It’s getting to that time of the year again—Christmas. While the first thing that might have come to your mind at the sound of that may have been the person the day is about, for many, the first thing that comes to mind is gifts and shopping. One can argue that since the advent of smartphones, they have been some of the most sought after gift items. In fact, that’s the reason why most top-tier smartphone companies start announcing devices from around August…so they can feature prominently in the holiday shopping season.
In that light, I thought it’ll be fun to do a quick list of sorts, of the best smartphones money can buy at the moment. Unlike other years, where in my opinion, there’s been a lot of options to sort through, this year, more than ever, I feel like there have been clear leaders in certain categories as smartphones find new ways to differentiate from each other.
That said, in my opinion, here are the best phones money can buy as at today, not in any order.
Google Pixel 2 and Google Pixel 2 XL:
Following the success of the first generation of Pixel devices, which sort of blindsided everyone with how good they turned out to be, the Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL have built-on pretty much all the successes of the first generation. Paired with android Oreo, what you get is a refined smartphone experience, with hands down the best smartphone photography, all day battery and arguably the “smartest” smartphone out now.
While the Pixel 2 and 2XL are much different in size—the former featuring a 5-inch display and while the latter features a 6-inch display—and in aesthetics—the former is available in three colours and features obvious bezels and chins around the display, while the latter is available in just two colours and is mostly bezel-less) for all intents and purposes both devices are mostly the same inside and offer pretty much the same insides. (Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor, along with 4 GB of LPDDR4x RAM, 64 GB or 128 GB of on board storage options. You’ll be fine with either one.
These days, your smartphone OS choices are either iOS or android. If you are in the iOS camp, the iPhone X is the best option you can buy. Period. Apple says that with the X, it’s re-imagining the iPhone for the next decade and indeed, the iPhone X feels like a paradigm shift. The home button is gone and replaced with gestures swiped from BlackBerry 10 in my opinion, which I love a lot, fingerprint scanning is out and in its place FaceID, Animoji might be the start of a new means of communication and even the display is now OLED and end to end.
If you don’t want to fork out close to a $1000 dollars, the iPhone 8 and 8s are decent alternatives with some of the new features on the X packed in.
I personally do not rate LGs, particularly because I wasn’t super impressed with the V10, which I had a lot of high hopes for. However the V30 is LG’s third attempt at the V-line of devices and they’ve gotten a lot better over time. The V30 also takes the crown as LG’s best designed device till date, it’s stunningly good looking.
LG almost always gets the specs on paper right, and the V30 is no different, 6-inch display, Snapdragon 835, dual camera system (16+13MP), 4GB RAM, 64GB storage etc. While some of these specs don’t translate to a fantastic user experience (the display mostly in this case, performance is topnotch) one thing on the V30’s spec sheet that translates and blows away the competition is its Hi-Fi Quad-DAC audio system. It offers the best sound and audio performance on any smartphone till date.
If you’re an audiophile, and sound trumps every other thing to you, this is definitely the device to get.
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
In my opinion, no year has passed since the Galaxy S2 came out, that Samsung didn’t have a contender for best smartphone out and this year, after recovering from the battery issues that made the Note 7 a safety hazard, the Note 8 is one of the best smartphones out now.
The Note 8’s display is one of the best out now (even with the funky 18.5:9 aspect ratio), no one else does the stylus on smartphones like Samsung does, and with the new Note, they have managed to pack in even more features. And while, the dual-camera system on the note isn’t so much of a jump from the single camera on the Galaxy S8 (this is more credit to the S8, than anything), the extra 12 MP sensor with OIS allows you to take clear, concise photos and impressive portrait shots which Samsung lets you tweak as you deem fit.
This currently ships with android 7.1 though, but you can rest assured that it’ll get a taste of Oreo in the near feature.
The Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus are cheaper decent alternatives to the Note 8, and while they are months older, besides the stylus, which is a signature Note feature, you won’t be missing much with the flagship S-series devices.
Like I mentioned in at the beginning of this post, with smartphones this year, there are some clear leaders in certain features (photography, display, etc), but in my opinion, the OnePlus 5T is the first and only device on this list that doesn’t lead in any attribute. For the most part it feels like a “me too” device actually, the display is quite good, but not as great as many others, one can argue that aesthetically, it’s a pretty well designed device but it’s not the best looking or best designed one out there. It’s got android Oreo too, but so does the Pixel…etc.
What the 5T does that deservedly puts it on this list is that it manages to be great and nearly as good at most of these features as the flagship devices above for half the price! In fact, one could say its own super feature is the pricing.
The BlackBerry KeyOne
What’s a BlackBerry doing on a best smartphones you can buy list in 2017 you ask? Well, one word “Keyboard.” If you are like me and still deal with a fairly substantial number of emails daily, some of which need long replies, typing on glass doesn’t cut it. I’m currently still clutching the BlackBerry Passport from 3-years ago (mostly for the keyboard, but also because I prefer the workflow on BlackBerry 10 to all the other OS options out now), so if you are in the market for a device with a keyboard right now, the KeyOne is definitely your best bet.
Beyond the keyboard, the device features a battery that’ll easily last two days on one charge, and a quick charge option that can get you from 0-50% in just over 30-minutes, plus you get a decent camera, the full suit of android apps, a fingerprint scanner and almost everything you’ll want from a modern device.
There you have it.
Those are the best devices you can buy in my opinion in 2017. What are the best ones in your opinion? Let us know!