With such a wide collection of Smartphones available these days, it can sometimes be hard to pick the best one for you. Having said that, when we decided to pick out the best five Smartphones, we weren’t struggling finding the Smartphones to include in the list, more the position to give them.
Just like we did in the Q1 Top 5, and Q2 Top 5, we do have to make some honourable mentions not included in this Top 5, including the new Motorola Moto Z, an incredibly thin Smartphone with MotoMods offering a wide amount of expandability, the HTC 10 still remains the most underrated Android phone this year, or if you’re looking for affordable offerings, it’s hard to resist either the OnePlus 3 or ASUS Zenfone 3 family.
5. OnePlus 3
OnePlus 3 remains a fantastic choice of a Smartphone, you get the great power of a SnapDragon 820 processor, a more than required 6GB or RAM, all for a steal of just over £300 SIM Free. It’s clear the OnePlus 3 still is a very capable Smartphone to choose.
4. Sony Xperia XZ
Whilst having a few rough releases recently, Sony have finally found their mojo again with the new Sony Xperia XZ, which not only looks great, but has all the bells and whistles you’ve come to expect from a great Sony Android Smartphone.
Performance is fantastic on the Xperia XZ, helped a lot thanks to Sony’s now very minimalist skin on top of Android 6 Marshmallow, which features a collection of Stock Android features such as left screen Google Now, customisable Notification Shade, then Sony’s usual extras to help along the way as well. Plus, Sony still have their Fingerprint scanner in our favourite position, on the side of the device, we can’t stand those awkward backward fingerprint scanners, and some devices have poor front facing ones, so it’s nice to see a seamless fingerprint scanner on the right, which you’re thumb is almost guaranteed to reach ever time!
The device isn’t perfect however, a lack of OIS is a big slip-up in the Camera department, and Photos from the Camera are mediocre at best, which is surprising considering both the Galaxy S7, iPhone 7 and more all feature SONY CAMERAS?! How does that work? That’s not to say the Camera is terrible it’s not, Sony have thrown in laser auto-focus, 5-axis software stabilisation which is oddly limited to manual mode only, just the Camera is definitely only sub-bar in comparison to other offerings today. Not to mention the quite frankly atrocious positioning of the volume rockers almost dead at the bottom of the device, plus we wish the front firing speakers were better as well, as they offer more of a quiet tinny sound.
Are we nit-picking, of course we are, but this still remains one of Sony’s better Smartphones in a good long time, and we are happy we can say that about the company again, though is it the best, absolutely not and Sony have a lot more work to do in their Smartphones before anyone can say that, an effort which we’re not seeing be put in on their recent Smartphone offerings. Come on Sony, you can do it.
3. Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge
It may have been announced at the start of the year, but it’s keeping itself fresh, the Samsung Galaxy S7 is still without a doubt a very compelling Android phone to choose from, and remains one of the best out there, even with the introduction of the Galaxy Note 7, majority of folks may prefer the smaller more attractive offering the Galaxy S7 offers.
The Galaxy S7 features an incredibly beautiful Quad-HD Super AMOLED display, Samsung’s displays have never looked this good, colours pop and blacks are as inky as they’ve ever been. Whilst, yes, the colours are exaggerated for effect on the Galaxy S7, as they are on all Samsung units, it pays off whilst using the phone and makes every experience that extra bit more immersive.
To add to that you’ve a fast processor, one of the most consistent and reliable Cameras in a Smartphone, expandable storage and some lovely, whilst fingerprint magnet, colour finishes. The device however isn’t all perfect, the Speaker at the bottom is dreadful, video recording is just okay, battery life is what we’ve come to expect and why did Samsung put microUSB on this thing, though we’ll forgive them for the Wireless Charging and Quick Charge 2.0 support.
That battery life problem however will be much less so if you purchase the larger Galaxy S7 Edge, which whilst having the sleeker Edge design and being slightly bigger, does feature a much better battery, however we will admit it doesn’t seem to have aged well as we’re seeing just about better than S7 now, far from our massive expectations before, which could be software related we expect.
2. LG V20
Fresh from it’s recent introduction, the LG V20 is now among us and let us just tell you, wow, what a phone it is. LG clearly learned from their mistakes with the LG G5 when it comes to build quality as the V20 is solid. The build quality isn’t the only thing the V20 can tout, where the G5 tried to be something it’s not, the V20 offers a collection of what the G5 could deliver such as a removable battery and expandable storage, however doing so without compromising on what makes the Smartphone attractive and work well.
Like with the original V10, the LG V20 features a dual-Camera set-up, both sharing the same 16 megapixels with assisted laser focus and optical image stabilisation to help the Cameras out, however less so for the second more wider lens. LG takes a different turn with their dual-Camera compared to say the iPhone 7 Plus, the LG allows you to zoom further out and get a wider depth of field with the second lens, a feature which whilst is attractive and amazing to take close ups, we find is probably less useful than Apple’s decision to use it for zooming in as those scenarios appear most.
The LG V20 is probably the best Smartphone you can buy right now if you are an audio file, with a built in Quad-DAC system offering full 32-bit FLAC output capabilities and a more powerful output, meaning you should be able to power more power-hungry headphones straight from the phone retaining the best possible quality. The V20 also features a separate DAC for the speakers on the device, however those are less impressive and end are more of a just over-average than the big change given for headphones.
Of course the LG V20 isn’t perfect like anything, though it is the first Smartphone to go on sale running the latest Android 7.0 Nougat out of the box, getting their ahead of even Nexus devices which is just odd to say, however we’re not too much of a fan of LG’s custom UI, which whilst is a bit better than it was with the G5, it’s still just about bearable and expect most will want a custom launcher at least for their V20s.
1. Apple iPhone 7 and 7 Plus
We’re going to be honest with you, this swapped between number 1 and number 2 a lot of times for reasons we’ll cover here and at number 1, but of course this is the latest iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus.
On the face of it, Apple’s latest iPhone is probably the least wow iPhone release there’s ever been, with a design very closely a-kin to the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6S with lone exceptions of colour, and having another year of strictly internal improvements it’s hard to actually get too excited about the iPhone 7. Yes, on the benchmarks it’s twice as fast as the fastest Android phone on the planet (which we’ll get to shortly), but with iOS there’s little opportunity to notice as even the iPhone 6S is still incredibly fast today.
But, an iPhone is an iPhone, it remains the best Smartphone option for the regular joe or someone who wants to work, or play. Apple’s iOS 10 operating system maybe voyaging away from it’s once highly intuitive nature, but it still remains a very reliable operating system and paired with a still very iconic and attractive Smartphone, one which will last you way outside of your 2 year contract, it’s hard not to see where the benefits lie and remain with going with an iPhone in 2016.
Our favourite feature of the iPhone 7 has to be the dual speakers, which finally mean when you play any content in landscape, you’ll be able to hear both the left and right channels of the audio, plus those speakers are not only incredibly loud, some of the best we’ve heard this year, but also clear and so far don’t suffer from any clicking, just deliver an incredible audio experience.
Apple’s made massive improvements to the Camera set-up for the regular iPhone 7, delivering OIS and a wider aperture and takes that one step further with the iPhone 7 Plus by doubling the 12 megapixel camera to two. Whereas companies such as LG, which we just mentioned, use their second lens to show a wider depth of field, Apple we think do it much better by giving you the option to essentially optically zoom in at a 2x range without losing any quality of the photo, which allows for some incredible end result photos. Apple will also soon be releasing their ‘Portrait’ mode for the iPhone 7 Plus, allowing DSLR-like bokeh effect work live in real-time in the Camera, which we promise you, based on just the beta, will blow you away.
UPDATE: We hated changing this post in light of the Note 7 continuing problems, but it had to be done, so naturally every device has being bumped up one score in light of this. Time will tell if Samsung will recover from this.
And there you have it, probably the most close Top 5 we’ve ever had, seriously number 2 could easily be number 1 and visa-versa depending on what type of user you are, you really can’t go wrong with either an iPhone 7 or Galaxy Note 7, we really do have some of the best Smartphones to chose from right now.
We’ll be back with a whole new Top 5 coming right before the Christmas season of 2016, but as of now, these are without doubt our favourite and best recommendations in terms of Smartphones right now. Agree, disagree? Let us know below.