Smartphone sales may be cooling, but that doesn’t mean manufacturers aren’t trying hard to convince you to upgrade to the best smartphones on the market — theirs, of course.
In fact, the case for replacing a phone purchased in the past few years has never been greater. With an emphasis on bigger and sharper displays, better cameras and premium design, the current crop of smartphones offers more compelling options than ever.
Of course, we’re still waiting for a few additions for 2017 — notably Apple Inc’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) 10th anniversary iPhone 8 — but many of the big new releases for 2017 have already happened. The hotly anticipated Galaxy S8 from Samsung Electronics Co Ltd (OTCMKTS:SSNLF) is the latest, and it’s already smashing previous sales records.
If you don’t want to wait until the iPhone 8 launch in September, here are five of the best smartphones you can buy right now.
Today’s Best Smartphones: Samsung Galaxy S8
Without a doubt, the hottest smartphone you can buy today is Samsung’s Galaxy S8 (or Galaxy S8+ if you prefer to go bigger). Overall, it’s probably the best smartphone on the market at the moment.
The signature feature of the Galaxy S8 is its display. The edge-to-edge Super AMOLED Infinity Display is big, bright, HDR-certified and virtually eliminates bezels. The downside to that move is a fingerprint sensor positioned near the camera lens on the back, which has led to some smudgy photos despite the excellent camera.
Starting at $726 unlocked, it’s not cheap, but the Galaxy S8 should be at the top of any smartphone shopper’s list.
Today’s Best Smartphones: Google Pixel Phone
The Google Pixel Phone was an instant hit. It was almost immediately backordered and supplies of the Pixel XL, in particular, have been tight.
If you can get your hands on one, the $649 Pixel Phone is a good looking flagship smartphone with an incredible camera. In low light situations, it’s pretty much unbeatable. This was also the first smartphone with Google Assistant, although other Android phones are getting Google’s latest AI-powered helper now.
The Pixel Phone ships with Android Nougat and will receive regular OS updates from Google.
Today’s Best Smartphones: LG G6
Last year’s G5 modular smartphone from LG Display Co Ltd. (ADR) (NYSE:LPL) didn’t go over very well, so this year the company played it safer with the G6.
That’s not to say the latest LG flagship isn’t packed with high-end features. Unlike the Galaxy S8, there are still some thin side bezels, but LG has stretched the G6’s 5.7-inch Quad HD+ display to cover 80% of the front.
On the back, it features dual cameras. It’s a similar setup to the iPhone 7 Plus, except instead of a zoom, the additional lens provides 120-degree wide angle shots. That camera may make the G6 the best smartphone choice for travelers who like to take landscape shots.
Depending on the carrier, you can pick up an LG G6 starting at about $600.
Today’s Best Smartphones: OnePlus 3T
China’s OnePlus hasn’t cracked the U.S. carriers, yet, but it has made a splash in the American market with the OnePlus 3T, a bargain-priced premium smartphone.
The OnePlus 3T is clad in attractive aluminum (available in gunmetal gray, midnight black or gold), uses the same Snapdragon 821 processor as Google’s Pixel Phone and has a battery good for more than 16 hours of video playback on a single charge.
It has 6GB of RAM — double what most smartphones have on tap — which helps its performance with multiple windows open. The display is the closest this device comes to “middling” at Full HD resolution on a 5.5-inch panel.
But, at $439 unlocked for 64GB of storage (only $479 for 128GB), it’s no wonder the OnePlus 3T has so many American fans.
Today’s Best Smartphones: Apple iPhone 7 Plus
Rounding out our list of the best smartphones on the market right now is Apple’s iPhone 7 Plus.
Many Apple fans are hunkering down and waiting for the iPhone 8, but the iPhone 7 Plus is less than a year old and remains a compelling choice.
The lack of a headphone jack is the biggest knock against it. Otherwise, this is a state-of-the-art iPhone. It’s water resistant (finally), fast, and the 5.5-inch display is about as good as LED gets. Stereo speakers help make up for that missing headphone jack (so does the Lightning dongle Apple includes in the box). In a first for Apple, you can even buy it in red.
But, the key selling feature of the iPhone 7 Plus is its dual camera system. The second lens is a 2x optical zoom that makes a world of difference for photographers. Combined with Apple’s camera software, the dual lens system can generate DSLR-like portraits with blurred backgrounds.
Be sure to check back for a revised Best Smartphone list after the expected September launch of the iPhone 8 and the followup to Google’s Pixel Phone…
As of this writing, Brad Moon did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.