Top 5 Best Android Smartphones in 2016 with Great Features

Big, small, stock, or skinned, if you're in the market for a new smartphone, chances are there's an Android option to fit your fancy. And unlike Apple's rigid yearly release cycle, Google's hardware partners release a seemingly endless stream of new devices year-round. But therein lies the problem: With so many options out there, how do you settle on the right one? Lucky for you, we test and review nearly every smartphone available on all the major U.S. carriers. Read on for our top picks for Android phones.

If you’re a seasoned smartphone owner, picking out an upgrade is a simple process. But, for some folks, the idea of purchasing a new handset makes them nervous.

Which is the newest phone? What is the best phone? Which is the one that’s going to give me exactly what I need? There’s a lot to consider, sure. We’re here to help you dig through the clutter.

Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge

Both of these phones are among the best that Android has to offer, and they share a number of core components and features.

While the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge is the more eye-catching and long-lasting, however, we'd give the slightest of edges to the Samsung Galaxy S7.

Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge

It's simply a more usable phone on a day to day basis, thanks to its slightly more manageable display. We also found the Galaxy S7 Edge's curve display to be more of a gimmicky distraction than a killer feature.

If you are the heaviest of power users, or you tend to watch an inordinate amount of video content on your phone, then the Galaxy S7 Edge might be the best bet. For most people, though, the Galaxy S7 is the one to opt for.

The S7 and S7 edge are incredibly well-rounded (no pun intended) smartphones, and the best hardware Samsung’s shipped yet. If you’re worried about the big, bad TouchWiz monster so many people love to demonize, just don’t: it really isn’t anything to get caught up on. If you want strictly stock Android, that’s perfectly fine! But you aren’t in Samsung’s user demographic for these phones. The Galaxy S7 and S7 edge will serve the many millions of people that buy them quite well, at least based on my first week using them.

Galaxy Note 5

It's no surprise that Samsung launches new Note devices at the end of every summer, but I honestly wasn't really considering buying one this year.

While one of these other phones would satisfy me, regular readers know I tend to purchase the best smartphones and the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 is currently the best note smartphone.

Galaxy Note 5

Processor: Samsung Exynos 7420 octa-core 64-bit
Display: 5.7 inch Super AMOLED at 2560x1440 pixels resolution
Operating system: Android 5.1.1
Wireless connectivity: 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac WiFi, MIMO, Bluetooth 4.2 LE, ANT+, NFC, GPS, MST
Storage: 64GB UFS 2.0 internal
Cameras: Rear 16 megapixel with f/1.9 aperture and 5 megapixel front facing camera
Battery: 3000 mAh non-removable with fast charging and fast wireless charging technology
Dimensions: 153.2 x 76.1 x 7.6 mm and 171 grams

As you can see, there is nothing missing from the Galaxy Note 5. Actually, Samsung leads with the fastest available RAM, fastest internal storage, new fast wireless charging technology, and magnetic secure transmission (MST) wireless payment technology. Combined with the other leading specifications, there is nothing else out there that beats the Samsung Galaxy Note 5.

Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge

Both phones are beautiful, but besides the curved display of the Edge there is very little difference between them. So should you go curved or not? From a design perspective the Edge is the more beautiful phone. The curved display just looks too good. But from a practicality standpoint, the curved display really doesn’t add any compelling features.

Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge

Samsung Galaxy S6 or S6 Edge have same features such as 5.1 inch same display size with Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen and both the smartphones build with glass and metal. The S6 series traits 16 MP rear camera and 5 MP front camera. Duo runs on same platform, i.e. v5.0.2 Lollipop OS and 1.5 GHz Quad-core processor. Both phones are equipped with equal internal memory options such as 32 GB, 64 GB and 128 GB with no expandable memory and 3 GB RAM. The other common features are fingerprint sensor and TouchWiz UI. The difference is that Samsung S6 is flat panel screen and S6 edge is curved panel. And the S6 Edge is a light weight phone compared the S6; the battery capacity is also dissimilar 2600 mAh and 2550 mAh, respectively. 

Sony Xperia Z5

The same boxy design with post-20MP camera has been seen countless times, and while it gets slightly refined with each iteration it's largely the same as the previous model. I'm not saying brands should have to upgrade every little thing just for the sake of it, but in the same time since Sony launched the Xperia Z every other brand has completely overhauled the look of their brand to keep things fresh.

Sony fans will really enjoy the Xperia Z5, without doubt. The camera seems genuinely innovative and if the brand can uphold its battery promise, combined with a premium design, it's got the right formula for a decent smartphone - it's just whether it can make enough of noise about it to get consumers interested.

Sony Xperia Z5

RAM : 3 GB
Display : 5.2 inch screen and 1080P Resolution
Processor : Snapdragon Qualcomm 810 octa-core processor
Primary Camera : 23 MP with Hybrid Autofocus
Front cameras : 8 MP with
Internal Storage Capacity : 64 GB
Battery : 3500 mAh battery with fast charging

You’ll probably need it, too, as the Xperia Z5 packs a whopping 23Mp maximum resolution on its primary camera that captures 5520 x 4120-pixel stills, or video at 2160p/30fps, 1080p/60fps, 720p/120fps. Other camera features include phase-detection autofocus with touch focus, LED flash, geo-tagging, HDR, and panorama stitch. The secondary camera is a notably lower 5.1Mp resolution option, but that’ll be fine for the odd “selfie,” and it also records video at a respectable 1080p.

Moto X Pure Edition

Motorola is taking a different approach with the sales of the Moto X this year. Instead of partnering with carriers, Motorola is selling the phone direct to consumers through Motorola’s website, Amazon, and Best Buy for a base price of $400 unlocked, which is an absolute bargain for a smartphone of this caliber. If you’re upgrading from a previous generation Moto X, the Pure Edition is a no-brainer.

moto x pure edition

The Moto X line is a smartphone that's always been dancing around greatness. The first one was a lovely, underpowered experiment in smartphone customization and thoughtfulness. The second added some much-needed Moto Maker style and some more powerful silicon. In other words, it's a serious contender for the "Best Smartphone Out There" crown, at least on paper. The thing is, the market for cheap unlocked smartphones has exploded in popularity this year, and it'll take something really special for it to capture the title. So, how does Motorola's new flagship fare? Spoiler alert: really damned well.


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