It feels as if 2016 just keeps on steaming ahead, and we’re already in February right now, which means the year is finally about to heat up. With Mobile World Congress just around the corner, we should new releases from LG and Samsung and possibly Sony and a few others. For now however, it’s a sad yet realistic affair that makes 2015’s greatest smartphones the greatest smartphones of 2016, for now. This list should change dramatically in the next couple of months as devices make their way to shelves, but right now here’s a look at some of the best smartphones out there, many of which can be purchased at deep reductions now, too.
10. Sony Xperia Z5 Premium
When we reviewed the Xperia Z5 Premium before the end of last year, we discovered a device that showed the world just what Sony was capable of. Its gorgeous 5.5-inch 4K display looked great, and while there’s not really any content to take advantage of it, it looked great nonetheless. Its cousins, the Xperia Z5 and Z5 Compact are now finally available in the States, without a fingerprint sensor…. It’s decisions like these that cause some to lose faith in Sony outside of markets like Japan and parts of Europe, but the Xperia Z5 Premium does have a cool look and feel to it, a great software experience and one of the best cameras to grace a smartphone ever. The Xperia Z5 and Z5 Compact offer little improvement over the Xperia Z3 for US buyers, leaving the expensive Z5 Premium the only real Sony option to go for. Whether or not it’s worth the asking price is up to you, however.
09. Motorola Droid Turbo 2
The Droid line of devices have been a big seller for Android on the whole, and we’re sure that Verizon is more than happy with the line’s performance. Their latest offering, the Droid Turbo 2 offered up a device that was more Moto than it was screaming Droid, which was a good thing. Gone were the manly options in black or… a different shade of black and Moto Maker allowed more expression for all customers. The ShatterShield display here is clearly the main selling point, and for those that just want something with a great display – the 5.4-inch Quad HD display here is pretty good – that will stand the test of time, then the Droid Turbo 2 is worth picking up. It’s a shame however, that it’s only available via Verizon in the States, but international buyers can take a look into the Moto X Force.
08. Google Nexus 5X
For some users, it might be strange to see a Nexus device listed so highly up here, but that’s because Google and LG didn’t try hard enough. At its retail price, the Nexus 5X didn’t offer all that much value, and while it’s great to see a smaller Nexus – the 5X comes in at 5.2-inches with its 1080p display – it would also have been nice to see a better build and a better overall display. However, as its been on sale with some deep cuts recently, it’s starting to become much better value for money. Stock Android will always be a preferred feature for some, but if that’s the end goal there are better options out there nowadays.
07. Motorola Moto X Pure
When Motorola announced the Moto X Pure last year, they did so leaving some devout Moto X fans a little shocked. In the space of two years, the Moto X went from a 4.7-inch device, to a 5.2-inch device to a massive 5.7-inch device. For some, the 5.7-inch form factor is just too big a device, and it’s understandable why, the 2014 Moto X was an excellent device for one-handed and everyday use, but the Moto X Pure is just a little too big. Still, it featured a Quad HD display, and excellent camera and much, much better battery life so there was more than enough on offer to like about Motorola’s latest and greatest. Moto Maker is even better this time around and if you’re looking for a flagship device without the price, this works on all networks and is worth considering. That is if you can deal with the larger-than-life footprint.
06. LG V10
The LG V10 was announced as a sort of G4 for use “in the field” and what LG meant was everyday life and capturing every moment with your smartphone. For the former, LG gave the V10 a textured, rugged back panel and aluminum sides to help it deal with shocks. While the latter was taken care of by the G4’s camera taken all the way up to 11 with even more software features and recording capabilities. Even so, the camera offered only a select few features they actually wanted, and the rugged frame still can’t stop LG’s displays from cracking from small bumps and drops. Besides, once the G5 arrives, will there be little reason to even consider the V10, especially as they will no doubt end up being similarly priced for a while?
05. OnePlus 2
The OnePlus 2 has had an interesting history since its launch – and no, it still doesn’t have NFC – and it now finds itself at number five on our list. Why? Well, it was always a good phone for the price, regardless of the company’s bizarre ways of doing business and the omission of NFC, but now it’s invite free. There’s no longer a need to wait to purchase a phone, you can just go ahead and do it. Plus, it recently got a price cut down to $349 for 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. For a device running basically stock Android, a fingerprint sensor, a decent camera and oodles of storage that’s some unbeatable pricing. Especially when we consider the solid build and great battery life, too.
04. LG G4
Last year’s LG G4 was all about improvements for LG, and they certainly made a good handful of them. With a much improved Quantum Dot display, the G4 had better looks to it and the leather back panels really helped with their overall appeal. Of course, for Samsung and Nexus fans the main reason to go LG would have been expandable storage and the removable battery. The G4 was much more than that of course and the fact that it’s been on sale a hell of a lot lately has made it excellent value as well and now that it’s been updated to Android Marshmallow, LG G4 users have a lot to be happy about.
03. Samsung Galaxy Note 5
The Galaxy Note line has often been some of the best Android hardware that money can buy, but this year Samsung took a step backwards. With the same design as the Galaxy S6 line, there was little reason to choose the Galaxy Note over the Galaxy S6 or one of its larger cousins. Sure, the S-Pen still remains one of the better features out there but with not much else complementing it – not even a removable battery or expandable storage – the Galaxy Note 5 was more a step back than anything else, sadly.
02. Huawei Nexus 6P
When Nexus fans heard that Huawei would be making a Nexus smartphone there were some concerns. As we found out in our review these weren’t necessary however, as Huawei made one of the best Nexus devices that ever hit the market, and one of the best smartphones of 2015, period. With an excellent camera experience, great build quality and of course, the latest version of Android that’s available right now, the Nexus 6P certainly did not disappoint, not one bit.
01. Samsung Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 Edge, Galaxy S6 Edge+
All of these three smartphones offer the same sort of experience, and choice is a powerful selling point that Samsung should be proud of. The new design language that Samsung introduced with the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge is set to continue with the Galaxy S7 this year, and we’re sure that they’ll have a big release for us all to enjoy. With some of the best specs from 2015, including a processor choice that pleased many, the Galaxy S6 line remains one to think about, even in the face of the upcoming Galaxy S7 and LG G5.