If you had to choose the best smartphone of 2017 off the top of your head, which would it be? That’s admittedly a tough question to answer if you’re forced to pick just one.
We here at GadgetMatch believe there’s no single best handset, and that every person has their own perfect match to suit their needs.
For this year’s list of best smartphones, we decided to highlight the best handset by categories ranging from performance features to technologies.
Here they are in no particular order:
Best Battery Life: Xiaomi Mi Max 2
Long battery life wasn’t such a priority for smartphone manufacturers this year, so it was up to Xiaomi to take the lead. The Mi Max 2 and its huge battery outlasted every other phone we’ve tested this year in terms of single-charge longevity.
Best Selfies: Huawei Mate 10 Pro
While there were a lot of selfie-centric phones this year, it was the handset less known for self portraits that won our hearts. Huawei’s Mate 10 Pro gave us the best selfies and group selfies we could possibly ask for since its launch.
Best Productivity: Samsung Galaxy Note 8
It’s easy to choose the Galaxy Note 8 for this category with its S Pen alone, but that’s not all this Samsung device has to its credit. The bundled productivity software is top-notch as well, and the massive screen provides the perfect working canvas.
Best Special Edition: Nokia 3310
No feature phone attracted as much attention as the revived Nokia 3310 has this year. The iconic design is still there, along with some modern stylings and the legendary durability Nokia is best known for.
Best Design: Essential Phone PH-1
Setting aside all the controversies surrounding Essential, the PH-1 (Ph-one, get it?) has what we believe is the best borderless design implementation on any handset this year — no need for an awkwardly placed front camera or elongated notch.
Best Charging Technology: OnePlus 5T’s Dash Charge
Anyone who’s used OnePlus’ Dash Charge tech knows it’s the best. It brings a battery to full in less than one and a half hours, the phone doesn’t heat up, and its cable has that striking red color.
Best Portrait Shooter: Google Pixel 2
Google once again proves that you don’t need two cameras to take one great portrait. The Pixel 2 instead uses advanced AI for both its single rear and front cameras to produce the best-looking solo shots in recent memory.
Best Durability: Doogee S60
None of the phones we tested this year could handle burn, scratch, drop, and water dunk tests like the Doogee S60 does. It may not be popular by any means, but its durability is the stuff of legends.
Best Video Shooter: LG V30
Great video and audio recording is a lost art in today’s smartphones; fortunately, we have LG’s V30 to cater to vloggers and audio enthusiasts. Combined with the near-borderless screen, it’s 2017’s multimedia powerhouse.
Best Beauty Mode: OPPO R11s
It’s not enough to have a great camera; you need the right software to process the images and create the perfect selfies. None do it better than the R11s from OPPO, which uses AI to intelligently beautify your face without taking away any of your best features.
Best Special Feature: Meizu Pro 7’s secondary screen
There were so many fantastic smartphone features in 2017, but nothing tops the secondary display found on the back of the Meizu Pro 7. You can do all sorts of tricks on it, such as checking the weather and taking well-composed selfies with the rear camera.
Best for Gaming: Razer Phone
Although any high-end smartphone could be a mobile gaming machine, the Razer Phone goes beyond the ordinary with powerful stereo speakers, extra-long battery life, and a design that won’t simply slip out of your hands.
[irp posts=”19164" name=”Best Premium Smartphones above $600"]
Best of 2019: Our favorite smartphones
So many choices, so we narrowed them down for you
There’s really not one best smartphone. We all have different needs and thankfully, the options that brands give us is not lacking at all. Whether your priority is photography, gaming, or just something basic, there is definitely a smartphone for you.
Here are our favorites.
Best smartphones for photography: iPhone 11 Pro, Pixel 4
How good are the cameras? That’s always a topic of conversation when new phones are released. While other brands have made huge strides, the iPhone 11 Pro and the Pixel 4 continue to dominate this category. The iPhone is a no-brainer choice for most people. Consistency is key and Apple has been pretty much consistent with the cameras on the iPhone.
Meanwhile, Google’s computational photography on the Pixel 4 continues to wow reviewers and casual users. Like the iPhone, the Pixel has consistently been one of the best in this category and it appears it will continue to be in the foreseeable future.
Honorable mentions: Huawei Mate 30 Pro, Huawei P30 Pro
Best Android flagship: Samsung Galaxy Note 10, Galaxy Note 10+
While the S Pen continues to set the Galaxy Note 10 series apart, the latest iteration of this Samsung flagship does so many other things at a high level as well. It is still a smartphone that’s literally for anyone, especially with the Galaxy Note 10 being made for people with smaller hands. Audio enthusiasts will lament the lack of a headphone jack for HiFi audio but more casual users are buying wireless earphones for their devices.
Honorable Mentions: OnePlus 7T Pro, Huawei P30 Pro, Samsung Galaxy S10+
Best implementation of a foldable display: Motorola razr
While the Samsung Galaxy Fold dominated this year’s headlines — and not always for the best reasons, it was the Motorola razr that showed us that while it’s notable to be the first, it’s more important to be the first to get it right. The new razr is a buzzer beater entry in this category but it’s also a slam dunk. The device, at launch, just works. No creases, no displays you can tear off, and no threat of software support being banned.
Best smartphone with a 64MP camera: Realme XT
The only two other phones in this category are the Redmi Note 8 Pro and the Vivo NEX 3. We think that of the three, the Realme XT offers the best value. You see, other than the megapixel count, what sets smartphone cameras apart is the phone’s post-processing. The Realme XT consistently produces images with great detail and fantastic color reproduction. It doesn’t hurt that the phone’s white variant looks pretty good too.
Best value smartphone: Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro (Redmi K20 Pro)
This is 2019’s flagship killer. Not only is it equipped with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 that’s present in most flagships today, it also has a modern all-screen design with a pop-up camera plus its rear cameras more than holds its own against phones that are similarly priced. But the price, that’s where this phone truly sets itself apart. For less than half of most flagships today, you get very near-flagship performance. There’s almost nothing else like it.
Honorable Mentions: OnePlus 7T, Realme 5 Pro
Best budget smartphone: Realme 5
Realme broke out in 2019 like no other brand. They’ve strengthened their foothold in key developing markets by launching devices that punch above their weight class. The Realme 5 is one such device. As one of the few budget smartphones with a quad-camera setup and is capable of basic gaming, it’s a well-rounded device and is perfect for anyone looking to get their first smartphone.
Honorable Mentions: Redmi Note 8, Samsung Galaxy A20s
Best smartphones for videography: iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone 11 Pro Max
iPhones have been far and away the best smartphones for taking videos for a while now. The same is true in 2019. The iPhone 11 series has put even more emphasis on the cameras and just took what it was already good at and just became better at it. No one’s touching the iPhone in this category but the challengers have been gaining on them.
Honorable mentions: Huawei Mate 30 Pro, Huawei P30 Pro, OPPO Reno2, Samsung Galaxy Note 10+
Best gaming smartphone: ROG Phone 2
It’s not even about the accessories. Yes, those are cool, but what really makes this a gaming smartphone is its design. We’re not just talking about how it looks. Design should always be how form and function come together. The ROG Phone 2’s features and little touches here and there like the second usb-c port for charging, the flat display, the front-firing speakers — these are all design decisions that address a mobile gamer’s needs. It’s extremely thoughtful of its target market.
Best Android smartphone without Google Mobile Services: Huawei Mate 30 Pro
Heh. Sorry Huawei, we just had to. ✌
Best of 2019: Our favorite cameras
Carefully curated for your camera needs
Just like any other consumer product, asking for the best product of all time is a lot. Various products were made to cater to the needs of different people. Even though smartphone cameras are fast-evolving, cameras are slower to develop but are far from being obsolete.
Here’s a list to help you decide the next best camera for you.
Best cameras for vlogging
Portability and flip screens — two among the many features that vloggers and content creators want to have in a camera.
Sony RX100 VII
If you want to have the lightest and most compact camera for vlogging, the RX100 VII is your best pick. Unlike other cameras in the list, it doesn’t feature interchangeable lens. Don’t worry, it’s equivalent to a 24-200mm f/2.8-f/4.5 lens, giving you the flexibility to shoot photos and videos on-the-go. It features real-time eye AF and tracking, a 180-degree flip screen, and 4K 30fps video shooting, as well as 960fps slow-mo shooting.
If you’re already invested with Sony’s E-mount lenses, this new camera is for you. It’s one of the few cameras from Sony with interchangeable lenses that also has a flippy screen. It features a 24-megapixel APS-C sensor, higher ISO expandability at 102,800, and even a weather-sealed body.
Canon EOS M6 Mark II
Successor to the EOS M6, Canon brings the M6 Mark II to the table with a larger 32.5-megapixel APS-C sensor, faster shutter speed (together with the electronic shutter), higher ISO sensitivity range, and more AF points. It now features 4K 30fps/1080p 120fps shooting, a huge bump up from the old video resolution settings. Forget the lack of optical viewfinder! The 3-inch tilting LCD is helpful enough to make it an ideal vlogging companion.
GadgetMatch Awards: Best of IFA 2019
Everything from your work to your home
IFA has always been home to some of the best tech releases each year and IFA 2019 is no different. This year we got a device that’s the first of its kind, machines for creators, and plenty of smart things useful for your home.
Here are the best of the bunch.
The follow-up to our favorite from last year, the Nokia 7.2 continues HMD Global’s tradition of building excellent, affordable, premium smartphones.
Veering away from the usual aluminum unibody in favor of a polymer composite, the Nokia 7.2 maintains durability while keeping the weight down to make room for a larger battery.
The phone is headlined by a 48MP camera sensor along with two other lenses: one that’s ultra wide and one that’s a depth sensor. Nokia developed new camera software to go along with the usual Zeiss hardware. This makes for photos with stunning image quality.
The Nokia 7.2 is in every respect what a flagship killer needs to be — combining the best of what the brand is known for, excellent hardware, pure software, and top-notch optics.
Samsung Galaxy Fold
The Galaxy Fold is Samsung’s new Pièce De Résistance, a device that gives users a taste of the future today.
After a major setback following its initial launch, Samsung went back to the drawing board to work on a fix. And if there’s any company that knows how to jump back up after a crisis it’s them. At IFA, the Galaxy Fold made its global return, the new and improved Fold is tougher and more resilient than ever, and most likely, THE foldable phone to beat!
Samsung BeSpoke Refrigerator
Have you ever wished to have a fridge that fits exactly with the design of your new home? There’s nothing more customized than Samsung’s BeSpoke Refrigerator.
Customization is king for this fridge. You can choose your refrigerator size, the number of doors, and a multitude of color combos. Name it, and Samsung will build it. That’s more control than you ever thought was possible with refrigerators.
Thinking about what to have for dinner and actually preparing it can be cumbersome. But it doesn’t have to be with the Bosch Cookit.
You can think of it as either an all-in-one food processor with cooking function. Or an all-in-one cooker with the slicing and dicing built-in. But perhaps the best thing about it is how you can connect it to the Home Connect App for a step-by-step guide on a variety of dishes you otherwise probably wouldn’t even think about preparing yourself.
Being able to prep and cook in the same machine is exactly what we need, where do we sign-up?
ASUS ProArt StudioBook One
There are laptops for creators, and then there are machines for those who need even more power. Engineers, industrial designers, video editors working for video production houses.
For all these users and then some there’s ASUS ProArt StudioBook One — possibly the most powerful laptop in the world today.
Powered by the latest Intel Core i9 processor, and the new NVIDIA Quadro RTX 6000 graphics card it can literally handle anything you throw at it — rendering 8K videos, 3D graphics and animation, you name it, this beast of a machine can handle it.
Lenovo Yoga C940 14 and 15
For many years, Lenovo’s Yoga line has set itself apart as the premier 2-in-1s, and this year’s Lenovo Yoga C940 14 and 15 are no exception.
Easily our favorite laptops from IFA 2019, they come with up to a 10th generation Intel Core i9 processor, supercharging workflow and performance. You can even get it with the NVIDIA GTX 1650 to boost overall graphical performance if you need that extra oomph for video editing.
The Lenovo Yoga C940 is a powerhouse 2-in-1 designed for creators and creative professionals.
Lenovo Smart Display 7
We’ve been fans of Lenovo’s lineup of smart displays since they were first launched a year ago. But because of its size, the Lenovo Smart Display 7 has got to be our favorite. The device is petite enough to squeeze into an already cramped bedside table, or in a corner of your kitchen counter.
And for the uninitiated, a smart display is Google Assistant on steroids. It can show and tell your schedule, answer your questions, entertain you with music, videos, and music videos, and keep your hands-free when you’re trying to follow a tutorial.
Lenovo Smart Tab M8
It’s very clear which role the Lenovo Smart Tab M8 wants play. It intends to be your go-to device for entertainment.
With its 8-inch LCD panel display, it’s perfect for more intimate Netflix or YouTube sessions. But when you’re not holding it up, it also comes with a docking station and can function almost like the Smart Display 7.
Huawei Freebuds 3
Huawei has never been shy about putting their products up against Apple’s. And the Huawei Freebuds 3 is no exception. It’s essentially the AirPods, but better.
The Huawei Freebuds 3 clearly has its crosshairs on the AirPods. One look and you know that’s what Huawei was going for. It’s not the earbuds that some people find intrusive. These fit nicely in your ear without feeling invasive.
The other thing that sets it apart is adaptive noise cancellation. The Freebuds 3 is supposedly capable of 15-decibel ambient noise reduction. That’s remarkable for its size and easily blows the AirPods out of the water.
Oh and, it comes in black.
Huawei Kirin 990
Huawei’s Kirin 990 feels like a chip infused with the speed force.
Unlike other chips, the Kirin 990 incorporates 5G components on the same die. It saves space plus enables devices it’s equipped with to reach download speed up to 2.3Gbps, and upload speed of up to 1.25Gbps.
It uses two big, two middle and four little cores to optimize multitasking, with clock speeds of 2.86GHz, 2.36GHz, and 1.95GHz respectively. It’s flat out a speed demon.
LG G8X Dual Screen
LG is staking its claim on dual screens and the company might be onto something.
The LG G8X Dual Screen is an improvement of the similar tech employed on the LG V50 ThinQ. You connect the secondary screen via USB-C (USB-C everything!) instead of pogo pins. It does pretty much everything the first iteration can, but better.
You can tilt the second screen at any angle you like and it also folds all the way so you can use the LG G8X like you would a regular phone. You can go as far as calling this a semi-foldable and we wouldn’t hate you for it.
It also doesn’t hurt that LG opted to keep the headphone jack along with discrete Quad DAC that audio enthusiasts love so much.
While its competitors are going foldable, LG’s approach to innovation is practical, and we cannot recommend it more.
Philips Hue Vintage Bulbs + Smart Buttons + Smart Plugs
If you’re the type to go for a classic look, then the Philips Hue Vintage Bulbs will make you light up.
It’s reminiscent of the old incandescent light bulb, but made with light-emitting diodes instead of glowing tungsten. These new smart bulbs, much like everything on the new lineup unveiled by Philips will now work with Bluetooth. This will make it easier to invite users as you now only need to buy a single bulb to see if you’re open to getting more. Previously, the Philips Hue Hub was a required purchase since the system only worked with Zigbee but Bluetooth changes all that.
Philips also showcased new Smart Buttons and Smart Plugs. The button offers multiple controls. Press once to turn on/off. Press twice to change moods, and long press to dim up or down. The Smart Plug, meanwhile, will let you add lamps and string lights into your entire setup. Pretty neat and handy!
TCL Ray Danz Soundbar
TCL already makes some of the best TVs in the market today, so an equally excellent soundbar was only a matter of time.
The TCL Ray Danz Soundbar, much like anything on TCL’s lineup, promises good quality without exorbitant price tags. It has front-firing and sideways-firing speaker drivers to create a natural and wider resonance to elevate your Netflix and chill experience.
It also worked with Dolby Atmos to produce a 360-degree surround sound without the need for extra upward-firing drivers. As important as is a great display, is great audio, and if you’re looking for an excellent soundbar that doesn’t break the bank, look no further.
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