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Looking back at 2017, I can say that the year has given this world some brilliant mobile devices. Smartphones that made dual-lens camera setups and edge-to-edge displays standard features from mere trends.
Manufacturers worked hard to deeply integrate Artificial Intelligence into mobile ecosystems to make them smarter than ever to give us a sneak peek into the future. We even tested handsets that came with squeezable edges to trigger activate voice assistants and to execute other important actions.
It was quite interesting and at the same time amazing to see how far mobile technology has evolved. We at Gizbot have reviewed almost every flagship smartphone that was launched in the last 11 months. As the year 2018 is knocking on the door, we have compiled a list of 10 mobile phones from flagship category that impressed us with their unique features.
There's no number one or number two in this list and all these smartphones made it to the list due to their unique features and top-of-the line performances. So without wasting any more time, let's have a look back at the most amazing premium smartphones of the year 2017.
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 was the best comeback device in the year 2017. It perfectly filled the void that Note 7 fiasco did to the company and to the Note series. It is a wonderful Android handset that excels in almost every aspect. Galaxy Note 8 has the best-in-class QHD screen that stretches edge-to-edge and delivers the most immersive video playback and gaming experience. Samsung's very first dual-lens camera delivers impressive portrait shots and the might new S Pen is a great tool for content creators.
Even the Samsung Galaxy S8 series fails to match these features. Galaxy Note 8 has also got all the flagship ingredients. The phablet is backed by the octa-core Exynos 8895 chipset paired with 6GB of RAM and 64GB internal storage. I wish the battery could last a bit more and camera could have managed to capture the same bokeh effect in low-light. Nevertheless, Samsung Galaxy Note 8 still offers more than what you actually desire from a smartphone.
Google Pixel 2 XL
I am just amazed by the Google Pixel 2XL's camera performance. It is indeed engineered to deliver best-in-class low-light shots that no other smartphone in the world can match. The display is a letdown if you compare it with Samsung's Galaxy Note 8 and S8 series, but for me camera fully compensates the loss.
And once you start using the Pixel 2 XL, you will actually adapt to the new pOLED screen that offers natural color reproduction. As far as other performance aspects are concerned, Pixel 2 XL will not give you any major reasons to complain, only if you can make peace with occasional app crashes. The design is not as fancy as some other bezel-less beauties, but it is very practical and durable.
Overall, Pixel 2 XL offers best camera and software performance in town, but it is not the perfect smartphone to watch videos and to play games.
If you are short of some budget but demands the similar flagship experience that the above two smartphones deliver, LG V30+ is what you need to buy. I have recently started using the handset as my daily driver and so far I am fully impressed with its performance. LG V30+ is the most ergonomic edge-to-edge 6-inch smartphone I have used till date. The smartphone's body is also military grade certified for durability and is resistant to water and dust.
The HDR enabled crisp OLED screen is excellent for gaming and video playback. The Quad HD screen on LG v30+ strikes a right balance of colors and contrast. It's not as artificially saturated as Samsung's AMOLED screens and not as dull as pOLED screen on new Pixel handsets. It's just practically perfect.
Another highlight of LG V30+ is its dual-lens camera setup. The smartphone carries the credits for being the world's first mobile device to feature f/1.6 aperture lens that delivers excellent images in good lighting. The wide-angle lens makes LG V30+ the best-in-class smartphone for landscape and street photography.
The low-light performance is not as good as Pixel 2 XL even though LG V30+ has a brighter f/1.6 aperture lens. This is not quite surprising as Google has nearly mastered the art of utilizing the full potential of camera hardware that LG and Samsung cannot match. LG V30+ also packs amazing audio technology that will come as a delight for audiophiles. Stay tuned for our comprehensive review of LG V30+ on Gizbot.com
Sony Xperia XZ Premium
Sony Xperia XZ Premium is one smartphone that may cost you a fortune but the kind of features and performance it offers, are unmatchable. Sony Xperia XZ Premium introduced the world's first 4K HDR display on a mobile phone that is just brilliant to watch movies and to play games. The camera can record super slow motion videos at 960 fps, another industry's first feature for a mobile device.
The smartphone is powered by the latest Snapdragon 835 CPU, has 4GB RAM and some of the best audio technology you can experience on a smartphone. All of this is packed inside a premium metal-glass body that also keeps a close check on durability as the smartphone is IP68 Certified. There are just weak points of this unique smartphone, the steep price and the standard 16:9 aspect ratio that makes it look dated in front of bezel-less smartphones.
OnePlus 5 impressed us with its reliable hardware and smooth software performance. However, its camera performance left the smartphone enthusiasts wanting for more. OnePlus was quick to respond and introduced OnePlus 5T. The newer version brings some noticeable changes in camera department and also put the OnePlus 5 in league with edge-to-edge smartphones by integrating a taller 18:9 aspect ratio screen. Result is a gorgeous sleek metal smartphone with crisp screen, powerful hardware/software and improved camera in sub Rs. 40k price-point.
OnePlus did not just stop here. The company stunned the geeks by launching OnePlus 5T Star Wars limited edition model for those crazy Star Wars fans out there. The device is priced at Rs. 38,999 with 8GB RAM and 128GB storage space and is great buy if you are craving to own a smartphone that stands out from the standard variant.
HTC U11 introduced the first-of-its kind Edge Sense technology. The new interactive technology works as an extension to the display and allows you to trigger responses by squeezing the edges of the smartphone. Google followed the footsteps and introduced the same with its flagship handset- Pixel 2XL. HTC U11 also impressed us with its stellar design, excellent camera and good overall performance.
HTC U11 was also a game changer in audio department. HTC introduced ‘Acoustic Focus' audio tech that is a sheer delight for content creators. The smartphone has 4 omni-directional microphones that are ready to record audio as soon as you tap the record button. While recording video, you can zoom in to focus on a particular subject which will keep its audio in focus by suppressing the background sounds. The feature works brilliantly in real life and dramatically enhances your video recording experience.
Asus ZenFone AR
Asus ZenFone AR is one-of-its kind mobile device. It is the world's first smartphone that is certified for both Tango (augmented reality) and Daydream VR (virtual reality) platform. The smartphone brings forth the unique combination of duo to create some interesting AR and VR setups to give you a sneak peek into the future of mobile devices. The handset shows us what the modern smartphones are capable of by combining flagship hardware and innovative Virtual reality and augmented reality ecosystem.
Asus ZenFone AR is backed by an abundant 8GB RAM paired with Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 CPU and sports a 5.7-inch WQHD Super AMOLED screen. There's a 23MP rear camera backed by Asus TriCam technology that comes equipped with RAW support, 4K video recording, OIS and EIS to deliver on photography. There are endless possibilities that can be explored with such a good combination of hardware and software.
Honor 8 Pro
Huawei has given some amazing camera smartphones in past and Honor 8 Pro was no different. The humbly priced flagship smartphone boasts a crisp 2K display, sleek design, powerful innards and a capable 12MP dual-camera setup that gives it a lead over its closest competitor- OnePlus 5. Honor 8 Pro's camera setup comprises of one colour sensor and one black and white, something we have seen previously in Huawei P9.
The two sensors come equipped with Phase Detection and Laser Autofocus. Sadly Optical Image stabilization is not in the package but you do get 4K video recording support. And if there's anything that the phablet fails to master, it is the audio performance. If you can adjust with mono speaker unit, Honor 8 Pro is a worth checking out.
If Galaxy Note 8 was a comeback device for Samsung, KEYone was for BlackBerry. It is the best Android smartphone ever created by the Canadian smartphone manufacturer that finally puts an end to the long wait for loyal BB fans. The intuitive physical QWERTY keypad is quite addictive and once you get a hang of it, getting back to touch screen can be a tough task. The smartphone's battery lasts really long and I don't recall any instance where I had to keep a power bank handy while using the KEYone. Moreover, camera performance gets a major bump.
I loved the image output delivered by the 12MP mono camera setup. Yes, it does not capture bokeh effect but the overall image and video (4K) quality is surprisingly good. It is undoubtedly the best camera mobile device ever came out from the house BlackBerry. KEYone is not for gamers and users who love watching movies on their handsets. It's a work machine that comes with a premium and robust iconic BlackBerry design with super intelligent Keyboard, Android OS and deeply integrated security features. These features are enough to give BB fans major goals to buy the KEYone.
Xiaomi Mi Mix 2
I also reviewed the super interesting Xiaomi Mi Mix 2. The true bezel-less smartphone from Xiaomi was launched in India in premium price category at Rs. 35,999. Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 has got looks, reasonable software performance and top-end processing and multitasking abilities. The handset is a visual treat for multimedia lovers; however it also forces you to make some noticeable compromises.
The smartphone does not have a 3.5m headphone jack and the sub-par audio and camera performance can be big disappointments. Moreover, you will also not get microSD card support to expand the internal storage. If you truly worship modern bezel-less design and can ignore the above mentioned flaws, Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 has a lot to offer. It's indeed the best-looking bezel-less smartphone out there in the market and easily qualifies as a collector's device.
- Google Pixel 2
- Samsung Galaxy S8/S8 Plus
- LG G6
- OnePlus 5
- Xperia XZ1
- OPPO F3 Plus
- Cat S60
- Moto Z2 Play