Buy 6-7 Inch Android Phones

Come and take a look to our Android mobiles and our last Chinese Smartphones. These are the last and most powerful mobiles available on the market!
We suggest you buy a phone for 2 sim cards for just a little money. At the same time, you will become the owner of a mobile phone, which almost does not differ from the devices of elite and world famous brands.

Page 1 of 2

Even though 6 GB is more RAM than you get with any other phone right now, the 3T doesn’t seem to offer better performance than phones with 4 GB of memory. Brandon Chester of AnandTech writes that the RAM is “really just sitting there using energy.”
Our Favorite Learning Apps for Tablets and Smartphones
If you’re happy with your current phone, don’t get a new one yet. The phones that will be available when you’re ready to upgrade (or when you truly need to) will be better than the models out there today. Unless you’re a power user or a serial early adopter, you probably don’t need an upgrade if you bought a phone in the past year. On the other hand, if you use your phone constantly throughout the day and your old one isn’t serving you well anymore, get a new one.
In late March, Samsung debuted its latest flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S8. In its first major launch since the recall of the Note 7, Samsung is offering two sizes of its new line, the 5.8-inch standard S8 and the 6.2-inch S8 Plus. The new phone design has virtually no bezel, expanding the screen to cover almost the entire front surface and curve around the sides, as on the Galaxy Edges of the past few years. Samsung has removed physical face buttons and instead added a haptic-feedback virtual home button to the bottom of the screen (think Force Touch, but just for one part of the screen) and moved the fingerprint sensor to the rear. Along with your fingerprint, you’ll be able to use iris and facial recognition to unlock the phone. The specs are the best available in any smartphone; its Snapdragon 835 processor outclasses the Snapdragon 821 found in the Pixel, the OnePlus 3T, and most other top phones. The Galaxy S8 is also the first phone to have Bixby—Samsung’s version of Siri and Google Assistant—which also adds some intriguing augmented reality features not yet found in those competitors. The phone still has a headphone jack, and it can charge wirelessly or over USB-C. In the US, the Galaxy S8 will be available in black, silver, and gray, with blue and gold versions available in some international markets. Pricing starts at about $750 for the smaller phone but will depend on the carrier (The Verge has a good rundown of what you can expect in the US), and preorders begin March 30. The phone will arrive on April 21, and we’ll have more complete thoughts on how it stacks up against the Pixel around then.
Buying a Pixel gets you the latest version of Android, with features no other devices have yet—not even last year’s Nexus phones. The Pixels run Android 7.1 Nougat with built-in support for Google Assistant, which is more advanced and conversational than the Google voice commands on other phones. Assistant can take selfies, send messages, tell you when your flight is arriving, help you set reminders, read the news, and more. It isn’t always perfect—some phrases that should work just produce errors, while slightly different phrasing works fine. The Verge explains: “Sometimes it amazes you with what it can figure out and sometimes it also baffles you when it can’t answer seemingly obvious questions.”
We spend dozens of hours each year testing the latest Android smartphones in everyday use, and we think the Google Pixel is the best Android phone for most people. It has the fastest performance of any Android phone we’ve tested, a best-in-class 12-megapixel camera, and impressive build quality. It also runs the latest version of Android, which has exclusive features like the voice-activated Google Assistant, and it’s guaranteed to get fast updates to the latest version of Android for two years.
If you’re looking for a flaw, look no further than the software. The Galaxy S7 ships with Android 6.0 Marshmallow, but it still has Samsung’s TouchWiz UI layer on top. With this layer, the settings are convoluted, and the home screen has a number of annoying quirks, such as an app drawer that lets you organize the included apps alphabetically but won’t automatically alphabetize new apps. The Pixel’s clean version of Android is much faster, easier to use, more attractive, and already two versions ahead on Android 7.1.
Huawei Mate 9
If you’re looking for a less expensive option, check out our guide to budget Android phones. If you have a Mac or other Apple devices, plan to do a lot of smartphone photography, or just really like the iPhone, we also have a full guide to iPhones.We’ve often praised Samsung for its phones’ build quality in recent years, and the Google Pixel is just as great. The aluminum rear shell is better than the GS7’s glass back in the event you drop your phone (though the Gorilla Glass inlay at the top may prove more vulnerable). Engadget calls the Pixel’s design “yawn-inducing,” but concedes the build quality is great.
The problem with Sony’s phones used to be that they were good, but you couldn’t buy them from official US retailers. Now the problem is that you can buy them, but they aren’t good and cost far too much. The Xperia X is $550 unlocked at the time of writing, but it offers only midrange hardware, including a Snapdragon 650 processor and 5-inch 1080p screen. The 23-megapixel camera is awful—one of the worst we’ve tested in a non-budget phone. This handset isn’t even water-resistant like past Sony phones. Another model in the line, the Xperia X Performance, offers water resistance and a better CPU, but the screen is still a 5-inch 1080p LCD, the camera is still wretched, and it’s $700.
If you absolutely need to get a phone through your carrier (and aren’t on Verizon), the Galaxy S7 is your best option. The Galaxy S7 is (at the time of writing) available on all major US carriers for between $23 and $30 per month on a two-year payment finance plan, which adds up to around between $550 and $700. Samsung also sells unlocked versions that work on any major US carrier.2 But if you’re going to pick up an unlocked phone anyway, we recommend the Pixel. It’s a little cheaper and Google offers a payment plan.
The 5.1-inch, 2560×1440 Super AMOLED display is one of the best screens on any smartphone, according to DisplayMate. (Only the recalled Note 7 ranks higher, though DisplayMate hasn’t tested the Pixels.) The screen gets incredibly bright at greater than 800 nits—much brighter than the screen on the Pixel or the OnePlus 3T—which makes the S7 easily readable even in bright sunlight.
Samsung has debuted its latest flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S8, so anyone considering a Galaxy S7 or S7 Edge should hold off on getting either of those phones. We’ve added our initial thoughts about the S8 to the What to look forward to section below, and we will be testing it soon.
Over the past five years, I’ve written more than a million words about Android phones, tablets, and software on websites such as Android Police, ExtremeTech, and Tested. I’ve also lived with dozens of different Android phones as my “daily drivers” during that time. I’ve used and reviewed more phones in the past year than most people will own in their entire lives.
There are actually two Pixels: the regular one, with a 5-inch screen, and the Pixel XL, with a 5.5-inch screen. Aside from size, display resolution, and battery size, the two phones are otherwise identical. Both versions offer more than a day of battery life with heavy use, though the Pixel XL will last longer. The Pixel phones’ 12-megapixel camera is even better than the Galaxy S7’s, and the rear fingerprint sensor is one of the fastest and most accurate we’ve used. While the build quality is excellent, neither Pixel has IP68 water resistance like the Galaxy S7, and there’s no microSD card slot. The Pixels work on all US carriers, though only Verizon sells them directly. However, Google offers monthly payment plans through its store, unlike in previous years.
Best budget flagship phone: OnePlus 3T
If you’re looking for a flaw, look no further than the S7’s software.
The OnePlus 3T has a Snapdragon 821 processor, 6 GB of RAM, and 64 GB of storage. Though it lacks a microSD card slot, you can get a 128 GB version for $40 more. In my review for Android Police, I note that it’s “as fast as phones that cost twice as much.” The OnePlus 3T is unlocked and supports dual SIM cards—a rarity for phones available in the US. It’s compatible only with GSM networks like AT&T and T-Mobile—the Pixel and the unlocked Galaxy S7 both work on Verizon and Sprint, too—but it has full-band support for both.
The Galaxy S7 Edge is an undeniably attractive phone, with a curved AMOLED display that’s 5.5 inches on the diagonal instead of 5.1 inches like the screen on the regular Galaxy S7. However, we don’t think you should get the Galaxy S7 Edge if you just want a larger phone. It costs about $100 more than the Galaxy S7, and its curved front edges make it less comfortable to hold. More important, only a few software features take advantage of the curved edges of the display, and they feel rather forced. Unless you love the curved edges, get a Pixel XL.
Also worth considering
The OnePlus 3T’s 3,400 mAh battery is an improvement from the 3,000 mAh one in the OnePlus 3, and it will get you through the day comfortably. The OnePlus 3 does support fast charging, but not the Qualcomm Quick Charge that most other phones use, or even USB-C Power Delivery; the company’s Dash Charging works with only the included power adapter, and you can’t get Dash Charge hardware from anyone else. The phone will still charge at normal speed (that is, as fast as any non-fast-charge phone) with a standard USB-C cable and USB charger, and any fast charging is better than none, but using a proprietary charging technology instead of a standard is annoying.
Should you upgrade?
The OnePlus 3T has an aluminum unibody design, meaning the frame is made from a single block of sturdy metal. It feels very similar in the hand to last year’s Nexus 6P. On the left side is something you won’t find on any Android phones from other manufacturers: an alert slider. This switch lets you toggle between normal, priority, and silent notification modes without waking the phone. The OnePlus 3’s home button is also its fingerprint sensor, one of the fastest and most accurate we’ve ever tested. It’s faster than the GS7’s and about on a par with the one on the Pixel.
Motorola Moto G4
The LG V20 is one of the last flagship phones with a removable battery. With this phone, LG took what was good about the G5 (its unpopular early-2016 flagship), and ditched the rest. That means vastly better build quality than the G5 and no expensive modular accessories. However, it’s still clunkier and less comfortable to hold than the Pixel or GS7. The aluminum back panel pops off to reveal the removable 3,200 mAh battery—neither the Pixel or GS7 has a removable battery. There’s also a fast rear-facing fingerprint sensor/power button combo, and a dual-lens camera module. The module contains both a standard 16-megapixel camera that takes nice photos, and an 8-megapixel wide-angle shooter capable of panoramic shots that the Pixel or S7 can’t match. However, both of those phones take much better photos than the V20 generally, and that matters more than the wide-angle shots you’ll rarely take. Wired says the camera “doesn’t distinguish itself as particularly good or bad.” The 5.7-inch display is accompanied by a small 1440×160 secondary screen at the top. It shows notifications, apps shortcuts, and more. It’s quirky, but surprisingly useful. While it’s great that LG is launching this phone with Android 7.0 Nougat, LG’s software does some foolish things, like removing the app drawer. The Pixel’s version of Nougat is faster and easier to use. Unless you can’t live without the removable battery, most people are better off with our picks.
Unlike the similarly priced Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge, or the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, the Pixels aren’t water-resistant. They’re fine in the rain or with minor splashes, but they won’t survive a dunking. That’s disappointing in a phone this expensive, especially when the competition can. The Pixels also don’t have microSD card slots or 64 GB versions, which means if you want more than 32 GB of storage, you need to spend an extra $100 on the 128 GB version.
Android 7.1 includes other Nougat features like split-screen support, improved battery life, and support for Daydream VR. Split-screen is more useful on larger phones, like the Pixel XL, and on tablets like the Pixel C, but it’s occasionally useful, and the implementation is less clunky than Samsung’s.
When it’s time to buy a new phone, we recommend getting the best-rated, most recently released phone you can afford. On the major US carriers, that usually means paying $20 to $30 per month for two years on a finance plan. Why shouldn’t you save some money by getting whatever cheap phone your carrier offers? Those inexpensive phones often have some combination of substandard specs, poor build quality, bad interface, and outdated, crufty versions of Android, never to be updated again. Chances are you’ll feel the difference in quality and usability every day. And they’re often already a year or two old, so they’ll be three or four years old by the time you pay them off—long past the last software update they’ll get. You’re almost always better off paying a bit more to get a better phone that you’ll enjoy using for at least two years.
As with almost all modern phones, the battery is not removable, but Dieter Bohn at The Verge says, “Google was able to optimize battery life beyond what other Android phones can do.” The standard Pixel with its 2,770 mAh battery lasts a little longer than the Galaxy S7—comfortably over a day with heavy use. The Pixel XL’s 3,450 mAh battery gives it better longevity. You can almost get away with charging it every other day.
Motorola Moto Z
If you’re on AT&T or T-Mobile, consider the OnePlus 3T. It has a sturdy aluminum unibody design, the 16-megapixel optically stabilized camera is great for the price, and its fingerprint sensor is fast and accurate. The OnePlus 3T is faster than the Galaxy S7, despite costing hundreds less. Its biggest weakness is that its 5.5-inch 1080p AMOLED screen isn’t very bright and has odd color calibration.The 3T is nearly identical to the six-month-old OnePlus 3, which it replaces, but it comes with a slightly better processor, improved battery life, a higher-resolution front camera, and a $40 price bump. It’s still the best phone you can get for under $450.
If you’d rather not pay $600 or $700 for a phone (even spread out over two years), consider the OnePlus 3T. It’s slightly faster and slightly more expensive than the OnePlus 3 it replaces, but it’s still much less expensive than flagship phones. Unlike phones in the $200 range, the 3T doesn’t cut too many corners to keep the price low—it’s almost as good as phones like the Galaxy S7 or the Pixel, thanks to blazing-fast hardware, superb build quality, and a speedy fingerprint sensor. The 1080p display has some color-calibration issues, and the camera is slightly less reliable than the Galaxy S7’s, but the 3T is still the best phone you can get for the price.
The OnePlus 3T’s 16-megapixel camera is competent—about as good as the LG V20’s main camera. But it falls short of the reliably excellent cameras of the Samsung GS7 and the Google Pixel. You shouldn’t judge the quality of photos on the 3T’s display, though, as it’s just not calibrated very well. Some colors look almost neon, and the display is quite dim next to those of most other phones we’ve tested. It’s the exact same display used in the OnePlus 3, and Ron Amadeo of Ars Technica says that “[t]he OnePlus 3 won’t win any display awards.” The 1080p resolution is low enough that the PenTile subpixel pattern is visible, and text doesn’t look as crisp as it does on the 2560×1440 AMOLED panels of the Pixel XL and GS7. It’s not a bad display, but a $440 phone should have better.
The Best Budget Android Phones
If you’re willing to risk a long wait for updates, and you don’t mind a middle-of-the-road display, the OnePlus 3T is the best phone you can get for around $400. We’ve seen reports of issues with OnePlus’s warranty service in the past, but that situation appears to be improving. Our criticisms aside, we think the 3T’s low price makes it a compelling alternative to phones that cost almost twice as much.
Google Pixel
The Galaxy S7’s 3,000 mAh battery easily lasted through a day of moderate use, including a good amount of messaging, a few phone calls, some Web browsing and navigation, and even a bit of gaming. The phone’s larger battery, along with the power-saving features introduced in Android 6.0 Marshmallow, make for a measurable improvement in use time compared with last year’s Galaxy S6, a conclusion that Ars Technica and Android Authority have also reached. The Galaxy S7 includes wireless charging, unlike the Pixel, and it’s compatible with both the Qi and PMA standards. The USB port is still Micro-USB (as opposed to the new USB Type-C port found on the Pixel and other phones), so all those cables you might have sitting around won’t go to waste.
The Galaxy S7’s metal-and-glass body looks and feels great, though the glass does attract fingerprints. Even with the fingerprints, though, David Ruddock at Android Police explains, “Samsung’s phones still feel and look the nicest of any Android OEM.” It’s also IP68 water-resistant, so it’ll survive a drop in a toilet or pool. (Flagship phones such as the Pixel, HTC 10, and LG V20 don’t offer water resistance, but the much cheaper Moto G does, as do the new iPhones.) Most variants of the Galaxy S7 come with 32 GB of storage, and the microSD card slot gives you the option of expanding memory if you need it (though it doesn’t support Android’s adoptable storage, so you’ll have to manage it yourself).
Also great: Samsung Galaxy S7
Note: Samsung recently announced the Galaxy S8, so anyone considering a Galaxy S7 or S7 Edge should hold off on getting either phone. We’ve added our initial thoughts on the S8 to the What to look forward to section below, and we will update this guide with full test results soon.
Lenovo Phab 2 Pro
Like the Pixel, the S7’s rear camera sensor has a resolution of 12 megapixels, but unlike the Pixel, the camera has robust optical image stabilization. (The Pixel uses software image stabilization, which isn’t quite as good.) It also has a large f/1.7 aperture to let in more light—much better than the Pixel’s f/2.0 aperture. It takes nice photos in various lighting conditions, but it’s not quite as fast as the Pixel.
The Google Pixel is the best Android phone for most people. The 12-megapixel camera is the best we’ve seen on Android. It’s noticeably faster than every other Android phone we’ve tested, and it runs the best version of Android, unencumbered by heavy skins and redundant features. Google’s hardware took a big step up with the aluminum Pixel, which comes in two sizes—a 5-inch and 5.5-inch XL variant. The two Pixels have almost identical specs, so you don’t have to compromise on speed, RAM, or storage just because you want a smaller phone. The main drawback of the Pixels is that they aren’t water-resistant, unlike the iPhone 7 or Galaxy S7. They also lack microSD card slots but are available with up to 128 GB of storage.
The all-aluminum chassis looks nice and has extremely narrow bezels, a design that allows Huawei to squeeze that 5.9-inch LCD into a phone just a few millimeters wider and taller than the Pixel XL, which has a 5.5-inch screen. Like the Pixel, the Mate 9 has a fast and accurate rear-facing fingerprint sensor. It has a dual-camera array on the back, consisting of a 12-megapixel standard sensor paired with a 20-megapixel monochrome sensor. Using both at once helps make photos clearer and speeds up capture times. Photos from the Mate 9 aren’t quite as good as those from the Pixel or Galaxy S7, but they are better than those taken with most other phones.
The Wirecutter’s philosophy on upgrading any product is that you should spend money on the things you use all the time and that are important to you, and you shouldn’t spend a lot on the rest.
HTC 10: Rock-solid build quality and great software, but no match for Pixel
The OnePlus 3T’s build of Android 6.0 Marshmallow, called OxygenOS, is clean, fast, and pretty close to stock Android, but it adds a number of cool extras, like gestures you can use with the screen off to launch the camera or turn on the flashlight. (Neither the GS7 nor the Pixel is as capable when the screen is off.) You’ll also find a dark-UI mode intended to make the phone more pleasant to use at night. As Chris Velazco of Engadget points out, “The overall effect is more subtle than other companies’ approaches, and I think it’s more valuable as a result.” Android 7.0 Nougat launched in late August, and OnePlus is testing it now with a promised OTA update in the coming weeks. Future updates will come with the same multiple-month waits. As we mentioned above, Google phones get those updates right away.
The Galaxy S7’s camera trounces almost every other Android phone except for the Pixels, and it holds up well against those, too. Whereas other phones might take a few tries to get the perfect shot, the Galaxy S7 usually nails it the first time.
Buying a Pixel gets you the latest version of Android, with features no other devices have yet—not even last year’s Nexus phones. The Pixels run Android 7.1 Nougat with built-in support for Google Assistant, which is more advanced and conversational than the Google voice commands on other phones. Assistant can take selfies, send messages, tell you when your flight is arriving, help you set reminders, read the news, and more. It isn’t always perfect—some phrases that should work just produce errors, while slightly different phrasing works fine. The Verge explains: “Sometimes it amazes you with what it can figure out and sometimes it also baffles you when it can’t answer seemingly obvious questions.”
If your biggest complaint is that your phone’s battery life sucks, consider replacing the battery before replacing the phone. Most recent phones use sealed-in batteries, but you can usually ask the manufacturer or a third-party service to replace the battery. It’s a hassle, but it’s less of one than replacing the phone, and it’s a lot less expensive. If such an option isn’t feasible for you, any of our picks should get you through a day without issues.
At the 2017 Mobile World Congress trade show, LG announced the G6. The 5.7-inch G6 will have an 18:9 display, a Snapdragon 821 processor, a 3,300 mAh battery, and two 13-megapixel rear camera lenses. It will ship with Android Nougat in April 2017.
The 12-megapixel camera is the same resolution as the Galaxy S7’s, and it takes even better photos, with accurate colors, good exposure in varied lighting conditions, and more fine details captured. And it’s fast. Really fast. It’s ready to snap a photo as soon as the app opens, and it doesn’t slow down to buffer. Even Google’s HDR (high dynamic range) photo captures are faster than Samsung’s now. David Ruddock from Android Police says that “the Pixel is the best smartphone camera on the market.” Google offers free unlimited full-resolution backups of photos and videos taken on the Pixel to Google Photos. Even 4K video you shoot will be backed up in original quality. (For everyone else, Google Photos’ unlimited free backup option compresses photos and videos; uncompressed files count toward your storage quota.)
The Samsung Galaxy S7 is still one of the best Android phones you can get. While we prefer the Pixel’s camera, software, and battery life, Samsung still has a better display, a water-resistant design, and a microSD card slot, and its camera is still a close second to the Pixel’s. The GS7 is more comfortable to hold than most phones—the glass back has a gentle curve that makes it fit nicely in the hand. It’s expensive, however, and its software isn’t as good as the Pixel’s, although it’s better than the software on phones from LG or Huawei.
Another reason to consider an upgrade is if your current phone isn’t receiving software updates anymore. Without updates, your phone will get less secure over time—all software has bugs, which lead to security vulnerabilities, and if your phone isn’t getting updates, it isn’t getting fixes, either. And without updates, the phone won’t be able to take advantage of apps that require features present only in the latest OS. (Of course, newer apps may also require more power than an older phone’s hardware can supply.)
What to look forward to
Sony Xperia X series
What about the Galaxy S7 Edge?
Best Android smartphone
Before the Pixel launched, the HTC 10 was a compelling alternative to the Samsung Galaxy S7. The HTC 10 has a sturdy, all-aluminum design (no glass back!) and snappy software that’s a bit closer to stock Android than you’ll find on most phones. It also has stereo speakers and one of the best fingerprint sensors you can get. It’s a really good phone, but its 5.2-inch LCD screen and 12-megapixel camera just aren’t as good as the screen and camera on the Pixel or Galaxy S7, and the HTC 10 is not water-resistant. The Pixel has better software, screen, and camera; the S7 has better screen and camera and is water-resistant.
Sony expanded its Xperia X series with the announcement of the Xperia XZ Premium and the Xperia XZs at MWC 2017. The 5.5-inch XZ Premium will have Snapdragon’s new 835 processor, a high-resolution 4K display, and a 3,230 mAh battery; the XZs will have a 5.2-inch display, a Snapdragon 820, and a 2,900 mAh battery. They will both have microSD card slots. The XZs is available now for $700, but Sony has yet to release availability or pricing information for the XZ Premium.
Google guarantees monthly security patches for the Pixel phones, and the improved update system can install them in the background when you restart your phone. Most phones seldom get updates, and when updates do arrive, your phone is unusable while the update installs. Google promises at least two years of major system updates from launch and three years of security patches. Samsung is the next most proactive device maker with security patches, but their patches can be delayed by carriers—Google’s aren’t. Full Android version updates like Nougat (7.0, not even 7.1) will take months longer on phones from Samsung, OnePlus, and others.
The Moto Z has a nice 5.5-inch AMOLED display and an almost impossibly thin (5.2 mm) frame. However, its battery is small and it doesn’t have a headphone jack—you have to use the included USB-C adapter to attach traditional wired headphones. Moto offers a line of modular accessories called Mods, but they’re all far too expensive (as much as $80 for a speaker and $300 for a projector add-on) and don’t work particularly well—the Mods simply aren’t worth it when you consider that the phone already costs as much as the Galaxy S7 at more than $600 at the time of writing. The design compromises necessary to accommodate the Mods make this a disappointing phone. The Moto Z Force (Verizon only) adds a larger battery and shatter-resistant screen, but it’s even more expensive.
Why you should trust us
iPhone 7 128 GB
Thanks to its 4,000 mAh battery, the Mate 9 lasted longer on a charge in our tests than any high-end Android phone we’ve tried—I was able to get three days of use out of a single charge. Aiding the battery life is the 1080p, 5.9-inch display—most phones of this size have 2560×1440 screens. (Higher-resolution screens use more power.) The custom Kirin 960 octa-core processor is powerful and efficient, as well, and the Mate 9 has 4 GB of RAM just like the Pixel and the Galaxy S7.
Verizon Wireless
In January 2017, HTC announced the 5.7-inch U Ultra. The U Ultra has a Snapdragon 821 processor, a fingerprint scanner on the front, and a USB Type-C port on the bottom. Like the LG V20, it has a small secondary display at the top of its screen, and like the iPhone 7, it lacks a headphone jack. The U Ultra is available now.
The competition
The $500 Lenovo Phab 2 Pro is the first Lenovo-branded Android phone to launch in the US, and it’s the first shipping phone with Google’s Tango augmented reality platform. However, the phone is gimmicky and not worth the asking price. Tango uses positional sensors and cameras to add virtual objects to the real world, putting a 3D model of a dinosaur, for instance, in your living room. Tango is fun to play with, but it’s just a novelty right now; none of the apps or games are compelling. The Phab 2 Pro itself is mediocre as a smartphone, with a midrange Snapdragon 652 processor and a sluggish fingerprint sensor. It’s also impractically huge, with a 6.4-inch screen—it’s basically a small tablet. The placement of the Tango sensors on the back make it extremely awkward to hold, as well. You should put that $500 toward a Pixel instead.
Sony’s midrange Xperia X Compact and flagship Xperia XZ came out recently. The 4.6-inch X Compact and the 5.2-inch XZ both have 3 GB of RAM and 32 GB of storage, but the XZ has a 1080p display (versus the X Compact’s 720p) and a better processor. The X Compact sells for a little less than $400 unlocked, and the XZ costs around $500. We haven’t tested those models yet, but we don’t anticipate either one replacing any of our picks.
The Pixel is the fastest Android phone we’ve ever tested, it has the best camera, and it offers the best version of Android you can get, with guaranteed timely updates for two years from release.
The Best Cell Phone Plans
The Huawei Mate 9 is a fast unlocked phablet with a big battery in a slim package. It’s about the size of the Pixel XL, but it has a much larger screen and much better battery life. While it’s about $200 cheaper than the Pixel XL or the Galaxy S7 Edge, it works only on GSM networks such as AT&T and T-Mobile. Its screen is lower-res than the Pixel and Galaxy S7 screens, too, and its camera and software, though decent, aren’t as good, either.
Samsung has pledged to keep its flagship devices updated with monthly security patches, but you won’t be on the latest and greatest OS as quickly as you will with the Pixel—and Samsung hasn’t stated how long it will provide those patches. Google released Android 7.0 this August, and at least a few months will pass before the Galaxy S7 receives an update.
At $600, the Mate 9 is a little cheaper than most flagship phablets, and it’s unlocked, with support for GSM networks like AT&T and T-Mobile. However, in contrast to the Pixel and Galaxy phones, it isn’t available on a monthly payment plan, and it won’t work on CDMA networks like Sprint or Verizon. It uses proprietary fast-charging instead of QuickCharge or USB Power Delivery, so only its included adapter will quick-charge it. And unlike the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge, the Mate 9 isn’t water-resistant. Unless battery life is your greatest concern, you should stick with one of our main picks.
Our Guide to the iPhone 7, 7 Plus, and SE
Verizon is the only carrier that sells the Pixels in stores, but they’re also on the online Google Store, unlocked for any carrier. Unlike most of the phones Google’s sold before, the Pixels aren’t cheap. At the time of writing, the 5-inch version starts at $650 and the Pixel XL is $760, both with 32 GB of storage. Bumping up to 128 GB adds $100 to each phone. Google is asking flagship prices for these phones, but the camera, software, and build quality are more than a match for similarly priced phones like the Galaxy S7 (and even the iPhone 7). At least Google’s offering monthly payment plans, which wasn’t the case with Nexus phones.
Previously the Samsung Galaxy S7 was the best choice if you were not on Verizon and preferred to buy your phone from your carrier, or if you wanted a water-resistant phone or one with a microSD card slot. The 12-megapixel main camera takes fantastic shots that are almost as good as the Pixel’s and better than those of any other Android phone. The S7’s metal-and-glass body makes it more attractive than most other Android phones, plus it has a microSD card slot and a long-lasting battery. Samsung’s software has improved, as well, but it still has some redundancy and bugs that make us yearn for the Pixel, and it’s a couple of Android versions behind. Samsung has just announced its successor, the Galaxy S8. We discuss the new phone in the What to look forward to section below, but we think anyone considering the S7 will probably be better served with the new version.
The Pixel’s 5-inch 1920×1080 AMOLED screen helps with the stellar battery life. At its size, it’s hard to tell difference between 1080p and the 1440p AMOLED on the Galaxy S7, though Samsung has a slight advantage. The Pixel XL’s 2560×1440 AMOLED looks a bit sharper than the Pixel’s 1080p panel, but it, too, falls a bit short of the Samsung in color and brightness.
Or—and this is an increasingly popular option as cheap phones get better—you could buy an unlocked phone outright.1 You can get a great Android phone unlocked—which means it’ll work on any compatible carrier—for $300 to $400, or even less if you’re willing to sacrifice a few features.
Our picks: Google Pixel and Pixel XL
The Mate 9 ships with Android 7.0 Nougat with the EMUI 5.0 skin. Huawei has cleaned up its Android skin dramatically compared with earlier versions, with improvements to notifications, quick settings, and the home screen—there’s finally an app drawer! It’s still inferior to the pure Android experience on the Pixel, and not quite as good as TouchWiz on the Galaxy S7, but Huawei’s software is no longer a dealbreaker.