This article titled “Six of the best Android smartphones” was written by Sam Gibbs, for The Observer on Sunday 5th June 2016 09.04 UTC
Huawei’s P9 is the Chinese manufacturer’s latest top-end smartphone and its best by a country mile. With a smooth, rounded metal body, all-glass front and lovely in-hand feel, the P9 is every bit a premium device. The 5.2in (13.2cm) full HD screen is good and has thin bezels, making the device easy to hold. It also has two good cameras – one black and white, one colour – which are fun, a very fast fingerprint scanner on the back and a battery that lasts more than a day. The only downside is the software, a modified version of Android 6.0 Marshmallow that’s neither horrendous nor quite as good as it should be.
Verdict: Fun dual cameras, great feel, decent price.
Samsung has hit the nail on the head with the Galaxy S7 Edge. The phone has a stunning 5.5in (14cm) quad HD screen with curved edges and a minuscule bezel, which makes this large-screened phone quite narrow and much easier to handle than other phablets. The Galaxy S7 Edge is snappy, has a two-day battery life, wireless charging and is waterproof. It also has expandable storage, a cracking camera and a great fingerprint scanner. The Samsung is pricey, but it’s arguably the best smartphone available at the moment, and if you shop around you can get it for much less than the asking price.
Verdict: The best big-screened smartphone available at the moment.
HTC’s latest all-metal smartphone is excellent, if not outstanding. It has a great 5.2in (13.2cm) quad HD screen, a fast processor, plenty of memory and expandable storage. It also has a fast fingerprint scanner under the home button and a camera that is up there with the best. HTC’s customised Android 6.0 Marshmallow is well optimised, making it snappy and bloat-free, and the battery lasts about a day and a half between charges. The design is slightly boring, looking best in black, but the HTC 10 is an excellent all-rounder.
Verdict: A solid performer with a great camera and good battery life.
The LG G5 is something a bit different. It has a metal body, great 5.3in (13.5cm) quad HD screen, fast processor, expandable storage and runs a modified version of Android 6.0 Marshmallow. The bottom of the phone is removable, opening up an expansion port that makes the G5 modular. It’s the last remaining top-end Android device with the ability to change the battery and add what LG calls “friends” such as an extra battery, camera grip or a high-res music player. The G5 has two cameras on the back, including a wide-angle lens, which makes group shots and expansive landscapes easier. The feel and build quality isn’t quite as good as the others, and whether anyone will buy any add-on modules remains to be seen. But the G5 is a great power-user phone and different from the rest.
Verdict: Modular design stands out, but overall package not quite up to scratch.
The Nexus 5X – a 5.2in (13.2cm) smartphone made by LG in partnership with Google – is a flagship smartphone at a budget price. As a Nexus device straight from Google, it receives Android updates months before anything else, has Google’s latest best-in-class fingerprint scanner on the back and a great camera. It is light, solidly built and lasts a day between charges, while being snappy. It doesn’t have expandable storage – so buy the 32GB version – but can be picked up for closer to £200 if you shop around.
Verdict: A great phone at a great price.
The Nexus 6P, a 5.7in (17.8cm) phablet, is a solid all-metal, big-screen phone. Like the Nexus 5X, it runs unmodified Android, is fast, has an excellent camera, a fab fingerprint scanner on the back and snappy performance. It will last closer to two days between charges and is a smooth, bloat-free experience. Shop around and you can pick it up for about £400 with 32GB of storage.
Verdict: Fastest updates, best bloat-free experience and good value.
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