Best phones of 2017


What are the best phones of 2017?

As 2017 draws to a close, it's time to take a look at the best Android phones of the year and the new iPhone models. It's been one of the most eventful years for mobile tech in a long time, but there were two major new trends that shaped the world of smartphones in 2017:

  • edge-to-edge, "bezel-less" screens
  • higher prices

Almost all new devices this year followed these two trends, and they improved on last year's trendy new dual camera setups and machine learning features.

Since there is no one-size-fits-all phone, we look through all the best new phones that you should consider. Here are their pros and cons:

Apple iPhone X, iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus

Smooth performance, great camera, but pricey

Best phones of 2017

Apple has three new iPhones this year. The $1,000 iPhone X is the flagship with a fresh design, an edge-to-edge screen and the new Face ID tech. All three new iPhones have absolutely identical main cameras, but the 8 Plus and the iPhone X have a secondary, "tele" camera that allows you to get clearer zoom and capture portrait photos with a blurred background like on DSLRs. The iPhone X can also shoot portraits with blurry backgrounds with its front camera, while the other two cannot. All three iPhones also have identical performance: all come with the A11 system chip, the fastest of any phone.

All three iPhones have glass backs and support Qi wireless charging, a nice gimmick. There is no wireless charger in the box, though. They also support fast charging, which is nice, but also requires a third-party charger. Rather than pricey Apple accessories, we recommend a simple Anker PowerPort 2 for around $10 to benefit from quick charge.

Why should you get the new iPhones? They stand out with buttery smooth performance and a rich ecosystem of apps and games. Also, you can be assured that an iPhone will be supported for years with updates and those updates will not come a year after they are released. You should buy them if you value the performance and want a good camera. And of course, if you don't mind those super high prices.


Samsung Galaxy Note 8, Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus

Beautiful glass-metal design, great camera, better TouchWiz

Best phones of 2017

Samsung also has three new phones this year: the Galaxy Note 8 flagship with S Pen, and the very similar Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus.

They further refined on Samsung's stylish glass and metal designs and bring them to near perfection. Camera quality is also improved, battery life is solid and all three phones have beautiful Super AMOLED screens with deep blacks and great contrast.

They all run Android with the Samsung Experience interface (formerly known as TouchWiz), and it looks better than before. Performance is mostly fine, but not quite perfectly smooth. And do not expect to get quick Android updates.

For all else, the Note 8 should be in your wish list if you want a productivity phone with a stylus (and don't mind the high price). The Note 8 is also the first Samsung phone with a secondary, "tele" camera that you can use to take portraits and pictures with a blurred background. The Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ do not have those two fancy features, but have much more manageable prices and identical performance, so we can recommend them as better value for the money.


Google Pixel 2 XL and Pixel 2

Best performance on Android, guaranteed updates, best camera

Best phones of 2017

Google is more serious about its own phones than ever before. It has two new phones in 2017: the Pixel 2 XL and the Pixel 2.

The Pixel 2 XL has an edge-to-edge screen (with slightly bigger bezels than most new flagships) and the slightly bigger battery, but it also suffers from some serious problems with the quality of that screen. Tilt it just slightly and its colors get very blueish and a noticeable burn-in problem appears quicker than on most other phones with AMOLED screens. The Pixel 2 does not suffer from such screen issues.

Why should you buy a Pixel in 2017? These two phones offer the best performance of any Android phone and they have probably the best camera ever put on a phone with great dynamic range and beautiful colors. The prices are also slightly below most of the competition. Best of all, the Pixels will remain relevant longer than most other Android phones: they are guaranteed to get Android software updates on day 1.


LG V30

LG's best phone to date

Best phones of 2017

LG's best phone ever, the V30, has our favorite implementation of an edge-to-edge screen with its FullVision display: it has no notch, no cutouts, no interruptions. Some early units suffered from some display issues, but those do not seem to affect all units.

The V30 features a good camera and is the only flagship phone to sport a secondary, super-wide-angle camera that works great for capturing action videos, for instance. Speaking of videos, the V30 also offers some cool advanced video modes that enthusiast videographers will appreciate. It also has high-quality audio output. The V30 also has a very refined design with a glass back and a sturdy metal frame. LG's custom Android interface needs a polish, but it is functional and you do get used to its peculiarities. You should look into the V30 if you value the wide-angle camera, great audio quality and want to be a little different than everybody around.


OnePlus 5T

Best bargain, stylish design, good-looking screen

Best phones of 2017

The OnePlus 5T is the best "bargain flagship" phone of the year.

Released last of them all, it has a refined design that feels comfortable to hold, it features an edge-to-edge AMOLED display that looks good, and a very solid battery life. We also love the clean Android interface and the performance speed of the 5T. The camera is not quite on par with the best, but it's not too far behind either. And the new Face Unlock feature works suprisingly well.

You should consider the OnePlus 5T if you like clean Android interfaces and a good, no-compromise bargain phone. Note that the OnePlus 5T is only sold unlocked and will not work on CDMA carriers like Verizon Wireless and Sprint in the United States.


Huawei Mate 10 Pro

Big phone with a big battery and no-compromise design

Best phones of 2017

The Huawei Mate 10 Pro is a big phone with a big battery from growing Chinese company Huawei.

The Mate 10 Pro adopts an edge-to-edge display, it has a Huawei-made system chip that is fast and features a separate machine learning core, and it has a very capable camera. We also love the stylish glass back and the distinct design of this phone. Its biggest peculiarity is the heavy Android interface that Huawei uses and that differs a lot from stock. Buy it if you want something great yet different. Note that the Mate 10 Pro is only sold unlocked in the United States.

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29 Comments

1. sgodsell

Posts: 6701; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

Since the update to.the essential phone. The camera is much better now, and it's camera is better than the OnePlus TT. Not to mention if you buy an Essential phone right now, you will get the VR camera module as well for free. There is even a wireless charging module suppose to arrive for the essential phone in the near future.

2. baldilocks

Posts: 1427; Member since: Dec 14, 2008

Yes, my OnePlus 5T desperately needs a camera software upgrade. Otherwise, it's a great performer. Even smoother than my old Pixel 2 XL.

9. barondebxl

Posts: 180; Member since: Nov 04, 2011

I have to disagree. The OnePlus 5T camera is good. It's definitely not the best but it doesn't desperately need an update. Portrait mode has worked really well for me and the camera shots are sharp and clean.

11. ebilcake

Posts: 1213; Member since: Jul 16, 2016

The camera software needs updating, the modded Google camera destroys it in most conditions, they look sharper and have more dynamic range. OP5T camera software somehow manages to make blue sky white.

3. torr310

Posts: 1612; Member since: Oct 27, 2011

Galaxy S8 Active!

26. GalaxyLeads_iCrapFollows

Posts: 204; Member since: Nov 29, 2017

S8 and Note 8 are really the best smartphones ever made. The tech is much more advance than what you see in iphones. With the frequent sales, they are even cheaper than even those crappy chinese phones so I say S8 and Note 8 are the best bang for your buck.

32. BlackhawkFlys

Posts: 899; Member since: May 07, 2014

Your username makes your statement unreliable...

4. Jacksie66 unregistered

Sony Xperia XZ Premium should get a mention. The 4k hdr screen and the 960fps slow motion is brilliant.

6. Xperia14

Posts: 1202; Member since: Sep 01, 2015

This. Plus the best software experience of any Android phone with the fastest updates.

17. UglyFrank

Posts: 2188; Member since: Jan 23, 2014

S6 getting Oreo released in H1 2015 Z3/4 released in H1 & Z5 released in H2, not getting Oreo, who's the real winner.

23. PolishGeezus

Posts: 3; Member since: Jul 14, 2014

Z3/4 and Z5 are most likely incompatible. The Nexus 6 isn't getting Oreo either. The Z5 might have the 810 processor but it might not be able to run Oreo well. Plus S6 has Exnyos processor and not Snapdragon. One more thing. The Adreno chip in the Z3 doesn't support the vulkan api in Nougat and in Oreo.

14. Furkan

Posts: 552; Member since: Feb 25, 2017

0.2 seconds 960 fps slow motion *gimmick* bad design etc.

24. worldpeace

Posts: 3091; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

Slow motion that's almost impossible to be timed correctly :v

5. KingSam

Posts: 1337; Member since: Mar 13, 2016

PA ever considered a modern logo. The current one looks dated. Make it flatter like material design (clean lines) and keep the solid blue and a better font. Just my opinion.

7. leftheodo

Posts: 108; Member since: Oct 21, 2011

Really? You mention the essential phone but you don't mention the HTC U11+? It can compete with every phone on this list

20. torr310

Posts: 1612; Member since: Oct 27, 2011

Yes, HTC U11+ is definitely a great phone and worth mentioned.... too bad it is not sold in the States.

8. ToxiD

Posts: 54; Member since: Feb 27, 2014

There is a brand called HTC, which announced HTC U11+, which should be definitely not missing in this article. Finally, get your s**t together iPA.

10. skyline88

Posts: 696; Member since: Jul 15, 2013

best this year i have used so far: OP 5 Nokia 8 S8 (the non-plus version) Huawei P10

19. toosmoove

Posts: 914; Member since: Sep 28, 2017

LMAO! That's a good one.

12. ZEUS.the.thunder.god

Posts: 1085; Member since: Oct 05, 2011

16. ZEUS.the.thunder.god

Posts: 1085; Member since: Oct 05, 2011

Forgot to mention 5100 Mah battery. I know mediatek processor is a letdown but in $320 I can`t complain.

27. knopper

Posts: 9; Member since: Nov 28, 2017

Wow look at this hidden gem. The catch is bringing it to a US network

13. Sparkxster

Posts: 1145; Member since: Mar 31, 2017

I think the Razer phone should be on this list. No other flagship phones have the Razer's Dolby stereo speakers plus the 120Hz screen.

15. Furkan

Posts: 552; Member since: Feb 25, 2017

they dont just look at screen's hz and speaker quality.

18. UglyFrank

Posts: 2188; Member since: Jan 23, 2014

GSMArena has reported the screen to be a big power drainer, it's rated less than the S8 & S8+ with smaller batteries and higher resolution screens.

21. thxultra

Posts: 430; Member since: Oct 16, 2014

Been a great year for phones. Having used the Galaxy S8, Note 8 and Iphone X quite a bit I can honestly say it really comes down to preference. These flagships are all really solid so it has come to a point of what interface do you like and what size screen do you want.

25. toosmoove

Posts: 914; Member since: Sep 28, 2017

THEE best comment in this thread.

22. Jrod99

Posts: 694; Member since: Jan 15, 2016

Can’t beleive the Pixel 2 made the list. With all the problems.

29. TheOracle1

Posts: 1874; Member since: May 04, 2015

Mi Mix 2 is missing. But the most overlooked phone of 2017 is the Zuk Edge.

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