Smartphones are now more popular than the PC, with billions upon billions sold every year and of course they come in many varieties, toughest question is likely which would to go for. Well, whilst it’s very likely you have your own personal preference, we’re here to help you make that decision that much easier with our quarterly Top 5 Smartphones You Can Buy Right Now.
As we delve in to the third of our annual Top 5 of 2017, as expected, a with a number of brand new Smartphone announcements behind us, there’s a whole new lineup of Smartphones entering our Top 5.
So, let’s get to it with this, our Top 5 Smartphones You Can Buy Right now, Q3 2017.
It’s so great to see Nokia back in the Smartphone game again, following their sizeable rise and inevitable fall in the hands of Microsoft’s practically dead Windows Phone platform, but they’re back with Android as their OS this time and we think this was a smart choice. So, what is a Nokia Android flagship like? Well, one thing we will say in relation to the Nokia 8 is this, it’s early days and Nokia still have a long way to go in the Android space, but that’s not to say what they’ve come out with isn’t a fantastic offering, because it is. You’ve a ZEISS Optics Camera, which shoots some great photos, as well as an almost equally as powerful front Camera as well, which both get taken advantage of with Nokia’s new “BOTHIE” feature, which allows you to capture both Cameras at the same time, both of which are 4K capable.
The problem with the Nokia 8 may seem rather hidden, it’s stock Android with guaranteed promised quick updates, a sleek design at the back striking the classic Nokia look, but the problems lie with everything else. The front is rather uninspired, the display is IPS LCD and not the best, and the price Nokia are asking for it, put it’s right in the same level of some of the higher positioning Smartphones on this list, and we don’t think it quite offers that extra special flare the others do. Regardless though, this is still a solid stock Android offering running the latest Snapdragon 835.
HTC have been through a process of re-inventing themselves more times than any other company, but we think they’ve a winner in the U11. Don’t get us wrong, we weren’t big fans of the U and U Ultra either, but were fans of those devices design, which has now been thoroughly refined and polished, and just looks awesome. Granted if you get the Black or White finishes, everything is rather status quo from what you’d expect, but choose one of the colour finishes, especially the Red, then you’ll truly see how eye-catching this design can really be! Now, don’t get us wrong, the U11 does not have a bezel-less design like the S8 and G6, but that in itself is one of its charms, Android isn’t ready for those odd aspect ratios, and majority of consumers just want a Smartphone which does the job and looks good doing it!
The U11 also had the EXOMark Score highest of all Smartphones, topping the score of the Google Pixel, upon its launch, which granted was the device which brought that test to the mainstream, as let’s be honest no one had heard of them before. The key to that though is the Camera in real world use, and it’s snappy, quick and takes great consistent shots, which to us is what makes a great Camera, not the specs, but the consistency in quality.
Whilst you won’t find a headphone jack on the U11, yes yes I know, thankfully HTC weren’t stupid to leave out the adapter like they did with the U and U Ultra! BUT, they did provide a very decent pair of USB-C Earphones in the box and software which allows you to completely customise your Audio experience, as well including noise cancellation on a software level, which as you can imagine needs to be heard to be believed. HTC U11 also has a fantastic Audio experience on the device itself, with Dual Speakers on front and a woofer under neath.
It’s that time of the year again, another iPhone is out and straight on the Top 5 it goes, however not quite the top position it usually runs to, which can be attributed to a few things, which we’ll get to shortly. It’s worth noting that the iPhone X, also announced during the iPhone 8 Event, isn’t even here yet, but for sure it’ll be interesting if that makes it to our list. Back to the iPhone 8 however, it’s clear to see as far as design is concerned, Apple have continued to play the device very safe. The same design found on the iPhone 6, 6S and last years 7, remains present on the iPhone 8, which begs the question why this isn’t the 7S. Don’t get us wrong, sticking to the same design isn’t a bad thing if it works, look at Sony devices and the majority of Samsung offerings and you’ll find a more than familiar design throughout, but this is the first time Apple have had us keep the same design for what will be 4 years now (based on the next iPhone).
The problems with the iPhone 8 mainly lie in the software, iOS 11 is quite frankly terrible, even on the iPhone 8. We’re experiencing lag and bugs left, right and centre, which we hope gets fixed some day by Apple, clearly not anytime soon. Luckily, in terms of hardware, Apple have hit it out of the park. The iPhone 8 has the highest rated Camera in the industry today, and with the 8 Plus you now finally have OIS in both sensors, benchmark performance rivalling that of Desktop PCs, and, sure why not, a now glass back bringing with it Qi Wireless Charging to the iPhone, plus Fast Charging, though at a cost.
The iPhone 8 remains the safe choice in the Smartphone market, it’s a self explanatory Smartphone. It’s quick, great Camera and once, Apple wake up and fix up the multitude of bugs, a fast device as well with industry leading specs. Where the device will let you down will be in terms of design, but if that’s fine with you, the iPhone still remains a solid choice, just not as solid as it once were.
Where did this come from? LG have completely surprised us with the V30. The LG V line of Smartphones tend to traditionally be rather conventional, rather blocky designed product with the clear focus on Camera and Audio, whilst that focus hasn’t necessarily gone in the V30, what has gone is that conventional design, in replace with what’s easily their best looking Smartphone to date, we love this design!
Whilst the rather modularity of the original V10 has gone, and the dual display is gone, what you do have is a far more refined version of the G6, with the latest Snapdragon 835 on top of the latest Android 8.0 Oreo, however literally the only thing that will let you down with the V30 is the complete reason why the device is our Number 2, rather than Number 1, LG’s software skin. It’s not terrible, but it reminds of the old Samsung days, don’t get us wrong it’s fixable on Android rather easily, but we always review all devices for their out of box experience and that’s one area where LG falls short.
Where they don’t fall short is in both Cameras and Audio. The LG V30 has a dual-Camera set up at the back of the device, which takes the alternate approach of using the second lens as a further zoom back, creating an almost Super Wide Angle affect, which has now been incredibly refined on the V30. Previously, the second lens would create artefacts and curvature at the edges, on the V30, everything is good and just looks incredible. Photo nerds will also love the vast level of options that LG have added to the V30s Camera, including an incredibly useful zooming functionality, which allows you to smoothly zoom seamlessly giving your videos a much more professional feel, which we love absolutely love.
Another area we’re incredibly in love with on the V30 comes down to Audio. Now, the V20 already had industry leading Audio from it’s 3.5mm headphone jack, thanks to a powerful 32-bit DAC and support for Lossless formats natively, this is the phone for Audiophiles! LG have proved time and time again to, not only Apple but other manufactures removing it too, that the headphone jack is still the more powerful solution for Audio output, and we love that. Do make sure you enable the High Performance DAC in the shortcuts top of Notification Shade though. Regardless we absolutely love the V30, just wish that LG’s skin didn’t annoy us.
Here it is, the new Galaxy Note 8. Following last years ill-fated Galaxy Note 7, it’s about time we have a fantastic new Galaxy Note device that we can actually play with, not only safely, but happily, and thankfully Samsung have absolutely perfected near every area of the Galaxy Note 8, resulting in what is easily their best Smartphone to date. One thing we would say though on that, is, naturally if you own a Galaxy S8 (or S8+) you pretty much have the same experience as the Note 8, minus the S-pen, just a disclaimer.
Whether it’s the display, even Samsung’s own software layer on top of Android, Samsung have really pulled it out of the park, plus the display doesn’t have the same over-curvature it does on the Galaxy S8, which, to us, we think, looks a lot better, but that’s the trademark Galaxy Note design of being a bit more square coming through. Don’t get us wrong, the Bixby button is still here, which remains a continual annoyance on Samsung’s 2017 lineup, and whether Samsung like it or not, we all would prefer to be at least able to disable or reconfigure the button, but alas.
One thing which is new to the Galaxy Note 8, not on the S8 devices, is the new Dual Camera set up. Samsung opted for the more traditional set up with their Dual Sensor, mimicking the iPhone 7 Plus devices in the rounds of using the second sensor as the Telephoto Camera, giving you an essential optical zoom on your device. One thing Samsung does at least offer compared to the iPhone (before the 8 Plus came along), is dual OIS in those Cameras, meaning the shots you take in both the main and the telephoto Camera should be much more smoother. Samsung compared an alleged iPhone 7 Plus with the Note 8, though don’t think convinced anyone at the Event that was an iPhone 7 Plus, unless they were severely shaking the thing, regardless though you should get better low light and smoothness out of both the lenses, just don’t play any more dirty marketing tricks Samsung.
So, there you go, this is our Top 5 Smartphones Q3 2017. What do you think of the list, if you disagree or feel we’ve missed some out please let us know, but until then we’ll be back with our Q4 Christmas list upon the start of December, which by then we should begin to hear about the upcoming Pixel 2, and round up the year 2017.