2017 turned out to be an insane year for smartphones. 2017 can also be seen as a climactic end to a build-up in popularity of smartphones in general. One of the reasons for this build up can be attributed to the number of good quality apps that are readily available. Another obvious reason is that modern day smartphones are just awesome and have now evolved into extremely powerful devices. I’m going to talk about these devices here, on my list of top 5 smartphones of 2017.
Top 5 Smartphones of 2017
Here is my list of the Top 5 Smartphones of 2017:-
- OnePlus 5T
- Google Pixel 2
- iPhone X
- LG G6
- Samsung S8
I have compiled this list in no significant order. The love I share with these devices are equally amazing and I wish I owned all. Even if it is totally impractical. I did, however, chose my favorite one from the lot. my answer is right at the bottom. Read on to find out…
One Plus 5T
Chinese tech manufactures OnePlus have been in the game since 2013. They are synonymous with delivering smartphones that are made by the people for the people. OnePlus pays very close attention to its customer base and usually delivers products that are very close to their client’s demands.
The OnePlus 5T is just that. It is an affordable smartphone that has everything. The phone literally has the same specs as other flagship smartphones but at a much lower price. It about has the price of the iPhone X. Its Qualcomm 835 processor is the same chip that you will find in other top flagships like the Pixel 2 and Samsung S8. This powerful hardware and near stock Android in the form of Oxygen OS is a smooth and enjoyable experience.
The OnePlus 5T uses touch ID as well as face ID for authentication. Face ID isn’t as secure as the iPhone X variant, but it is faster. Another great feature is Dash Charging which allows you to charge up the device from 0 to 60% in 30 mins without overheating the phone. Apart from having a USB Type-C port, there is also a 3mm headphone jack available. A port that is currently missing on most flagships today.
- Very affordable all-round package
- Great design
- Good Camera
- Dash Charge
Google Pixel 2
The original Google Pixel and Pixel XL were launched in October 2016. Google’s latest range of smartphones was very well received and became an absolute fan favorite. The devices were built by HTC and feature a pure Android 7.1 Nougat experience.
The Google Pixel 2 seems to have built upon the success of the original Pixel. The Pixel 2 is once again made by HTC and features a more “classic” smartphone design. The Pixel 2 XL, however, is manufactured by LG and has an updated 2017 18:9 display. It is a near bezel-less 6-inch display similar to the LG G6 FullVision display.
The 2017 Pixel 2 lineup is a great update indeed, but Google has been criticized for removing the headphone jack. Google actually made fun of Apple for removing the headphone jack on the iPhone 7 in 2016. Now they go and do the exact same now in 2017. You will need a USB-C to 3mm headphone jack adaptor if you wish to use wired headphones. The Google variant of this adaptor was twice the price of the Apple variant until they decided to lower the price. This year’s Pixel phones also do not come with headphones.
Almost Perfect Google/LG/HTC Smartphone
Another issue with the Pixel XL is that the screen has a blueish tint when viewed at an angle. Then there is the design choice of adding the antenna lines along the side of the device. There is actually a great video by Jerry Rig Everything, in which he puts the Pixel 2 through a bend test, which it fails! This is certainly something you can live with. But given the price, there seem to be too many compromises for one to deal with.
All this being said, the Pixel 2 is still the smartphone of choice by many tech enthusiasts around the world. The beautiful Stock Android experience and powerful hardware make the Pixel 2 the best Android phone you can get right now. Google has promised Pixel 2 owners many future Operating System updates. This is something that no other manufacturer can promise.
Pixel 2 XL Display Update
There has been a major update that was rolled out recently by Google for their Pixel 2 XL devices. You are now given options to choose the type of tint in regards to your display. Initially Google and LG chose to stick with a blueish tint by default (as mentioned above). This brings upon a massive sigh of relief towards consumers who where very upset with the Pixel 2 XL’s initial display.
- Best overall Android experience
- FullVision 2:1 aspect ratio screen
- First Android smartphone to receive future incremental updates
- Best Camera and software
The iPhone X is currently the most expensive commercial smartphone available at the moment. The only other smartphone that shares a similar price is the Galaxy Note 8. This is the iPhone that we have all been waiting for. A sexy, bezel-less, glass unibody design that is all glass and for the first time comes with wireless charging. The only issue with this design is that Notch. Owners of the iPhone X are divided in regards to their feelings towards the cutout at the top of the display.
At least there is an actual use for that notch. And that is to house the various cameras and sensors that go into making Apples Face ID work. Apple’s Face ID is the authentication method of choice for the iPhone X which in turn replaces Touch ID. Face ID is unlike any other facial recognition software which makes use of the front-facing camera to scan your face.
Face ID uses technology to project a 3D render on your face which it then scans (does not use the front camera). This is a much more secure process and can accommodate for times when you grow a beard or have a haircut.
A great experimental device which is considered to be the future of smartphones to many. Its groundbreaking features make it a buy worth considering. If you do choose to get one, please take care of it because that glass body cracks easily. I heard someone say that it’s cheaper to replace your windscreen than to replace an iPhone X glass! Nonetheless, the X still makes my list of Top 5 Smartphones of 2017.
- Face ID
- Wireless Charging
- Battery Life
- Pushes the boundaries of Augmented Reality
- Insanely powerful Processing Chip
The LG G6 was the first smartphone to be released in 2017 with that gorgeous “FullVision” display. The G6 is one of the pioneers of the 18:9 or 2:1 screen ratio. A near perfect device, The LG G6 is still the smartphone to beat in 2017.
Even though the G6 did tick off all the right boxes, it still did not make as big of an impact as it should have. Its release and sales were overshadowed by the Samsung S8, a device with a marketing campaign that put LG to shame.
Nevertheless, the LG G6 is still an amazing smartphone if you look past its shortcomings, which in fact is actually not that much. It has a slightly outdated Processor (Snapdragon 821) as compared to the 2017 flagship Snapdragon 835 processor. Even though LG’s Android experience is very good and close to stock, it still has an insane amount of bloatware on the device.
One of the G6’s biggest selling points has to be its camera. Apart from taking very high-quality pictures, it can also take out wide angle pictures. This mode is available on both the front and rear-facing camera. Wide Angle mode makes for ultra-dramatic photos. Once you start taking pictures this way, you will not be able to use a normal camera afterward. Many other smartphone manufacturers have now followed suit in this regard by including wide angle lenses in their smartphones.
These are not big drawbacks or deal breakers at all. In fact, the LG G6 is still an amazing device and its recent drops in pricing make it a great device to go for right now. Below are some of the G6’s outstanding features:-
- Slim, minimal, glass unibody design is great.
- Super fast fingerprint reader works great even if your hand is wet.
- Headphone Jack
- FullVision 2:1 aspect ratio screen
- Wide Angle Camera
Samsung unveiled its stunning S8 smartphone during the second quarter of 2017. The design is not just an evolution of the previous S7 edge, but a design that now features a nearly bezel-less design. Samsung followed LG’s FullVision display by inserting their own 18:1 aspect ratio OLED screen. The screen was very well received upon release. OLED panels are well known for producing very dark blacks and bright whites.
I actually feel as if I am writing about a device that came out a few years ago. New smartphones are being released on such a regular basis that just a few months seem like years! That is why the unveiling of the gorgeous S8 feels like its been a few years ago. At the time of its release (and within the next few months that followed), the S8 felt like it was going to be number one on everyone’s top 5 smartphones of 2017 list. But even this great phone was quickly forgotten and attention jumped towards other amazing phones that were released later in the year.
The reason for such praise was not only the S8’s great design and screen but also its great camera and wireless charging. Samsung has done well with these two features over the last few years. The only drawbacks to the S8 are its delicate full glass design, oddly placed fingerprint sensor and its massive bloatware. Samsung installs their own variants of the same stock android apps on the S8. You will find two internet explorers and music apps as well as email apps.
Bloatware and Bixby
The need for these apps is very unnecessary. Android users prefer stock google apps and don’t really care to use a Samsung email app. I usually install googles “inbox” 3rd party app. You usually will find googles voice assistant on most android phones. On the S8 you get just that and Bixby, Samsung’s version of a voice assistant.
I want to say that Bixby is a failed attempt by Samsung, but amidst poor reviews, Samsung continues to push the software forward in the hopes of gaining some real success. In theory, Bixby is very powerful because it has deeper control over the commands within your apps. Bixby and type out a text message and send it your recipient. All this is executed by your own voice.
- Great design that very comfortable
- Great camera
- Comes with probably the best pair of headphones (AKG)
- Super AMOLED Infinity display
It has truly been an amazing year for smartphones. Choosing the top 5 smartphones of 2017 was an insane task and I actually feel bad to leave out other great smartphones from this year. So here is a list of some of the other top smartphones of 2017:-
- Razer Phone – Massive smartphone made for gaming
- Essential Phone – Elegant ceramic smartphone with a tiny notch at the top
- iPhone 8 – Classic design meets the fastest processor on the market
- Huawei Honor 7x – Cheap smartphone with flagship personality
- Huawei Mate 10 – Absolute best to come out of China
- LG V30 – That DAC high audio headphone jack will blow you away
Being a bit of an Apple Fan Boy I would have liked to say that the iPhone X was the best of the year. But after spending a lot of time using Android, I have fully embraced the change and I am loving it. If I had to choose my favorite out of this list, it would definitely be the OnePlus 5T.
Let me know which is your favorite smartphone of 2017 in comments. I really would like to know.
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