This year is almost over and with 2017 just around the corner, it’s time to reflect on all that has happened here in 2016. 2016 saw the introduction of many new flagship devices from manufacturers like Samsung, LG, Apple, and Google and for the most part, I was very happy to see that we’re starting to get a lot more differentiation now and less of the “me too” devices. 2016 was also the year of the exploding smartphone thanks to Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 so I’m sure that’s something they’d like us all to forget about in 2017. On the plus side, their Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge were an hit this year. Aside from all the flagships, we also checked out many budget devices that were also quite good, but since we’re all power users here, you won’t see us running those as our main.
On that note, our editors here at G Style reviewed a ton of new smartphones this year and people are always asking us what we use as our main. Considering how many times we switch devices, it’s a wonder we even have a main but there’s always that one device that’s our favorite. Here is a list of what our editors here at G Style Magazine closed out 2016 with as our most favorite smartphones of the year and why.
Let us know what you ended 2016 with in the comments below and Happy Holidays!
Jason Anderson (Publisher)
While I love always having the newest smartphone on the block, I’ve slowed down for switching to whatever the next newest phone to come out. And for a long time HTC phones were my main focus, as I always wanted to be sure I was reviewing the next one to come out. This changed in 2015. I had decide to go all in with Google. While HTC always made a great phone, pure Google is where I wanted to end up. I ended that year with the Nexus 6P and that was my main until this fall. Google themselves decided it was time to come out with their own phone and being that I went all in with Google, my main became the Google Pixel XL.
While I had some anxiety to leave the Nexus 6P (it truly is a great phone), I definitely haven’t regretted that decision. I love the Pixel XL. It has the latest and greatest OS from Google, the exclusive for now Google Assistant which I use daily, and comes with some really great features like Unlimited Photos & Video uploads with Google Photos. Besides the perks, the Pixel XL is truly a well built phone. It looks great, runs super smooth, and packing some serious battery punch. In fact the battery is probably the sleeper feature I love the most. I always have access to top up my phone’s battery when I need to. Because of this fact, I routinely will go to sleep at night and not worry about charging my phone. If I fell asleep with it at 55% power, I’d wake up in the morning with maybe 52%. The Doze feature really sips the power with this one. And when you add in fast charging, battery life isn’t something I’ve really worry about with this phone. Making it my main for the foreseeable future!
Samuel Huang (Editor-in-Chief)
2016 is a year of change for me. Those who know me know that I’ve been a pretty hardcore iPhone user since the iPhone 4. I may not have always the latest iPhone in hand, but I never strayed from iOS. That changed this year. The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus just didn’t impress me enough to get one and I really needed a new phone this year. I was lucky enough where I was able to check out some pretty amazing devices in 2016 such as the HTC 10, Samsung Galaxy S7, and the LG V20. In the end, the LG V20 really impressed me the most and that’s what I’m currently using as my main device.
What I really love about the LG V20 is that is has many of the things I want in a smartphone as well as some things not found on other devices. Features such as a removable battery, expandable memory, dual cameras, a second screen, 3.5mm audio jack, and an IR blaster make it stand out amongst other Android flagships. It’s also one of the few devices too that is already on Android 7 Nougat. The only real negative for the LG V20 is the lack of water resistance and the so-so battery life under heavy gaming. Those are things I can live with though and the LG V20 has made me really appreciate the Android platform and shown me that there is life outside of iOS.
Jason Herbert (Managing Editor)
This was a big year for smartphones. Affordable ones came with better specs and had some of the more pricier ones on their heels. I would say the smartphone I used much of the year would be the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge. It has a great look, took some of the fastest and best pictures without question and was featured packed… until the Google Pixel XL came along in the Fall.
The Pixel XL while not doing everything the S7 Edge did happen to meet my expectation as far as camera, design and smooth running software. I just love how snappy it is whether I’m opening apps or using the fingerprint sensor. It shows you simplicity can be achieved on a smartphone and it is my daily driver to close out the year.
TJ (Managing Editor)
2016 has seen quite a few phone releases. Some hot (literally) and some not. While there were some with some impressive features, I decided to end my year with the iPhone 7. Initially, I had my reservations and decided against it but finally gave in. The idea of not having a headphone jack was weird to me. I’ve never been a huge wireless headphone/headset fan. I have several pair but my go/preferred were always wired. I like simple, efficient and no fuss and I could use one pair of headphones and plug and unplug into my MacBook Pro, iPad Pro, iPod shuffle and of course my iPhone. I had nothing to remember to charge at night, besides my phone so I didn’t have to think twice about grabbing my headphones and heading out.
So now that I’ve detailed my one pet peeve about my iPhone 7, what made me decide to get it? Aside from the A10 processor chip, the camera upgrades and the (much needed for people like me) addition of splash and water resistance. With iPhone being the weapon of choice for most selfie enthusiasts it makes more sense to upgrade to an iPhone 7 Plus, however if you’re someone like me who seldom takes pictures at all the 7 is enough of an improvement to make you convert. Image stabilization and a six- element lens are just two of the changes that gave my photo shoots a more favorable outcome but add in the upgrade to 7 MP to the Front Facing/FaceTime HD camera it was worth it to me to trade in my phone. Being clumsy and forgetful made my use of the Lightning to 3.5 mm Headphone Jack Adapter very short lived. Granted I’ve used several Android phone this year with my favorite being the HTC 10 – I honestly prefer the connectivity of my Apple ecosystem. Granted some bark that Apple is behind the curve *eye roll* and all these updates have been done by Android years ago *double eye roll* and I applaud and congratulate you on that BUT the great thing about options is you get to choose and I chose iPhone 7. Any and everything you could ever think of happening to an iPhone has probably happened to mine so for me this update was worth the coin.
Analie Cruz (Editor)
The Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge was a great phone in 2016. Starting with the durable design and build. The phone feels solid in hand. The Galaxy S7 Edge (and regular S7) looks great in both gold and titanium silver. It fixed the expandable memory problem of the Galaxy S6 and added IP68 water resistance. It also has one of the best smartphone cameras of 2016. The Galaxy S7 takes crisp pictures and you can also take wide angled selfies with the front-facing camera. The S7 takes decent low-light pictures as well. I used the S7 Edge to take pictures at special events and just on the regular.
I can’t forget to mention the beautiful display. Samsung phones have great displays, and the S7 Edge is no different. The S7 Edge quad HD display is vibrant. It works well on bright days, and also dims enough to not be blinding at night. While I don’t use the edge screens as much when using the phone in hand, I used them for notifications which work pretty well. Overall the phone hits major spots with designs and features, making it a hit with me!