It’s been a busy Spring for the world of smartphones, and we still have a ways to go yet. While Apple is up to their classic tricks of making the old new again, others have released genuinely forward-thinking devices. The Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge are off to a great start and LG’s G5 finally hit shelves in all of its modular glory. A surprise contender has arrived in the form of Huawei’s P9 and its excellent Leica-powered dual camera setup, and Android N has Nexus fans excited for the future of Android. HTC has an announcement next week as well, which should stir things up further and bring the Taiwanese name back to this Top 10 where they belong.
10. Motorola Droid Turbo 2/Moto X Force
When Motorola teamed up with Verizon to make the original Droid smartphone they started something pretty special. Now, with the latest version released last year they offered up a device that was more Motorola than any previous effort, and it’s a better device because of it. With a 5.4-inch Quad HD display that features a ShatterShield glass panel, the Droid Turbo 2 (known as the Moto X Force outside of the USA) is a solid device that has some great features, a good camera and a decent overall experience. Even so, being shackled to just Verizon in the US isn’t too helpful, and even though it’s a better device on paper – for many at least – Motorola don’t seem too bothered in pushing it in more key markets around the world.
09. Sony Xperia Z5
When Sony launched the Xperia Z5 range, we were a little confused after coming so close after the Xperia Z3+, but nevertheless Sony forged on. With the Xperia Z5, they improved a number of things, but more importantly they slimmed the bezels down around the 5.2-inch 1080p display and upped the camera. The 23-megapixel camera on the Xperia Z5 is easily one of the best out there, perhaps not in terms of features or gimmicks, but in pure, everyday performance. Sadly, the Xperia Z5 is still a little too expensive than it ought to be and in the USA it loses the fingerprint sensor – for whatever misguided reason – making Sony’s current flagship a bizarre option from one of the biggest brands out there.Buy the Xperia Z5
08. LG V10
When LG announced the LG V10, it was easy to write this off of as a G4+, but LG went further than that to create a genuinely different device, one that even stands out against the new G5. With many of the same features of the G4, but adding a 5.7-inch Quad HD display as well as a quirky second display up top, the V10 is larger and altogether built for action. It’s got a grippy back panel and an aluminum frame that LG says adds some more rigidity to the whole package. The camera might not be the best sensor-wise, but with some of the best software out there, the V10 becomes one of the better options for those that want to create and edit videos and whatever else from their devices without sending the footage elsewhere.
07. Google Nexus 5X
The Nexus 5X launched as a device that many appreciated for being – not only another LG Nexus – but also a return to a device that wasn’t “massive”. Indeed, the 5.2-inch Full HD display makes the Nexus 5X something for those that still use a smartphone in one hand, but the Snapdragon 808 and 2GB of RAM under the hood make the Nexus 5X feel older than it really is. Still, if stock Android and a great camera are two boxes you want ticked, then the Nexus 5X should be what you’re looking for. As an added bonus, the thing just keeps on getting cheaper and cheaper.
06. Huawei P9
Huawei has been lurking in the shadows for some time now, and with every great release it becomes more and more clear that Huawei are aiming for the very top of the smartphone business. This time around, Huawei have partnered with Leica to bring two cameras to the P9. The 5.2-inch Full HD P9 has a color and monochrome sensor that both work together to deliver much more light and much more contrast. It’s thinner than practically any other smartphone out there and Huawei weren’t afraid to let people know that it doesn’t have any sort of camera bump at all. We have one in-house and will be putting together some more coverage on it, but for now Huawei have one of the most surprising releases in memory. Let’s just hope it comes to the US as it’s hitting mostly everywhere else. The Huawei P9 will go on sale later this month.
05. OnePlus 2
The OnePlus 3 might very well be just around the corner – mark June down, folks – but for now the OnePlus 2 is still a device that can trade blows with some new, 2016 devices. With a fairly decent 5.5-inch 1080p display and a Snapdragon 810 paired with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, the OnePlus 2 is a stacked device, even if these are 2015 specs. What makes the OnePlus 2 so appealing however, is its price. At just $349 now, for the 64GB, 4GB model, the OnePlus 2 offers some of the best value out there, and at long last it’s finally getting Marshmallow.
04. Samsung Galaxy Note 5
The Galaxy Note 5 is, for the most part simple a larger Galaxy S6 with a few tweaks here and there. Which is disappointing in some ways, but good in many others. Compared to the Galaxy Note 4 it looks much nicer and feels more like the premium device that it is. However, when you add in the larger 5.7-inch Quad HD Super AMOLED display and the excellent S-Pen, the Galaxy Note 5 really comes alive. It’s powerful, speedy and versatile. It has a great camera, it looks great and while it might not offer much else compared to the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S7 lines, there’s just something about a Galaxy Note device.Buy the Galaxy Note 5
03. Google Nexus 6P
The Nexus 6P was a return to form for the Nexus line as well as a big deal for its manufacturer, Huawei. With a 5.7-inch Quad HD AMOLED display, the Nexus 6P is one hell of a device, and while there’s no microSD card slot or removable battery, it makes up for this with great battery life and a pretty stellar camera – especially at this sort of price unlocked. If you’re looking for great hardware to show off Android in all of its pure glory, then the Nexus 6P is a great option. Being able to experience Android N before it launches quite hurt, either.
02. LG G5
The above picture sums up what LG is trying to do with the G5; offer a good look and feel without sacrificing on expandability. The all-metal G5 has a removable battery, a microSD card slot, and will have a camera grip and better sound from Bang & Olufsen in the future through different modules. With two cameras that offer different angles, the G5 is truly a versatile and flexible smartphone, LG have even shrunk it down to a 5.3-inch design to make it more accessible and while the software is not to everyone’s liking, the G5 is one hell of a package, especially if you want it all without the compromises.
01. Samsung Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge
The Galaxy S7 line might only be slight improvements over last year’s Galaxy S6 line, but they have a lot to offer to well, pretty much anyone. And that’s really the appeal of this year’s Galaxy S powerhouse, they look great, they have even better battery life, they sound great, they take better pictures. The list of little “betters” and “improvements” is near endless with the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge. Sure, there’s no removable battery – but then there’s no unsightly gap – and there might not be the ability to use a camera grip, but then the Galaxy S7 is water-resistant and well, looks like it does.