Best overall

HTC U11

See at Amazon
See at HTC
See at Sprint

This may come as a shock to you, but HTC is back, baby! In fact, the company never left, but its criminally underappreciated 2016 flagship, the HTC 10, has been replaced by a phone so good and so striking that it would be impossible not to consider it in 2017. That phone is the HTC U11.

It may lack the Stretch Armstrong screen dimensions of the Galaxy S8 and LG G6, but it makes up for it in admirable practicality. The phone is fast — like, crazy fast — and the rear camera is probably the best you’ll find on the market today. And despite the fingerprint magnetic glass back, when it’s clean it’s stunning, like a work of art.

Bottom line: The HTC U11 is an amazing phone that you should absolutely consider if you’re in the market for an under-$700 device.

One more thing: The phone is only available to purchase at Sprint in the U.S., so consider financing it from HTC directly if you want to use it elsewhere.

Why the HTC U11 is best

It all comes down to smoothness.

The HTC U11 isn’t necessarily the best phone out there right now — we still think the Galaxy S8 offers a bit more for the average user, especially if purchasing through a carrier — but it’s close. This phone is beautiful, and stupendously made, from the layered glass that refracts light in the most awe-inspiring ways to the incredibly consistent performance powered by a Snapdragon 835 and 4GB of RAM.

There’s also the excellent UltraPixel camera that, for once, lives up to expectations. Not only does DxOMark consider it the best camera out there, but we love it, too.

On top of that, the software is wonderfully minimal and gets out of your way if you want it to, while offering unique solutions to assistant problems like partnering with Amazon to integrate Alexa into U.S. units.

It’s a shame that HTC lacks the clout in the U.S. to partner with more than one — and especially this one — carrier, but them’s the breaks, I guess. At the very least, you can say that HTC makes it easy (and occasionally affordable) to buy the phone unlocked from its website.

Best for updates

Google Pixel

google pixel

See at Verizon
See at Google Store

I have good news for those of you ruing the day that the first phablet was ever announced. Google’s Pixel smartphone is a mere 5 inches, so those of you with smaller hands and diminutive pockets can rest easy knowing that there is flagship-level, feature-packed Android phone out there that doesn’t take up so much room.

The Pixel is impressive on the inside, too. It’s got a Snapdragon 821 processor and 4GB of RAM. You can purchase it with up to 128GB of storage, though if you decide to stick to the alternative 32GB option, Google will still offer unlimited photo uploads for your pictures. The Pixel also boasts impressive camera performance that nearly bests the Samsung Galaxy S8’s.

Bottom line: If you’re looking for the smartphone that best represents Google’s Android, go Pixel.

One more thing: You can purchase device protection insurance for your Pixel. It covers accidental damage from a drop or water ingress, as well as any general malfunctions for two years.

Best for single hands

LG G6

LG G6

See at AT&T
See at Sprint
See at T-mobile
See at Verizon

The LG G6 is a great alternative for a sub-$700 smartphone, particularly if you aren’t too interested in buying one of last year’s Samsung devices as this year’s daily driver.

Sure, LG was known to be chasing gimmicks with its flagship releases the last few years, but it’s since changed its tune with the G6. This hand-friendly smartphone features an attractive design, great build quality, and a stunning, nearly bezel-less 5.7-inch display. It also features Qi wireless charging, water resistance, a rear-facing fingerprint sensor that doubles as a power button, and a bevy of fun, wide-angle camera features.

If you’re the kind of person who loves to go crazy with camera effects in your daily Instagram posts, then the G6 is a worthy buy. You can grab it unlocked in a variety of colors, including black, white, and platinum.

Bottom line: LG is back to making really solid smartphones and the G6 is a worthy buy if camera hardware is especially important to you.

One more thing: The LG G6 is only available in 32GB in the U.S. and Europe, so be sure to grab an additional microSD card for a bit of extra storage for your photos and such.

Best for less

OnePlus 5

See at OnePlus

If you’re looking for an amazing phone that goes for well below $700, you’ll be happy with the OnePlus 5. Starting at $479, it’s the least expensive pick in this list, but you can always spend an extra $60 to upgrade to the Midnight Black model with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage.

For your money, you get a nicely-designed, if perfunctory, Android phone, with a decent 1080p screen and a super-fast fingerprint sensor. Decent battery, too. But you also get a really interesting dual camera setup akin to the iPhone 7 Plus and one of the best versions of Android out right now in OxygenOS. Plus, the 8GB of RAM gives you plenty of headroom to multitask to your heart’s content.

Bottom line: The mid-range classic goes premium with a higher price tag and plenty of power. The OnePlus 5 is a great device.

One more thing: It’s not sold at carriers in the U.S., but the OnePlus 5 is optimized to work on T-Mobile’s and AT&T’s networks.

Conclusion

The Google Pixel is still a great buy, but it’s getting up there in age, and there’s a good argument to be made that the HTC U11 embodies the best of the Pixel with updated tech, a better camera, and a much nicer design.

Best overall

HTC U11

See at Amazon
See at HTC
See at Sprint

This may come as a shock to you, but HTC is back, baby! In fact, the company never left, but its criminally underappreciated 2016 flagship, the HTC 10, has been replaced by a phone so good and so striking that it would be impossible not to consider it in 2017.

It may lack the Stretch Armstrong screen dimensions of the Galaxy S8 and LG G6, but it makes up for it in admirable practicality. The phone is fast — like, crazy fast — and the rear camera is probably the best you’ll find on the market today. And despite the fingerprint magnetic glass back, when it’s clean it’s stunning, like a work of art.

Bottom line: The HTC U11 is an amazing phone that you should absolutely consider if you’re in the market for an under-$700 device.

One more thing: The phone is only available at Sprint in the U.S., so consider financing it from HTC directly if you want to use it elsewhere.

Updated July 2017: The HTC U11 claims the top spot in our updated list, with the Google Pixel moving down to second and the Moto Z and Galaxy S7 being knocked off in favor of the OnePlus 5.



Source link