The best smartphones on the market (2016): this has been their analysis in Xataka
We finished 2016 in a few days and it's time to assess what this time has given to the reference smartphones of the main brands. At Xataka we have given you timely information on their releases and of course we have analyzed them in detail, including videos that you can review on our YouTube channel.
If you are thinking of renewing high-end smartphones and want to know how they are the best on the market, we have a summary of what each relevant brand currently has on the market as a high-end smartphone franchise.
The best smartphones of 2016 and their analysis in Xataka
As every year, the world of consumer electronics has used this 2016 to star in a frantic race to put on the market the high-end smartphone model that captures both praise and sales. The two options rarely go hand in hand.
To test these new smartphones and tell you how they are, how they work, their strengths and weaknesses ... we have been in charge of Xataka for years. And these have been our analyzes, videos and evaluations of the best smartphones of the year 2016.
Like the big brands of consumer electronics, Xiaomi has not waited a year to renew the interior of its franchise phone for this 2016, and for a few weeks we have on the market the Mi5s, which we thoroughly tested.
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- Overall performance very good
- Good battery combo and fast charge
- 4G performance
- Versions with large internal memory
- The black frame surrounding the screen
- The sound leaves a lot to be desired, even if it is powerful
- The metal finish is not up to it
- Poor on-camera processing, no OIS
- MIUI and ROMs can be a problem for many
- Noticeably thicker and heavier
Huawei Mate 9
Huawei's high-end phablet is reaching very impressive levels of quality. Design, double camera and go screen. You can read it in detail in our Mate 9 review.
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- Compact despite its large diagonal
- The fingerprint sensor is wonderful
- Dual camera system offers numerous creative options
- Good evolution of EMUI, closer to pure Android than ever
- Few smartphones can compete in autonomy or speed of charging
- Great performance, lots of improvements in graphic terrain
- The final quality of the photos cannot compete with other top of the range
- The sound section is somewhat neglected: it simply complies
- No resistance to water or dust
- The screen diagonal would be suitable for 2K resolution
Google Pixel XL
One of the terminals that have the most to say in the remainder of 2016 and much of 2017 will be the Google Pixel XL. We had the opportunity to spend a few days with it before it is officially put on sale in some markets and results go. You can read them in their complete analysis with video.
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- - Performance
- - Autonomy
- - Software fluency
- - Camera quality
- - Speaker location
- - Memory not expandable via microSD
- - Google Assistant in English only
- - No manual controls on camera
- - No water resistance
Like the big western manufacturers, OnePlus has not held up and has launched a renewal of its high-end of this 2016 with some punctual improvements that allow it to re-enter the fight of the best advanced phones of this year. You have of course his complete review.
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- Snapdragon 821 with 6GB of RAM
- Dash Charge fast charging system
- Design and quality of materials
- 128GB option
- Battery boost
- Reversible connector that reverts to USB 2.0
- Mediocre speakers
- Waiting for Android 7.0
- The price goes up
Xiaomi Mi Note 2
Xiaomi raises the price of its new phablet to almost 600 euros and the result limps quite a bit. But it is one of the important terminals of the year and we have thoroughly tested it.
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- Very good weight and thickness in a striking design
- Large, fast-charging battery
- Unbeatable hardware configuration
- MIUI 8 without Play Store and to which you must dedicate time
- A camera with more megapixels but worse performance
- First Xiaomi that does not have an interesting value for money
- Lots of gross power that does not make a difference to other less pretentious terminals
- A screen that does not give what we pay for it
Motorola had to do something different with its new high-end to tempt the consumer and the Moto Z is the result of a very interesting dare. The camera is below what we expect from a high-end currently, but both the module system and having native Android, the latest in specifications and a unique design do not leave anyone indifferent.
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- Memory, processor, RAM and microSD slot technical specifications
- Approach and operation of the module system
- Design, especially minimal thickness
- Very effective fast charge
- Bright display
- Camera working ahead in low light scenes
- Physical buttons not very well thought out
- No 3.5mm port or stereo sound from external speakers
- Insufficient autonomy for a current high-end
The "small" of the new iPhone of this year does not include the great novelty of the double camera but it does have consistent improvements for those who prefer such a contained diagonal. Water resistance, optical stabilization in the renewed camera or the assured jump in power are some of the aspects that will be most noticed by those who opt for this new iPhone 7.
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- - The new Home button: the "click" is very subtle and is more pleasant than the previous one.
- - The camera is fast, the automatic adjustment is usually right and has improved in low light. And finally, RAW edition.
- - In some colors the bands are well concealed, very good finishes.
- - It is very fluid, you can see the power of the hardware compared to the previous one.
- - Resistance to water and dust.
- - Jet Black has been very susceptible to scratches.
- - The battery has hardly improved, somewhat insufficient for intensive users.
- - A pity that it does not maintain a level playing field in terms of cameras and RAM with the 7 Plus.
ZTE Axon 7
Being a high-end and costing more than 600 euros is not the only scale of value to recognize when you are facing one of the best phones of the year. The ZTE Axon 7 is a very clear example. Heir to the nobles who want to be an alternative to the more classic high-end, the new ZTE has almost everything to satisfy the demanding user but without the price overflowing.
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- Design and construction: quality materials with good finishes, resulting in a very accurate touch and size.
- One of the best current processors with 4 GB of RAM is noticeable: the phone is very fluid and loads everything with ease.
- The camera allows the user to adjust the shot to their liking.
- The customization layer is quite restrictive and invasive.
- We expected more from the sound: it is far from bad but it could improve.
- Autonomy: it is not bad either, but with respect to other points it is somewhat below and with moderate-intense use it suffers a lot.
Sony Xperia XZ
Like every second half of the year, Sony launches its second major terminal on the market. Continuing with the X line, the new Sony Xperia XZ can be considered as the authentic Japanese flagship, with the design, autonomy and improvements of the camera as highlights.
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- Design with personality and fantastic touch, as well as being waterproof
- Very good sound in both stereo speakers and headphones
- Fast focus and high detail when it's not night
- High-level display for contrast, brightness and outdoor visibility
- Insufficient camera enhancements to beat the best
- Fingerprint sensor on the side may not appeal to everyone
- Large dimensions for screen diagonal
- Slow battery charging
iPhone 7 Plus
The great terminal of each September comes from the hand of Apple. This time with many new features in the camera, with its dual sensor to achieve an optical 2X zoom, as well as water resistance and more gross power. And of course, we have thoroughly tested it.
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- Improved cameras, the double rear gives a lot of play
- The iPhone with greater autonomy
- The model has been loaded with 16GB: there is an option with 256GB
- Excellent color reproduction of the screen
- A10 Fusion is the most powerful thing that we will find in a mobile gadget
- The new start button does not break, the Taptic Engine supplies it very well
- No headphone jack: it's the way, but it's going to cost
- ‘Jet Black’ color scratches easily
- With case is the same as an iPhone 6
- Camera features have not been released: digital bokeh
- Bigger and heavier than phones with larger screens: Samsung
- The price on the Plus model has risen significantly
- New start button doesn't work with gloves
ASUS Zenfone 3
One of the best-known sagas in the so-called premium mid-range has undoubtedly been that of the Zenfone. So we really wanted to be able to test in detail and make the analysis of the new ASUS Zenfone 3, a large screen terminal and where the design, finish and the camera are its main arguments, all with a contained price.
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- High quality finishes
- 360º fingerprint reader and USB Type-C
- SonicMaster sound
- Unmanageable size
- Huge hump in the back camera
- Too much bloatware from ASUS
- Goodbye to mobile payment (without NFC)
In the second-line high-end we have been attending the presence of Honor with its reference models for a few years. They are smartphones with generous diagonals that this year is represented by the Honor 8. We are left with his daring design, sound and good technical configuration, which even includes a dual sensor camera, although as you will read in our complete analysis of the Honor 8 is not one of its highlights.
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- Easily the best fingerprint sensor is this
- Careful attention to detail
- Clear and powerful sound
- SIM / microSD tray
- 32 GB of internal and 4 of RAM
- Price not so attractive anymore
- The back slides easily
- The camera deserves more, despite being dual
- EMUI is still pending duties
- Heats up easily
- A little more autonomy is expected, even if it has a fast charge
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
Dotted by the controversy and seriousness of its battery problems when it is in charging mode, which has caused it to be provisionally withdrawn from the market, the Note 7 was in our complete analysis as one of the best smartphones ever. Very complete and reinforced in sections such as water resistance or the battery, it has also made an important jump in price, surely its main handicap.
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- Water resistance with microSD slot
- The best camera on the market
- Operation of the S-Pen and associated applications
- Rounded display with best Always On and blue light filter
- Extremely comfortable terminal in hand
- Pretty high price
- Sound below the level of a terminal of this class
- Screen curvature affects the experience in certain situations
- The glass loses a feeling of robustness with the metal
- Average battery, not particularly highlighted
- High performance but with doubts about the future
The new generation of one of the reference terminals in the high-end range at a very good price is the OnePlus 3, which has already passed through the hands of Xataka. It has the latest components, great design as almost always and a knockdown price: 399 euros.
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- Snapdragon 820 with 6GB of RAM
- Dash Charge fast charging system
- Design and quality of materials
- AMOLED display
- Led for notifications
- The camera is not very protected
- Reversible connector that reverts to USB 2.0
- Mediocre speakers
- Cannot expand memory
We also had its respective video analysis of this great terminal:
Sony Xperia X Performance
The authentic high-end Sony benchmark for this 2016 is the recent Xperia X Performance, which combines the well-known design of the Xperia of recent years with water resistance, a high-resolution camera and a contained screen if we compare it with the competition.
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- Performance at the level of the best high-end
- Stereo speakers
- Elegant and recognizable Xperia design, now metallic
- Remarkable display, very good in brightness levels
- The camera should be at a better level in video
- Price too high
- Warm ups
- There is no USB-C connector
- Where's the FM radio? Xperia X wears it
Also take a look at his video analysis:
Moto G4 Plus
From that basic, robust Moto G with an excellent quality / price ratio, it has been transferred in a few years to a family of terminals that would be a competition from the mid-range and even more so for many users. The Moto G4 Plus is Motorola / Lenovo's highlight of the year, growing in screen and camera quality.
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- Excellent display
- Very fast and effective fingerprint sensor
- Basic Android optimized for hardware, Android N will arrive
- Camera of a higher level in photo
- Fast charge
- Dual SIM and MicroSD Slot
- Screen off notifications
- Simple design, fair materials
- The battery is not replaced, nor is it a wonder in autonomy
- Loses water resistance
- No NFC, no Android Pay support
- Warm-ups with games and camera
If you want to know it in more detail, here is our video analysis:
Lumia 950 XL
The benchmark team under Windows 10 of this 2016 has been the largest of Microsoft's Lumia, which is perfectly prepared to offer performance and extra features like Continuum, the best experience under this operating system.
Screen and camera, as we saw in your analysis, were the most outstanding sections of our test of the Lumia 950 XL.
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- The camera doesn't disappoint if you want manual controls
- Fantastic AMOLED display
- Fast wireless charging, replaceable battery, microSD slot
- At last we have a terminal with Windows 10 Mobile and Continuum
- At last we have a terminal with Windows 10 Mobile and Continuum (yes, we have this for and against)
- Not ambitious design
- The fluidity of the system has a lot of room for improvement
- The catalog of universal applications is again very short
And of course, his video analysis:
One of the surprises of the year has been the LG G5. The Korean manufacturer has a proposal on the market that maintains the level of last year's version, but adds two curious novelties: a modular system to improve the terminal if we want, and a double camera that allows us to make impossible angles in other terminals.
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- Great finish and balance in dimensions
- Level camera with the addition of the second wide-angle sensor
- Very fast loading
- The module system is a breath of fresh air
- Balanced but not dazzling display
- The use of the angular camera leaves us with less quality images
- Modular system little used for now and executed only correctly
- Controversial design
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
Samsung varied this year with its franchises the 2015 strategy and its reference model distanced itself from the brother without a double curve on the screen also by diagonal. The Galaxy S7 Edge improved the camera along the way, the best in night scenes in general, as well as adding another extra value to its differential design: water resistance.
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- Careful design and excellent dimensions
- The best camera on the market
- High-level display
- Autonomy according to what we expect a phablet
- Waterproof and with microSD slot
- High price
- No stereo sound
- TouchWiz still raises questions about performance
- Always On for now has very little use
- There is no option to have these 5.5 inches without screen curvature
Huawei has decided that this year will be its consecration in the high-end and its reference model, the Huawei P9, it must be admitted that it has arguments to achieve it. We have already debated whether or not it is at the necessary level, but there is no doubt that by black and white camera or design, few can shade it right now.
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- Design and build quality
- Monochrome sensor, RAW usability, and camera interface
- Kirin is shown as the ideal hardware in the important proposals of Huawei
- There is no better fingerprint sensor
- Call and reception quality
- Display one step behind the competition
- Autonomy in the mean
- Huawei's interface is not the one I like the most
- Video recording, dare not with 4K
- No fast charge
Sony Xperia X
In the absence of the Performance version, the reference model of the new Sony Xperia X family is the one that does not have a surname, despite the fact that its processor places it below the line that traditionally marks the high-end. In Xataka of course we have tested the Sony Xperia X, with relevant points but with the final feeling of lack of rebellion.
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- Balanced terminal in all sections
- High level display in brightness and contrast
- Camera level of detail and video stabilization
- Speaker and headphone sound
- Screen resolution below the competition
- No water resistance
- Camera inconsistency in edges and night scenes
- High price if we look at the competition
After a few years adrift, the HTC 10 that we tested in Xataka finally showed that it has little or nothing to envy in most sections to any high-end. Its good camera with light and above all the sound that we can get from it stand out above the rest.
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- Excellent level of finish
- Level camera, both main and secondary
- Good autonomy and very fast charge
- The best sound on a smartphone
- Performance and memory expansion with microSD cards
- Balanced but not dazzling display
- Some problems with focus and exposure on the camera
- Dimensions could have improved
Of the smartphones with high-end specifications but more content price, the king is still the Xiaomi Mi5. So he went through our test table to demonstrate what he was capable of against the best. The design, screen quality and performance are clear, especially with the price at which we can achieve it, but at the software level it is not a product for all audiences.
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- Dimensions, especially weight, very accomplished
- A camera with potential and at the height of the terminal
- Bright display and outdoor visibility
- Excellent autonomy more typical of a phablet
- Great value for the price
- MIUI 7 very focused on your local market and without Play Store
- Improvable and slippery glass back
- Camera processing can improve
- Camera very close to the corner
- No microSD slot to expand internal memory
Smartphones of 2015 but still franchises of their respective brands
Of the best high-end phones on the market, there are currently two sagas that escape renewal in the first half of the year. Apple and Google leave their releases until the end of the year, but currently they can compete from you to you with the newly presented ones.
iPhone 6s Plus
They are still the most expensive on the market, with limitations such as internal memory or dimensions, but the iPhone 6s Plus has solid arguments both for those who prefer iOS and for those who are thinking of changing. Gross power, camera in automatic mode or screen are his main weapons today.
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- The new finish gives it robustness and a grip never seen on an iPhone
- 3D Touch works and may be the next big step to operate our smartphone
- The camera maintains its strength by improving resolution and recording with top-quality 4K video
- At 5.5 inches it is high time to see more resolution
- Except for the thickness, the iPhone 6s Plus is no longer competitive in dimensions
- Apple's stubbornness to leave no control to the user in the handling of the camera
- How absurd and abusive it is to offer 16 GB of internal memory in a high range
The big surprise of 2015 came with him. The Nexus 6p was presented in our review with high-flying credentials that endorsed the good manners that caused us to put a lot of effort into our after a month of use with the Nexus 6p in order to find any weak spots. One of the smartphones of the year without a doubt.
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- Design with one of the best finishes ever
- AMOLED screen of the best on the market
- "Always" the last Android that comes out
- Autonomy and fast charge
- Camera app is very limited
- No microSD card slot
- Fair camera performance in night scenes
- Type C microUSB charging forces you to invest in cables
Seen this review, with which high range of those that we have presented (and analyzed) you stay?