The results for best smartphone of the year are in, time to find out the Best Phablet of 2016. We’re including the eight most impressive handsets of this year with screens 5.5” or bigger. Actually, all but two phones on the list have a 5.5” screen, it’s clearly the sweet-spot for a large-screen phone.
Let’s open up with the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge. The smaller version of the phone won Best smartphone of 2016 and the S7 edge is even better. Should be easy, right? With a curved 5.5” AMOLED screen, the phone has a unique look, but aesthetics didn’t harm function - the edge packs a large 3,600mAh battery and is IP68 waterproof. It also has the fastest shot in the west - the Dual Pixel AF camera showed true innovation and great image quality. Still, the Galaxy Note7 should have been here - the S7 edge has to carry that weight until the S8 edge arrives.
Perennial rival Apple launched the iPhone 7 Plus with features that we normally find on Android flagships. The dual-camera is Apple’s first major change to imaging in years, the waterproof body (IP67) is willing to get away from the image of “fashion accessory”, the team at Cupertino even put stereo speakers. All that’s missing is an Always on screen and you get the Android dreamphone… except with a polished iOS 10.
The G5 didn’t get much love, but the LG V20 is the company’s best offering right now anyway. The metal body is much sleeker than the V10’s but keeps the MIL-STD-810G shockproof rating (no waterproofing, though). The dual-camera on the back (and in a way on the front) lead the way in front of the iPhone 7 Plus and others. The secondary screen is an exclusive feature and is helpful both when you’re using the phone and not.
The Google Pixel XL wants to be the best premium phone in the world, crushing best-sellers like the iPhone 7 Plus and Galaxy S7 edge. It aims to do that with the entirety of the Google machinery backing it up. The hard-to-swallow price brings a judicial selection of features, surpassed even by the traditionally conservative Apple.
Motos were once the non-Nexus darlings of Android purists, but have gradually lost ground. The geekery of the Moto Z is at an all-time high, though. It takes a different, perhaps more pragmatic, approach to modular phones than Project Ara and the LG G5. It’s also super thin at 5.2mm (a bit more if you want Z Force’s bigger battery).
The OnePlus 3 smashed into the market with a whopping 6GB of RAM and a 16MP camera with OIS at a very reasonable price. Many appreciate its close to AOSP software, others enjoy its metal body and Samsung-made AMOLED display. It’s one of the best phones you can buy for €400.
One of, ZTE Axon 7 costs about as much but has a QHD AMOLED screen (instead of 1080p) and is Daydream-ready. The Pixel XL is already sweating under its collar, even more so when it hears the impressive stereo speakers of the Axon. The 20MP OIS camera makes the OnePlus nervous too.
Finally, at the same price point is the Xiaomi Mi 5s Plus, which was almost left out of this list because it’s not widely available. Still, if you import it, you get an affordable phone with Snapdragon 821 (like the Pixels) and a dual camera (color + B&W like the Huawei P9). The UltraPixel selfie cam and 3,800mAh battery just sweeten the pot.
Well, what’s it going to be? The obvious choices or the smart buys? Feature-loaded or smartly specced? Cast your votes below!