The Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus are the successors to the S7 and S7 Edge, coming in strong after last fall’s horrific Note 7 fiasco. Just like Apple, Samsung is sure to sell millions of its new Galaxy smartphones, but that doesn’t mean they are the best for everyone.
LG came out swinging with its LG G6, erasing the G5 from our minds. I’ve been using one now for more than a month and as I assemble my biannual ten best smartphones post, it is a candidate for the top spot.
CNET Special Report: Galaxy S8 is the ticket out of Note 7 ‘hell’
Huawei may be in the third spot for global smartphone sales, but it has a very small share of the US market. The Huawei Mate 9 launched in the US for just $599 and now includes support for Amazon Alexa. It isn’t sold by carriers, which always means it will see limited sales in the US.
Motorola is back with a very strong offering in the Moto Z line, especially with the Moto Z Force Droid from Verizon. Motorola created a successful modular design and is working hard to grow the Moto Mods ecosystem. The Moto Z brings a stock Android experience with a recent record of timely updates.
Last year’s HTC 10 was a hidden gem in the smartphone world that did not get as much attention as it deserved. The new HTC U Ultra is gorgeous, but lacks some standard features found in the other flagships while being priced to compete with these high end devices.
The Google Pixel XL is arguably the best Android smartphone currently available. However, Google continues to struggle with providing stock of the device with most SKUs not available for four weeks or more. Verizon is the only carrier directly selling the Google Pixel XL and carrier sales are important for the US market.
Let’s take a look at how these Androids stack up side-by-side:
|Feature||Samsung Galaxy S8/S8+||LG G6||Huawei Mate 9||Moto Z Force Droid||HTC U Ultra||Google Pixel XL|
|Display size||5.8 and 6.2 inches||5.7 inches||5.9 inches||5.5 inches||5.7 inches||5.5 inches|
|Battery capacity||3000/3500 mAh||3300 mAh||4000 mAh||2500 mAh||3000 mAh||3450 mAh|
|3.5mm headset jack||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||No||Yes|
|Dual rear cameras||No||Yes||Yes||No||No||No|
|Water resistance||IP68||IP68||No||Nano coating||No||No|
|Back panel design||Gorilla Glass 5||Gorilla Glass 5||Brushed Aluminum||Metal and glass||Gorilla Glass 5||Brushed aluminum and glass|
If you are looking for the best battery life then the Huawei Mate 9 and the Google Pixel XL are the best. For timely Android firmware updates, the Google Pixel XL stands out from the crowd. Monthly Android security updates come fairly regularly for devices from Google, Samsung, and Motorola. Huawei and LG have yet to prove this performance.
Samsung’s new S8 devices have a screen-to-body ratio about 83 percent while the LG G6 and Huawei Mate 9 are around 78 percent. The HTC U Ultra and Moto Z Droid Force don’t come close to these figures.
Some other aspects not captured in the table above include the fact that the Google Pixel XL will receive major software updates before all the others; LG is likely to launch a V20 successor in the summer or early fall; the Moto Z Force Droid can be easily modified to have a different focus with Moto Mods (there’s a cool slide-out QWERTY keyboard coming soon); Huawei has yet to prove itself in the US with regular Android security updates, and HTC may launch the true HTC 10 successor later this year.
In many respects, we are reaching parity with the Android flagships: They all have the ability to capture great photos, help us be more productive, last all day long, connect to various companions and accessories, and more. Look to the table above to see which key features are most important to you and visit your local carrier store to try them out.
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