It’s been a banner year for smartphones, highlighted by stellar releases from Samsung, LG, and Google. We’ve seen gorgeous edge-to-edge displays, novel ways to interact with voice assistants, and cameras that take pictures to rival expensive DSLRs. It got me thinking: there’s never been a better time to buy a smartphone.
That’s arguably true every year—the march of progress means something good is always on the horizon. But it rings especially true this year after enduring a tumultuous and dull 2016.
2017 hasn’t seen any Earth-shaking controversies, and everything that comes out, from the very low-end to the top of the pile, has been a joy. Which is great to see, because it means affordable devices are more competitive, ultimately encouraging engineers to innovate.
This year’s major innovation has been the introduction of edge-to-edge displays. Even Apple, often notoriously slow to adopt new technology, is offering a smartphone with a screen that has barely any bezel. We’ve also seen greater adoption of technologies like wireless and quick charging, water and dust resistance, and dual-camera setups.
These are the tools companies are using to provide consumers like you and me with a great day-to-day experience. Batteries last longer, displays are more beautiful and higher resolution, and specs mean these devices will remain buttery smooth after months of use.
But it’s not just about simply implementing these features and calling it a day. Companies have come up with incredible designs filled with amazing software, too.
The Note 8 is more powerful than the line has ever been, while the Pixel 2 sports an incredible camera with portrait mode features. The V30, meanwhile, offers arguably the best video experience in any smartphone, while the OnePlus 5 is astonishingly affordable for its quality.
The hard part is picking just one phone to buy.
Although a device like the Galaxy S8 is already halfway through its lifecycle, it’s a device we still highly recommend. Otherwise, we’re in the thick of this year’s upgrade season, which means if you’re in the market for a device, now’s the time to get one.
We have yet to use the iPhone X, so we’re not comfortable choosing our smartphone of the year just yet. But if we had to pick one right now, it would be the Galaxy S8. It offers the best balance of hardware, software, and value.
With the holidays on the horizon, now’s as good a time as any to pick up a new device. It’s been a great year for mobile and, barring any unforeseen catastrophe, one to remember for a long time to come.