Flagship phones in 2017 marked a watershed moment for the smartphone industry. We saw new features that were more than just upgrades to existing technology — Bezel-less OLED screens, artificial intelligence and even 3D facial recognition. Apple reinvented the smartphone with the iPhone X (review) while Samsung doused the flames of last year’s disaster with the excellent Galaxy Note 8 (review). Google also chipped in with the best camera phone. Overall, smartphones in 2017 were smarter, more powerful, and for the first time, the spec-sheet took a back seat to let the features do the talking.
The Zero1 Award winners for the flagship phones were judged purely on performance for the price segment it falls in. And in that regard, Apple’s 10th-anniversary iPhone X is the fastest phone in the world, and it shouldn’t be surprising. It is indeed ‘the best iPhone ever made’ and it doesn’t look anything like the older iPhones. The runners up is the Pixel 2 XL which is the best phone to buy for Android lovers. But the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is the most complete flagship phone of 2017 with the smoothest performance seen on a Samsung phone.
2017 ZERO1 AWARD WINNER: APPLE IPHONE X
This isn’t a surprise is it? Our Zero1 Awards have always been about performance and that’s where the iPhone X outshines its competitors. Sure, Apple wants to show off the edge-to-edge display and a new way to do things with iOS, but there’s a lot more about this phone that we’ve liked. Apple calls this the biggest change to the iPhone so far and we agree.
For starters, the company’s A11 Bionic chipset (that’s A-eleven) is significantly faster than its Snapdragon and Exynos competitors. The iPhone X scores over 200,000 on AnTuTu’s benchmark tests. It’s also the only phone to have crossed the 10,000 mark on Geekbench’s multi-core test so far. Wondering where the closest competitors lie? Well, the best we had seen before the iPhone X scored about 6000 on Geekbench’s multi-core tests, while the AnTuTu scores usually remained around the 180,000 mark.
If that wasn’t enough, Apple combined this performance with a best-in-class display and a top-notch camera. Speaking of notches, you may not like the one on the iPhone X. But that’s really down to personal choice. We don’t mind it.Click here to buy.
RUNNER UP: GOOGLE PIXEL 2 XL
Google is really working hard to get its hardware act together, and as far as premium Android phones are concerned, it’s made a name for itself. With the new saturated mode, the Pixel 2 XL is much easier to use now, and no one can deny that this phone has the most excellent camera on the market today. For Android lovers, this is quite possibly the best phone to buy. It’s fast, smooth and you get Google’s assurance of at least two updates.
Our review device didn’t show burn-in problems, and Google has assured users that it’s not something to be worried about. If you’re looking for good Android phones to buy, or want the best camera out there, the Pixel 2 XL should certainly be amongst your considerations.Click here to buy.
BEST BUY: SAMSUNG GALAXY NOTE 8
In our opinion, the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is the most complete flagship of 2017. It has a fast processor and it’s considerably smoother than any Samsung phones we’ve used earlier. We’ve had it for about 5 months now, and there’s been no lag or freeze on the phone that’s worth complaining about. Till the iPhone X came along, the Galaxy Note 8 also had the best display you could find on the market today.
With AnTuTu scores just over 175,000, it is also one of the most powerful smartphones out there right now. There’s 6GB RAM to go with that, making the Galaxy Note 8 one of the few phones to sport that spec. On Geekbench, the Note 8 scored above 4000 and 6000 on single- and multi-core tests, repectively. This puts it at the absolute top of Android phones for the year. Does one need more?
Oh, you do, do you? Well, the Note 8 is arguably the best looking smartphone in the market today. It also brings all the best features out there, from an excellent dual-camera to an 18:9 display. And if all that wasn’t enough, the S-Pen still remains a gimmick worth having.Click here to buy.