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The 5 best smartphones you can buy right now

by Brandon Russell | May 19, 2017

This year is shaping up to be incredible for mobile enthusiasts, and we’re already seeing what the market has to bare. Both the LG G6 and Galaxy S8 are impressive feats of engineering, and promise to usher in a new frontier of super-advanced smartphones.

With spring in full swing, we thought it prudent to take a look at the devices worth checking out right now. Don’t worry, we’ll have one looking ahead toward the iPhone 8, Google Pixel 2, and so on.

It’s always tough to recommend something when we know full well better things are on the way. But you can’t go wrong with any of the recommendations listed below.

These are in no particular order.

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Galaxy S8

Following the disastrous Note 7 recall, Samsung desperately needed a hit. Enter the Galaxy S8. The company’s newest device is (almost) everything we hoped for. With a gorgeous Infinity Display, excellent camera, and immaculate design, the S8 is precisely what Samsung needed—and a welcome reprieve from the unfortunate nightmare of last year. Phones don’t get better than this.

Key specs:

  • 5.8-inch display (1440×2960)
  • Snapdragon 835 chip
  • 12-megapixel camera
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 3,000mAh battery
  • Android 7.0
  • 64GB of internal storage
  • MicroSD card support for up to 256GB
  • Iris scanner, fingerprint sensor, facial recognition
  • Wireless charging, IP68 rated, Samsung DeX
  • Starts at $724

Google Pixel

The Google Pixel isn’t the prettiest phone around, and it’s lacking in hardware features (namely, no expandable memory and a wimpy IP rating). But it sports fantastic software and its camera is arguably the best on the market. You also get free high-quality Google Photos storage, which is a hugely underrated perk. With the Nexus line all but dead, the Pixel is a great choice for Android purists.

Key specs:

  • 5-inch display (1080×1920)
  • Snapdragon 821 chip
  • 12-megapixel camera
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 2770mAh battery
  • Android 7.1
  • 32GB or 128GB of internal storage
  • Fingerprint sensor
  • Free unlimited original quality Google Photos storage
  • Starts at $649

 

iPhone 7 Plus

A dual-lens camera, 5.5-inch display, and long-lasting battery make the iPhone 7 Plus Apple’s best smartphone ever. And even though it’s several months old, it’s still incredibly nimble, offering lightning-fast operation and access to a vast array of apps. But the best feature of all? Its home button, which uses a taptic engine to provide users with physical feedback. It may be falling behind devices like the Galaxy S8, but there’s plenty to love about Apple’s biggest, most advanced device.

Key specs:

  • 5.5-inch display (1080×1920)
  • A10 Fusion chip
  • Dual 12-megapixel camera
  • iOS 10
  • 32GB, 128GB, and 256GB of internal storage
  • 3GB of RAM
  • Fingerprint sensor
  • 2,900mAh battery
  • IP67 rated
  • Starts at $769

 

OnePlus 3T

At $439, it’s hard not to love the OnePlus 3T. It features one of the best designs on the market, excellent software, and some otherworldly specs, including a Snapdragon 821 processor and 6GB of RAM. It does lack expandable storage and certified water resistance, and you can forget about using it on Verizon or Sprint. However, the build quality, fast performance, and long battery life will cancel out whatever shortcomings the device has.

Key specs:

  • 5.5-inch display (1080×1920)
  • Snapdragon 821 chip
  • 16-megapixel camera
  • 6GB of RAM
  • 3,400mAh battery
  • Oxygen OS (Android 7.0)
  • 64GB or 128GB of internal storage
  • Dual-SIM support
  • Fingerprint sensor
  • Starts at $439

LG G6

The LG G6 is notable because of its slick design and 18:9 display. What’s most impressive about the device is its dual-lens camera, one that offers a 70-degree field of view and the other a wide-angle 125-degree view. If you’re not impressed by the flash of Samsung’s Galaxy S8, the G6 is a worthy alternative that offers everything you could want, including IP68 dust and water resistance, wireless charging, expandable storage, and more.

Key specs:

  • 5.7-inch display (1440×2880)
  • Snapdragon 821 chip
  • Dual 13-megapixel camera
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 3,300mAh battery
  • 32GB or 64GB of internal storage
  • MicroSD card support up to 256GB
  • IP68 rated
  • Fingerprint sensor
  • Wireless charging
  • Starts at $650

 


Narrowing it down to just five phones is tough because there are so many good ones available right now. Huawei’s Mate 9, for example, is a powerful alternative that we absolutely love. Meanwhile, the Moto G5 and Moto G5 Plus offer a great Android experience for just a few hundred dollars.

Then you have to consider the phones that are coming. We’re completely content with the Galaxy S8 and LG G6, but we’ll soon see a OnePlus 5, Google Pixel 2, iPhone 8, and Galaxy Note 8. If you practice a little patience, it may be worth it to hold out.

Of course, that’s the dilemma consumers have every year. To wait or not to wait? Bottom line: If you need something right this second, the five devices mentioned above are excellent choices.


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Brandon Russell

Brandon Russell enjoys writing about technology and entertainment. When he's not watching Back to the Future, you can find him on a hike or watching...Brandon Russell enjoys writing about technology and entertainment. When he's not watching Back to the Future, you can find him on a hike or watching...