Update, May 2017: The Galaxy S8 is now our favorite medium-sized phone, and we’ve added the LG G6 to the list.

Best overall

Samsung Galaxy S8

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The Galaxy S8 is an easy pick for best medium-sized phone, because it’s currently our favorite phone and the one that is most likely going to feel substantial while remaining easy to use in one hand. That’s owed to the beautiful, extra-tall 18.5:9 screen that delivers some of the best visuals we’ve ever seen on a phone.

Add to that a whip-fast Snapdragon 835 chip and plenty of specs to keep early adopters happy and you have some of nicest hardware on the market today. More surprising (in a good way) is Samsung’s software, which continues to improve year over year, even if it does stuff a million and one features in the settings.

Bottom line: The Galaxy S8 does most things right so even its negatives are easily to overlook.

One more thing: If you’ve got the extra room in your pocket or hands, the Galaxy S8+ is a nice size boost over the S8.

Why the Galaxy S8 is the best

You get more for your money with the GS8.

Everyone has their preference, but I think most people would agree that the Galaxy S8 is one of the best-looking phones on the market today. The way the curved glass meets the aluminum sides — 👌. But here’s the thing: if it were just aesthetic, the Galaxy S8 wouldn’t be on this list. For all of its quirks — the displacement of the fingerprint sensor to the back, and the unreliable face unlock that replaces it — the phone is rock solid in almost every other respect.

Great touch response; amazing color accuracy; incredible camera; awesome battery life. And the Galaxy S8 manages to pack in 64GB of internal storage as standard, which is more than the iPhone and the LG G6, along with wireless charging and water resistance. There aren’t a lot of things this phone can’t do. It also manages to stay pretty easy to use in one hand, thanks to its taller-yet-narrower 18.5:9 aspect ratio.

Best for simplicity

Google Pixel XL

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While the Samsung Galaxy S8 comes with a number of additional software features, in addition to sporting expandable storage and water resistance, the Pixel XL makes up for those shortcomings with the potent combination of speed, battery life, screen quality and camera performance. In fact, the Pixel XL still takes some of the best low-light photos we’ve ever seen in a phone.

And because Google engineers Android itself, the Pixel is all but guaranteed the quickest software updates, with the latest features. Right now, Android 7.1 boasts improvements to notifications, multitasking and the home screen, with features that make a meaningful difference to users’ lives, and it will be the first to get Android O later this year.

Bottom line: The Google Pixel XL is one of the best phones you can buy today — if you can find it. Not only is the camera incredible, the software simple-but-powerful, and the performance unparalleled, but Google’s 24/7 support and quick software updates are unmatched in the Android ecosystem.

One more thing: The Pixel XL also has a smaller sibling, the Pixel, which shaves some screen size and resolution for some one-handed love.

Best for camera buffs

LG G6

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This list wouldn’t be complete without the Comeback King of 2017, the LG G6. This phone makes up in almost every way for the misfire of the G5, and once again positions LG as the main competition with its South Korean rival, Samsung. The G6 may not have the fastest chip on the market — it ships with the Snapdragon 821 — but everything else, from the software to the camera setup, is completely modern.

Indeed, the camera setup may be a good reason to pick this over the Galaxy S8; its dual cameras offer both a “normal” field of view as well as an ultra-wide lens that makes for incredible landscape photos. A beefy manual mode and excellent sound capture round out the G6’s excellent optical pedigree, though the phone is fundamentally sound in other ways, too. Its 18:9 aspect ratio screen is nearly as good as the S8’s, as its fingerprint sensor is much easier to reach.

Bottom line: The G6 keeps up with the Galaxy S8 in almost every way, and surpasses it in the camera department.

One more thing: The North American G6 comes with wireless charging, which is a bonus, but all models are waterproof.

Best on a budget

OnePlus 3T

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The OnePlus 3T does everything well — that’s what you need to know first. At $439, you get a lot for your money — it’s a nice little boost over the still-excellent OnePlus 3 — and its all-metal chassis doesn’t feel overly large despite the ample 5.5-inch screen size. And that’s what you’re looking for in a big phone: one that doesn’t feel like a brick in your hand.

OnePlus did a great job improving the internals in the OnePlus 3T: the 5.5-inch Full HD display is vivid and bright, and the quad-core Snapdragon 821 paired with 6GB of RAM makes the phone a formidable performer — even more so when you consider the $439 price point. While it lacks the little things that add up to justify the S8’s extra cost — water resistance, expandable storage, and a high-quality QHD display — the OnePlus 3T is without compromises, which is something we’re really happy to see at this price tier.

Bottom-line: With a big, bright 5.5-inch screen, a great camera, excellent build quality, and loads of nice software touches, the OnePlus 3T is one of the best smartphone deals you can find today.

One more thing: The OnePlus 3T runs Android 7.1.1, which is newer than the software that ships on the Galaxy S8 and LG G6.

Conclusion

The Galaxy S8 may not seem like a medium-sized phone, but that’s because its tall screen is deceptive. In fact, this phone is easy to use in one hand (and has a great one-handed mode to make it even easier) along with a spec sheet for days. While the Pixel XL is still our favorite for simplicity, the G6 takes some amazing photos, and the OnePlus 3T is a perfect budget option, the S8 does more than all, and most things better.

Best overall

Samsung Galaxy S8

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

The Galaxy S8 is an easy pick for best medium-sized phone, because it’s currently our favorite phone and the one that is most likely going to feel substantial while remaining easy to use in one hand. That’s owed to the beautiful, extra-tall 18.5:9 screen that delivers some of the best visuals we’ve ever seen on a phone. Add to that a whip-fast Snapdragon 835 chip and plenty of specs to keep early adopters happy and you have some of nicest hardware on the market today. More surprising (in a good way) is Samsung’s software, which continues to improve year over year, even if it does stuff a million and one features in the settings.

Bottom line: The Galaxy S8 does most things right, and even its negatives are easily to overlook.

One more thing: If you’ve got the extra room in your pocket or hands, the Galaxy S8+ is a nice size boost over the S8.

Note: This list is of medium-sized phones, mainly between 5.3 inches and 5.8 inches. We also have a list of the best small phones, and the best large phones.



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