AH Reader's Choice Awards Wrap Up: Best Of 2016


It's hard to believe that 2016 almost gone, but in just a few days it will be 2017 and the tech world will start to look forward to what shows up at the biggest consumer electronics trade show in the country – CES. As CES is in the new year and will bring with it many new products that will launch in 2017 and beyond, we've rounded up all of the "best of the year" devices from 2016 which the readers have chosen as their favorites. The polls have been up for quite some time now at this point and the totals have all been collected, and now we're presenting the winners of each category as directed by your picks. Of course, the top picks and favorites of the readers may not be what we chose here at Android Headlines, but this is about you, the readers, and what you all collectively voted for and thought were the best products of the year, so let's just jump into it.

Best Smartphone of 2016 – Google Pixel/Pixel XL

There were a lot of great smartphones that were launched in 2016, and there were a few of them that seemed to score pretty high with you all. It might not come as a surprise, though, that out of all the options on the table, Google's Pixel and Pixel XL were the top choice for best phone of the year. This was also by a pretty big margin as they took 41% of the votes. The next closest pick were the Samsung Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge which acquired 20% of the votes. While the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge are excellent devices, they just couldn't hold up to Google's latest offering, it seems. Of course, you might be surprised to find out that the OnePlus 3T edged out a lot of the other flagships, including the likes of the Moto Z, the LG G5 and others, taking home about 16% of the votes for best smartphone of the year. This is a testament to how great of a device OnePlus is capable of producing. Overall, the top choices this year put into perspective that even a couple of the unexpected companies can put out some great hardware and come out on top, which will likely make for a more exciting 2017.

Buy The Pixel/Pixel XL - Google Store

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Best Value Smartphone of 2016 – OnePlus 3T

While devices like the Google Pixel came out the victor for best smartphone of the year, it's also a fairly high-priced device, and not everyone will want to spend that much on a phone. This is why value smartphones, devices which offer a lot on the hardware side but cost considerably less than many flagships, have a place in the world. They provide value beyond just a low cost, and in this particular category the OnePlus 3T was voted as the best value for money when it comes to smartphones in 2016. It's easy to see why, too. The phone comes powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 821 CPU with an Adreno 530 GPU for graphics, it has a great camera, a lot of internal storage, lots of RAM, and it's stylish. This was a landslide win and the likes of the latest Moto G, the Honor 8, and the ZenFone 3 just couldn't live up to the standards. The OnePlus 3T took away 67% of the votes as the top choice, while the Honor 8 came in second with 15%, the Moto G at 10%, and finally, coming up last was the ZenFone 3 from ASUS with just 8% of the votes. Now, this doesn't mean those three devices aren't solid options. In fact, they're all great phones, but compared to what's on offer with the OnePlus 3T, there was just not enough to compete.

Buy The OnePlus 3T - OnePlus

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Best Camera Smartphone of 2016 – Google Pixel/Pixel XL

This should really come as no surprise at all, seeing as how the camera on the Pixel and Pixel XL was rated as the best camera on a smartphone to date by DxOMark. That being said and with that highest rating aside, the camera on the Pixel really does take amazing photos. Picking up a total of 57% of the votes for having the best camera, its closest competitor was the Samsung Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge, another duo of devices which carry the same camera on each device, just as the Pixel and Pixel XL do. While it may not have won the best camera smartphone of 2016 award, it did come in second with 27% of the votes, and it too takes awesome quality pictures, so owners of either device should still feel proud to have one, and before the Pixel and Pixel XL were released, the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge were on top in the camera department. Quite easily, too. The next best device was the Huawei Mate 9 which garnered 10% of the votes, while the LG V20 had just 6% of the votes, and coming up last was the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro with only 1% of the votes. The readers have certainly spoken, and the Pixel phones will likely have the best camera for a little while.

Buy The Pixel/Pixel XL - Google Store

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Best Chinese Smartphone of 2016 – OnePlus 3T

Coming out on top again is the OnePlus 3T as the best Chinese smartphone of the year. While the device is available globally, the device is made in China and comes from a Chinese company, which is what puts it in this particular list. With that said, that left little chance for some of the other Chinese devices to come out as the favorite. This is because the OnePlus 3T is just an amazing device for a low cost, and it's hard to compete with a device that has top of the line specs and hardware, a sleek looking design, and won't hurt your wallet too much. In total the OnePlus 3T garnered 67% of the votes making it another landslide victory. The next closest device was the Xiaomi Mi MIX with a total of 17% of the votes. This too is a good device, but also a sort of concept phone and it isn't available everywhere. Third place was snatched up by Xiaomi Mi Note 2 with 9% of the votes, while the Xiaomi Mi 5 and the Meizu Pro 6 came in with 6% of the votes and 4% of the votes respectively. In the end, the OnePlus 3T was just too much of a good buy to pass up it seems, which is why it sits at the top of the pile as the best Chinese smartphone of 2016.

Buy The OnePlus 3T - OnePlus

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Best Battery Life of 2016 – Google Pixel/Pixel XL

This one seems a bit surprising, but it would appear that the Google Pixel and Pixel XL were chosen as the smartphone with best battery life of 2016, moving past other top notch devices in the battery life department like the Moto Z Play and Galaxy Note 7. While the Google Pixel/Pixel XL do come out as the winners here, it wasn't by a massive margin like on some of the other polls. Instead it cleans up with 42% of the votes for best battery life smartphone of the year, but the Moto Z Play wasn't too far behind with 30% of the votes, and despite all its issues with the battery, the Galaxy Note 7 still cleaned up with quite a few votes itself, coming in with a total of 22% of the votes. Bringing up the rear is the LG G5, which only swung 6% of the votes for best battery life. Of course, being awarded the best battery life doesn't necessarily mean that it will have the best battery life for everyone, and how good the battery life is will depend on how you use the phone, too.

Buy The Pixel/Pixel XL - Google Store

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Best Tablet of 2016 – Lenovo Yoga Book

Lenovo may not have won with the best camera on a smartphone this year, but they do literally stomp all over the competition in the tablet category. Android tablets have certainly been more scarce in 2016, so it may not have been too challenging for Lenovo to win this one, but that shouldn't take away from how great their recently released Yoga Book is, which is what snagged the most votes for the best tablet of 2016. It has a very sleek design and it oozes with functionality. It's a bit pricey, sure, but it definitely is a great tablet so it's easy to see why it picked up a total of 53% of the votes. Coming in second place was the Samsung Galaxy Tab A, which picked up just 24% of the votes, and while this is a great tablet as well, it doesn't have nearly the amount of function as the Yoga Book. Plus, it's lacking that cool light up digital keyboard. Third place was picked up by ASUS ZenPad 3S 10 with 15% of the votes, while the list is rounded out by the Huawei MediaPad M3 with just 8% of the votes. With a device like the Yoga Book now on offer it will be interesting to see how Lenovo does next year and what they have to bring to the table, and whether or not they will be able to outdo themselves with something greater than the Yoga Book. Time will tell.

Buy The Lenovo Yoga Book - Lenovo

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Best Chromebook of 2016 – Acer Chromebook R 14/Samsung Chromebook Pro

This one is a tie, and while the Samsung Chromebook Pro ma not yet be available, it should be soon and it has a nice little series of features and hardware coming along with it that people look to be extremely excited about. With that said, both it and the Acer Chromebook R 14 have a tie with 22% of the votes each. There were quite a few followers though, as there were a lot of Chromebooks this year, and all of them pretty great options. Coming up in second place was HP Chromebook 13, which only just barely misses out on the win with 21% of the votes. Next up was the Lenovo ThinkPad 13 Chromebook with 14% of the votes, followed by ASUS C301SA, then the Acer Chromebook R 13, and finally the HP Chromebook 11 G5 Touch brings up the rear. The interesting thing here is that the Samsung Chromebook Pro may very well be the best Chromebook of 2017 as it now likely won't launch until then, even though it was thought to be getting launched this year. In either case, it should end up providing a great user experience thanks to the features that it looks to have, but for now, the best Chromebook of 2016 which you can actually buy is the Acer Chromebook R 14, and you won't be disappointed given Acer's track record of putting out great Chromebooks, as well as the stylish metal design that was used on this machine.

Buy The Acer Chromebook R 14

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Best Fitness Tracker of 2016 – Fitbit Charge 2

With the new year approaching, many people will be looking to get in some exercise and if you don't already own a fitness tracker, it would be a good idea to invest in one. If you're already considering that, then you may want to look at the best trackers of 2016 as they'll start to go on sale when the new models for 2017 hit. If you want the absolute best, look no further than Fitbit's Charge 2 which has a whole host of features, including an integrated heart rate sensor, a larger display than last year's model of the Charge and Charge HR, and a new stylish design which is modeled after the Fitbit Alta. While not a complete landslide win here, the Fitbit Charge 2 does come in with a total of 45% of the votes which is almost half, and the next closest tracker is the Samsung Gear Fit2 with 26% of the votes. Sadly for the rest of the trackers in the poll, which are the Amazfit Arc, the Fitbit Alta, the Misfit Ray, Xiaomi Mi Band 2, and the Garmin Vivosmart HR+, there was just not as much love. Although the Xiaomi Mi Band 2 did manage to score about 20% of the votes which is nothing to scoff at. In fact, it's actually quite impressive given that it comes in at a lower cost than the top two choices here. In the end, any of these trackers would be a great decision if you're looking to invest in one.

Buy The Fitbit Charge 2

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Best Smartwatch of 2016 – Samsung Gear S3

Smartwatches, like fitness trackers, have offered up quite a few choices for consumers in 2016, but it was the Samsung Gear S3 which took the top spot as the favorite of the readers. With a new stylish design that was refined from 2015's Gear S2, and a suite of some new features to go along with the already existing ones, the Gear S3 wins by a pretty large margin with 54% of the votes, compared to the ASUS ZenWatch 3 which came in third place with just 23% of the votes. Compared to the rest of the watches, which includes the Nixon Mission, the Pebble 2 (which you can unfortunately no longer buy, straight from Pebble at least), Fossil Q Marshall, and the Michael Kors Access, the Gear S3 is a cut above, offering a great all around experience at a decent price. It's customizable too, and it works with more than just Samsung devices which surely helped to make it the winner here. The bottom line, if you're looking for a smartwatch and are looking at models from 2016, the Gear S3 is your best bet.

Buy The Samsung Gear S3

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Best Carrier of 2016 – Project Fi

Whether or not you agree personally, the majority vote feels that Google's Project Fi was the best carrier this year, and as someone who uses their service, I can agree with the votes here and say that I'm particularly happy with what they offer. Of course, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless were a close second and third, but since Project Fi not only makes setting up and managing service easy, but also utilizes towers from T-Mobile, Sprint, and US Cellular to provide coverage when Wi-Fi isn't available, it shouldn't too much of a shock to see why it's the people's choice. The service works, and it works pretty well, and it can be rather affordable. Perhaps its only drawback is the fact that it only has a few devices which officially work with it, but despite this drawback, it still came out on top with 33% of the votes. Whether or not Google and Project Fi can do it again next year is uncertain, but it's not unlikely.

Join Project Fi

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Best Game of 2016 – Pokémon GO

Pokémon GO is undoubtedly and unsurprisingly the winner in this category, and when you're a game that excites the likes of old fans as well as new players, and at a rate so rapid the world over, there is no denying supremacy. Apparently the readers agree as Niantic's latest game is anything but dull. Providing users with hours upon hours of fun out in the real world and giving longtime fans the opportunity to do something they have been waiting to do for years – catch Pokémon, Pokémon GO comes out on top with a whopping 57% of the total votes. Of course, Clash Royale is a great game too, and it's also wildly popular, but it seems it's just not as popular as Pokémon GO as it only garnered 13% of the votes, which is quite a bit lower. One thing is for certain, all of these other games are actually quite fun and they're all worth at least giving a try. When you're not trying to become the very best trainer there ever was, of course.

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Best App of 2016 – Prisma

Not everyone uses apps, but many smartphone users do and many of them take a lot of pictures, which makes it less surprising that Prisma is the top app choice for readers. It offers up some really cool ways to jazz up your photos with special looks and essentially turn them into works of art, and if you thought your pictures were cool before, Prisma is only going to make them look cooler. There are also a huge list of different art styles so there is plenty of variety, too. This is why it snagged a total of 41% of the votes. Coming in second place was a tie between Google's Allo chat app an the Daydream app, both having 19% of the votes each, while apps like Letgo brought up the rear with only 3% of the votes. When it comes down to it, there are some really great apps out there and if you haven't already given the likes of Prisma a try, you should.

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