Best smartphones you can buy right now: December 2016

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Best smartphones you can buy right now: December 2016 in Android Apple BlackBerry Picks Samsung Windows
With so many different (yet similar) smartphones from so many brands from across the globe, one may start feeling a bit lost. Which one of those many is the best phone you can buy right now, in December 2016?

There is no one-size-fits-all device

The last month of the year is a good time to get a new phone: after all, it’s the time of the year when all the important new fall launches of devices have already happened and you can make up your mind after the reviews are out. Yes, that includes the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, as well as the early expectations for Google’s new Pixel phones. On the other hand, there are a ton of devices that are now sold cheaper and are a good deal: the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge have lower prices, the LG G5 as well. Entries like the OnePlus 3T have also made a great impression with solid performance and the company’s commitment to updates.
There is no definite one-size-fits-all device, as is quite clear these days, and that’s why we explore all the options, trying to help you narrow down the choice to some outstanding devices that we think won’t disappoint you. We’re also breaking them down by categories: after all some people prefer a large, phablet-sized device, while others may want a more conventionally-sized pocket sidekick. We don’t go into all that much detail (for those details, make sure to read our in-depth reviews), but we do focus on the most important highlights for each phone. With no further ado, here are the best phones you can buy right now.

Contents:

Regular-size
Big phones (phablets)
$400 Flagships | Super compact phones
Affordable phones
Exotic phones

Very best phone in a regular size from a brand you trust:

Apple iPhone 7(Price: $27.09 on a 24-month lease | $650 for full retail)

Apple iPhone 7 and 7 Plus

1.

Best smartphones you can buy right now: December 2016 in Android Apple BlackBerry Picks Samsung Windows

2.

Best smartphones you can buy right now: December 2016 in Android Apple BlackBerry Picks Samsung Windows

3.

Best smartphones you can buy right now: December 2016 in Android Apple BlackBerry Picks Samsung Windows

4.

Best smartphones you can buy right now: December 2016 in Android Apple BlackBerry Picks Samsung Windows
Display4.7″ at 750 x 1334 pixels, LCDHardwareApple A10 with 2GB of RAMCamera12MP f/1.8 main cam with 4K video, 7MP selfie camBattery1915 mAh

Pros

  • Cleaner design, beautiful black body color options
  • Impressive colors on display
  • Smooth and fast iOS 10 user experience
  • Camera is hugely improved in low light, takes much better selfies
  • Optical stabilization to video brings very smooth 4K
  • Longer lasting battery
  • Water-proof! Dual speaker!
  • Excellent storage options: 32GB, 128GB, 256GB

Cons

  • No 3.5mm headset jack
  • Jet Black model scratches easily
  • Closed ecosystem
  • Less customization options than on Android

The Apple iPhone 7 kills the headphone jack, but that’s not the only reason why there’s so much buzz around it.
Despite featuring practically the same design as the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6, it adds some significant improvements in all else: the new A10 system chip is much more powerful, the new rear camera takes better pictures in low light, the front camera takes much sharper selfies, the battery life is better, the screen now has more eye-popping color, the phone is water-proof, and there is now optical stabilization that allows shooting much smoother looking video. Did we mention that the pitiful 16GB base model finally goes the way of the dodo and is being replaced by a 32GB version? For $100 on top of that you can get a 128GB version, and add another $100, and you enter mainstream laptop territory with 256GB, the most we’ve seen on a mainstream phone.
Add to this the rich iOS ecosystem that continues to secure the best apps and games first, and one starts to understand why it’s so hard to argue against the iPhone 7.
Samsung Galaxy S7(Price: $650 full retail | Review)

Display5.1″ at 1440 x 2560 pixels, Super AMOLEDHardwareSnapdragon 820 with 4GB of RAMCamera12MP main cam with Dual Pixel AF, 5MP selfie camBattery3000 mAh with Fast Charge

Pros

  • Gorgeous design with overall solid build quality
  • Great battery life and very fast recharging
  • Industry-leading camera quality and fastest auto-focus ever on a phone
  • Base model has plentiful 32GB of storage, can be expanded via microSD cards

Cons

  • TouchWiz still feels a bit stutter and lacking polish around the edges
  • A ton of duplicate apps / services
  • Body is a fingerprint magnet

The Samsung Galaxy S7 is a 5.1-inch device of style and beauty, inherited from the Galaxy S6: made of two pieces of Gorilla Glass 4 on the back and front, and a sturdy metal frame in the middle. The new thing is that its back is now curved on the side for a more comfortable fit. It’s also about the changes under the hood: the Galaxy S7 now brings the latest and most powerful Snapdragon 820 system chip, a larger battery, a microSD card slot for expandable storage, and the very useful water-protection that requires no plugs. Samsung has done some great work on the camera and it’s now a 12-megapixel rear shooter, capable of capturing very good looking images in low-light and featuring cool new shooting options like Motion Photo (similar to Apple’s Live Photos), Motion Panorama and Hyperlapse. With a great and sharp display, swift performance and a custom Samsung UI that is now sleeker, the phone is a very well-rounded package. We also love the wireless charging option available right out of the box on the Galaxy S7.

Google Pixel

(Price: $650 full retail)
Best smartphones you can buy right now: December 2016 in Android Apple BlackBerry Picks Samsung Windows
Display5.0″ at 1080 x 1920 pixels, AMOLEDHardwareSnapdragon 821 with 4GB of RAMCamera12MP Sony IMX378 camera with EIS, 8MP selfie camBattery2770 mAh

Pros

  • Premium design, solid build quality
  • Latest stock Android Nougat
  • One of the best cameras with great dynamic range
  • Promising new Google Assistant
  • Properly implemented Doze should bring improvements to battery life

Cons

  • Lacks exciting new features
  • Comparatively expensive
  • No microSD expansion memory slot

Google is now a hardware company. Its first foray into the creation of a Google phone has resulted in the Google Pixel family. The 5″ Pixel features a stylish, metal design and a clean build of the latest Android 7.0 Nougat with a promise for quick updates. Add to that a brand new focus on AI as the future and a fast and responsive Google Assistant, this phone shows a lot of what Google thinks a future phone would be able to do.
LG G5(Price: $200 on contract | $500 full retail via Amazon | Review)

Display5.3″ at 1440 x 2560 pixels, LCDHardwareSnapdragon 820 with 4GB of RAMCamera16MP Duo rear camera, 8MP selfie camBattery2800 mAh

Pros

  • Modular design is fun, but only swappable battery seems practical
  • Very good camera, with fun wide-angle option
  • Very fast recharging capability

Cons

  • Lack of exciting modules, those that exist have questionable use
  • Design seems generic
  • Battery life is disappointing
  • Always-on feature is too dim, not very usable

The LG G5 is a radical new step for LG: it’s a bold move with a modular design that has the bottom part of the phone come off, so you can easily and quickly swap batteries, or use other modules like a camera grip and high-fidelity audio addition with a better DAC. The 5.3″ G5 also features a brand new metal design and a quite rare dual-camera back system with the secondary rear camera used for taking wide-angle shots that you are probably used to seeing from a GoPro.
On the inside, the LG G5 is a beast powered by the Snapdragon 820 system chip, the latest and most powerful by Qualcomm. It sports the new LG custom UI on top of Android with a new visual style (but it features rather dull-looking teal color accents). While not the best looking phone around, if you like the tricks that it can pull, the G5 is a fun phone to have with no major setbacks.

Huawei P9

(Price: €520 | Review)

Display5.2″ at 1080 x 1920 pixels, LCDHardwareKirin 955 with 3GB of RAMCamera12MP Duo camera with Leica branding, 8MP selfie camBattery3000 mAh

Pros

  • Solid design, quality steel build
  • Great battery life
  • Fast and reliable fingerprint reader

Cons

  • Huawei’s UI is a bit clunky
  • Camera is over-rated, sometimes takes 5-10 seconds to start
  • Display has a bit inaccurate colors

Huawei might not be a household name in the States (in fact, the P9 is not officially sold in the U.S.), but it’s worth learning more about: the company had phenomenal growth last year, finishing as the world’s third-largest phone maker behind giants like Samsung and Apple.
The P9 is its most important phone for 2016, carrying flagship status and offering an innovative dual rear camera setup. It also features sleek metal design and huge aspirations. But there are a couple of downsides as well: most notably, the custom Huawei interface on top of Android is a polarizing feat that many will find hard to get used to. Then, the camera has a few gimmicks up its sleeve like the Leica brand (it’s questionable whether Leica had much of an involvement with the lens here) and simulation of super wide-aperture, f/1.1 lens, but in reality those tricks are no replacement for great camera quality and the P9 is a step below this year’s best cameraphones. Still, if you’re in the search for a great regular-sized smartphone, the P9 has the performance and good looks to fit the bill. It’s also much more affordable than the Samsungs and Apples of this world.

If you prefer a large phone with a great camera (phablets):

Apple iPhone 7 Plus(Price: $32.04 on a 24-month lease | $770 full retail | Review)
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Apple iPhone 7 Plus

Display5.5″ at 1080 x 1920 pixels, LCDHardwareApple A10 with 3GB of RAMCamera12MP f/1.8 28mm main cam, 56mm secondary cam, 7MP selfie camBattery2900 mAh

Pros

  • Secondary telephoto camera is a god-send for photo enthusiasts
  • Main cam has wider aperture, takes much better pictures in low light
  • Well-adapted interface for the larger screen estate
  • Great battery life
  • Improved display with impressive colors
  • Dual speakers! Water-proof!
  • Great for gamers, games arrive first on iOS

Cons

  • Physically larger than most its 5.5″ rivals, huge screen bezel
  • No 3.5mm headset jack
  • Jet Black model scratches easily
  • Pricey
  • Closed ecosystem

The larger iPhone was never a better iPhone than the smaller one.
The iPhone 7 Plus, however, changes that, as for the first time, Apple includes an impressive secondary camera only in the Plus model, and it has more RAM. And this is important: the secondary camera is a small revolution in smartphone photography, enabling much better looking portrait shots and giving users the option to zoom much closer in pictures while losing little in terms of image quality. The selfie camera is now also sharper and takes much better pictures on the 7 Plus.
Yes, the iPhone 7 Plus has no headphone jack (Apple says it’s because it needed the space for more essential components), but in exchange it has gained water-resistance and a louder, dual-speaker system. The Apple A10 inside the 7 Plus is also a big improvement: yes, common users won’t notice much of it, but go into image and video processing, as well as gaming and the gains are easily felt. Apple has also killed the pitiful 16GB storage option in favor of a much more sensible 32GB one, and there is a 128GB model and a 256GB version for heavier users. The only thing that still remains a sore short-coming of this otherwise excellent phone is its pure physical size: it’s a gargantuan phone with huge screen bezels.
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge(Price: $750 full retail | Review)
Best smartphones you can buy right now: December 2016 in Android Apple BlackBerry Picks Samsung Windows
Display5.5″ at 1440 x 2560 pixels, Super AMOLEDHardwareSnapdragon 820 with 4GB of RAMCamera12MP camera with Dual Pixel AF, 5MP selfie camBattery3600 mAh

Pros

  • Gorgeous design with overall solid build quality, the Edge is a cool touch
  • Great battery life and very fast recharging
  • Industry-leading camera quality and fastest auto-focus ever on a phone
  • Base model has plentiful 32GB of storage, can be expanded via microSD cards

Cons

  • TouchWiz still feels a bit stutter and lacking polish around the edges
  • A ton of duplicate apps / services
  • Body is a fingerprint magnet

The Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge is a large phone that does not feel big. This alone is a big engineering achievement. With its futuristic and cool dual-curved display, the S7 Edge has very compact dimensions for its size and fits very comfortably in the hand thanks to its slight curves.
Its wrapped display comes with an updated and much more useful Samsung Edge UX. The Edge UX now features double the size and can fit 2 columns of icons: you can put your favorite contacts, essential apps, as well as some awesome new widgets to check out the weather, news, Twitter and so on.
The S7 Edge now also comes with a much larger than before, 3600mAh battery that is a great asset.
For all else, it is identical to the Galaxy S7: it has the same Snapdragon 820 system chip that boasts impressive performance (the SoC in non-US markets is the Exynos 8890 and it features similar power), 4GB of RAM, and great-looking display. Yes, you also have a microSD card here for expandable storage and the neat waterproofing capabilities.
On top of that, the Galaxy S7 Edge is equipped with a very good 12-megapixel camera with a wide, f/1.7 that captures good-looking images even in very dim light, something that other phones typically fail in.

Google Pixel XL

(Price: $770 full retail)
Best smartphones you can buy right now: December 2016 in Android Apple BlackBerry Picks Samsung Windows
Display5.5″ at 1440 x 2560 pixels, AMOLEDHardwareSnapdragon 821 with 4GB of RAMCamera12MP Sony IMX378 camera with EIS, 8MP selfie camBattery3450 mAh

Pros

  • Premium design, solid build quality
  • Latest stock Android Nougat
  • One of the best cameras with great dynamic range
  • Promising new Google Assistant
  • Properly implemented Doze should bring improvements to battery life

Cons

  • Lacks exciting new features
  • Comparatively expensive
  • No microSD expansion memory slot

Google’s larger phone, the Pixel XL, is a beautifully crafted device with a metal body, a slight chamfer that makes it a more comfortable in-hand fit, and it’s also powerful on the inside. The big highlight of the Pixel XL, however, is without a doubt the stock Android 7.1 Nougat experience with the promise for timely updates in the future. It also showcases Google’s idea of a future, where AI will be more useful and the Google Assistant that helps you with your searches is a peek at that.
Motorola Moto Z Force Droid
(Price: $30.17 on a 24-month lease | Review)
Best smartphones you can buy right now: December 2016 in Android Apple BlackBerry Picks Samsung Windows

Moto Z Force Droid

DisplayShatterShield 5.5″ at 1440 x 2560 pixels, AMOLEDHardwareSnapdragon 820 with 4GB of RAMCamera21MP with f/1.8 lens, 5MP selfie camBattery3500 mAh

Pros

  • Modular design makes it the most versatile flagship Android phone
  • Fast and nearly stock version of Android
  • Very good camera

Cons

  • Can get quite bulky with modules
  • Camera interface is a bit underwhelming

The Moto Z Force Droid is a phone that makes some bold moves: it’s the first modular phone by Lenovo-owned Moto brand. Here’s how this works: you get a magnetic connector on the phone and you easily snap additional modules on top of that with no wires or other complicated connections. You can get a pico projector, a much louder and better speaker, easily swappable battery and regular back covers, and more.
The Moto Z Force Droid also features the excellent ShatterScreen tech that ensures that the display won’t shatter even if dropped from a few feet down on the hard concrete. Not that you should do this, of course. The near-stock software, the good camera and the few Moto tricks, make this one of the most exciting Android phones around.
Nexus 6P(Price: $450 full retail | Review)
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Nexus 6P

Display5.7″ at 1440 x 2560 pixels, AMOLEDHardwareSnapdragon 810 with 3GB of RAMCamera12MP camera with laser AF, 8MP selfie camBattery3,450 mAh

Pros

  • Affordable price for the feature set
  • Nice design
  • Dual front-firing speakers
  • Camera captures good-looking images
  • Stock, pure Android and quick updates

Cons

  • Performance turns a bit choppy after using it for a while
  • Could be too big for many

The Nexus 6P was not a surprise: what was a surprise was just how good it seems to be.
The phone is already available for purchase at the Google Store (shipping times are currently for November), and its biggest advantage is its pure, unaltered version of Android that runs buttery smooth. In early 2016, performance is still an issue for many top-tier Android phones that do stutter occasionally (much less than before, but still), and the Nexus 6P seems to be as close to not having those issues as possible.
Then, it’s got the guarantee for quick updates and in the notoriously slow Android ecosystem, this is a huge plus for both those who care about security, and those who just want the latest features.
And the Nexus 6P is just rock solid when it comes to the spec sheet: a properly calibrated 5.7″ Quad HD (1440 x 2560-pixel) Super AMOLED display, the most powerful chip on Android in the form of the Snapdragon 810, a new, super powerful 12.3-megapixel camera with large pixel and a promise for great shots in low light, a super svelte all-aluminum body and a very gentle hump on its back. Also, a larger than average battery and support for all the goodies: a native for Android fingerprint scanner, USB Type C, and dual front-firing speakers. What’s more to want?

Best $400 flagship: the new category

OnePlus 3T(Price: $440 full retail)
Best smartphones you can buy right now: December 2016 in Android Apple BlackBerry Picks Samsung Windows
Display5.5″ at 1080 x 1920 pixels, AMOLEDHardwareSnapdragon 821 with 6GB of RAMCamera16MP with PDAF, OIS, 16MP selfie camBattery3400 mAh

Pros

  • Outstanding value
  • Stylish, premium design
  • Good-looking display
  • Very fast performance, impressively quick fingerprint
  • Plentiful 64GB storage in base model, new 128GB version
  • Very good and fast camera

Cons

  • No expandable storage

The OnePlus 3T is a phone that truly feels premium: gone are the experimental sandstone finishes that OnePlus used before, gone is the extremely annoying invitation system and coming to replace them is a phone that feels well-built and very solid. The OnePlus 3T might not have any gimmicky features that would make it espcially unique, but it does have that special $440 price tag in a world of similarly-specced $800 phones, and it does feature one solid and fast performance.
Powered by the top-end Snapdragon 821 system chip and with a whopping 6GB of RAM, the OnePlus 3T runs fast and has a well-performing camera. It’s hard to find a reason not to recommend it, at its outstanding price, it’s one of the best phones around.

Honor 8

(Price: $400 | Review)
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Honor 8

Display5.2″ at 1080 x 1920 pixels, LCDHardwareKirin 950 with 4GB of RAMCamera12MP f/2.2 main cam (no 4K), secondary lens
8MP selfie camBattery3000 mAh

Pros

  • Competitive price
  • Good-looking design, solid build quality
  • Fast and responsive fingerprint reader
  • Excellent battery life

Cons

  • Interface feels a bit strange and takes some getting used to

The Honor brand is new to the U.S. market, but after the successful and affordable Honor 5X, some phone enthusiasts have already set a curious eye on it.
The new Honor 8 is the brand’s new and more refined phone, and the latest one to join the “$400 flagship” battle arena. And it does so with a heavy bang: an extremely stylish phone made out of glass and with an innovative dual rear-cam system that allows creating a fake bokeh-like effect, the Honor 8 is a compact 5.2″ phone with the fast, but not fastest Kirin 950 system chip.

If you want something more compact:

Apple iPhone SE

(Price: $400 for 16GB | $450 for 64GB | Review)
Best smartphones you can buy right now: December 2016 in Android Apple BlackBerry Picks Samsung Windows

Apple iPhone SE

Display4.0″ at 640 x 1136 pixels, LCDHardwareApple A9Camera12MP main cam with 4K video, 1.2MP selfie camBattery1624 mAh

Pros

  • Very compact and light
  • Unprecedented power at this form factor
  • Outstanding camera
  • Smooth and reliable software experience
  • Good battery life

Cons

  • Design feels dated, at least – not exciting
  • Loudspeaker lacks depth
  • 16GB of storage is pitiful

Big phones are just not everyone’s cup of tea (at least not yet), and that’s why there is still a market for extremely compact devices that you can easily use with a single hand.

The iPhone SE is one of the best such phones you can get at the moment: in fact, it’s the only phone of such small sizes. It stands out not just with its size: even among Android compacts, it offers the fastest performance with a great and consistently reliable 12-megapixel camera that can capture 4K video and supports the fun Live Photos.

On top of that, the small iPhone SE features better battery life than even the iPhone 6s and 6: its smaller screen size and newer silicon allow for more effective use of battery. Add to that the affordable (at least in the US) price, and you have quite the appealing small phone.

Sony Xperia X Compact(Price: $500 | €450 full retail | Review)
Best smartphones you can buy right now: December 2016 in Android Apple BlackBerry Picks Samsung Windows

Sony Xperia X Compact

Display4.6″ at 720 x 1280 pixels, LCDHardwareSnapdragon 650 with 3GB of RAMCamera23MP 1/2.3″ main cam, 5MP selfie shooterBattery2700 mAh

Pros

  • Very compact for the screen size
  • Screen has high brightness
  • Very good camera
  • Good battery life

Cons

  • Questionable, all-plastic design
  • A bit too thick

The most notable alternative to the iPhone SE in the compact phone market is the Sony Xperia Z5 Compact.
Rather unfortunately for many, the way of evolution has proven to be towards larger and larger screen sizes and now it’s hard to get a contemporary Android phone with good performance under a 5″ envelope. The Xperia Z5 Compact, however, does deliver just that: a no-compromise performance courtesy of the top-of-the-line Snapdragon 810 system chip and Sony’s best 23-megapixel camera.
The Sony Xperia Z5 Compact features a 4.6-inch screen with slim bezels that make it a very compact device for its size, it has that signature eye-catching Sony design and remains usable with a single hand.

For those on a budget:

Nexus 5X(Price: $329 full retail | Review)
Best smartphones you can buy right now: December 2016 in Android Apple BlackBerry Picks Samsung Windows

Nexus 5X

Display5.2″ at 1080 x 1920 pixels, LCDHardwareSnapdragon 808 with 2GB of RAMCamera12MP main cam, 5MP selfie camBattery2700 mAh

Pros

  • Very affordable price
  • Stock Android, quick updates
  • Very good-looking display
  • Fast and accurate fingerprint reader

Cons

  • Plastic, uninspiring design
  • No expandable storage
  • Video capture is very shaky

The Google Nexus is back.
After a lackluster year for the Nexus series with the overwhelmingly gigantic Nexus 6 that even Google admits failed the modest sales expectations, this year Google brings the successor to one of the most demanded Nexus phones of all times: the LG Nexus 5. The new Nexus 5X is also made by LG and it shows the way forward for Android: it runs on the latest Android 6.0 Marshmallow, finally has a native fingerprint scanner and charges via the fast and reversible USB Type C connector. Those all pale in comparison with its biggest promise, though: a hugely improved camera. The Nexus 5X is the first phone to ship with the 12.3-megapixel Sony IMX377 image sensor, a 1/2.3″ sensor, one of the largest ever on an Android phone. It has large pixel and aspirations to be among the very best smartphone cameras. If that wasn’t enough, Google has priced the Nexus 5X at a very alluring price: just $380 for the 16GB model and $430 for the 32GB version.

Moto G4 (4th generation)

(Price: $200 for G4 | $150 for G4 with Amazon ads | $250 for G Plus | Review)
Best smartphones you can buy right now: December 2016 in Android Apple BlackBerry Picks Samsung Windows
Display5.5″ at 1080 x 1920 pixels, LCDHardwareSnapdragon 617 with 2GB of RAMCamera12MP main cam, 5MP selfie camBattery3000 mAh
Pros

  • Affordable price
  • Clean and fast build of Android

Cons

  • No fingerprint scanner (G Plus has one)
  • Lacks more stylish design features that are found on others in this class

The fourth-generation Moto G, the G4, is the successor to one of the most well-received affordable phone lineups. This year, gone is the Motorola brand name as the Lenovo owner leaves only the ‘Moto’ part of the name. The signature feature of the Moto G4 is its affordable price and near-stock Android build that works fast and without any major issues.

If you want to be different than all the rest with something exotic:

Xiaomi Mi 5(Price: $310 full retail | Review)
Best smartphones you can buy right now: December 2016 in Android Apple BlackBerry Picks Samsung Windows

Xiaomi Mi 5

Display5.2″ at 1080 x 1920 pixels, LCDHardwareSnapdragon 820 with 4GB of RAMCamera16MP f/2.0 cam with 4-axis stabilization, 4MP selfie camBattery3000 mAh

Pros

  • Sleek and light, very alluring design
  • Excellent, very fast performance
  • Very competitive price

Cons

  • Video recording quality is sub-par
  • Parts of the MIUI experience are not fully translated to Western markets
  • No expandable storage

The Xiaomi Mi 5 is the best phone from one of the fastest growing phone companies in the world – Chinese Xiaomi.
Xiaomi is big in China, but unfortunately, its phones – known for their great value for the money – are not available in the United States.
The Mi 5 is particularly impressive: it’s the most affordable phone that has the powerful Snapdragon 820 system chip, it features an original and very good-looking design, and the feature-rich MIUI custom skin on top of Android 6. The Mi 5 also features very capable camera that can shoot good-looking images in low-light and features a very advanced optical stabilization (OIS) system.
Xiaomi Redmi 3 | Note 3(Price: $160 | $200 | Review)
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Xiaomi Redmi 3

Display5.0″ at 720 x 1280 pixels, LCDHardwareSnapdragon 616 with 2GB of RAMCamera13MP f/2.0 main cam, 5MP selfie camBattery4100 mAh

Pros

  • Outstanding battery life
  • Very affordable price
  • MIUI skin is rich in options

Cons

  • Both feel very thick and bulky
  • MIUI skin is not fully localized
  • Hard to get

The Xiaomi Redmi 3 and Note 3 series are the most affordable phones by Chinese Xiaomi and they are two impressive devices.
The 5″ Redmi 3 stands out with a truly outworldly battery life, as it has a super big, 4100mAh battery that will easily last you two days in the common case, and even more with scarcer usage.
The 5.5″ Redmi Note 3 features a larger and sharper display (1080p vs 720p on the smaller one), and it also adds a fingerprint scanner on the back.
Both phones run on the feature-rich MIUI custom Android skin and sport a solid camera, checking all the essentials when it comes to the user experience.
Meizu Pro 6(Price: $470 full retail)
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Meizu Pro 6

Display5.2″ at 1080 x 1920 pixels, Super AMOLED with 3D PressHardwareMediaTek Helio X25 with 4GB of RAMCamera21MP phase-detection, laser AF cam, 5MP selfie camBattery2560 mAh

Pros

  • Solid design, nice size
  • 3D Press works well (but only with first-party apps)
  • Flyme skin performs smoothly
  • Competitive price

Cons

  • Feels like an iPhone too much
  • Lacks firepower in comparison to others

Meizu, a company with a relatively long history, is the one that has made one of the most appealing Chinese phones of the year: the Meizu Pro 5.
The Pro 5 is a device with a sturdy all-aluminum frame that exudes a premium feel, it features a very typical for Meizu design and the clean and good-looking Flyme user interface. With curved glass around the edges and a fairly sleek profile, the Pro 5 is definitely a catchy gadget. In terms of the technical details, it’s equipped with a 5.7-inch AMOLED display with a resolution of 1080 x 1920 and it’s powered by the Exynos 7 Octa system chip, the same powerful SoC used in the Galaxy S6. The weak part of the Meizu Pro 5 seems to be the camera: it is fast to focus and does well in daylight, but struggles in low-lit conditions.