AH Awards: Best Android Smartphone Of 2016

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The Galaxy S7 Edge is a powerhouse smartphone and a masterclass in mobile design and engineering

Well, it has been a long year but the year is now coming to a close and all the major smartphone manufacturers have released their offerings for the year. In terms of the best smartphones of the year, 2016 has proved to be an interesting one with some good, some not so good and some downright strange smartphones coming to market. Which has also meant that choosing the best smartphone of the year was more of an interesting choice than ever before, and in some ways, a much easier choice than ever before. So without further ado, here is our pick for the best smartphone of 2016.

WINNER: Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

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Congratulations to Samsung. Although, and to be honest, it would have been quite hard to predict all the way back in February that the Galaxy S7 Edge would be the phone of the year come December and especially with the number of high-profile smartphones that had already been rumored for the year ahead and had shown great promise. However, with 2016 being the year that it has been, that is the situation we now find ourselves in. The Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge has quite simply been Рthe best smartphone of 2016, throughout 2016.

Of course, this is not too surprising when you actually think about it, as the Galaxy S7 Edge represents a masterclass in smartphone manufacturing and engineering. While Samsung has in the past been criticized for their build quality, the Galaxy S7 Edge is nothing short of pure brilliance, inside and out. While the specs were fairly typical of most of the flagship smartphones that were available at the same time, the Galaxy S7 Edge has shone through due to its unique design and appeal. This is a smartphone which came boasting dual curved edges which only further helped to highlight the display – which by no coincidence, is one of the best displays on the market. However, the Galaxy S7 Edge's edges were not just about their looks as they also offered functional benefits as well and thanks to the inclusion of the Edge-specific features that you will not find on smartphones from other manufacturers, including other smartphones from Samsung. Which means that the Galaxy S7 Edge did more than just appeal to those who wanted a modern looking smartphone, it also appealed to those who wanted additional functionality and features that could not be found elsewhere. Which in the very shortest of terms has meant that the Galaxy S7 Edge, in one way or another, appeals to everyone.

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While other smartphones have come through since the Galaxy S7 Edge and ones which pack even better and more up-to-date specs, more novel features, more curious designs and even at more affordable prices, none have proved to be able to account or compete with the staying power of the Galaxy S7 Edge. In fact, even the actual Galaxy S7 has somewhat faded along with the rest of the pack. Which not only highlights that the Galaxy S7 Edge model specifically is the best smartphone of 2016, but it is very much the 'Edge' that has made it the success that it is. This is a smartphone which has reigned throughout 2016, fought off many new arrivals and even now, in December, is proving to be just as popular as ever, albeit in a brand new color, Blue Coral. It is clear that throughout the entirety of 2016, there has not been an Android smartphone that has proved to be as popular, as good and as attractive as the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge.

Buy the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

RUNNER-UP: Google Pixel XL

In a year of firsts, 2016 also saw Google introduce their first proper smartphones in the form of the Pixel and the Pixel XL. While the two smartphones do boast an almost identical spec list, it is the Pixel XL that seems to be the firm favorite. Of course, that is largely thanks to the differences between the two, being differences that really matter to consumers now – like improvements in the display's resolution and longer-lasting battery life. However, the standard Pixel aside, the Google Pixel XL stands heads and shoulders above all of the rest of the smartphones that have came through this year. Barring the Galaxy S7 Edge, the Pixel XL is one of the most attractive and well-built smartphones of the year. When you then consider that this is also a smartphone that comes loaded with a super clean version of Android, the employing of the Google Assistant and what is currently the very best smartphone camera experiences on the market, it is easy to see why the Pixel XL is the runner-up in the category of best smartphone for 2016. However, with all that it does offer, it seems the debut Google smartphone just could not stand up to those alluring edges on the Galaxy S7 Edge.

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Buy the Google Pixel XL

Honorable Mention: Samsung Galaxy Note 7

Most will probably agree that there was always a good chance that both the Samsung Galaxy S and Galaxy Note ranges would make it into a top 3 list for 2016. Although, few might have expected the Galaxy Note 7 to miss out on one of the two top spots. However, 2016 has been that sort of year and the Galaxy Note 7 has since become the phone that never was. This was a smartphone that would have likely been the best smartphone of the year, but due to an issue that plagued the Galaxy Note 7 and one which eventually resulted in a massive and unprecedented global recall, the Galaxy Note 7 left the market quicker than it had arrived. That said and in spite of its problems, the Galaxy Note 7 still does deserve an honorable mention as this could (and probably would) have been one of the best smartphones of the year, if not, the very best smartphone of 2016.

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Editor-in-Chief

John has been writing about and reviewing tech products since 2014 after making the transition from writing about and reviewing airlines. With a background in Psychology, John has a particular interest in the science and future of the industry. Besides adopting the Managing Editor role at AH John also covers much of the news surrounding audio and visual tech, including cord-cutting, the state of Pay-TV, and Android TV. Contact him at [email protected]

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