With all the new smartphones that came out this summer, we thought it was an appropriate time to update our list of the best smartphones of 2017 so far. It’s been something of an incredible year thus far for smartphones, especially if you love the idea of slimmed-down bezels and fancy dual-cameras.
With that being said, we’ve got new iPhones being launched next week and the Pixel 2 rumored to come out in October, so this list could very well be shifted around very soon. If you’re looking to update now, however, here are the five best smartphones of 2017 so far:
5. LG G6
Compared to last year’s G5, the G6 seems positively safe and tame in comparison, which was probably the point. There are a couple notable features—the wider aspect ratio and wide angle ability—to at least partially distinguish it from the competition. It’s got plenty of things going for it as a proper flagship smartphone in 2017—something LG hasn’t always been able to do in the past.
Still, with phones like the Galaxy S8 and Google Pixel out there in the market, the G6 is likely to have trouble standing out.—Jason D’Aprile
4. Essential Phone
The Essential Phone may not have made a big splash in the mind of the mainstream public yet, but in many ways this newcomer has put the market on notice. From the creator of Android itself, Andy Rubin, the Essential Phone certainly doesn’t seem like a debut attempt—in fact, it feels just as iterated upon and modern as any other phone on this list.
While reports about the camera haven’t been great, the bezel-less display, interesting modular accessories, and a completely stock Android software experience all make this one a serious competitor. So while the Essential Phone might not get the buzz that Samsung phones get, the future is extremely bright for this new Android company.—Luke Larsen
3. OnePlus 5
I’ve gone to great lengths to attempt to dispel some of the outrage surrounding the release of the OnePlus 5. A lot of unfair shade has been thrown its way. In most of the ways that actually matter, the OnePlus 5 is another great phone in the company’s flagship series that continues to bite at the ankles of the big smartphone manufacturers out there.
If OnePlus continues to raise the price of its phones into the future, we may see a day when the OnePlus 7 or 8 is just another flagship phone. But as of now, the OnePlus 5 still aptly matches the title of “flagship killer.—LL
2. Galaxy S8
Samsung needed a big win after the Note 7 disaster, and the Galaxy S8 is it. While not a pitch perfect phone, the latest flagship from the Korean giant is the best it’s ever made, and an easy frontrunner for phone of the year. It not only pushes the company’s portfolio forward, but the entire industry with its elegant and futuristic design that prioritizes the display without bloating the size.
It’s an impressive achievement of design and engineering, but the quality isn’t surface deep. The entire experience of using the S8 is a rich one, despite the continued frustrations on the software side and the undeveloped virtual assistant, Bixby. But the market has proven for years that consumers are willing to overlook these shortcomings, as Samsung continues to dominate the industry alongside Apple.—Eric Walters
1. Galaxy Note 8
Photo by Jason Kempin / Stringer / Getty Images.
If you thought the Galaxy S8 was good, you’ll be blown away by the Galaxy Note 8. The S8’s older brother is very similar to the S8 (especially to the S8+)—in particular, it’s got a very similar display, the same processor, and a familiar look. So while the Note 8 is certainly a safe product for Samsung (who just wants to reaffirm the public that its batteries don’t explode), there’s a lot here to love.
First off, you’ve got the S Pen, which is enough to bring over plenty of users who love the fully-featured stylus support you get with the Note 8. This smartphone also adds in a fancy dual-camera, which just might be the best camera out there and some extra RAM to boot. We’ll have to see what Apple does with the iPhone next week, but as of now the Galaxy Note 8 is the phone to beat.—LL