Best SmartphonesUpdated on: August 4, 2018
Mobile phones and the way we use them have developed rapidly over the years offering us more choices than we ever had before.
Today, having a smartphone seems like an evident choice for half of the human population because of all the convenience it offers and because, well almost everyone has one. These devices help in keeping us connected to the digital world 24/7/365 and stay up to date on social media, keep track of our appointments, our money, how much we eat and walk and so on. A smartphone gives us the ability to keep track of and calculate every aspect of our lives that can be digitalized.
So from this perspective, every smartphone can be viewed as the same, yet that is far from the truth. Depending on our personal preference, we have a lot of choices to make and more importantly, we want to choose the highest quality possible for the money we’re giving.
Needless to say, choosing the smartphone that consistently serves you well is a big deal. Here we are going to give a guide on how to do so. It’s easy to feel stupid when you’re looking over the hundreds of available phones while trying to find the one for you.
We’ll tell you of the technical aspects, the different choices you have in terms of price and how you can leverage all that knowledge to make smart and reasonable choices when buying a smartphone.
How to Choose The Right Smartphone?
The days when mobiles were only used to make phone calls are gone and it would be very smart to be up to speed with the current technologies available to us.
An operating system manages a computer’s (your phone’s) resources and they provide you with a user interface.
You have three main choices when it comes to operating systems: Android, iOS and Windows. Which operating system you use can often decide which apps you can use from the hundreds of thousands available.
You have three choices: Android, iOS and Windows Phone.
The Android has 82% of the worldwide smartphone market, because it is much more customizable and holds a lot more applications and possibilities than the iOS. It is an Open Source operating system while the iOS is a closed one. It can only be found on Apple products such as the iPhone, iPod and iPad.
The Windows Phone is a mobile optimized version of the well-known computer operating system. It uses the dubbed Metro interface which is made of interchangeable and movable square sections.
You’ll be carrying that device around a lot, so it’s best to make sure that it has the size and form that suits you the best. But if you don’t care much about build quality or aesthetics, you’ll find that most popular phones such as the Galaxy 7s and the iPhone 6s feature a great unibody design that makes them fit comfortably in every hand.
Most smartphones today have dual cameras and also feature optical image stabilization that makes sure your pictures don’t blur and that they are also much sharper under low-light conditions. It’s good to look through a few pictures taken with your chosen device to get a solid idea of its performance.
The processor decides how fast your apps open and how well games play. It also gives way to faster app operation such as photo editing. Look through a few performance results to get a clear idea of how well each phone performs compared to their competition.
Some apps take up only a few hundred kilobytes while games might take up 1GB of space. But if you constantly take high resolution photos and videos, you’ll run out of storage space fairly quickly. So it’s best to nail a phone with 32GB or 16GB of storage space such as the iPhone 7 or the Samsung Galaxy s7.
RAM (Random Access Memory) is a crucial for multitasking. The standard is about 2GB of RAM, but if you want to have a fluid experience, it is best if you go with phones that have 4GB of RAM. 1GB of RAM doesn’t do much these days.
Battery life has one of the biggest impacts on your experience. We want to use or device for as long as possible.
How long a battery lasts on a single charge depends on specs such as the processor, the screen size and how excessively you use it. Naturally, the more powerful the processor and the bigger the screen, the more power your phone consumes.
The Best Smartphones of 2017
We have reviewed the top smartphones of the year 2017, what hardware they use and how well they perform according to their price tag. Here you’ll find the 10 best smartphones that are out on the market today.
iPhones have been a huge hit over the past years and Apple continues to give users more of what they love about their products. The iPhone 7 brings the same robust system that people are used to, along with a few unique additions such as water resistance and a quad-core processor and a slight longer battery life.
As all other iPhones, the iPhone 7 isn’t much to look at. Its beauty lies in simplicity and ease of use. The phone is made out of metal which makes it very sturdy, yet it still has a very smooth touch and doesn’t slip one bit. It is available in three colors: Gold, Rose Gold, Silver and Black.
The only downside is that fingerprints stick like glue and it’s easy to get it scratched up, so you best treat it with care. Yet the exterior of the phone clearly reflects that it can withstand a lot of environmental effects such as a few hard hits and water damage.
Performance and Usability
The 4.7” Retina HD display with 3D touch got a 25% brightness boost compared to different models and has a lot more color as well. There is a lack of sharpness that you’ll probably notice though. Otherwise you’ll be more than satisfied with the screens performance as it has a nice number of pixels thanks to the HD resolution. The display is turned on all the time, letting you see the time without even touching the phone. This feature doesn’t consume a lot of battery and is very useful to have.
The iPhone 7 manages to stay among the most powerful phones yet it still uses 2GB of RAM. You’ll have 32GB, 128 GB and 256GB storage options. The new quad-core processor and the A10 fusion chip allow some decent 3D gaming and multi-tasking a high speed. This version of the iPhone is 30% more powerful than the previous iPhone 6.
Apple stays consistent with the new iOS 10 that packs a lot of updates that we won’t go into here.
Samsung Galaxy S7
Samsung has already won the world over with the previous versions of the Galaxy smart phone and now it has rolled out with the Galaxy S7, which is the most complete smartphone I have ever seen. All the goodies such as the superb camera, glorious display and the stunning performance come with a hefty price tag but it is well worth it. It can easily be the best Android smartphone out there as only few compare to it.
Samsung didn’t change much from the S6 in terms of design but the Galaxy S7 still looks very familiar. It is strong, solid and inspires confidence. Having both sides of the phone covered in Gorilla Glass 4 and being waterproof ads a level of safety.
The entire phone has the dimensions of 142.4 x 69.6 x 7.9mm which makes it incredibly flat. It’s much flatter than its previous version. The shape and size of the Galaxy S7 is made so that it is easy to hold confidently as it rests comfortably in your hand or between your fingers.
Performance and Usability
The 5.1-inch quad HD display produces ridiculously sharp images that are just so pleasing to the eyes. The 12 MP camera produces excellently detailed pictures even low-lighting conditions. It works quickly so you won’t ever miss those perfect moments, worthy of a shot.
Thanks to the Exynos 8890 processor and the 4GB of RAM, games and applications run like an absolute dream. You’ll experience no lag or delay when browsing or multitasking, which gives way to a lot of freedom in how you’re using your smartphone. The battery will last a whole day under excessive use with plenty of juice to spare.
The Galaxy s7 was originally released with Android 6.0, but now the Android 7.0 Nougat is available which will make this great phone even better.
HTC One M9
Consistent with the other two phones mentioned in this list, the HTC One 9 doesn’t put a huge surprise to the table; it rather goes with the design that’s proven to work, while doubling down on the specs sheet.
It offers one of the most powerful pair of speakers smartphones have ever seen and creates brilliant and clear photos with a 20MP rear camera.
The M9 is a good looking phone with a slick and elegant design made to feel like a truly premium phone. The phone isn’t too slim but it doesn’t feel heavy at all with 157g of weight. It will rest in your hands perfectly thanks to the curvature on the back that makes it a lot more easier to grip and its solid metal texture makes it a lot less slippery than most phones.
The power button and volume buttons were very conveniently place on the right hand side, where you can easily reach them while still holding your phone comfortably. You’ll also find the microSD card slot there as well, which can handle up to 2TB memory cards.
The phone is available in three designs, Silver, Gold/Pink, Silver/Gold.
Performance and Usability
One of the HTC M9’s most outstanding features is the powerful BoomSound Dolby Audio surround speakers. They provide an excellent audio experience and that is rare to come across in smartphones.
The camera is where this phone has been really developed further than the rest. The 20 megapixel rear camera takes crystal clear photos which is a solid upgrade from the previous version’s UltraPixel setup. It manages to create some great images even in low lighting conditions and you’ll love to take selfies with the 4 megapixel camera in the front.
The 5-inch 1080p (Full HD) LCD screen is the same as the previous versions and it still shines in beautiful colors.
Google, the search engine giant has finally made its debut in the smartphone market. It has managed to create an outstanding product in the first try but it does come with a hefty price tag. It is super-fast thanks to the best available version of Android and can make some truly stunning pictures.
The Pixel also supports VR thanks to its speedy processor.
You can buy either the 5 inch version or the 5.5 inch version the Pixel XL. Here we are going to review the 5 inch version.
As we already come to get used to it, smartphones of this era don’t seem to change that much even in instances like this. Google has produced its first ever phone yet the design remains the same as with all the other smartphones out there. It does looks a lot better than some of the most popular ones like the iPhone or the HTC M series though.
The exterior of the phone is composed of glass and metal which is a must have for premium phones nowadays. It is thin and wide enough to be one of the most comfortable to hold smartphones. It is engineered perfectly for one hand use.
You have a 3.5 mm headphone jack on the top and the fingerprint sensor on the back which might bother someone depending on their taste but it doesn’t bother me one bit.
Performance and Usability
The latest version of Android, the 7.1 Nougat runs like a dream on the Google Pixel and makes it incredibly fast and a joy to use. It also gives way to some amazing virtual reality experiences that you can enjoy out of the box. The powerful Snapdragon 821 quad-core processor and the 4GB of RAM ensure that you can play any power hungry game and do some heavy multitasking seamlessly.
You’ll also have a very intelligent context-understanding virtual assistant who is a lot smarter than Cortana or Siri.
The 12.3 MP camera creates crisp clear pictures and enables Full HD video recording and the 5 inch AMOLED display provides a very colorful and bright image.
The Google Pixel was engineered simply to keep you at the peak of performance at all times and it succeeds wonderfully at that.
The first version of the OnePlus smartphone has hot a lot of fans over the years. This is the third installment of the OnePlus and provides the performance and power of premium phones at a much lower price. It is a competitor for other well-established brands on the market. It is full of goodies and hardware powerful enough to make you wonder why it doesn’t cost double the price.
The full-metal exterior design gives a premium look resembling Samsung, HTC and iPhone, but almost every brand uses the same look. The front is covered in Gorilla Glass 4 and features a fingerprint scanner in the oval shaped home button.
The OnePlus 3T has the dimensions of 152.7 x 74.7 x 7.4mm and it is 7.35 mm thick. You’ll find the volume buttons and the notification slider on the left side which can be set to priority notifications only, all notifications or silent mode.
The USB-C port, the speaker and the 3.5 mm jack can be found on the top part of the device.
Performance and Usability
The OnePlus 3T is a very capable phone in terms of performance. But it lacks a micro SD slot and QHD resolution which is kind of a letdown but if you can work with 64GB of internal storage you’ll find that it is more than satisfying.
It has the newest Snapdragon 821 quad-core processor, the same that the high-end Google Pixel uses. The 6GB of RAM ensures that the system has all the support it needs to do any kind of demanding tasks.
This gorgeous device performs amazingly when it’s time to take photos as well, thanks to the 16MP main camera with phase detection autofocus and a single LED flash. Some premium devices have an 8MP main camera while the OnePlus 3T boasts an 8MP front-facing camera for taking insanely sharp selfies and recording 1080p videos.
The Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow based Oxygen OS runs as smooth as butter. What makes this phone even more functional is the incredibly fast battery charging that can get the battery up to 60% in 30 minutes.
The OnePlus T3 is a top competitor in every way and is the perfect venture for someone who wants to use an incredibly powerful phone at an affordable price.
Huawei managed to pave its way into the big name’s playing field such as Apple, Samsung and HTC. The high specs and a premium design at a lower price is what define the Huawei P9. It also boasts dual lens tech and an incredibly fast fingerprint scanner which really puts it on top of the game.
The Huawei P9 didn’t break any new grounds when it comes to design, but it managed to create a more compact and comfortable model than other popular smartphones out there such as the iPhone 7. It has the dimensions of 145 x 71 x 7mm and only few millimeters thin.
The back of the phone is covered in aluminum which gives a really premium feel and makes it much less likely to slip. The well rounded corners and edges of the P9 make it a joy to hold even after extensive use.
This model is available in silver, grey and three different types of gold color.
Performance and Usability
One of the main highlights of the Huawei P9 is the Lecia dual-camera setup. If you don’t know, Lecia is a brand that produces top-notch cameras. They have graced the P9 with a 12-megapixel camera that can capture 300% more light than most smartphone cameras out there. You’ll easily be able to take some professional grade photos with it.
The HiSilicon Kirin 955 processor provides a lot of horsepower for making your device consistently work at high speed. You’ll easily play demanding 3D games and do some heavy multitasking. 3GB of RAM makes sure that your experience is always fluid without even a bit of lag.
The P9 runs on Android 6 Marshmallow software but the Emotion User Interface 4 makes it look different from what you would expect from a basic Android setup.
LG Nexus 5X
Google has come back to the market with a compact and future proof model that boasts 12MP camera and comes at a much lower price than other flagship models. The nicely saturated display and the speedy performance make it a joy to use. The beautifully rounded corners and thin body give it an exceptionally smooth touch. All of its processing power comes at a much lower price than you would expect at first.
The Nexus 5X has been crafted for optimal one handed use. It is very lightweight and features a 5.2-inch display along with the dimensions of 147 x 72.6 x 7.9mm. The screen size has been maximized yet the phone is still comfortable to hold. This lightweight design is thanks to the thin metal frame and the polycarbonate back. The screen is covered with Gorilla Glass 3, so it can handle a few hits.
The rear camera is exceptionally large which is completely understandable since it is very powerful. You’ll find the not so fast fingerprint scanner under it and the volume and power buttons on the side. On the bottom of the phone, there is the USB-C port paired with the ever-lasting 3.5 mm headphone jack.
Performance and Specs
The Nexus 5X isn’t a premium smartphone at all but it still provides a lot of functionality and horsepower.
The 5.2 inch Full HD LCD display gives a clear and exceptionally bright image. It is also very responsive and such a large screen gives more space for apps. You also have the 5X single front-facing speaker for sound.
The Snapdragon 808 1.8GHz hexa-core processor provides a lot of horsepower but it does occasionally slow down. The 2GB of LPDDR3 RAM isn’t too much but plenty enough to keep your phone running smoothly. This is also thanks to the unskinned version of the Android 6.0 Marshmallow which brings a number of innovations.
The 12.3 megapixel rear camera promises to capture some wonderful images even in low lighting conditions and you’ll be able to take some clear selfies with the 5 megapixel front facing camera.
The only downside of the Nexus 5X is that it doesn’t have a microSD card reader so you’ll have to settle with either 16GB or 32GB of internal storage.
Sony Xperia XZ
Sony has created their best smartphone models yet. It is a premium handset that offers all the performance and convenience you would expect from a high-quality phone. But its fingerprint scanner wasn’t made for every market and it is missing a QHD display which is expected of flagship phones. It’s a great phone but it doesn’t match up to other flagship phones such as the Samsung Galaxy S7.
Sony has always designed their Xperia series in a way that makes it recognizable. A boxy design with smooth edges and the slightly curved 2.5D glass gives it a very slick look. It fits comfortably in any hand and the back is made of quality metal which is called ALKAEIDO. The sides are covered in plastic yet the entire phone feels very sturdy in your hand. The corners are reinforced to absorb the impact in case you drop your phone.
We can see the return of the waterproof design with this model which adds +1 to safety.
Performance and Usability
The Xperia XZ has a 5.2 inch 1080p LCD screen that makes every image look super sharp and enables everything look very lively. It doesn’t have a QHD resolution. But the X-Reality mode makes up for it with settings that boost the contrast and color saturation of photos and other media.
The Xperia XZ boasts a 23 MP rear camera with a laser autofocus to capture great action shots. On the front you’ll find a 13MP camera that takes some very impressive selfies. It has a base storage space of 32 GB which can be expanded to 256 GB, thanks to the MicroSD card slot.
A Snapdragon 820 processor handles all the heavy lifting. It is one of the best processors on the market right now and it offers a very fluid user experience with the help of 3GB RAM. It offers very solid and reliable performance. The system is running on Android 6 Marshmallow software which is known to have a lot speedier and more fluid performance than all of its other versions.
It can also handle just about any game or app you throw at it. It also features a few unique apps such as PlayStation, Movie Creator and Xperia Lounge which provide a unique experience you won’t find on any other phone.
Motorola Moto Z Play
Lenovo has created a phone with one of the best battery lives out there. The Moto Z Play can last two days straight on a single charge. It doesn’t perform too powerfully and the camera isn’t too impressive either but it comes at a lower price which makes up for it. It is one of the cheapest phones in the Z series and is a great device for most casual users.
Not many smartphone manage to bring something new in terms of design and the Moto Z Play didn’t do it either. It has a flat glass back and an aluminum frame that gives it a sturdy feel. Yet the phone is only 165grams. Being so light makes it quite attractive for many, yet I like phones that have more weight to them because they feel much safer to hold in your pocket.
This device has the dimensions of 156.4 x 76.4 x 6.99mm. It’s as thin as 7mm, just as you would expect from premium models. You can easily lock and unlock the screen with the fingerprint sensor, which is very convenient.
It’s a great phone in itself, but Motorola has added a number of great attachable accessories that can turn this great phone into a monstrous machine. You can install the True Zoom Camera, a Power Pack, a projector and a lot more.
Performance and Usability
The 5.5-inch Full HD AMOLED display capable of 2K resolution is great in itself, but it is also a Moto Active display which senses your presence at all times.
The Snapdragon 625 processor paired with 3GB of RAM isn’t the most powerful setup on the market but it will be enough for handling all the gaming and multimedia tasks you would need. Every app performs well on the Moto Z and it overall performance is pretty fast.
The 16-megapixel camera takes clear, decent shots and the laser autofocus functions perfectly and is fast to lock onto objects that are in a close range. Images have a fine level of detail and decent color reproduction.
Multimedia is one of its strong suits of the Moto Z thanks to the outstanding display and audio. You can play all of your high resolution videos (including 4K) seamlessly which is a big bonus.
The Moto Z Play could have a more powerful processor but the number of available extensions, great camera and multimedia options more than make up for it.
ALCATEL OneTouch Idol 3
ALCATEL has created its first flagship smartphone that sells for around $200, making it the most inexpensive smartphone in this list. It offers everything that you’re used to having with premium models, as it’s trying to compete with the likes of Apple and Samsung. It boasts powerful enough specs for it to go head to head with phones that cost three times as much.
ALCATEL gave a very classy design to the OneTouch Idol 3. You won’t see any aluminum like you would with other high-end smartphones, yet the plastic exterior works well enough. The matte black colored back that is covered with a brushed texture makes the Idol 3 very eye catching. It is a prime example of a great looking plastic phone.
Performance and Usability
Don’t let the price tag of the OneTouch Idol 3 fool you as this device performs really well!
It has a 5.5 inch Full HD 1080p IPS LCD display with a 2K resolution providing an amazingly sharp image and is exceptionally bright. It’s not as good as Samsung Galaxy s7’s display but is outstanding compared to the price.
The Snapdragon 615 CPU paired with 2GB of RAM and the Adreno 405 GPU are responsible for handling all of your tasks. It is capable of running demanding 3D games without having any problem with the frame rate. Yet heavy multitasking sessions really slow it down to the point where basic web browsing becomes a bit laggy.
The OneTouch Idol 3 features an amazing 13-megapixel rear camera with 2.0 aperture lens that help in making great pictures under low lighting conditions and a LED flash as well. The camera relies purely on simplicity which makes it very convenient to use.
Overall, the ALCATEL OneTouch Idol 3 is one of the very best smartphones that offer great performance at such a low price.
Buying the right smartphone can be ridiculously easy if you’re only looking for a device to make calls, send messages and browse the internet a little. But if you seek to get the most out of today’s mobile hardware at the most reasonable price, you’ll have yourself some reading to do because it isn’t an easy task at all.
If you know what you want, some of the phones enlisted here are bound to appeal to you. Whether you have $200 or $1500 in your pocket, you’ll definitely find a phone that performs well in every aspect you prefer. There aren’t many differences in terms of looks and design as all the brands seek to provide what is most wanted. The major difference phones offer is their user interface, their camera and how well they can handle multitasking.
This top 10 list provides you with the most powerful phones on the market. You’ll easily find one that suits you well in every way.
I hope that this article provided you with enough information to make a reasonable decision in choosing the right smartphone for yourself!