo : Samsung Mobile | YouTube)
There’s a running wealth of speculation for the Galaxy S8, and it is running wild. Helping the fanfare is a sort of “comeback” narrative for Samsung after suffering a string of failures caused by the nasty Note 7 explosion situation. But what’s past is past, and Samsung holdouts are keen on the next Note 7 corrective: the Galaxy S8.
At this point, everything’s a rumor. The only sure things are Samsung is set to unveil the enigmatic smartphone by March, and, as per its thickly veiled teaser, the phone will rework a traditional smartphone format. This self-heralded revolution seems to be rooted on the phone’s screen, which appears has very minimal bezels.
Leaks purport the Galaxy S8 to have a Snapdragon 835 chip, come in two models, feature curved OLED displays, eschew the home button, feature a 12-megapixel rear shooter and an 8-megapixel front shooter, come in seven colors, and more. Rumors, of course, should be taken lightly, but the sheer impressiveness of the phone’s alleged spec sheet at least suggests one thing: Samsung isn’t messing around.
Upcoming Android Phone: LG G6
(Photo : LG Canada)
The LG G6, recently unveiled, does away with the promised but failed modularity of its predecessor, the G5, and instead offers a traditional, feature-packed premium smartphone with a wide aspect ratio for a screen that renders it a cut above the rest, a 5.7-inch Quad HD 18:9 display with rounded corners, to be exact.
Looking at its specs sheet — A Snapdragon 821 chip with Adreno 530 for graphics, 4 GB of RAM, dual 13-megapixel rear cameras and a 5-megapixel front-facing one, a fingerprint sensor, baked-in Google Assistant, and a 3,300 mAh battery with fast charging technology — one can safely surmise that instead of procuring experimentations, which could run the risk of mirroring the fate of the G5, LG went back to basics and created the most attractive phone it could create.
On top its premium specs, the LG G6 also offers either 32 or 64 GB of internal storage, runs on Nougat out of the box, and has an IP68 rating for water and dust resistance. LG has opted to eschew the myth that smartphones need gimmicks to stand out. It knew it just needed to create a simple, well-built phone with as-solid-as-it-can-get specs. One that makes the perplexed Android user never look elsewhere.
The LG G6 is rumored to hit stateside come spring, with an estimated price of about $795.
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