Pick the best smartphone this Christmas

Over the past decade, the mobile smartphone has become an integral part of every day life for most of us. The expense and fatigue involved in that impressive piece of tech in your pocket or handbag, means the smartphone appears on many wanted lists come Christmas.

Apple and now Samsung have long been the Barcelona and Real Madrid of the smartphone market for years. Like Messi and Ronaldo they are both incredible players, and opinion is divided on which is better.

But while these giants continue to produce ever more impressive offerings, another gargantuan contender is the guise of Google has entered the fray.

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

Samsung has long been the king of Android smartphones and this year it produced what is arguably an almost perfect device.

At 5.5-inches, the display is huge, with one of the best screens ever made for a smartphone. Yet it still doesn’t feel like a mini tablet in your pocket. The tapered design makes it feel thinner than it actually is. The S7 edge is also full waterproof.

Samsung have introduced the ‘always on’ screen, constantly displaying the time and notifications, but using less than one per-cent batter per hour.
Drawbacks are that the black S7 Edge is a nightmare for visible fingerprints.

Overall its fast, powerful, navigation is smooth and the battery is excellent, with wireless charging and a quick charge option. There’s 32GB of internal storage, but crucially there’s room for a microSD, meaning you can add up to 200GB onto that for all those photos and videos you’ll capture with the phone’s incredible camera.

If the £639 price tag is too much, you can downgrade to the standard Galaxy S7 for £569, which is still an amazing smartphone.

iPhone 7 Plus

This is another big phone, with a 5.5-inch display (compared with the standard 4.7-inch for an iPhone), and it feels like a big phone.

But it’s still gorgeous, powerful and everything you’d expect from a top-end Apple device, but it’s not a major departure from the iPhone 6. In that respect, you might feel a little short-changed with an upgrade from the iPhone 6.

The iPhone 7 Plus does have a new dual-lens camera, enabling a greatly improved zoom feature for photos. Like Samsung, Apple have gone waterproof and opted for a bigger battery, that should easily give you a full day’s use.

But on the downside, some will find it too big. Controversially, Apple have also abandoned the traditional headphone jack. Instead, they have introduced bluetooth headphones, which many people will probably end up losing. There is an adapter included for a 3.5-inch headphone, but it’s far from ideal. It’s also costly, £719 for a 32GB, £819 for the 128GB, or a massive £919 for 256GB

The smaller iPhone 7 has fewer features, but it’s still very formidable and still one of the best smartphones on the market. Priced £599 for 32GB, £699 for 128GB, or £799 for a 256GB memory.

Google Pixel XL

A new contender has entered the arena, with its eyes on Samsung’s Android Crown. But Google’s flagship Pixel and the XL version, also have an eye firmly on Apple.

The Pixel offers the purest experience of Android (courtesy of the Nougat OS) and it unsurprisingly from Google, it oozes with innovation.
It’s not waterproof and the battery life could be much better, but it’s bright, slick, user friendly and has a high-quality camera.

Google also offers users unlimited cloud storage for videos and photos, which should mean a farewell to annoying ‘storage full’ messages.
Overall this is an impressive start from Google, but at its current price, it’s hard to see whether the Pixel offers enough to stand over and above other top-end phones at the same price.

The standard Pixel with a 5-inch display and 32GB will set you back £599. Upgrading to the larger XL (5.5-inch display) will cost another £120 and if you want the full size 128GB storage, expect to add another £100, leaving an eye-watering £819 (the same as the 128GB iPhone 7 Plus).

It’s frustrating when you consider the same phone costs $869 in the USA, or just under £700 at the current exchange rate.

Best of the Rest

The LG G5 is something of a maverick in the 2016. The much respected What HI-FI magazine has declared this the best Android phone on the market. Costing just £400 for the SIM free version in some places, it could tempt people put off by the pricier blockbuster phones out there.
It’s fast and has loads of multi-media features including an innovative Hi-Fi Plus module which supercharges its sound, making it very attractive to audiophiles. The camera and display is great (5.3-inches), but what sets it apart is the microSD slot, which can take up to 2TB! Amazingly, LG also allow you to swap batteries on the G5.

HTC 10
For £570, the HTC 10 has loads of features comparable to those at the top-end of the market, including 4GB RAM, removable SD lot and 12-megapiexel camera to name just a few.

iPhone SE
If you don’t want a huge phone, the iPhone SE is the same size as the 5S. Although smaller it still packs a punch and has a great camera. It’s  good deal cheaper than the bigger iPhones too, starting at £359 for 16GB. The best small phone on the market.

Moto G4
Unbelievably, the Moto G4 starts at just £169, boasting many features that a phone at that price has no business possessing. Worth checking out if you’re on a strict budget.

Nexus 6P
Available for around £370, the Huawei Nexus 6P is another phone worth considering if you’re on a budget. Boasting a 5.7-inch display, it is a massive device. But its all metal design makes it feel nice and the battery life is considerable for such a big phone.