PhoneArena Awards: best phones, tablets, and smartwatches of 2017


If you feel like there's a new smartphone coming out every day, then you're not too far from the truth. The total number of phones added to our database throughout 2017 stands at 334, and the year isn't even over yet. 

Of course, some of these smartphones are better than others, and some of these better smartphones are worthy of even greater attention. So before we switch over to "Holiday Mode" for a well-deserved break, we're going to honor the best phones of 2017, along with the best tablets and smartwatches that we got to check out over the past 12 months.

But in addition to these three device categories, we have a fourth one dedicated to phones offering the best bang for their cost. We simply had to: great value-for-money phones are more relevant then ever now that a high-end model can cost over $1000.

So, which one's the best bang-for-the-buck smartphone released in 2017? The answer should come as no surprise to frequent readers. Ladies and gents, give it up for the...

Best value-for-money smartphone of 2017

Yup, you guessed it: it's the OnePlus 5T.

The OnePlus 5T may not be waterproof. It does not sparkle either. It may not have the bells and whistles some other, more expensive models have to offer, such as wireless charging or a super-high display refresh rate. But it's a great phone nonetheless. It excels when it comes to essential factors like performance and battery life, while the quality of the display and the photos it produces are more than adequate for the price point. All in all, if $500 is all you have to spend on a smartphone, then the OnePlus 5T would be a great choice.

Runner-up: Moto G5S Plus

While we're at it, there's another budget-friendly phone deserving a shoutout: the Moto G5S Plus. Seriously, it's amazing how much phone you can get nowadays for just about $250, and Moto's budget offering is the evidence. While not perfect, the G5S Plus delivers solid performance across the board, which makes it a great choice for buyers on a tight budget or for those looking for a reliable backup handset. 

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Next up we have the year's best tablets. Yup, tablets are still very much a thing, even though there aren't quite as many grand announcements as there used to be. And if you're looking for a tablet, here's one you can't go wrong with:

Best tablet of 2017

The Apple iPad Pro 10.5 is the year's best tablet for a number of reasons: not only because it's an excellent specimen, but also because most of Apple's competitors in the tablet category have simply stopped trying. And there's a lot to like about the iPad Pro 10.5: the fast performance, the long battery life, the beautiful display, the great-sounding speakers, the wide selection of software and Apple Pen support, to list a few examples. The larger iPad Pro 12.9 is almost as awesome, but we'd say that Apple's 10.5-inch offering strikes a better balance between size and features.

Runner-up: Samsung Galaxy Tab S3

Yet if you're looking for an alternative, then the next best thing after an iPad is the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3. It may not have the processing power of the iPad Pro, while Android may not have as much to offer in terms of tablet-optimized applications, but its screen is great and HDR10-capable, and its speakers are loud and punchy. Plus, the Tab S3 is more affordable and comes bundled with an S Pen stylus. 

We're getting closer to the most exciting category of them all: that honoring the year's best smartphone. But first: smartwatches! 

Best smartwatch of 2017

Whether you're a sports enthusiast or a techie looking for an extension of their iPhone, the Apple Watch has you covered. It is light and comfortable, it is fast functional, it is seriously resistant to water and well-enough-equipped to track your every step with precision. On top of that you get access to Apple's ecosystem of apps made to work with the Apple Watch, while the in-built cellular connectivity enables independent phone calls, data access, and Apple Music streaming.

Runner-up: Samsung Gear Sport

But again, rival Samsung has an alternative that's nearly as good. The Samsung Gear Sport is the runner-up in this category, and while it may not be as proficient when it comes to exercise tracking, while it may not have as much access to optimized apps, it has a gorgeous circular display and a convenient rotating bezel for navigation. Plus, it is just as resistant to water damage as the latest Apple Watch.

And now for the grand finale. 

Best smartphone of 2017

Yes, it has a notch. We get it! And just like you, we wish it didn't have one. It makes the iPhone X feel imperfect and unfinished and... somehow not quite worth the $1000 asking price. But notch aside, the iPhone X gets so many things right! All cameras take excellent photos that look gorgeous on the wide color OLED display. Performance is super smooth thanks to the powerful processor and the efficiency of iOS. The built-in navigation gestures are quick and easy to get the hang of, while Face ID is surprisingly reliable. No less importantly, the iPhone X is simply a phone worth being excited about – it's like holding a piece of the future in your hands today.

Runner-ups: Samsung Galaxy Note 8, Galaxy S8

Samsung's best phones for 2017 were really close to grabbing the Best Smartphone award. The Galaxy Note 8 is definitely among the top options for smartphone enthusiasts, for users in need of a powerful camera, and those demanding top productivity capabilities even on the go. And the Galaxy S8 serves as an example of how a "bezel-less" design should be executed: with elegance, style, and attention to detail. Both have vivid displays, water resistance, and tons of other cool features a high-end phone should deliver. 

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