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, Q2 Top 5, and Q3 Top 5, our eventual Top 5 of Q4 is our Christmas Special, this is where we douse the Smartphones that have either just arrived, or are still the best from this entire year. Whilst this is a Top 5, we will of course have some honourable mentions as well, and maybe a few non-honourable mentions too.
5. Apple iPhone 7 (and 7 Plus)
Apple’s latest iPhone is normally a top pick for us, so what gives, well what gives is iOS 10! Apple’s latest version of their iOS operating system isn’t only not optimised for the iPhone 7, but it runs dreadful in comparison to even earlier iPhone models, making this far from the best Smartphone you could buy for Christmas for anyone.
One thing the iPhone 7 remains however, is the safe option. It’s far from the best, but for those who just want a Smartphone which does the job, be it under a few bugs, then it’s hard to argue with the iPhone as an option even today. The device does feature some very decent positives, such as an incredible dual-speaker set up, a super fast Fingerprint scanner, and a pretty decent Camera set up to boot. And, whilst iOS may have it’s problems, you can never argue with in-app performance on the iPhone 7, the one and only area you can feel the benchmark results in action.
If you chose to opt for the large iPhone 7 Plus, you will gain a second rear Camera in aid to some features such as Apple’s Portrait feature in the Camera.
4. LG V20
Whilst LG may have disappointed with their G5 earlier in the year, with the LG V20, they’ve really hit it in the park. LG’s latest phablet device continues the work began by the LG v10 before it, in that the device is a dual-screen device, yes that writing you see up top of the main display is another display itself, which can be used for customisable shortcuts and so much more, which sure maybe considered a gimmick by many, but become almost second nature once you get used to using the phone on a daily basis.
On the Camera department, LG have essentially gone the complete opposite of what Apple provides, whilst Apple like to go further in with an almost “optical-zoom”, with the LG V20 the Camera allows you to go back and produces a field of view simply not possible previously. Whilst LG’s method is much more situational, in our opinion it’s more impressive, as a ton of Cameras can zoom in rather decently thanks to increased sensors and resolution.
The V20 impresses highly in the Audio department, featuring a 32-bit Hi-Fi Quad DAC using technology firm ESS! If you don’t know what that means, just know that it means you’re getting the absolute best Audio quality in any headphones, if you do know what that means, then this will be probably already in your hands as this is really a first for Smartphones, at least at this standard! Sure, the speaker on the phone is average, but the output of that headphone jack, oh boy.
3. OnePlus 3T
The OnePlus 3 was already a fantastic choice of a Smartphone, you got 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. But now, it’s got even better with the introduction of the OnePlus 3T!
Sure, it’s essentially the same device with some spec-bumps, in fact the choice of the letter T, was a stab at Apple being that their models deserve a letter greater in S, which is both cheeky though fair enough! However, the only increases you are gonna see is a bump to a SnapDragon 821, which is only a minor difference over the 820, however you do see a sizeable increase in battery capacity, which we won’t argue with.
2. Samsung Galaxy S7
You know what Samsung did in 2016, they finally out-did Apple at their own game. The Galaxy S7 was the first Smartphone in 2016, and for a while after that, we could confidently give a 5 star review to, the device literally offers everything we’ve been waiting for in a Samsung flagship. Finally, the Galaxy S7 isn’t just a fantastic display housing a field of disappointments!
Don’t get us wrong though, that is still the best Display on any Smartphone this year, bar none, but finally Samsung have made a Smartphone which is one of the best overall. The Camera is consistent, fast, sharp, and takes the best shots we’ve seen even today. Plus, it’s worth noting that the performance on our Exynos variant, has been stellar as well. Whilst the Samsung TouchWiz lag hasn’t quite gone just yet, it’s never been better than how it is today and speaking of TouchWiz, it’s finally a UI skin you can actually use and not just agonise over!
The only thing you won’t get out of the Galaxy S7 is great battery life, and the Audio from both the headphone jack and the bottom speaker is quite frankly dreadful, other than that though, this is one of those phones really up there with the best.
1. Google Pixel
When Google announced a Smartphone at their “madebygoogle” Event, I think it’s fair to say we almost couldn’t care less about the thing. The design is nice on either the Silver shown above with a white face, or the Grey variant with a dark face, though it was on the edge of being a rather so-so Smartphone with promises everyone claims; best Camera; best performance; refined, etc. However, after actually using a Google Pixel, you quickly see that those aren’t just promises, they’re reality!
Stock Android has always been the best way to go for the smoothest and simplest option for Android around, though with the Google Pixel and it’s Android 7.1 Nougat software, that’s turned up to eleven, the device just doesn’t hold back, it’s smooth as you can possibly get and to this day, still amazes us with it’s performance, despite what benchmarks would lead you to believe.
The Camera on the Google Pixel, doesn’t protrude, so it doesn’t stick out annoyingly, but it also doesn’t disappoint. Every shot is on point perfectly, video is smoothest we’ve experienced from a Smartphone this year, though occasionally choppy but still the best we’ve seen, add that to a beautiful AMOLED display, you’re left with quite simply our favourite and best Smartphone you can buy right now, and our Christmas choice of 2016
So, there you have it, the Google Pixel is our Smartphone choice of 2016! But, we ain’t done just yet. Their was a collection of Smartphone releases this year, meaning we’ve a collection of Smartphones to talk about still, and two we’re gonna mention below;
Just one this year, the HTC 10, which is pretty much the best phone no one is buying, seriously. This would be an easy 6 on the list above if we went up there, and with good reason, it’s a beautiful display, design is on top, dual display, great Camera, so why is no one buying it? Who knows.
In our experiences HTC’s biggest problem is HTC, it’s fair to say they have a bad reputation, and out of all the Smartphoens that have broken down, most if not all of them, they’ve been HTCs, which is such a shame as the HTC 10 is probably the best Smartphone which, for that reason alone, can’t recommend to you.
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
You knew this was coming. The Galaxy Note 7 has cost Samsung a total of nearly 9 billion USD, that’s a lot of Smartphone profits just quite frankly gone. The annoying thing about the Galaxy Note 7 is that, if it wasn’t for the problem, it would easily have been our Number 1 pick of 2016, it was that good!
However, when reports began to surface of a Galaxy Note 7 exploding, naturally you think nothing of it … until the same reports begin to repeat, again, and again, and kept going. It wasn’t until October 11th 2016, that Samsung haulted sales entirely of the Note 7 after an attempted recall failed to fix the problems surfaced.
What Samsung needs to do now, is make sure this issue never happens throughout 2017, though we wouldn’t expect a Galaxy Note branded device from them next year, as let’s face it, that brand is tarnished and likely is Samsung in general which means it’ll means it will be interesting to see what happens when they launch the Galaxy S8.
And there you go, that’s our Q4 Top 5 of 2016, for now though let’s bring on 2017, but for now, these really are the best Smartphones you can buy today for Christmas 2016!