As we enter the second half of 2016, it’s no surprise that we’re starting to see some interesting new launches coming up. Later this month OnePlus will announce the new OnePlus 3, and there’s always a chance of Samsung launching the Galaxy Note line of devices later in the Summer just as they did last year. ASUS recently launched the ASUS ZenFone 3 line as well and for all intents and purposes the Summer is starting to heat up with new device releases. Still, many of the best devices are that of last year’s and with lackluster releases like the recent Xperia X there’s not much that looks set to change this.
10. Sony Xperia Z5
Despite the recent launch of the Xperia X, last year’s Xperia Z5 is still the best Sony you can buy for your money, at least in smartphone form, anyway. The Xperia Z5 is available in the United States, even though it forgoes the excellent fingerprint sensor that it features in Europe and Asia. While its far from being affordable, it has one of the best smartphone cameras out there, and a pretty solid build and overall software experience. This is the sort of device that Sony should have started selling in the US years ago, and it’s sad to see that what could have been a much bigger launch for Sony is mired by the loss of the fingerprint sensor and a high price tag.Buy the Xperia Z5
09. LG V10
Despite featuring some of the absolute best specs that LG can pack into a smartphone – aside from the laggy Snapdragon 808 – the LG V10 feels like the ugly duckling of LG’s smartphone lineup. This is a shame as the camera here is one of the better that LG has ever offered on a device and the software is excellent as well, but what seems to let the LG V10 down is a build and design that is more polarizing than it is anything else and a second-screen gimmick that doesn’t really do much in the way of adding any extra features. It’s a great all-rounder, but the V10 is the sort of phone that you have to really, really like to end up being able to live with.
08. ASUS ZenFone 3 Deluxe
Despite having only just been announced the new ZenFone 3 Deluxe represents some of the absolute best value for money available in a smartphone. With a 5.7-inch Full HD AMOLED display it doesn’t sound as if the ZenFone 3 Deluxe is living up to its name, but once you throw in 256GB of internal storage as well as 6GB of RAM and a Snapdragon 820 CPU – the same inside of the LG G5 and Galaxy S7 – all for $499, it’s hard to argue with. Sure, $500 is a lot to spend on a smartphone, but when it’s packed full of specs like these and will be yours forever, no matter which service provider you choose, then those five Benjamins don’t sound too bad after all.
07. Google Nexus 5X
The Nexus 5X was supposed to be a return to form where smaller, affordable Nexus smartphones are concerned and even though it is really affordable these days, it’s not the second coming we all wanted. The Snapdragon 808 and 2GB of RAM under-the-hood here made the Nexus 5X feel like 2014 all over again, rather than the 2015 smartphone it should have been. Those looking for a more compact – at 5.2-inches – and affordable Android smartphone should find little to complain about as it also has an excellent camera, but it could have all been so much better than this.Buy the Nexus 5X
06. OnePlus 2
The OnePlus 3 might be just around the corner, but that doesn’t mean their now-current flagship is any slouch. With 4GB of RAM and a Snapdragon 810, the now even-cheaper OnePlus 2 has a lot going for it, and once they finally get round to updating it to Marshmallow, the OnePlus 2 could be a great budget handset for some time to come. It’s hard to believe that such a device costs so little these days, but the OnePlus 2 is exceptional value. It’s got great battery life, and even if it could be considered a little on the chunkier and heavier side of things, this is one device from 2015 that doesn’t have Snapdragon 810 problems, and as we keep on saying, it’s ridiculously good value.
05. HTC 10
The HTC 10 is not an exciting smartphone, at least when compared to the party tricks of the LG G5 and Galaxy S7 Edge. Still, it features a great display, a fairly compact hand-feel, a good camera and great sound output. Bucking the trend of gimmicks and extras won’t resonate with everyone, but it’s got enough going for it to sit at the top table. The only real problem with the HTC 10 is that its asking price just doesn’t seem to add up. The fledgling Taiwanese firm is asking for the same sort of prices as the aforementioned flagships and despite having the expected sort of build quality, there’s just not enough here for those sort of prices.
04. Samsung Galaxy Note 5
Being able to write the title of a review on the smartphone you’re reviewing – as above – is just one of the many party tricks that the Galaxy Note 5 has to offer. The device has also recently been named America’s most popular smartphone as well, which is interesting because the Galaxy Note 5 was a big step backwards for the Galaxy Note line. With no removable battery and no expandable storage, many power users were forced to look elsewhere if they wanted their next powerhouse phone. Still, with a great Super AMOLED display, good VR features as well as that S-Pen, it’s still a great experience, it’s just not one that lives up to its overall potential at the end of the day.Buy the Galaxy Note 5
03. Google Nexus 6P
The Nexus 6P is easily the best device that has ever been called a Nexus, and even though it’s a little on the large side for some, it has a hell of a lot going for it. It’s got an excellent camera that holds its own against even the Galaxy S7’s excellent camera and with Android N right around the corner, this is the phone to have to stay ahead of the curve for a long time to come. The Snapdragon 810 inside of the Nexus 6P does a fine job, but it would have been nice to see 4GB of RAM paired with it here. Even so, this is one of the best Android smartphones available today, and it will no doubt continue to be so for a long time to come thanks to excellent software support from Google.
02. LG G5
When LG announced the G5, it seemed like the perfect smartphone, something that would continue to get better and better over time as new modules are continually announced. When it hit shelves however, and customers and reviewers alike started to think twice, it sounded as if LG might have made something of a mistake. With a fresh new look and some excellent party tricks you won’t find elsewhere, the LG G5 is a good phone if you don’t want to be stuck with the same piece of hardware for the length of your contract, as it steadily evolves over time. Even if you don’t buy any of the modules or whatever, the LG G5 will still be a great phone for most people.
01. Samsung Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge
Two devices cut from the same cloth, the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge are fine examples of what Samsung is capable of when they pull out all the stops. With great displays, both packing Quad HD Super AMOLED panels, excellent battery life and now expandable storage once again, the Galaxy S7 line tick all of the right boxes. With the Gear VR and some great software, the Galaxy S7 has some tricks of its own, but it’s the gorgeous hardware and build that make the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge excellent choices for anyone looking for a brilliant all-rounder that looks and feels premium.