Yes, it’s that time of the year. After having taken hoards of phones through the grind all year long, the team has to get together and choose 4 phones that deserve to top the charts on Techook. The good part about our rating system is that the numbers speak for themselves. It completely eliminates reviewer’s bias, brand preference and other subjective traits. So choosing the top phones is a relatively peaceful process for us (unless there’s a tie). So without further ado, let me announce the 4 winners that sit atop 4 key categories.
Best Smartphone of 2017: Samsung Galaxy Note 8
This was a tough one given the level of competition this year. But Samsung Galaxy Note 8 ticks the right boxes and rates consistently high on most of the key parameters. It boasts of powerful hardware, impressive design, excellent screen and one of the best cameras in all lighting conditions.
Though it is a fairly large phone and not everybody may appreciate that, it is well suited for most use cases wherein one would need a larger display – for instance, to take notes on the screen with the S-pen. More importantly, it tops a lot of our benchmarks. Understandably, it rates highest overall amongst all the phones we tested this year and hence walks away with the Best Smartphone of 2017 award.
Best Camera Phone of 2017: Google Pixel 2 XL
The Google Pixel 2 XL has an elegant design, powerful SoC, pure Android experience but the most remarkable aspect of the Google flagship is its camera. While dual camera modules have been in vogue this year, Google has stuck to a single 12.2MP camera unit. This doesn’t sound radical on paper, but it delivers in abundance where it matters most – the image quality. What more, it outperforms the competition!
The Portrait mode is one of the best in the business. The feature work wonders resulting in impressive depth mapping. The colours are accurate with excellent detail. The rich bokeh effect makes the shots look artistic. Moving on to normal mode, the camera on the Pixel 2 XL delivers real depth, balanced colours and accurate focus. Courtesy of its wide aperture, the low light images are bright and well-exposed without compromising on detail. All said and done, the Pixel 2 XL is simply the best Camera Phone of 2017.
Honourable mentions: Samsung Galaxy Note 8, Apple iPhone X
Best Value-for-money Phone of 2017: OnePlus 5T
This was perhaps the easier choice. The OnePlus 5 users may not have stopped grumbling about the launch of a new flagship earlier than expected, and though the OnePlus 5T is not a major upgrade over its predecessor, it is a complete and up-to-date package for a great price.
The phone does not cut any corners when it comes to processing power or features. The design is sleek, the minimal-bezel display is lively, the Snapdragon 835 is as fast they come currently and there is no shortage of RAM or storage. The dual cameras at the back do their job diligently in all conditions and modes, and though not the very best in the business this year in terms of image quality, they certainly rank near the top.
All this for a starting price of Rs 32,999 which is way clear of it’s nearest rival with similar specs. High scores + low price = great value. No brainer, isn’t it? Well, we did consider a few mid-range handsets but the void in performance was too huge to displace the OnePlus 5T from the top. Next year, we will have a separate award for mid-range phones. But as of now, the OnePlus 5T is our Best Value-for-money Phone of 2017.
Honourable mentions: Xiaomi Mi A1, Moto G5S Plus, Honor 7X
Most Innovative Phone of 2017: Apple iPhone X
This is one unique category that goes beyond the scope of our rating system and numbers. After a short team meeting, the Apple iPhone X had a clear mandate for a variety of unique abilities it possesses. Apple got rid of the fingerprint scanner in favour of Face ID unlock that relies on an infrared camera to capture the finer details. Not all of us approve of this move, but it’s something that was never done before that well. Plus, we believe there’s still a lot of potential left to be explored with this technology and its applications. Something to look forward to in 2018.
Another reason why Apple iPhone X deserves to win this award is the integration of augmented reality features into games and other apps. Again, Apple has barely scratched the surface yet with that. And last but not the least, the display! Though Apple is not the first to incorporate a bezel-less screen, their implementation remains the best so far. Due to all of the above reasons and the promise it holds for the future, we confer upon Apple iPhone X the title of the Most Innovative Phone of 2017.