Best smartphones you can buy right now: February 2017

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Best smartphones you can buy right now: February 2017 in Android Apple BlackBerry Nokia 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 the beginning of 2017?

There is no one-size-fits-all device

The beginning 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. However, it’s also a good time to wait: the spring wave of new flagships including the Samsung Galaxy S8 and LG G6 are coming out soon.
Nonetheless, there is plenty of great choice currently: the new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus have proven to be safe buys, Google’s new Pixel phones have also garnered excitement. Some great phones are now sold cheaper: the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge have lower prices, the LG G5 as well. New-comers like the OnePlus 3T have also made a great impression with solid performance.
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

Best phone in a regular size:

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

Apple iPhone 7

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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 everything 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 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 the price of that base model you can get a 128GB version. Add another $100, and you get 256GB of storage, as much as on many laptops, and 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.

Google Pixel

Price: $650 full retail

Google Pixel

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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.
Samsung Galaxy S7Price: $500 full retail | Review

Samsung Galaxy S7

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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.
LG G5Price: $200 on contract | $500 full retail via Amazon | Review
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LG G5

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: €500 | Review
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Huawei P9

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 (and worth a look in 2017), 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.

Sony Xperia XZ

Price: $650 | Review
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Display5.2″ at 1080 x 1920 pixels, LCDHardwareSnapdragon 820 with 3GB of RAM, 32GB storageCamera23MP f/2 24mm main cam, 13MP selfie camBattery2900 mAh

Pros

  • Stylish design with smooth Alkeleido metal finish
  • Very good battery life
  • Improved camera with great detail
  • Water-proof!
  • Great for gamers, games arrive first on iOS

Cons

  • Vapid user interface
  • Lacks cool features
  • Pricey
  • Super slow re-charge times

While we are perplexed by the high price of the Sony Xperia XZ, there is a lot to like about it as well. It’s a safe option meaning that it has a fast and reliable interface that works well, it has a decent keyboard typing experience and a very good camera that focuses quickly and captures detailed and good-looking images. The phone has also got a solid battery life and is water-proof. It does not get talked about that much, but this is certainly a nice set of advantages and while there is nothing particularly exciting about this phone (we’d even say it’s a bit boring), it will get the job done.

A large phone with a great camera (phablets):

Apple iPhone 7 PlusPrice: $32.04 on a 24-month lease | $770 full retail | Review

Apple iPhone 7 Plus

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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 EdgePrice: $750 full retail | Review

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

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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. 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
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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
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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.

Huawei Mate 9

Price: $600 | Review
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Display5.9″ at 1080 x 1920 pixels, LCDHardwareKirin 960 with 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storageCamera12MP f/2.2 main cam with OIS, 8MP selfie camBattery4,000 mAh
The Huawei Mate 9 is one of the first major-league phones by Chinese phone and network equipment maker Huawei, and it’s excellent. Priced at $600, some $150 less than the price of iPhone and Pixel rivals, it offers impressive looks with a metal body and Huawei’s dual camera system on board. It features a somewhat foreign interface, but you get used to it and after using it for a while it will leave you impressed with its consistently smooth animations and transitions. It’s a powerful device with a beautiful display and plentiful storage, well worth your attention.

Best $400 flagship: the new category

OnePlus 3TPrice: $440 full retail
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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
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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 CompactPrice: $500 | €450 full retail | Review
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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*Available on Google Project Fi onlyPrice: $250 full retail | Review
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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 | $250 for G Plus | Review
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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.

Something exotic:

Xiaomi Mi MixPrice: $800 full retail
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Xiaomi Mi Mix

Display6.4″ at 1080 x 2040 pixelsHardwareSnapdragon 821 with 6GB of RAMCamera16MP f/2.0 main cam, 5MP selfie camBattery4,400 mAh

Pros

  • Crazy 93% screen-to-body ratio
  • Ceramic back, stylish look
  • Fast performance

Cons

  • Pricey
  • No bezel design also means it’s easier to crack the screen if you drop the phone
  • Only available in Asia

Xiaomi is a company that has been growing quickly in China, but that does not sell its phones in the United States or Europe officially. And that’s a pity.
It’s Xiaomi Mi Mix is a limited-edition all-out crazy phone with a 93% screen-to-body ratio and a giant 6.4-inch display that fits in a body roughly the size of the 5.5-inch Apple iPhone 7 Plus. With a ceramic back that is very hard to scratch it also looks good. While currently the world is awaiting the 2017 Samsungs and Apples that will most certainly get this new bezel-less look, in China such a phone has already been available for months now. Sure, it’s pricey at $800, and yes, it’s only made for China, but your street cred would go way up if you can import this baby that will only work with AT&T and T-Mobile in the U.S. You’ll definitely feel like you’ve come back from the future.

Xiaomi Mi Note 2

Price: $630
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Display5.7″ at 1080 x 1920 pixels, OLEDHardwareSnapdragon 821 with 6GB of RAMCamera23MP f/2.0 main cam, 8MP selfie camBattery4,070 mAh

Pros

  • Curved glass and metal cutting-edge design
  • Fast performance
  • High quality audio

Cons

  • Only available in Asia
  • Glass design makes it prone to shattering

The less extravagant, but equally cutting-edge in terms of style and looks Xiaomi Mi Note 2 is really something that you should know about. Like a close cousin of the discontinued Galaxy Note 7, the Xiaomi Mi Note 2 features similar curves and elegance, but does not explode in your hands. It’s an extremely well-crafted phone, but unfortunately also one made only for Asia with its MIUI interface and other quirks. Still, if you want a phone that you can proudly show as a design masterpiece, this baby will work on AT&T and T-Mobile if you want to import it. Keep in mind that this comes with no warranties or proper service, though.
Xiaomi Redmi Note 4Price: $200
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Xiaomi Redmi Note 4

Display5.5″ at 1080 x 1920 pixels, LCDHardwareSnapdragon 625 with 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storageCamera13MP f/2.0 main cam, 5MP selfie camBattery4100 mAh

Pros

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

Cons

  • Made for Asia, not sold officially elsewhere
  • MIUI interface feels different
  • Hard to get

The Redmi Note 4 would be the ultimate affordable smartphone had Chinese company Xiaomi made it for the U.S. or Europe.
With a killer metal design, a fast and reliable fingerprint scanner, decently good-looking display and a fast performance with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, it is a heck of a deal for $200 or less (yes, that’s the full retail price). But it didn’t: the Mi Note 4 is not officially sold in the Western hemisphere, meaning even if you get it on eBay or some less-known third-party seller, you won’t get any proper warranty or service. The risk’s on you, but if you want to take it, we understand.

Honor Magic

Price: $710
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Pros

  • Crazy curved, bezel-less design

Cons

  • Made for Asia, not sold officially elsewhere
  • Pricey
  • Hard to get

Xiaomi is not the only Chinese company to go all-out with a crazy flagship phone: Huawei spin-off Honor has the Honor Magic. This phone features curves all around and a nearly bezel-less design that screams ‘futurism’ like no other. Yes, it’s experimental, and sure, it’s another made-for-China device, but it’s definitely worth a look for the sheer craziness that went into this design. It’s also a powerful, flagship-grade product that delivers solidly in terms of performance and camera quality.