Google Pixel

Google Pixel

Google releases February’s Android security patch for Pixel, Nexus devices

It’s the beginning of the month, and you know what that means: Google has just released the February 2017 Android security patch update for a number of Pixel and Nexus devices. Both factory images and OTA files are now available for download, and we should expect over-the-air updates to reach devices in the next few days.

So far, Android 7.1.1 Nougat factory images with the new February 2017 security patch are available for:

We’re also seeing new Android 7.0 factory images for the Nexus 6 (NBD91Y), as well as the AT&T-only Nexus 6 (NBD91Z). If you’d rather get the download links straight from Google, you can find the factory images here and OTA links here.

As always, Google has also published a new Android Security Bulletin for February 2017, which you can find here. To sum, Google has patched two critical vulnerabilities, ten high severity vulnerabilities, and four moderately severe vulnerabilities. The most severe of these issues is a critical vulnerability that could enable remote code execution on affected devices through email, web browsing and MMS when processing media files. Android partners were notified about these issues on January 3, 2017 or earlier.

Verizon sending free Daydream View headsets to some Pixel owners

We have been reporting for some time that demand for the Google Pixel and Pixel XL phones continues to exceed supply, especially for the larger Pixel XL. Now it looks like Verizon Wireless, the exclusive US carrier for the phone, is trying to make up for these shipping delays by offering some of those buyers a free Daydream View VR headset.

See also:

Best Google Pixel accessories

3 weeks ago

Many users on Reddit who have ordered a Pixel phone have posted word online that they have received calls from Verizon telling them they will be getting a free Daydream View headset. Some of the users have already received their Pixel phone, but only after a number of delays, while others who have gotten these calls have yet to get their phones.

It would appear that Verizon is trying its best to apologize for the shipment delays that have hit the Pixel with this free offer. Normally the Daydream View headset costs $79, although a current promotion from Google has lowered the price down to just $49 until February 25.

A quick check of the Verizon site shows that the black 32GB Pixel is the only model that’s available for immediate shipment. The white 32GB model will ship on February 14 if ordered today, and the blue version will ship on February 28. The black 128GB Pixel will ship on February 14, and the white version will ship out on March 10. It’s even worse for the Pixel XL. The 32GB version will ship on February 21, but all of the other colors and models have shipment dates in March. That includes a date as late as March 31 for people who want to get the white 128GB model.

Google recently said that it is “working with our partners to restock inventory across our retail channels” in reference to an incorrect report that claimed the company was stopping production of the Pixel phones. While Google is clearly trying to make as many Pixel devices as it can, we suspect that it will be making more apologies, and possibly offering more freebies, to frustrated customers.

Best unlocked Android phones (February 2017)

Now that an increasing amount of smartphone manufacturers are selling their phones at cheaper price points, it’s much easier for consumers to afford an off-contract device rather than purchasing one with a two-year contract. At least in the United States, the way smartphones are priced has changed dramatically, and that’s a good thing.

So, what are the best smartphones out there for those who’d like to forgo the standard contract and buy unlocked? We’re here to take you through the best unlocked Android smartphones for under $250, under $500 and over $500. As always, if you have anything you’d like to suggest, be sure to speak up in the comment section at the bottom of the post.

Editor’s note: We’ll be updating this list regularly as new devices launch. It’s also worth noting that this article is written for a U.S.-centric point of view, though (since they are unlocked) pretty much all of these devices are available outside of the U.S., at least in some capacity.


Best phones under $250

Honor 6X

See more Honor 6X photos

If you’re looking for a phone under $250, you should definitely check out the Honor 6X. With its big 5.5-inch 1080p display, long-lasting battery, metal construction, dual-SIM support and super fast fingerprint sensor, the 6X gives many other budget phones a run for their money.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this device is its rear-facing dual camera setup, which features 12 and 2MP sensors. While every dual-camera setup utilizes the secondary camera differently, the 6X uses the 2MP sensor to capture depth information that can be taken advantage of when using the camera’s wide aperture mode.

This phone isn’t perfect, though. It doesn’t come with USB Type-C support, EMUI is a little unpolished, and the device’s bottom-firing speaker isn’t the greatest. If you can get past those few caveats, though, the Honor 6X might be well worth your money.

Specs

  • 5.5-inch IPS LCD display with 1920 x 1080 resolution, 403ppi
  • Octa-core HiSilicon Kirin 655 processor
  • 3/4GB of RAM
  • 32/64GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 256GB
  • Dual 12 and 2MP rear cameras, 8MP front camera
  • Non-removable 3,340mAh battery
  • Android 6.0 Marshmallow
  • 150.9 x 76.2 x 8.2mm, 162g

Read more

Buy now from Amazon

Motorola Moto G4 Plus

Best unlocked Android phones (February 2017)

See more Moto G4 Plus photos

Instead of announcing just one Moto G variant this year, Lenovo brought us three different devices – the Moto G4 Plus, Moto G4 and Moto G4 Play.

The highest-end of the bunch is the Moto G4 Plus, and it brings a handful of notable improvements to the Moto G range. It has a big 1080p display, capable processor, expandable storage, and even a fingerprint sensor this time around. While we had a slight problem with the volume/power buttons and the camera in low light, we can honestly say this is one of the best budget offerings in 2016.

Right now you can buy it in the U.S. for $249.99 through Amazon or Motorola.com.

Specs

  • 5.5-inch IPS LCD display with 1920 x 1080 resolution, 401ppi
  • Quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 processor
  • 2/3/4GB of RAM
  • 16/32/64GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 256GB
  • 16MP rear camera, 5MP front camera
  • Non-removable 3000mAh battery
  • Android 6.0 Marshmallow
  • 153 x 76.6 x 9.8mm, 155g

Read more

Buy now from Motorola

Moto G4 Play

Best unlocked Android phones (February 2017)

See more Moto G4 Play photos

Lenovo’s Moto G4 Play enters the market with a low price tag, solid specifications and a familiar design language we’ve all grown to love.

It sports a 5.0-inch HD display, solid Snapdragon 410 processor, 2GB of RAM, and an 8MP rear camera that’s great for snapping the occasional photo. Plus, you get a removable 2800mAh battery, which is a feature many manufacturers have been leaving out of their phones lately.

Specs

  • 5.0-inch IPS LCD display with 1280 x 720 resolution, 294ppi
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 processor
  • 2GB of RAM
  • 16GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 256GB
  • 8MP rear camera, 5MP front camera
  • Removable 2800mAh battery
  • Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow
  • 144.4 x 72 x 9.9mm, 137g

Read more

Buy now from Amazon

Best phones under $500

OnePlus 3T

Best unlocked Android phones (February 2017)

See more OnePlus 3T photos

We weren’t expecting OnePlus to release another new flagship in 2016, but it happened. If you were a fan of the OnePlus 3, you’ll certainly love the OnePlus 3T.

With its powerful Snapdragon 821 processor backed by 6GB of RAM, the 3T absolutely flies through web browsing, gaming and most other everyday tasks. It also has a bigger battery this time around (3,400mAh to be exact), which is more than enough to get you through a full day of use on a single charge. In addition, the 3T now sports 16MP rear and front-facing camera sensors, a dual-SIM card slot, plenty of on-board storage, and a fast front-facing fingerprint sensor on the front.

Basically the OnePlus 3T is a better OnePlus 3, and we’re certainly not complaining. You can buy it from OnePlus’ website in Gunmetal and Soft Gold color options.

Specs

  • 5.5-inch Optic AMOLED display with 1920 x 1080 resolution, 401ppi
  • 2.35GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 821
  • 6GB of RAM
  • 64/128GB of on-board storage, no microSD card expansion
  • 16MP rear camera, 16MP front camera
  • Non-removable 3,400mAh battery
  • Android 7.0 Nougat
  • 152.7 x 74.7 x 7.35mm, 158g

Read more

Buy now from OnePlus

ZTE Axon 7

Best unlocked Android phones (February 2017)

See more ZTE Axon 7 photos

ZTE’s Axon Pro from 2015 was a good phone, but it fell short in a few key areas. It came to market with only one storage option, no expandable memory, and the dual camera setup on the back of the device felt a bit gimmicky. Not only does the company’s latest flagship fix all of those problems, it brings much more to the table.

It has a big 5.5-inch Quad HD AMOLED display, the latest Snapdragon processor, plenty of RAM, multiple storage options, and yes, expandable memory up to 256GB. It also sports some killer front-facing speakers, all-day battery life, a great camera, and a sleek, attractive design. While certain parts of the software could use a little more polish, the ZTE Axon 7 goes toe-to-toe with the best in the Android market. It’s also inexpensive at only $400, making this an even more attractive option for folks looking to score a solid flagship device.

Specs

  • 5.5-inch AMOLED display with 2560 x 1440 resolution, 538ppi
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor
  • 4/6GB of RAM
  • 64/128GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 256GB
  • 20MP front camera, 8MP rear camera
  • Non-removable 3250mAh battery
  • Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow
  • 151.7 x 75 x 7.9mm, 175g

Read more

Buy at Amazon

Best phones above $500

Google Pixel and Pixel XL

Best unlocked Android phones (February 2017)

See more Google Pixel and Pixel XL photos

Google’s Pixel and Pixel XL are here, and they truly are some amazing smartphones.

Not only are they the first phones to ship with the Google Assistant on board, they also come with plenty of exclusive software features and some of the best smartphone cameras in existence.

Under the hood, they sport some killer specs, too. Both devices have an AMOLED display, a Snapdragon 821 processor, 4GB of RAM, plenty of on-board storage and long-lasting batteries. The overall design of these phones may not be the most unique, but they do feel like premium phones through and through.

There are a few things about these phones that will turn some people away, though. For starters, they only sport an IP53 rating for dust and water resistance, meaning they’re not nearly as waterproof as the Galaxy S7 or S7 Edge. There are ways around that, but none that will make the devices truly waterproof. Plus, if you buy the Verizon model, you’ll have to deal with a small amount of bloatware (though you will be able to uninstall it), you won’t be able to unlock the bootloader, and Verizon will be handling all Pixel and Pixel XL software updates (though the company swears it won’t delay them).

If you’re in the market for a new flagship Android phone and don’t mind spending over $650, you should buy the Pixel or Pixel XL… these are two of the best Android phones out there.

Specs

Google Pixel

  • 5.0-inch AMOLED display with 1920 x 1080 resolution, 441ppi
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 32/128GB of on-board storage, no microSD expansion
  • 12.3MP rear camera, 8MP front camera
  • Non-removable 2,770mAh battery
  • Android 7.1 Nougat
  • 143.8 x 69.5 x 8.6mm, 143g

Google Pixel XL

  • 5.5-inch AMOLED display with 2560 x 1440 resolution, 534ppi
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 32/128GB of on-board storage, no microSD expansion
  • 12.3MP rear camera, 8MP front camera
  • Non-removable 3,450mAh battery
  • Android 7.1 Nougat
  • 154.7 x 75.7 x 8.6mm, 168g

Read more

Buy now from the Google Store

Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge

Best unlocked Android phones (February 2017)

See more Galaxy S7 photos | See more Galaxy S7 Edge photos

Samsung did a killer job with their 2015 flagship smartphones, the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge. Design-wise, many would say those two phones were close to perfect. The company forwent a plastic design and instead included glass front and back panels with an aluminum frame. They weren’t without their flaws, though. The S6 and S6 Edge didn’t offer expandable storage or removable batteries — two features Samsung has been known to include in all its smartphones for years.

Now the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge have made their way to the masses, and they fix many of the problems the S6 line introduced last year. While they don’t offer removable batteries, Samsung included expandable storage on both handsets in case the 32GB of on-board storage isn’t enough. Samsung mostly stuck to the same design this time around, though they did shrink down the camera bumps on the back and made the devices a little thicker to make room for larger batteries.

In terms of specs, these are top-of-the-line smartphones. They come with Quad HD Super AMOLED displays, Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processors, 4GB of RAM, great 12MP rear-facing cameras and run the latest version of Android. Instead of featuring the same screen sizes this time around though, Samsung kept the S7 at a smaller 5.1 inches, while the S7 Edge has been bumped up to a larger 5.5-inch panel.

Seriously, these are some incredible smartphones. They are a little pricey, but all in all, we think the high asking price is worth it.

Specs

Samsung Galaxy S7

  • 5.1-inch Super AMOLED display with 2560 x 1440 resolution, 577ppi
  • Quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 32GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 200GB
  • 12MP rear camera, 5MP front camera
  • Non-removable 3000mAh battery
  • Android 7.0 Nougat
  • 142.4 x 69.6 x 7.9mm, 152g

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

  • 5.5-inch Super AMOLED display with 2560 x 1440 resolution, 534ppi
  • Quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 32GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 200GB
  • 12MP rear camera, 5MP front camera
  • Non-removable 3600mAh battery
  • Android 7.0 Nougat
  • 150.9 x 72.6 x 7.7mm, 157g

Read more

Buy the Galaxy S7 from Amazon
Buy the Galaxy S7 Edge from Amazon

Huawei Mate 9

Best unlocked Android phones (February 2017)

See more Huawei Mate 9 photos

Huawei has done a great job at making its way to the mainstream over the past few years – first with the Huawei P9, and now with the Mate 9.

With a big 5.9-inch display, powerful Kirin 960 processor, dual-SIM capabilities, and an impressive camera setup, the Mate 9 may be one of the best big phones of the year. While its display is ‘only’ 1080p and its software is a bit odd sometimes, we still think the high price tag is worth it. If you’re after a smartphone that offers exceptional battery life and incredible performance, the standard Mate 9 delivers in spades. If money is no object and you want a smartphone that is unattainable to most customers, the Porsche Design Mate 9 might be worth your while.

Best unlocked Android phones (February 2017)

Specs

  • 5.9-inch IPS LCD display with 1920 x 1080 resolution, 373ppi
  • Octa-core Hisilicon Kirin 960 processor
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 64GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 256GB
  • Dual 20 and 12MP rear cameras, 8MP front camera
  • Non-removable 4,000mAh battery
  • Android 7.0 Nougat
  • 156.9 x 78.9 x 7.9mm, 190g

Read more

Buy now from Amazon

HTC 10

Best unlocked Android phones (February 2017)

See more HTC 10 photos

HTC needed a saving grace this year, and the 10 just may be it. The Taiwanese company finally designed a phone that’s different enough from its predecessor yet still sports a familiar design language. With an all-metal chassis, front-mounted fingerprint sensor and a new-and-improved speaker setup, the HTC 10 easily made its way to our best Android phones list.

Under the hood, the 10 comes with some killer specs. A 5.2-inch Quad HD display, Snapdragon 820 processor and 4GB of RAM are in line with most other flagships this year, and it also comes with expandable storage up to 200GB and a 3000mAh battery that will have no problems lasting an entire day on a single charge. HTC also improved the camera this time around, which was a big flaw in last year’s One M9 flagship.

All in all, the HTC 10 is an awesome device. Great specs and a solid build quality are what you’ll get here… what more could you ask for?

Specs

  • 5.2-inch Super LCD5 display with 2560 x 1440 resolution, 565ppi
  • 2.15GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 32/64GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 200GB
  • 12MP rear camera, 5MP front camera
  • Non-removable 3000mAh battery
  • Android 7.0 Nougat
  • 145.9 x 71.9 x 9mm, 161g

Read more

Buy now from HTC

There you have it – our picks of the best unlocked Android phones you can buy right now. Missed anything? Tell us in the comments!

Check out our related best lists:

Canadian carrier incorrectly claimed Pixel production to end, so don’t panic

A Canadian carrier started a brief internet panic today when it send an email to a number of its customers, claiming that Google would be “ceasing production” of its Pixel and Pixel XL phones that it launched less than four months ago. Google quickly sent out its own statement to refute that email, saying that production of the Pixel phones is still going on.

See also:

Best Google Pixel Accessories

2 weeks ago

The email came from the Telus carrier, and was quickly reported on sites like Reddit, as customers were told that they would not be able to get their Pixel because Google had decided to stop making those phones. 9to5Google got an official statement from Google that states flat out that the email from Telus was wrong:

We’re really excited by the demand for the Pixel XL in Canada. Telus is currently out of stock of the Pixel XL. We’re working with our partners to restock inventory across our retail channels and we can confirm that production of the Pixel has not stopped.

Android Central has also posted a follow-up email from Telus, confirming that it is “working with Google to restock inventory across our retail channels as quickly as we can.” It certainly doesn’t make any sense that Google would just stop making the Pixel phones so soon after launch, especially since demand continues to exceed supply for those phones. A quick check of the Google Store site shows that only the Really Blue version of the 32GB Pixel XL is currently in stock, while the 128GB versions of the standard Pixel are all listed as out of stock.

The bottom line is that while Google may have underestimated the demand for its new Pixel flagship phones, it will continue to make them, hopefully for many more months to come. We will just have to be patient with the company as it tries to sort out its current production issues.

Do you think Google should have done a better job in estimating the demand for the Pixel phones? Let us know your feelings in the comments!

Best Android smartphone cameras (February 2017)

In recent years, smartphones have effectively replaced point-and-shoot cameras, and many have even outperformed them. For many of us, these portable computers have even become our main camera, making photo quality a priority when picking a new smartphone.

Are you looking to get a new phone? In this post we put together a list of the very best camera phones out there. These are all stunning performers, but there are different factors that put them on this list. Some are better in some ways, but not in others. Let’s just go through the list and find out which one is the right one for you!

Editor’s note: We will be updating this list regularly as new devices launch.

Google Pixel and Pixel XL

See more Google Pixel and Pixel XL photos

Google’s Pixel and Pixel XL are here, and they truly are some amazing smartphones.

Not only are they the first phones to ship with the Google Assistant on board, they also come with plenty of exclusive software features.

Under the hood, they sport some killer specs, too. Both devices have an AMOLED display, a Snapdragon 821 processor, 4GB of RAM, plenty of on-board storage and long-lasting batteries. The overall design of these phones may not be the most unique, but they do feel like premium phones through and through.

The Pixel and Pixel XL also have some of the best cameras in existenceUnsurprisingly, these devices really shine in daylight. Images are very sharp and full of detail, which is especially true when shooting in HDR+ mode. Plus, the Google Camera app on these phones is super fast, and it’s especially easy to access it with a quick double-tap of the power button. The app doesn’t have any manual controls, but that doesn’t stop these cameras from really shining.

The cameras also continue to deliver in low-light scenarios, although there are a few downsides when shooting in minimal lighting conditions. For starters, the lack of OIS stands out here, though the cameras do offer electronic image stabilization to help keep images clear.

To learn more about the Pixel and Pixel XL’s cameras, head here.

There are a few things about these phones that will turn some people away, though. For starters, they only sport an IP53 rating for dust and water resistance, meaning they’re not nearly as waterproof as the Galaxy S7 or S7 Edge. There are ways around that, but none that will make the devices truly waterproof. Plus, if you buy the Verizon model, you’ll have to deal with a small amount of bloatware (though you will be able to uninstall it), you won’t be able to unlock the bootloader, and Verizon will be handling all Pixel and Pixel XL software updates (though the company swears it won’t delay them).

If you’re in the market for a new flagship Android phone and don’t mind spending over $650, you should buy the Pixel or Pixel XL… these are two of the best Android phones out there.

Specs

Google Pixel

  • 5.0-inch AMOLED display with 1920 x 1080 resolution, 441ppi
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 32/128GB of on-board storage, no microSD expansion
  • 12.3MP rear camera, 8MP front camera
  • Non-removable 2,770mAh battery
  • Android 7.1 Nougat
  • 143.8 x 69.5 x 8.6mm, 143g

Google Pixel XL

  • 5.5-inch AMOLED display with 2560 x 1440 resolution, 534ppi
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 32/128GB of on-board storage, no microSD expansion
  • 12.3MP rear camera, 8MP front camera
  • Non-removable 3,450mAh battery
  • Android 7.1 Nougat
  • 154.7 x 75.7 x 8.6mm, 168g

Read more

Buy now from the Google Store

Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge

Best Android smartphone cameras (February 2017)

See more Galaxy S7 photos | See more Galaxy S7 Edge photos

As we mentioned in our Galaxy Note 7 entry, Samsung’s Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge have some of the best Android smartphone cameras out there. They feature 12MP dual-pixel rear camera sensors with an f/1.7 aperture, optical image stabilization, phase detection autofocus and an LED flash. The end result is a camera with noticeably faster autofocus over competing flagship smartphones, especially in low light.

To read more about these two devices’ cameras, see our full reviews here and here.

Now let’s talk about the other things the S7 and S7 Edge do well. These devices have now made their way to the masses, and they fix many of the problems the S6 line introduced last year. While they don’t offer removable batteries, Samsung included expandable storage on both handsets in case the 32GB of on-board storage isn’t enough. Samsung mostly stuck to the same design this time around, though they did shrink down the camera bumps on the back and made the devices a little thicker to make room for larger batteries.

In terms of specs, these are top-of-the-line smartphones. They come with Quad HD Super AMOLED displays, Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processors, 4GB of RAM and run the latest version of Android. Instead of featuring the same screen sizes this time around though, Samsung kept the S7 at a smaller 5.1 inches, while the S7 Edge has been bumped up to a larger 5.5-inch panel.

Seriously, these are some incredible smartphones. They are a little pricey, but all in all, we think the high asking price is worth it.

Specs

Samsung Galaxy S7

  • 5.1-inch Super AMOLED display with 2560 x 1440 resolution, 577ppi
  • Quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 32GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 200GB
  • 12MP rear camera, 5MP front camera
  • Non-removable 3000mAh battery
  • Android 7.0 Nougat
  • 142.4 x 69.6 x 7.9mm, 152g

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

  • 5.5-inch Super AMOLED display with 2560 x 1440 resolution, 534ppi
  • Quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 32GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 200GB
  • 12MP rear camera, 5MP front camera
  • Non-removable 3600mAh battery
  • Android 7.0 Nougat
  • 150.9 x 72.6 x 7.7mm, 157g

Read more

Buy the Samsung Galaxy S7
Buy the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

Huawei Mate 9

Best Android smartphone cameras (February 2017)

See more Huawei Mate 9 photos

Huawei has done a great job at making its way to the mainstream over the past few years – first with the Huawei P9, and now with the Mate 9.

With a big 5.9-inch display, powerful Kirin 960 processor, dual-SIM capabilities, and an impressive camera setup, the Mate 9 may be one of the best big phones of the year. While its display is ‘only’ 1080p and its software is a bit odd sometimes, we still think the high price tag is worth it.

Plus, the Mate 9 has an exceptional camera. Huawei’s partnership with Leica continues with the Mate 9 sporting a new and improved second generation dual camera setup. Much like the one in the Huawei P9, the camera is centred around a Leica-branded dual camera, with a 12MP RGB sensor supplemented by a 20MP monochrome sensor. Both sensors are behind lenses with f/2.2 aperture and the RGB sensor also sports Optical Image Stabilization for additional stability in photos and videos.

Image quality from the Mate 9’s dual camera array has been impressive. In daylight, you get images that are crisp, full of detail with colors that are more realistic (and less saturated) than those captured by the Galaxy S7 Edge or Pixel XL.

Huawei’s camera app means Pro mode is just a tap away and offers settings to adjust the exposure, ISO and focal point to take stunning photos. The camera app is rather straight forward to use, with options for flash, wide aperture and filters found in the viewfinder.

One of the biggest improvements in the Mate 9 camera is in low light performance, with the Mate 9 now capable of taking low light pictures that are on par with the Galaxy S7 Edge. However, while low light shots are vastly improved, the Mate 9 does struggle with slight movement in low-light, with OIS proving less effective than in other flagship devices. Overall, the camera on the Mate 9 certainly doesn’t disappoint and it seems to be on par with other Android flagships. It’s not perfect – no phone is after all – but the Mate 9 takes gorgeous photos that you’ll be proud to share. Of course, there’s still a lot you should know about the Mate 9’s camera. For more info, head here.

If you’re after a smartphone that offers exceptional battery life and incredible performance, the standard Mate 9 delivers in spades. If money is no object and you want a smartphone that is unattainable to most customers, the Porsche Design Mate 9 might be worth your while.

Specs

  • 5.9-inch IPS LCD display with 1920 x 1080 resolution, 373ppi
  • Octa-core Hisilicon Kirin 960 processor
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 64GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 256GB
  • Dual 20 and 12MP rear cameras, 8MP front camera
  • Non-removable 4,000mAh battery
  • Android 7.0 Nougat
  • 156.9 x 78.9 x 7.9mm, 190g

Read more

Buy now from Amazon

LG V20

Best Android smartphone cameras (February 2017)

See more LG V20 photos

The V20 is basically the phone for power users. It has a a big Quad HD display, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820 processor, plenty of RAM and on-board storage, and a removable 3,200mAh battery. Of course, the unique Second Screen makes a return this year, along with the addition of Quad DAC, military standard durability, and it’s already running Android 7.0 Nougat.

The V20 also sports a dual camera setup on the back, with a 16MP main sensor with an f/1.8 aperture and OIS coupled with an 8MP wide-angle sensor with an f/2.4 aperture. It may not sound like much, but the wide-angle lens on the V20 really stands out here, and works perfectly in a variety of situations. Not only can you fit more into the frame at one time, but the wide-angle sensor helps make photos appear much more dynamic.

LG’s camera app is packed with features, especially when it comes to manual controls for photos and video. You have granular control over every aspect, including white balance, ISO, exposure, shutter speed, and focus, just as you would on a DSLR. One of the most useful additions to the camera is that it now has built-in focus peaking which makes it a lot easier to tell if your subject is in focus, and if you are a content creator, you will know exactly how useful focus peaking can be.

There are plenty of other details that you’ll want to check out in our full review, so head to this link to learn more about the V20’s camera.

If top-of-the-line specs and an impressive feature set is what you’re looking for, you can’t go wrong with the V20.

Specs

  • 5.7-inch IPS LCD display with 2560 x 1440 resolution, 513ppi
    • Secondary display: 2.1-inch IPS LCD display with 160 x 1040 resolution, 513 ppi
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 32/64GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 256GB
  • Dual 16 and 8MP rear cameras, 5MP front camera
  • Removable 3,200mAh battery
  • Android 7.0 Nougat
  • 159.7 x 78.1 x 7.6mm, 174g

Read more

Buy now from Amazon

OnePlus 3T

Best Android smartphone cameras (February 2017)

See more OnePlus 3T photos

We weren’t expecting OnePlus to release another new flagship in 2016, but it happened. If you were a fan of the OnePlus 3, you’ll certainly love the OnePlus 3T.

With its powerful Snapdragon 821 processor backed by 6GB of RAM, the 3T absolutely flies through web browsing, gaming and most other everyday tasks. It also has a bigger battery this time around (3,400mAh to be exact), which is more than enough to get you through a full day of use on a single charge. In addition, the 3T sports a dual-SIM card slot, plenty of on-board storage, and a fast front-facing fingerprint sensor on the front.

The OnePlus 3T also has one of the best smartphone cameras around. It sports a 16MP rear-facing sensor that excels in most lighting conditions. Photos are crisp and well detailed, and we really like the color reproduction the photos have to offer. You get nice, natural looking colors, and the images are sharp enough, but without looking oversharpened and artificial. If you do want some extra sharpening, the HQ mode is available, which adds a fairly noticeable amount of sharpening to the photos. However, the images looked fine in most situations, though we rarely had to use this feature.

The default camera app is pretty similar to the Google Camera, with many of the same modes to be found here, including Timelapse, Slow motion, and Panorama. The only exception is that manual controls are available if you are looking to dial in the setting yourself, but it is otherwise a very nicely laid out and easy to use camera application.

For more information on the OnePlus 3T’s camera, head here.

Basically the OnePlus 3T is a better OnePlus 3, and we’re certainly not complaining. You can buy it from OnePlus’ website in Gunmetal and Soft Gold color options.

Specs

  • 5.5-inch Optic AMOLED display with 1920 x 1080 resolution, 401ppi
  • 2.35GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 821
  • 6GB of RAM
  • 64/128GB of on-board storage, no microSD card expansion
  • 16MP rear camera, 16MP front camera
  • Non-removable 3,400mAh battery
  • Android 7.0 Nougat
  • 152.7 x 74.7 x 7.35mm, 158g

Read more

Buy now from OnePlus

Moto Z and Moto Z Force

Best Android smartphone cameras (February 2017)

See more Moto Z and Moto Z Force photos

While the Moto Z and Moto Z Force have their differences, they do have some of the best smartphone cameras around. The Z Force sports a 21MP shooter and the Z proper has a 13MP sensor, though they both come with f/1.8 lenses, OIS, laser autofocus, and 5MP front-facing cameras. Now, if you could choose one of these devices just on camera alone, go with the Z Force; it has a higher megapixel count. While that normally doesn’t matter too much when comparing smartphone cameras, you will see a noticeable difference when cropping photos. Both devices do a great job in both bright and low lighting conditions and their camera apps are very easy to use, making the cameras on the Moto Z fantastic pocket photography companions.

To learn more about the Moto Z and Moto Z Force cameras, head here.

As for the overall design, features and under-the-hood specs, Motorola (well, Lenovo actually) is doing something different with their flagship phones this year. Instead of releasing just one flagship under the Moto X moniker, they’ve decided to release two new smartphones that do things a bit out of the ordinary. The Moto Z and Moto Z Force not only bring flagship-level specs, but also support for modules.

These modules, called Moto Mods, attach to the back of both phones via magnets. There are only a few available right now, but they actually bring some handy features to the phones. You can purchase an external battery module, a powerful speaker, and even a projector!

They both have killer specs, too. Both devices come with a 5.5-inch Quad HD AMOLED display, a Snapdragon 820 processor, 4GB of RAM, plenty of on-board storage, expandable memory, and run Android 6.0 Marshmallow out of the box. You might be wondering – what’s the difference between these two phones? The standard Moto Z is super thin at only 5.2mm in thickness, but it only comes with a 2600mAh battery. The Moto Z Force is thicker, has a 3500mAh battery, and also has a shatterproof display.

These aren’t the cheapest phones on the market, but they’re certainly some of the best.

Specs

Moto Z

  • 5.5-inch AMOLED display with 2560 x 1440 resolution, 535ppi
  • Quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 32/64GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 256GB
  • 13MP rear camera, 5MP front camera
  • Non-removable 2600mAh battery
  • Android 7.0 Nougat (Verizon model) / Android 6.0 Marshmallow (unlocked model)
  • 153.3 x 75.3 x 5.2mm, 136g

Moto Z Force

  • 5.5-inch AMOLED display with 2560 x 1440 resolution, 535ppi
  • Quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 32/64GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 256GB
  • 21MP rear camera, 5MP front camera
  • Non-removable 3500mAh battery
  • Android 7.0 Nougat (Verizon model) / Android 6.0 Marshmallow (unlocked model)
  • 155.9 x 75.8 x 7mm, 163g

Read more

Buy the Moto Z from Verizon
Buy the Moto Z Force from Verizon

There you have it – our picks of the best Android camera phones you can buy right now. Missed anything? Tell us in the comments!

Next:

Best Android phones

1 day ago

Android 7.1.2 adds pull-down notification fingerprint gesture to Nexus 5X

The Android 7.1.2 Nougat beta update is now rolling out over-the-air for the Google Pixel and Nexus 5X as part of Google’s Developer Preview program. The update is said to be relatively lightweight, with general optimizations like improved stability and security patches. However, the inclusion of a fingerprint gesture on the Nexus 5X might have some fans excited about it.

On the Google Pixel and Pixel XL released last year, you can swipe downward on the fingerprint sensor to reveal the notification shade. It’s a gesture that’s particularly useful for bigger devices (or people with small hands) where it’s hard to reach the top of the display when operating the device one-handed.

See also:

Nexus 6 and 9 won’t be updated to Android 7.1.2 Nougat

2 days ago

Despite availability on the Pixels, the functionality didn’t appear on the Nexus 5X and 6P when they were first upgraded to Android Nougat. With Android 7.1.2, you can now find the feature on the Nexus 5X in Settings > Moves, and it’s likely to appear on the Nexus 6P too when that starts to receive the Android 7.1.2 Developer Preview.

While it’s nice to see Google add this Pixel feature to the Nexus phones, I’m sure most users would prefer to get Google Assistant instead.

Best Android phones (February 2017): our picks, plus a giveaway

With Android thoroughly dominating the mobile industry, picking the best Android smartphones is almost synonymous with choosing the best smartphones, period. But while Android phones have few real opponents on other platforms, internal competition is incredibly fierce.

From sleek devices that impress with premium design, to powerhouses brimming with features, to all-around great devices, and affordable phones that punch above their weight, the Android ecosystem is populated by a staggering variety of attractive phones.

But “greatness” is subjective, and sometimes spec sheets and feature lists are not enough to make an idea of how good a phone really is. In this roundup, we’re looking at the absolute best – the Android phones you can’t go wrong with.

Editor’s note: We will be updating this list regularly as new devices launch.

Google Pixel and Pixel XL

See more Google Pixel and Pixel XL photos

Google’s Pixel and Pixel XL are here, and they truly are some amazing smartphones.

Not only are they the first phones to ship with the Google Assistant on board, they also come with plenty of exclusive software features and some of the best smartphone cameras in existence.

Under the hood, they sport some killer specs, too. Both devices have an AMOLED display, a Snapdragon 821 processor, 4GB of RAM, plenty of on-board storage and long-lasting batteries. The overall design of these phones may not be the most unique, but they do feel like premium phones through and through.

There are a few things about these phones that will turn some people away, though. For starters, they only sport an IP53 rating for dust and water resistance, meaning they’re not nearly as waterproof as the Galaxy S7 or S7 Edge. There are ways around that, but none that will make the devices truly waterproof. Plus, if you buy the Verizon model, you’ll have to deal with a small amount of bloatware (though you will be able to uninstall it), you won’t be able to unlock the bootloader, and Verizon will be handling all Pixel and Pixel XL software updates (though the company swears it won’t delay them).

If you’re in the market for a new flagship Android phone and don’t mind spending over $650, you should buy the Pixel or Pixel XL… these are two of the best Android phones out there.

Specs

Google Pixel

  • 5.0-inch AMOLED display with 1920 x 1080 resolution, 441ppi
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 32/128GB of on-board storage, no microSD expansion
  • 12.3MP rear camera, 8MP front camera
  • Non-removable 2,770mAh battery
  • Android 7.1 Nougat
  • 143.8 x 69.5 x 8.6mm, 143g

Google Pixel XL

  • 5.5-inch AMOLED display with 2560 x 1440 resolution, 534ppi
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 32/128GB of on-board storage, no microSD expansion
  • 12.3MP rear camera, 8MP front camera
  • Non-removable 3,450mAh battery
  • Android 7.1 Nougat
  • 154.7 x 75.7 x 8.6mm, 168g

Read more

Buy now from the Google Store

Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge

Best Android phones (February 2017): our picks, plus a giveaway

See more Galaxy S7 photos | See more Galaxy S7 Edge photos

Samsung did a killer job with their 2015 flagship smartphones, the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge. Design-wise, many would say those two phones were close to perfect. The company forwent a plastic design and instead included glass front and back panels with an aluminum frame. They weren’t without their flaws, though. The S6 and S6 Edge didn’t offer expandable storage or removable batteries — two features Samsung has been known to include in all its smartphones for years.

Now the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge have made their way to the masses, and they fix many of the problems the S6 line introduced last year. While they don’t offer removable batteries, Samsung included expandable storage on both handsets in case the 32 GB of on-board storage isn’t enough. Samsung mostly stuck to the same design this time around, though they did shrink down the camera bumps on the back and made the devices a little thicker to make room for larger batteries.

In terms of specs, these are top-of-the-line smartphones. They come with Quad HD Super AMOLED displays, Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processors, 4 GB of RAM, great 12 MP rear-facing cameras and run the latest version of Android. Instead of featuring the same screen sizes this time around though, Samsung kept the S7 at a smaller 5.1 inches, while the S7 Edge has been bumped up to a larger 5.5-inch panel.

Seriously, these are some incredible smartphones. They are a little pricey, but all in all, we think the high asking price is worth it.

Specs

Samsung Galaxy S7

  • 5.1-inch Super AMOLED display with 2560 x 1440 resolution, 577 ppi
  • Quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor
  • 4 GB of RAM
  • 32 GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 200 GB
  • 12 MP rear camera, 5 MP front camera
  • Non-removable 3000 mAh battery
  • Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow
  • 142.4 x 69.6 x 7.9 mm, 152 g

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

  • 5.5-inch Super AMOLED display with 2560 x 1440 resolution, 534 ppi
  • Quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor
  • 4 GB of RAM
  • 32 GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 200 GB
  • 12 MP rear camera, 5 MP front camera
  • Non-removable 3600 mAh battery
  • Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow
  • 150.9 x 72.6 x 7.7 mm, 157 g

Read more

Buy Galaxy S7 at Amazon
Buy Galaxy S7 edge at Amazon


OnePlus 3T

Best Android phones (February 2017): our picks, plus a giveaway

See more OnePlus 3T photos

We weren’t expecting OnePlus to release another new flagship in 2016, but it happened. If you were a fan of the OnePlus 3, you’ll certainly love the OnePlus 3T.

With its powerful Snapdragon 821 processor backed by 6GB of RAM, the 3T absolutely flies through web browsing, gaming and most other everyday tasks. It also has a bigger battery this time around (3,400mAh to be exact), which is more than enough to get you through a full day of use on a single charge. In addition, the 3T now sports 16MP rear and front-facing camera sensors, a dual-SIM card slot, plenty of on-board storage, and a fast front-facing fingerprint sensor on the front.

Basically the OnePlus 3T is a better OnePlus 3, and we’re certainly not complaining. You can buy it from OnePlus’ website in Gunmetal and Soft Gold color options.

Specs

  • 5.5-inch Optic AMOLED display with 1920 x 1080 resolution, 401ppi
  • 2.35GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 821
  • 6GB of RAM
  • 64/128GB of on-board storage, no microSD card expansion
  • 16MP rear camera, 16MP front camera
  • Non-removable 3,400mAh battery
  • Android 7.0 Nougat
  • 152.7 x 74.7 x 7.35mm, 158g

Read more

Buy now from OnePlus

Huawei Mate 9

Best Android phones (February 2017): our picks, plus a giveaway

See more Huawei Mate 9 photos

Huawei has done a great job at making its way to the mainstream over the past few years – first with the Huawei P9, and now with the Mate 9.

With a big 5.9-inch display, powerful Kirin 960 processor, dual-SIM capabilities, and an impressive camera setup, the Mate 9 may be one of the best big phones of the year. While its display is ‘only’ 1080p and its software is a bit odd sometimes, we still think the high price tag is worth it. If you’re after a smartphone that offers exceptional battery life and incredible performance, the standard Mate 9 delivers in spades. If money is no object and you want a smartphone that is unattainable to most customers, the Porsche Design Mate 9 might be worth your while.

Specs

  • 5.9-inch IPS LCD display with 1920 x 1080 resolution, 373ppi
  • Octa-core Hisilicon Kirin 960 processor
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 64GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 256GB
  • Dual 20 and 12MP rear cameras, 8MP front camera
  • Non-removable 4,000mAh battery
  • Android 7.0 Nougat
  • 156.9 x 78.9 x 7.9mm, 190g

Read more

Buy now from Amazon

LG V20


Best Android phones (February 2017): our picks, plus a giveaway

See more LG V20 photos

The V20 is basically the phone for power users. It has a a big Quad HD display, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820 processor, plenty of RAM and on-board storage, dual 16MP rear-facing cameras, and a removable 3,200mAh battery. Of course, the unique Second Screen makes a return this year, along with the addition of Quad DAC, military standard durability, and it’s already running Android 7.0 Nougat.

If top-of-the-line specs and an impressive feature set is what you’re looking for, you can’t go wrong with the V20.

Specs

  • 5.7-inch IPS LCD display with 2560 x 1440 resolution, 513ppi
    • Secondary display: 2.1-inch IPS LCD display with 160 x 1040 resolution, 513 ppi
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 32/64GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 256GB
  • Dual 16 and 8MP rear cameras, 5MP front camera
  • Removable 3,200mAh battery
  • Android 7.0 Nougat
  • 159.7 x 78.1 x 7.6mm, 174g

Read more

Buy now from Amazon

Moto Z and Moto Z Force

Best Android phones (February 2017): our picks, plus a giveaway

See more Moto Z and Moto Z Force photos

Motorola (well, Lenovo actually) is doing something different with their flagship phones this year. Instead of releasing just one flagship under the Moto X moniker, they’ve decided to release two new smartphones that do things a bit out of the ordinary. The Moto Z and Moto Z Force not only bring flagship-level specs, but also support for modules.

These modules, called Moto Mods, attach to the back of both phones via magnets. There are only a few available right now, but they actually bring some handy features to the phones. You can purchase an external battery module, a powerful speaker, and even a projector!

They both have killer specs, too. Both devices come with a 5.5-inch Quad HD AMOLED display, a Snapdragon 820 processor, 4GB of RAM, plenty of on-board storage, expandable memory, and run Android 6.0 Marshmallow out of the box. You might be wondering – what’s the difference between these two phones? The standard Moto Z is super thin at only 5.2mm in thickness, but it only comes with a 2600mAh battery. The Moto Z Force is thicker, has a 3500mAh battery, and also has a shatterproof display.

These aren’t the cheapest phones on the market, but they’re certainly some of the best.

Specs

Moto Z

  • 5.5-inch AMOLED display with 2560 x 1440 resolution, 535ppi
  • Quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 32/64GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 256GB
  • 13MP rear camera, 5MP front camera
  • Non-removable 2600mAh battery
  • Android 7.0 Nougat (Verizon model) / Android 6.0 Marshmallow (unlocked model)
  • 153.3 x 75.3 x 5.2mm, 136g

Moto Z Force

  • 5.5-inch AMOLED display with 2560 x 1440 resolution, 535ppi
  • Quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 32/64GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 256GB
  • 21MP rear camera, 5MP front camera
  • Non-removable 3500mAh battery
  • Android 7.0 Nougat (Verizon model) / Android 6.0 Marshmallow (unlocked model)
  • 155.9 x 75.8 x 7mm, 163g

Read more

Buy the Moto Z from Amazon
Buy the Moto Z Force from Amazon

ZTE Axon 7

Best Android phones (February 2017): our picks, plus a giveaway

See more ZTE Axon 7 photos

ZTE’s Axon Pro from 2015 was a good phone, but it fell short in a few key areas. It came to market with only one storage option, no expandable memory, and the dual camera setup on the back of the device felt a bit gimmicky. Not only does the company’s latest flagship fix all of those problems, it brings much more to the table.

It has a big 5.5-inch Quad HD AMOLED display, the latest Snapdragon processor, plenty of RAM, multiple storage options, and yes, expandable memory up to 256GB. It also sports some killer front-facing speakers, all-day battery life, a great camera, and a sleek, attractive design. While certain parts of the software could use a little more polish, the ZTE Axon 7 goes toe-to-toe with the best in the Android market. It’s also inexpensive at only $400, making this an even more attractive option for folks looking to score a solid flagship device.

Specs

  • 5.5-inch AMOLED display with 2560 x 1440 resolution, 538ppi
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor
  • 4/6GB of RAM
  • 64/128GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 256GB
  • 20MP front camera, 8MP rear camera
  • Non-removable 3250mAh battery
  • Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow
  • 151.7 x 75 x 7.9mm, 175g

Read more

Buy at Amazon

Cast your vote, and participate in our giveaway!

There you have it – our picks from the best Android has to offer right now. Out of those listed, which do you feel is the very best? Be sure to sound off in the poll below. Each month we will also be conducting a giveaway, giving our readers a chance to win the phone with the most votes.

Winner, January 2017: Google Pixel XL (11,450 total votes)

Congratulations to Carlos B. from Portugal, the winner of our January 2017 giveaway!

Best Android Phone (February 2017)


Check out our related best lists:

Google Pixel International Giveaway!

Welcome to the Sunday Giveaway, the place where we giveaway a new Android phone or tablet each and every Sunday!

A big congratulations to last week’s winner of the Honor 6X International Giveaway: Vitsu T. (Thailand).

This week we are giving away a brand new Google Pixel Smartphone!

The Pixel features a vibrant 5-inch 1080p AMOLED display alongside a Snapdragon 821 processor, 4GB of RAM, a 2.770 mAh battery and an all-new 12MP Pixel camera with phase detection and laser autofocus. The standout feature is Google Assistant, a new incredibly-clever AI assistant that also powers Google Home.

Enter giveaway
Google Pixel (128GB) International Giveaway!

Winners Gallery


Terms & Conditions

  • The giveaway is an international giveaway (Except when we can not ship to your Country.)
  • If we can not ship to your country, you will be compensated with an online gift card of equal MSRP value to the prize.
  • We are not responsible for lost shipments.
  • We are not responsible if your giveaway prize malfunctions.
  • You must be age of majority in your Country of residence.
  • We are not responsible for any duties or import fees that you may incur.
  • Only 1 entry per person, do not enter multiple email addresses. We will verify all winners and if we detect multiple email addresses by the same person you will not be eligible to win.
  • We reserve all rights to make any changes to this giveaway.
  • This giveaway is operated by AndroidAuthority.
  • The prize will ship when it is available to purchase.

BlackBerry Mercury tipped to use Google Pixel camera sensor, run Snapdragon 625

I’ll be honest: I haven’t been as excited about an upcoming Android phone as much as I am for the BlackBerry Mercury in a while. Amidst the samey goodness of most recent Android releases, the BlackBerry Mercury is weird, wonderful and increasingly looking to be a compelling prospect. On that front, the latest rumor claims it may share the same camera sensor used by the smartphone camera king du jour, the Google Pixel.

The information comes from typically reliable leaker Roland Quandt, revealing the Mercury will use the Sony IMX378 sensor with 12 MP resolution and support for 4K video. On the front, there will reportedly be one of two sensors used, either a Samsung S5K4H8 or an Omnivision OV8856, both with 8 MP resolution, 1.12 micron pixel size and supporting Full HD video at 30 fps. Quandt also reconfirms what Evan Blass reported six months ago, that the Mercury will be powered by the Snapdragon 625 chipset.

BlackBerry Mercury tipped to use Google Pixel camera sensor, run Snapdragon 625

Of course, as we’ve all learned from past experience, camera hardware is only half the equation where picture quality is concerned. Poorly implemented software processing can utterly gimp a smartphone camera’s capabilities. Take the wheels off a Ferrari and its top speed won’t blow your mind either. So the quality of the Mercury’s camera in relation to the Pixel will entirely hinge on whether or not BlackBerry/TCL Communications are able to nail image processing.

When we spent some time with the BlackBerry Mercury during CES 2017, we weren’t able to do much on the software front, and offloading pictures shot on its camera to a laptop for analysis were definitely off limits. So we’ll be very excited to see how good the camera software is at MWC 2017 next month and to see what other software goodies TCL has for us. Stay tuned for more.

New & upcoming Android phones (January 2017)

2017 is upon us and we’ve already seen the first smartphone announcements of the year in the form of the HTC U Ultra, Asus ZenFone AR, and the US release of the Huawei Mate 9. There’s also plenty of rumors swirling around LG, Samsung, and even Huawei’s next flagships.

In the first half of this post we talk about new Android phones that have either been formally announced or have been on the market for 90 days or less. In the second part we turn on our crystal balls and talk about phones that have yet to be confirmed, pointing out some of the biggest rumors we’ve been hearing so far.

So without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the most interesting upcoming and new devices heading our way in the hopefully not too distant future!

See also:

Best Android phones

3 weeks ago

New Android phones

HTC U Ultra

New & upcoming Android phones (January 2017)

Things have been rough for HTC over the last few years, despite their best attempts to change the company’s falling fortunes. Enter the HTC U Ultra. The Ultra breaks some of the company’s traditions moving away from the HTC numbered nomenclature and ditching metal in favor of a glass-clad design.

While the HTC 11 is still expected to happen later in the year, the U Ultra currently stands as the company’s flagship, with the U Play filling the mid-range niche. 

Spec wise, the HTC U Ultra offers flagship worthy specs including a Snapdragon 821 processor with 4GB RAM and a solid (on paper at least) camera package. Whether that is enough to gain HTC the much needed attention it is after? Only time well tell for sure. The HTC U Ultra has already been formally announced but won’t hit the market until March this year. However, if you are interested you can pre-order now.

Specs

  • 5.7-inch Super LCD5 display with Quad HD resolution
  • 2.15 GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 64/128GB of on-board storage, microSD card expansion up to 2TB
  • 12 MP HTC Ultrapixel 2 camera, 16MP front camera
  • Non-removable 3,000 mAh battery
  • Android 7.0 Nougat with Sense
  • 162.41 x 79.79 x 3.6-7.99mm, 170g

Read more

Pre-order now

Asus Zenfone AR

New & upcoming Android phones (January 2017)

The ZenFone line started out pretty modestly back in 2015 but over the years it has evolved quite a bit and this year it is set to climb even further heights. At CES 2017 Asus formally announced the ZenFone AR, the world’s first high-end Tango-powered handset.

Powered by a Snapdragon 821 processor with a whopping 8GB of RAM, the ZenFone AR is the very definition of a powerhouse device. Other key specs include a 5.7-inch QHD Super AMOLED display, a 23MP rear cam, and all the special cameras and sensors required for Tango’s AR functions. Additionally, the AR will be completely ready for Google’s Daydream VR platform and will even offer its own VR headset that works with the standard.

As for when it is coming? That’s a less easy to answer question. Asus is no stranger to announcing phones and then waiting forever to actually launch them. For Asus’ part they currently suggest a Q2 launch, though exactly when in Q2 remains a mystery.  Nonetheless, this is certainly a phone worth looking out for.

Specs

  • 5.7-inch 1440×2560 Super AMOLED
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 821
  • 8GB of RAM
  • 32/64/128/256 GB of on-board storage, microSD card expansion up to 256GB
  • 23 MP rear camera, 8MP front camera, extra cameras and sensors included for Tango experience
  • Non-removable 3,300mAh battery
  • Android 7.0 Nougat
  • 158.7 x 77.7 x 9 mm, 170g

Read more


OnePlus 3T

New & upcoming Android phones (January 2017)

We weren’t expecting OnePlus to release another new flagship in 2016, but it happened. If you were a fan of the OnePlus 3, you’ll certainly love the OnePlus 3T. While it has been around for a little bit now, it’s still relatively new enough to make this list for now.

With its powerful Snapdragon 821 processor backed by 6GB of RAM, the 3T absolutely flies through web browsing, gaming and most other everyday tasks. It also has a bigger battery this time around (3,400mAh to be exact), which is more than enough to get you through a full day of use on a single charge. In addition, the 3T now sports 16MP rear and front-facing camera sensors, a dual-SIM card slot, plenty of on-board storage, and a fast front-facing fingerprint sensor on the front.

Basically the OnePlus 3T is a better OnePlus 3, and we’re certainly not complaining. You can buy it right from OnePlus’ website in Gunmetal and Soft Gold color options.

Specs

  • 5.5-inch Optic AMOLED display with 1920 x 1080 resolution, 401ppi
  • 2.35GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 821
  • 6GB of RAM
  • 64/128GB of on-board storage, no microSD card expansion
  • 16MP rear camera, 16MP front camera
  • Non-removable 3,400mAh battery
  • Android 7.0 Nougat
  • 152.7 x 74.7 x 7.35mm, 158g

Read more

Buy now from OnePlus

Huawei Mate 9

New & upcoming Android phones (January 2017)

Huawei has done a great job at making its way to the mainstream over the past few years – first with the Huawei P9, and now with the Mate 9. While the Mate 9 has been on the market since late 2016, in January the company finally brought its flagship over to the US, making it a very new device for the US market and marking the first time we’ve ever seen a high-end Huawei flagship in the states.

With a big 5.9-inch display, powerful Kirin 960 processor, dual-SIM capabilities, and an impressive camera setup, the Mate 9 may be one of the best big phones of the year. While its display is ‘only’ 1080p and its software is a bit odd sometimes, we still think the high price tag is worth it. If you’re after a smartphone that offers exceptional battery life and incredible performance, the standard Mate 9 delivers in spades. If money is no object and you want a smartphone that is unattainable to most customers, the Porsche Design Mate 9 might be worth your while.

Specs

  • 5.9-inch IPS LCD display with 1920 x 1080 resolution, 373ppi
  • Octa-core Hisilicon Kirin 960 processor
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 64GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 256GB
  • Dual 20 and 12MP rear cameras, 8MP front camera
  • Non-removable 4,000mAh battery
  • Android 7.0 Nougat
  • 156.9 x 78.9 x 7.9mm, 190g

Read more

Buy now from Amazon

Upcoming phones

Samsung Galaxy S8

New & upcoming Android phones (January 2017)

Unofficial render of the Galaxy S8 based on rumors

With Samsung pulling the plug on the Note 7, it’s only natural that rumors would turn to the Samsung Galaxy S8. While the handset isn’t expected until sometime in late April (based on most recent rumors), there are a number of alleged features heading to the device.

First, the Galaxy S8 will reportedly offer up two variants. Previously it was believed they would  be 5.1-inch and 5.5-inch in size. More recently, we’ve seen an image leak that lends credence to a claim that Samsung is significantly jumping up screen sizes to 5.7 and 6.2-inches. While that seems pretty massive, these larger sizes are said to be achievable in much smaller than expected packages thanks to slim bezels, curved displays, and a tall screen ratio that sees Samsung ditch its physical keys in favor of software buttons.

Other rumors claim that Samsung will introduce a dual camera setup and will offer different processor configurations depending on the market: Snapdragon 835 or Exynos 8895. None of these changes are that unexpected, given Samsung’s past behaviors in terms of using mixed processors and adapting to new technology trends. Obviously there’s a lot unknown about this device, but below you’ll find some of the rumored specs — just keep in mind this list will be updated as we hear more.

Unconfirmed specs

  • Standard model: 5.7-inch AMOLED QHD, curved
  • Phablet model: 6.2-inch AMOLED (possibly 4K), curved
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 or Exynos 8895, depending on market
  • No solid rumors on RAM, but likely in the 4 to 6GB range
  • No solid details on storage, microSD or external UFS likely
  • 16MP/8MP dual camera setup
  • Rear mounted fingerprint scanner a possibility, that or an under-the-glass front scanner
  • Non-removable battery
  • Android Nougat

Read more


LG G6

New & upcoming Android phones (January 2017)

LG G5 pictured above.

While the LG G5 attempted to really change up the way LG designed its phones, ultimately it didn’t end up faring all that well in the market. The whole modular thing didn’t catch on quite like they had hoped, and frankly so many other OEMs were doing a better job last year that LG found in hard to keep up. Will things be different with the G6? LG certainly hopes so and for what it is worth, they seem to have pretty big plans.

First, the LG G6 is expected to ditch removeable batteries and modules in favor of a glass and metal design. Second, it will be moving to a taller format (similar to the rumored Galaxy S8) with a ratio of 18:9. Google and LG are also reportedly working together to bring Google Assistant to the LG G6 and we expect at least a few other tricks up the phone’s virtual sleeves as well.

As for the rest of the specs? Obviously there are a lot of unknowns at this point, though some of the rumors suggest we are looking at a Snapdragon 835 or 821 (depending on the rumor you believe) with 6GB RAM. It really comes down to when the phone plans to launch, as the Snapdragon 830 has yet to officially ship with any handsets and is still reportedly a little ways out.

Unconfirmed specs

  • 5.7-inch QHD display with 18:9 ratio
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 or 821
  • 6GB RAM
  • 64GB likely, microSD expected
  • dual camera setup, few details currently rumored
  • Rear mounted fingerprint scanner
  • Non-removable battery
  • Android Nougat

Read more


Huawei P10

New & upcoming Android phones (January 2017)

Huawei P9 pictured above.

Frankly, we don’t know much about the Huawei P10 for sure. We don’t even know if that will end up its name or not. All we know for sure is that Huawei has indicated that at MWC 2017 it will show off its next flagship, and it seems pretty likely that it will be a successor to the Huawei P9.

Based on current rumors, the Huawei P10 is said to be a mostly metallic flagship, as per Huawei’s usual style. Under the hood we can expect a Kirin processor, very possibly the same Kirin 960 found in the current Mate 9 phablet. One area where the P10 is supposedly going to differ from the P9 is the screen size, jumping from 5.2-inches to 5.5-inches. Additionally, the display is supposedly going to be an AMOLED with a QHD resolution, a jump forward from the LCD 1080p display of its predecessor. On the camera front, we expect the Leica partnership to continue, with the phone offering a dual-camera setup, though the specfics aren’t known just yet.

Bottom-line, there are a ton of unknowns about the next flagship from Huawei, all we know is it will be formally unveiled at MWC and is expected to hit store shelves sometime in March or April.

Unconfirmed specs

  • 5.5-inch QHD AMOLED display
  • Octa-core Hisilicon Kirin 960 processor
  • 4 or 6GB of RAM likely, possibly multiple configurations here
  • 32/64/128GB likely, microSD very likely
  • Dual camera setup, possibly similar or the same as the Mate 9’s
  • Android 7.0 Nougat

Read more


What phones are you excited about?

Are there any phones we didn’t add to this post and you are looking forward to? Hit the comments and let us know! Also share your thoughts on the handsets listed above.