Choosing the best phone is nearly as important as choosing a new car. Whether you’re using your phone to entertain yourself during a boring day, messaging friends and family, or operating your small business, the right phone is essential to almost all parts of modern life.
Have you been putting off buying a new phone or are you due for an upgrade? Every year, the smartphone market is flooded with amazing devices, but how can you choose the best phone for your own needs? This comprehensive guide has narrowed down the playing field, making it easier for you to find the right phone for you.
Important Features to Look For
Before you go diving into our list of best phones, there are a few important qualities of a phone you should understand. Firstly, not all phones are created equal! From the “guts” on the inside to the glass screen on the outside, a variety of materials and components makes each phone different. Let’s take a look at the most important qualities of a smartphone to help you make the right choice.
- Screen. The best phone should come with a high definition (HD) resolution screen, which means 720p (1280 × 720) or higher. However, most phones today have at least 1080p resolution, and within a few years, 4k resolution on our phones will probably be reality.
Why should you care about screen resolution? Even if you don’t plan on playing games or watching videos, an HD resolution will makes websites, photos, and apps look better. And the better something looks, the more you enjoy it, right?
Screen size is another important consideration, and most phones range from 4 to 6 inches. Unless you can go to a store and physically hold a phone, it can be hard to guess which size to get. If you have small hands and don’t plan on watching many videos, the 4 inch is probably fine. If you have big hands and/or like to watch videos and play games on your phone, a 6 inch screen or larger may be best for you.
- Storage Capacity. Like a computer, storing pictures, videos, apps, and games takes up storage space in your phone. Most phones have a storage capacity of 4 GB to 128 GB. Some phones even hold a micro SD card to increase storage. Our recommendation is to get the most storage that you can afford. There’s nothing more annoying than getting an error message that says you’ve run out of free space.
- RAM. RAM is the amount of memory a phone has. In a very simple way to explain it, RAM is like short term memory and determines how quickly and efficiently a device can multitask. For example, if you’re browsing the internet and suddenly check another app, and then quickly switch to the camera, and your phone does this without missing a beat, good RAM is to thank. Like most things technology, the more RAM the better.
- Battery Life. Phone companies typically advertise their battery life in terms of how long you can talk or listen to music (12 hours of talk time / 8 hours of video). If you look closer, you’ll see a technical spec – “mAh”.
Battery life is measured in mAh. The longer a battery can hold a charge, the higher its mAh. The best phone will have a battery life of at least 1,300 mAh, but some go all the way up to 4,000 mAh. If the phone you really like has poor battery life, you could consider a portable or a battery case.
- Camera. Young, old, or somewhere in between, everyone loves to take pictures. When camera phones first became popular, we marveled at 1 megapixel pictures. Now, 8, 12, and even 20 megapixel cameras are built right into our phones. Don’t get too hung up on the megapixel count, what really matters is the specs we’ve already discussed.
Best Phone for 2017 Comparison Guide
Reviews of the Top Rated Phones
Built upon the Snapdragon 810 chipset and Android 6.0 Marshmallow operating system, the Huawei Nexus 6P is a highly rated phone with features that can keep even the most demanding user happy. The Huawei Nexus 6P comes from a long line of top of the line Android smartphones and was co-developed with Google. Since its launch, the Huawei Nexus 6P has been called the best phone Android has to offer.
The best Huawei Nexus 6P features include:
- 64 GB of storage and 3 GB of RAM
- 5.7” AMOLED touchscreen with a 1440 x 2560 resolution
- 12.3 MP main camera and 8 MP screen camera
- 3,450 mAh battery
- Fingerprint recognition sensor
In addition to these industry-leading specs, the Nexus 6P’s all metal body is crafted from aircraft grade aluminium.
A few flaws have affected some users, such as the camera’s glass cracking spontaneously (due to rapid temperature changes). Another noted problem is that the Nexus 6P can bend easily, so be careful when getting too active with the phone in your pocket. Finally, users have reported issues with the screen not automatically rotating from landscape to portrait mode. However, these issues are rare and you likely won’t encounter them.
Considered Samsung’s best phone to date, the Galaxy S7 Edge is a blend of the most demanded qualities from its past offerings, combined with new cutting edge features. The Galaxy S7 Edge has an improved camera, re-added microSD card capability, and the new Snapdragon 820 chip.
But first, for the uninitiated, what is “the edge”? Samsung has extended the screen by wrapping it around one side of the phone. This side “edge” screen is most useful when the phone is lying face down. The edge displays notifications, date and time, news ticker, and more. If someone is calling and you can’t answer, with a push of the edge, you can send them a message saying “Call you later!”, all without ever turning your phone over. Basically, the edge lets you look at your phone without really looking at it.
- 32 GB of internal storage (can be increased with microSD card)
- 4 GB of RAM
- 5.5” 1440p Super AMOLED screen
- 12 MP rear camera, 5 MP front camera
- 3,600 mAh battery
- Android 6.0 Marshmallow
- Rated IP68 for water resistance and dust proofing
However, one continuous downfall of the Galaxy lineup is the inclusion of “bloatware” – factory installed software that takes up space and that can’t be uninstalled easily. The Galaxy S7 Edge comes with 8 GB of preinstalled software.
The Galaxy S7 is one of the most potent rivals to the Apple iPhone, and has many features that the iPhone doesn’t.
The iPhone SE is Apple’s budget friendly version, replacing the iPhone 5S and 5C. The iPhone SE is very powerful, fast, and backed by Apple’s uncanny engineering. Like the iPhone 6S, the iPhone SE uses the A9 chipset and M9 motion processor. Built using the iPhone 5S housing, the iPhone SE is smaller, perfect for those who don’t like the large size of the iPhone 6.
- 16 GB of storage and 2 GB of RAM
- 4” Retina screen at 1136 × 640 resolution
- 12 megapixel rear camera (same as iPhone 6S) and 1.2 megapixel front camera
- 1,624 mAh battery
In terms of storage capacity, battery life, screen size, and extra features, the iPhone SE isn’t as enticing as its competitors. Some users were quite disappointed with the lower than average battery life. Others have had problems with the iPhone SE dropping calls, but this can be alleviated by updating your iOS, reinserting the SIM card, or restoring to factory defaults.
Even if the iPhone SE doesn’t have as good of battery life or storage, for those who have Apple iOS in their DNA or someone who just wants to see what the iPhone hype is all about, the iPhone SE is one of the best phone models of 2017 and beyond.
Seeing opportunity in the unlocked smartphone market, the Moto X Pure is priced and tailored for those who want as few strings attached as possible. While not as up to date as other Android phones, Motorola’s Moto X Pure is the best phone if you’re on a budget but don’t want to sacrifice must-have features.
- 32 GB of internal storage (with microSD card compatibility)
- 3 GB of RAM
- 5.7″ 1440p screen
- 21 MP rear camera, 5 MP front camera
- 3,000 mAh battery
- Water-repellant coating
Very few issues have been reported with the Moto X Pure, but one prevalent concern is speaker crackling, which most often occurs when at max volume. If this happens to you, exchange your phone for a new one.
As one of the most affordable unlocked phones, the Moto X Pure is a superb bargain that doesn’t skimp on critical features. With more storage, RAM, and battery than the iPhone SE, this is the best phone for those just entering the smartphone world or want to see what Android has to offer.
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