2017 is now coming to a close and it has been an interesting year to say the least. There has been a number of winning smartphones released as well as some which were not quite as good. Although overall the number of smartphones released has been prolific making 2017 a great year to consider buying a new smartphone. The only downside with the number of new phones is that it can sometimes feel like there are too many new phones now available. Which is where this list comes in. If you are looking to close out 2017 with a new smartphone purchase then here are out best smartphone picks for December, 2017.
10. Moto Z2 Force
By smartphone standards the Moto Z2 Force is now starting to become an older phone. Yes, it was only released in the summer of 2017 but since then there has been a number of new options arriving, boasting better specs and newer design traits. That said however, none of the new arrivals have quite managed to bring to market the modular compatibility offered by the Moto Z line, making the Moto Z2 Force a unique option among the current flagships. For those looking for a phone that can do more, there is probably no better choice than the Moto Z2 Force right now.
Modules aside, there are a number of other selling points offered with the Moto Z2 Force including the employment of a dual rear camera setup and a heightened level of protection through the phone’s use of ShatterShield technology. As for the more common numbers, the the Moto Z2 Force features a 5.5-inch display along with a 2560 x 1440 resolution, 4GB RAM, 64GB of internal storage, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC, two 12-megapixel rear cameras, a 5-megapixel front-facing camera, and a 2,730 mAh battery.
Buy Moto Z2 Force (Verizon)
Read more: Moto Z2 Force Review
9. HTC U11
Similar to the Moto Z2 Force, the HTC U11 is another phone which originally looked to be unique due to features(s) not found on other smartphones. Although that has since changed with the U11’s flagship feature (is squeezing sides) having now made its way to the likes of the Google Pixel 2 and 2 XL. Having said that, the feature (Edge Sense) is much more user friendly on the HTC U11 due to its added ability to be customized for use with other actions. Which means the HTC U11 does remain a unique phone in this respect. For those that do like the idea of squeezing a phone to initiate a command, the HTC U11 at present is the best phone to squeeze.
Other than that, this is also a smartphone that comes with a top notch camera experience. One which has received rave reviews from the industry and consumers. So this is not quite the one-trick smartphone but a true flagship smartphone from HTC. As for its general spec list, the HTC U11 features a 5.5-inch display along with a 2560 x 1440 resolution, 4GB RAM, 64GB of storage, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC, a 12-megapixel rear camera, a 16-megapixel front-facing camera, and a 3,000 mAh battery.
Buy HTC U11
Read more: HTC U 11 Review
8. Google Pixel / Pixel XL
The two original Google Pixel phones are the only 2016 smartphones to remain on the list this month. Not only were these the first phones to emerge as Google-branded smartphones but they also proved to be highly popular phones and in no small part due to their emphasis on providing a stock-like version of Android. Making them an ideal option for those looking for a version of Android as Google intended. In fact, these phones came with their own ‘Pixel Launcher’ which improves the user interface in subtle yet positive ways. So this is not strictly speaking a bare bones version of Android, but more of a slightly tweaked by Google version. In addition, the Google Pixel and XL proved to be highly capable camera phones so those looking for a smartphone that takes some really great pictures (at a more affordable price than the current 2017 crop of flagships) then these two phones are worth considering.
Back to the topic of software, one of the Pixel main selling points in 2017 is that they are quick to receive software updates. So if being on the very latest version of Android is a priority in your decision making process, then these are phones that do, and will deliver on that point. Right now they are capable of running Android 8.0 (Oreo) and are set to continue receiving monthly security updates as and when they become available. As for their specs, the two models are largely the same underneath with both variants sporting 4GB RAM, 32GB storage, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 SoC, a 12.3-megapixel rear camera, an 8-megapixel front-facing camera, and USB Type-C connectivity. Their differences include display size with the standard Pixel measuring 5-inches and the XL measuring 5.5-inches, the display resolution with the standard Pixel sporting a 1920 x 1080 resolution and the XL boasting a 2560 x 1440 resolution, and their battery capacities with the standard pixel loaded with a 2,770 mAh battery and the XL a 3,450 mAh battery.
Buy Google Pixel
Buy Google Pixel XL
Read more: Google Pixel/Pixel XL Review
7. LG G6
The LG G6 was a return to form for LG following what was a disappointing and experimental LG G5. Bringing to market a device that looks to offer as much screen real estate as possible within a body as small as possible. Resulting in a phone which LG marketed as display-focused but still small enough to be used with one hand. Which makes this one very clearly aimed at those looking for a smaller smartphone footprint without having to sacrifice on the size or quality of the display. So while the 5.7-inch included display might sound big, the LG G6 phone is much similar in size to a 5.2-inch smartphone from last year. Not only is the display more maximized on the front panel, but the display adopts an 18:9 aspect ratio which results in a thinner smartphone overall – another aspect which further adds to its level of comfort when used with one hand.
Other than the display, the cameras on offer with the LG G6 is another clear selling point as this was one of the first major 2017 smartphone released featuring a dual rear camera setup. As for the core numbers, the LG G6 comes loaded with 4GB RAM, 32GB internal storage, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 SoC, two 12-megapixel rear cameras, a 5-megapixel front-facing camera, and a 3,300 mAh battery.
Buy LG G6
Read more: LG G6 Review
6. Samsung Galaxy S8 & Galaxy S8 Plus
The Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus are arguable two of the best phones you can currently buy. They are for sure two of the most attractive and probably the most attractive Samsung phones of 2017. As while the Galaxy Note 8 is newer and more feature packed, the design of the Note 8 is more squarish and boxy compared to the sleek nature of the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus. So for those looking for the ultimate in Samsung style, the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus remain the best options to go for.
Style aside however, these are two very powerful smartphones. Not only do they come with an Edge display and Edge functionality, but they also come packed with all the OTT Samsung features you can think of, including Samsung Pay and Bixby. In terms of their general specs, both the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus feature 4GB RAM, 64GB internal storage, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC (in the US), a 12-megapixel rear camera, an 8-megapixel front-facing camera, and an iris scanner. As for their differences, the standard Galaxy S8 will be better suited to those who prefer a smaller phone due to its 5.8-inch display (which is powered by a 3,000 mAh battery). While those looking for a larger phone will be more at home with the Galaxy S8 Plus and its 6.2-inch display (powered by a 3,500 mAh battery).
Buy Samsung Galaxy S8
Buy Samsung Galaxy S8+
Read more: Samsung Galaxy S8 & S8 Plus Review
5. LG V30
If the LG G6 was not quite to your liking the LG V30 might be. This is a newer device compared to the G6 and is one aimed more at those looking for a larger phone overall. Although this is also a smartphone that is as aimed at those looking for a better audio listening experience and those looking for more advanced mobile photography features. In fact, this is one of those phones which will largely appeal to many different consumers due to just how many features and selling points it offers.
For example, if you are all about the display then here you will get a 6-inch display along with an 18:9 aspect ratio. Great for watching videos and especially when taking into account the added audio tweaks on offer, such as the quad-DAC. Alternatively those looking for greater control over image capturing will love the various manual controls that are on offer, while those looking for more of a point-and-shoot experience will benefit from the automatic features. In either case, this is a smartphone boasting a dual rear camera – another 2017 checkbox checked. In terms of the general numbers, the LG V30 features 4GB RAM, 64GB storage, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC, a 16-megapixel primary camera and a 13-megapixel wide-angle camera, a 5-megapixel front-facing camera, and a 3,300 mAh battery.
Buy LG V30 (B&H)
Read more: LG V30 Review
4. Razer Phone
While the Razer Phone is technically a debut phone from Razer, it is also one which landed with a thump. Many had been expecting the game-focused company to release a smartphone but few had expected it to be quite so powerful on paper. Yes, it does suffer a little in terms of its design and is not quite as attractive as a number of other 2017 smartphones due to its boxy look and feel, but underneath this is a powerhouse phone and one which the company notes is specifically beneficial to gamers.
Or at least, its main features have been tuned a little to be more gamer-like with the display being a prime example. As the Razer Phone display (which measures in at 5.72-inches and boosting a QHD resolution) features a 120Hz refresh rate. An aspect which is currently unique to the Razer Phone and will make for an even better mobile gaming experience. Underneath, this is no slouch of a phone with the Razer Phone packed with 8GB RAM, 64GB storage, and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC. If cameras are more your thing then this phone also features a dual rear camera setup comprised of two 12-megapixel cameras, along with an 8-megapixel front-facing camera. While the rest of the features include a 4,000 mAh battery, microSD card support, and Quick Charge 4+ support.
Buy Razer Phone
Read more: Official Announcement
3. OnePlus 5T
The OnePlus 5T is the newest smartphone to hit the market. Although, in many ways this is just the OnePlus 5 re-packaged and therefore most of the specs and selling points remain exactly the same. That is of course, with the exception of the display. As the huge selling point with the 5T over the 5 is the change in display which sees the newer model boosting an 18:9 aspect ratio. The benefit of this is that while the overall size of the 5T has remained about the same as the 5, the level of display on offer (and by association the viewing experience on offer) has been greatly improved.
Another upgrade is in the camera department. While this is a phone which once again boasts a dual rear camera setup, OnePlus did swap out of of the rear cameras for another to offer improved low-light capturing. In addition there has been a number of software improvements to the cameras resulting in a much more photographic-friendly smartphone. As for the rest of the specs, in common with the OnePlus 5, the 5T features a choice of either 6 or 8GB RAM, 64GB internal storage, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC, a 20-megapixel rear camera and a 16-megapixel rear camera, a 16-megapixel front-facing camera, and a 3,300 mAh battery.
Buy OnePlus 5T
Read more: OnePlus 5T Review
2. Samsung Galaxy Note 8
The choice between the number 1 and 2 spots on this list is more of a preference thing than anything else. As the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is about as feature-packed as a phone can get. So if you are more of the Samsung persuasion then there is little arguing with the Galaxy Note 8 being the best phone for you right now. It just is. Not only does it come with an 18:9 aspect ratio for a slimmer and taller build to match its exceedingly large 6.3-inch display, but it is also the first Samsung flagship smartphone to come boasting a dual rear camera setup. Making this phone as much camera-focused as anything else you will find on the market. Likewise with this being Samsung, the photography experience is further enhanced through the use of software, as is most of the other features as well. If you are worried about security than Samsung has you covered with not only the usual security measures but also additional ones such as face and iris unlocking, Secure Folder, and more.
As for the general specs, the Galaxy Note 8 packs in 6GB RAM, 64GB storage, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC (in the US), an 8-megapixel front-facing camera, wireless charging, fast charging, and a 3,300 mAh battery. That is, all in addition to also coming equipped with an S Pen and all the stylus-related writing features you would expect from a new Galaxy Note phone.
Buy Samsung Galaxy Note 8
Read more: Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Review
1. Google Pixel 2 /Pixel 2 XL
Maintaining its position at the top of our list this month is the Google Pixel 2 and its launch partner device, the Google Pixel 2 XL. These are simply the two best Android phones on the market. While their hardware might not necessarily impress most on paper, the difference here is the optimization between the software and that hardware. Google gives you what you need in terms of hardware and fine tunes it to work harmoniously with the software. Making the overall Android experience on offer with these two phones – second to none. A prime example of this is the cameras, or more specifically the camera. As unlike the rest of the flagship options on this list the Google Pixel 2 line only comes equipped with one rear camera. However, Google has tweaked the software to ensure owners can still benefit from features which are more commonly found on dual rear camera-touting smartphones. This philosophy has been extended to the rest of the hardware as well with everything that is included, included for a reason. It is just simply, a very smart smartphone.
Of the two phones, while size will play a role in the decision making process, so will the displays as this is the most obvious difference between the two. The larger Pixel 2 XL features an 18:9 aspect ratio which means in spite of being larger in size, it provides an even larger display than the difference in overall size would normally suggest. Making the Pixel 2 XL a display-first type of phone. In contrast to the more traditional phone look on offer with the standard Pixel 2. The different in size also results in a difference in battery life with the larger model featuring a greater capacity battery. Otherwise, both phones come loaded with Active Edge (the ability to squeeze the sides to initial Google Assistant), 4GB RAM, 64GB storage, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC, a 12.3-megapixel rear camera, an 8-megapixel front-facing camera, Goggle Lens, Android Pay, and Android 8.0 (Oreo).
Buy Google Pixel 2
Buy Google Pixel 2 XL
Read more: Google Pixel 2 / Pixel 2 XL Review