Consumer Reports has now released a list of its top five best smartphones that aren't made by Apple or Samsung, providing potential buyers with alternatives to the world's biggest OEMs. According to the organization, these handsets were only really separated from the top of the pack by various additional features or lack thereof. Importantly, they came so close in terms of features, performance, and battery life, that they very nearly made the cut. More than anything else, that distinction makes them well worth a look. That's particularly true for those consumers who are looking for the best performance and battery life without breaking the bank or sacrificing too much.
Unsurprisingly, the list is topped by Huawei's Mate 10 Pro and rounded out by the Huawei Mate 10. The two share quite a few similarities, with the Mate 10 launching at an average cost of $699 compared to the Huawei Mate 10 Pro at $830. Both are effectively 6-inch class devices, with the Mate 10 falling just short of the Pro at 5.99-inches and each features Gorilla Glass on both front and back for added durability. They also come with the same cameras, with a dual setup on the back rated at 12-megapixels and 20-megapixels with apertures set at f/1.6. The selfie camera is rated at 8-megapixels with similar stabilization as the main shooters. Both are missing a headphone jack, favoring USB Type-C for audio and including both a jack adapter and set of USB Type-C headphones in the box. They each take advantage of the same SoC setup, Huawei's HiSilicon Kirin 970. However, the Mate 10 doesn't feature it's older brother's AMOLED display or ratio and comes with an LCD display set at a 16:9 ratio instead of the other's 18:9 ratio. It also only has 64GB of expandable storage and 4GB RAM, compared to the Mate 10 Pro's non-expandable 128GB of storage and 6GB RAM or 64GB of storage 4GB RAM options.
Two LG handsets also make the list - the LG G6 in second place and LG V30 in third. Consumer Reports highlights the LG G6's aspect ratio at a modern 18:9 with a reasonable 5.7-inch display placed between bezels with a trendsetting thinness. Comparatively, the V30 has a decidedly more difficult to utilize 6-inch screen. Each is Dolby Vision and HDR10 enabled, while both make use of a USB TYPE-C port for rapid charging and wireless charging. Simultaneously, both feature the same wide-angle lens-assisted two camera setup rated at 13-megapixels, with plenty of features to help make the most of those. According to consumer reports, what made the V30 the lesser handset mostly came down to a lower battery rating, at 21 hours compared to the 25 hours of the G6. However, the V30 also edges out the G6 in ruggedization, being rated at military standard 810G. Last but not least, the HTC U11 comes in at fourth, as a "big, tough phone" with a UHD LCD panel, high-performance 12-megapixel main camera, 16-megapixel selfie camera, and HTC's Edge Sense squeeze functions. Consumer reports also points to its IP67 rating and durability as reasons for its inclusion on the list. That's in addition to its inclusion of USB Type-C headphones and 3.5mm jack adapter in the box, although it doesn't feature a headphone jack of its own.