Hello, and welcome to our 2016 Smartphone of the Year awards. In previous years, we’ve selected the very best smartphone in the market, often awarding a device that stood out beyond the others by leaps and bounds. That award probably would have gone right to the Galaxy Note 7 this year, but alas that device took a downward spiral into a fiery hell.
We’ve still picked a phone of the year, which we’ll gradually move toward in the coming days, but we also wanted to break the awards out to highlight phones that performed particularly well in various categories, including the budget, design, camera and more.
The Google Pixel easily takes the cake as the smartphone of the year that packed the best camera, in our opinion. Just check out these sample photos:
While others, like the iPhone 7 Plus, Galaxy S7/Galaxy S7 Edge and Galaxy Note 7 all performed admirably, the Google Pixel seems to just grab the perfect shot nearly every single time. It’s capable of capturing great images in nearly all lighting situations, whether you’re out on a dark city street at night, snapping photos of your pet by the fireplace, or walking through the park on a sunny day. The camera is fast, too, which means you don’t need to wait very long between launching the app and snapping your first photograph.
We’ve tried to move to other phones for capturing images, for some reason I still reach for my iPhone 7 Plus from time-to-time, but I often regret not just using the Google Pixel instead. That speaks volumes for a smartphone camera and, indeed, makes it one of the primary reasons that we recommend the phone over other devices, some of which might be cheaper.
Unlimited Google Photo storage sweetens things
Google sweetens the deal, of course, by allowing users to upload an unlimited number of full-size images and video from the Google Pixel to Google Photos. That offer isn’t available to any other device; users either have to pay for extra space or need to choose to upload standard-size images instead.
My guess is that we’re going to see smartphone cameras continue to advance pretty rapidly in 2017, so it may not be long until the Google Pixel crown is stolen. Samsung’s Galaxy S8, if it adopts a new sensor, may be the successor to the throne.