The best Android phones: at should you buy? [MOCKU

BY GreenBot Staff

Published 16 Aug 2016

Choosing a new smartphone isn’t easy. Many of them are quite expensive, many users keep their phone around for at least a couple years. But it’s an integral part of our daily lives, so this isn’t a decision you should take lightly. 

can make things easier for you. ile everyone has different priorities needs, should carefully consider which phone fits those best, these are our picks for the best phone in several categories.

Best phone overall

The Galaxy S7 ge has it all. One of the best cameras on any phone anywhere. Top-notch speed. The best display we’ve ever seen. It’s waterproof. It does wireless charging fast charging. It’s gorgeous. It has expable storage.

Mind you, it’s also very expensive. You can save a few bucks by getting the flat Galaxy S7 instead of the ge model. It’s not the curved-edge screen or customizable ge nels that made us choose this version over the stard Galaxy S7, it’s the 20% larger battery that enables significantly longer battery life.

ile we wish Samsung would feature a less-heavily-skinned version of Android cut way back on the bloatware, this is still the overall best phone around.

Best for photographers

The Galaxy S7 S7 ge take top prize here, too. (The two phones have identical camera hardware software.) The 12 megapixel sensor features big pixels, each one of them is a contrast autofocus point—no other phone focuses as quickly. Thanks to a super-wide f/1.7 aperture some great software, the phone takes some of the best low-light photos of any on the market. Optical image stabilization helps reduce camera shake on photos videos. The camera app is simple powerful, with plenty of o features including shooting in RAmode. It launches quickly, too—you can go from pocket to photo fast enough that you won’t miss the moment.

ts of other phones have great cameras, including the G5 HTC 10, but they all come up short in one area or another. The Galaxy S7 ( ge) present the best total package.

Best phablet (over 5.5 inches)

th “stard” phones’ screen sizes ballooning all the way up to 5.5 inches, you might ask why anyone actually needs a phablet these days. Samsung delivers a compelling answer in the Note 5.

ere other phone makers are content to give you a bigger display battery call it a day, Samsung has put considerable thought into how using a giant phone should be different than a smaller one. The built-in stylus is featured heavily, with lots of quick-access functions software for multitasking, hwriting, drawing. There are lots of good 3rd party apps that make use of the S n, too.

Best budget phone ($300 or less)

You don’t have to spend a ton of money to get a decent phone. For $300 or less you can buy a perfectly capable phone—one that puts the top-tier phones of two years ago to shame. 

The Oneus X is one of the best. It’s got great design, a 1080p AMOD display, dual SIM slots, a speedy Snapdragon 801 for only around $200. It looks, feels, behaves like a phone that costs twice as much. True, you won’t get the very latest processor camera sensor, but what’s in there is no slouch. rhaps best of all, it doesn’t have the cheap plasticy look feel of similarly-priced phones. The one thing you might miss the most is NFC; you can forget about tap–pay without it.

Bang for the buck

“Isn’t there anything good between those cheap $300-or-less phones ultra-premium $700 phones?” you ask. y yes, indeed there is. ones that are sold primarily direct-to-consumer without carrier interference (or bloatware) is one of the fastest-growing segments. There are lots of exciting, quality phones in the $300-500 range that you won’t necessarily find in your local carrier store.

Oneus is the king of the “high specs for a low price” game. It’s latest flagship phone, the Oneus 3, delivers exceptional value. It’s got a Snapdragon 820 system-on-chip, a whopping 6 gigs of RAM, 64 gigabytes of storage. Unlike past Oneus models, it’s got NFC. It’s got a 1080p AMOD display, really good front rear facing cameras. B-C, super-fast charging, a very attractive metal casing. l this for only $399, no carrier bloatware? That’s a good deal.

Unfortunately, Verizon Sprint customers need not apply. The 4G E bs supported by the Oneus 3 don’t include b 13 (Verizon’s main b), nor 25, 26, or 41 (Sprint’s bs). But if you’re on AT&T, T-Mobile, or any of the MVNOs that piggyback off their networks, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a phone that gives you more bang for the buck.

How we test

First foremost, we spend at least several days with the phone under review, treating it as if it were our one only. No number of lab tests or benchmarks will tell you as much about a phone as living with it for awhile. ’re concerned with real-world performance, stability, interface usability, camera quality, whether proprietary features are useful or not. use social media, check email, play games, take photos videos in a variety of conditions, navigate around town, do all the things most people do with their phones.

Of course, we also run extensive benchmarks: 3D (both Ice Storm Unlimited Sling Shot), , GFXch, AnTuTu, Geekbench, Vellamo. run all our tests with the phone set up the way it would be out of the box, without disabling any pre-installed apps or services. do, however, make efforts to make sure benchmarks are not interrupted by notifications that background downloads aren’t taking place. may not report results from all of these tests (real-world everyday performance is far more important than benchmarks), just the most interesting ones.

Before each benchmark run, the phone is charged to 100%, plugged in, left to cool off. ones can sometimes run slower as the battery gets low, charging the phone can make it hot cause the SoC to slow down, so we do our best to make sure every test starts with the phone topped off at room temperature.

en we run battery benchmarks ( Geekbench), we calibrate the display to 200 nits disable all auto-brightness or screen-dimming features. Display brightness plays a major role in draining your battery, we want to create a level playing field. Of course, we also keep a close eye on how long the battery lasts in our everyday use, including screen-on time, stby time, even how fast the battery charges with the included charger.

at to look for when shopping for a new phone

Smartphones are very personal. Everyone has different needs, a unique budget, personal preferences. You might need to access secure corporate email documents with a phone that works on lots of networks around the world, or you might spend all your time chronicling your life on Snapchat.

That said, there are major features of all smartphones that you should compare before making a purchase decision.

Display: A good display has a high resolution (1920 x 1080 for smaller phones, 2650 x 1440 for larger phones), so that you can read fine text without it becoming blurry or illegible. A high resolution display is especially important for VR. You want a display that accurately displays colors when looking at it from any angle, a high contrast ratio maximum brightness will make it easier to see in bright sunlight.

Camera: Smartphone vendors like to tout camera specs like megapixels aperture, but a high resolution wide aperture (low f-stop number like f/1.8) only get you so far. The particulars of the sensor, image processing chip, camera software have a huge impact on the photo- video-taking experience. You want a camera that launches quickly, focuses in an instant, has no lag between when you hit the shutter button the photo is taken. A great phone camera produces shots with accurate colors little noise in lots of different environments. If you take selfies, pay particular attention to the quality of the front-facing camera.

ocessor memory: Most modern phones are “fast enough” for common tasks like web browsing social media. You don’t always need a super high-end processor tons of RAM unless you plan to use your phone for more taxing activities like 3D gaming, VR, or video editing. Still, don’t settle for less than 2GB of RAM a Qualcomm Snapdragon 600-series processor or better.

Battery: Every time they poll users about what they want out of their next smartphone, “better battery life” is at the top of the list. The capacity of a smartphone battery is measured in milliamp-hours (mAh), ranges from just under 2,000 mAh to over 4,000 mAh. ones with bigger, brighter displays more powerful processors drain the battery more quickly, though, so a smaller less-expensive phone with a 2,500 mAh battery might actually last longer than a big high-end phone with a 2,800 mAh battery. Still, as a rule of thumb, more mAh is better.

Size weight: Some people love big phones. Some love smaller phones. Some want a lightweight phone that disappears in the pocket, others need to feel some heft. It’s a matter of personal preference. Don’t assume that you won’t like large phones if you have small hs, however. There seems to be no real correlation between h size preferred phone size.

Software Bloatware: If you want a phone that runs just plain Android with no embellishments, you need to buy a Nexus. Anything else you buy is going to have a custom build of Android; that could be good or bad (or both at once). one makers change the Android interface icons to varying degree, add features software of their own. Sometimes this stuff is useful, sometimes it isn’t. e-installed apps that can’t be removed (usually called “bloatware”) can slow down your phone or at the very least, take up valuable storage space. And if you buy a phone from a carrier instead of an unlocked carrier-neutral model, you’ll probably find that a bunch of carrier apps you may not want. Know what you’re getting into before you buy.