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Smartphones

Google Pixel supplants iPhone 7 Plus as world’s top smartphone, making it the ’Droid to look for

Google’s foray into making smartphones has yielded a debut model with impressive specs that offers welcome variety in a market dominated by Apple and Samsung

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 07 March, 2017, 6:32pm
UPDATED : Friday, 10 March, 2017, 5:33pm

Google Pixel is the world’s best smartphone. That’s according to Business Insider, anyway. The website compiled its list after a host of new models were announced at last month’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, including the LG G6 and Huawei P10.

Samsung, which kept a low profile at this year's trade event, is rumoured to be announcing its new Galaxy S8 near the end of this month.

The Business Insider list is full of the usual suspects; it’s almost more interesting to see what didn’t make the top 10: Huawei Mate 9 (No. 11), ZTE Axon 7 (No. 15), LG V20 (No. 14), and even two BlackBerrys (the Priv and Classic, in spots 19 and 20, respectively).

But there is a point to the exercise, as prices of some of these “best” smartphones are likely to drop just before the new models hit the market in the coming months. Here are the top 10 in reverse order:

10. OnePlus 3T

OnePlus pulled an unusual move by announcing the OnePlus 3T five months after the OnePlus 3’s release. The good news is that OnePlus 3 owners need not feel left out, as the OnePlus 3T isn’t much of an upgrade.

The changes include a slightly faster processor (Snapdragon 820 versus the 821), a slightly larger battery, a 16-megapixel front camera (versus 8 megapixels), better stabilisation for video, and a darker colour option. However, the new front camera, despite twice as many megapixels, seems to do the opposite of what it was intended by taking blurrier selfies than its predecessor.

Review: the OnePlus 3 – not the perfect smartphone but there’s plenty to like

9. Apple iPhone SE

The iPhone SE, with its 4-inch screen, is the best small-form smartphone you can buy at the moment, despite being unveiled a year ago this month (cue the new-model rumours). You get all the apps, ecosystem, support and performance as with the iPhone 6S, but for a relatively cheaper price. Among other premium features, it comes with Live Photos and a fingerprint sensor — not to mention a long battery life.

8. Apple iPhone 6S

The iPhone 6S is also a great deal, as you still get the premium Apple experience for US$100 less than the new iPhone 7.

7. Apple iPhone 6S Plus

Now that the iPhone 7 Plus is out, the iPhone 6S Plus sports a US$100 price cut. You may not get all of the latest features available on the iPhone 7 Plus, such as water resistance or that fancy dual-lens camera, but the iPhone 6S Plus is no slouch. It runs on the powerful A9 chip, and its features include 3D Touch, which can detect how hard you press on the screen, ushering in new control options for apps.

6. Samsung Galaxy S7

The Galaxy S7 is beautifully designed and has the best camera we’ve seen on a smartphone, beating even the iPhone 7 Plus. The S7 is also powerful, and its water resistance rests your worries of accidental water damage. (Note: this is not the same phone as the Galaxy Note 7, which was recalled after reports that its battery was prone to explode.)

5. Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

The Galaxy S7 Edge has a bigger 5.5-inch display and a larger battery than the regular Galaxy S7, while retaining the same features: water resistance and a microSD card slot for expandable storage, among others. Its wraparound display helps make S7’s design absolutely gorgeous.

Full review: Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge – a great phone just got even better

4. Apple iPhone 7

Without a doubt, the iPhone 7 brings the best apps and ecosystem to its users. And by ecosystem, we mean the support you get from Apple if something goes wrong, as well as getting the latest software updates straight from Apple.

The hardware also boasts a few improvements over the iPhone 6S, like water resistance, a camera that performs better in low light, a more powerful processor, and even redesigned antenna bands.

Bet on black: the iPhone 7 delivers the goods under the hood

3. Apple iPhone 7 Plus

The iPhone 7 Plus’ dual-lens camera is the key feature that gives the larger iPhone 7 Plus the edge over the iPhone 7. It lets you take pictures with a professional-looking “bokeh” effect, in which the background is blurry in contrast to the subject. The second lens is also a telephoto lens that achieves 2x optical zoom, which means it zooms into subjects without sacrificing picture quality like digital zoom does.

2. Google Pixel XL

The new Pixels are Google’s first smartphones – the company took more control over the hardware than it did with its earlier line of Nexus devices. What you get is a sleek-looking aluminium phone with a stylish glass panel on the back that cleverly offers grip for your index finger. The Pixel XL’s camera holds its own against the iPhone 7 Plus and Samsung Galaxy S7, too, and the HDR mode helps your photos look amazing.

Review: Google Pixel – fine camera and bigger screen than iPhone 7, but battery is a let-down

1. Google Pixel

The Pixel smartphones run Google’s Pixel launcher, which gives Android a cleaner look while baking in Google’s helpful AI, Assistant. It’s also a superior phone, overall, to our previous top pick, the iPhone 7 Plus. It has a better screen, is lighter and has useful features like fast charging.

The Pixel runs on the powerful and power-efficient Snapdragon 821 and 4GB of RAM, and it has an excellent 12.3-megapixel camera.