Newer isn’t always better. While we as consumers always think that the newest model may have the most features, best build quality, and that cool factor, that isn’t always true. That’s especially the case in smartphones. While new phones are great, there are still a ton of 2017 phones that we’d recommend well into 2018. Here’s a list of some of the best.
Google Pixel 2 and Google Pixel 2 XL
How could you start anywhere else? The Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL are still two of the best phones on the market period. Even though they don’t have the latest hardware, the most RAM, or all of the features of other newer devices, what they do pack in is fantastic.
The Pixels arguably have the best camera on the market right now. Google went with a single lens in 2017 and has improved picture quality over the life of the phone with software updates. The Pixel 2 and 2 XL are one of the only phones to feature portrait mode with a single lens. And boy is that portrait mode great. Google does a fantastic job of blurring the background in almost every shot.
Read more: Google Pixel 2, Pixel XL 2 review
Performance is also fantastic on the Pixel 2 and 2 XL. Google’s software pairs with the very powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor to provide a great experience. There’s almost zero lag in the system and you’ll have to look hard to find dropped frames.
It’s impossible to mention software without bringing up updates too. Since Google handles all of the software for the Pixel lineup, they’re updated super fast. You get security updates at least once a month and major software releases (usually) on the day they’re released. You won’t find a better phone on the market if you care about software.
Huawei Mate 10 Pro
Even though most people don’t know who Huawei is, it still produces some of the best phones out there. The Huawei Mate 10 Pro was Huawei’s flagship in 2017 and still stands as the company’s best phone halfway through 2018.
The Huawei Mate 10 Pro features the HiSilicon Kirin 970 processor. Huawei produces the Kirin 970 in-house which allows it to keep costs down. In fact, recent sales have seen the Mate 10 Pro down to as cheap as $550! While the Kirin 970 might be a little behind what Qualcomm has to offer, it still does a fantastic job for a flagship phone. You’ll breeze through tasks and games look fantastic.
Read more: Huawei Mate 10 Pro review
If you want a phone that looks good, the Mate 10 Pro is an obvious choice. With an aluminum body and a glass band around the back, the Mate 10 Pro looks distinctive and classy. It’ll catch your eye but won’t look out of place in an important meeting.
The knock on Huawei devices has always been software. If you’re a pure Android fanboy, this might not be the device for you. But, if you love the LG and Samsung tactic of throwing every feature possible into a device and letting the consumers decide what to use, you might be interested. Sure, Huawei could tone it down a little bit, but we do love a lot of the software features it included.
Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus
Even though these aren’t Samsung’s “best” phones anymore, the gap between them and the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus is tiny. In fact, if you have a Samsung Galaxy S8 in your hand right now, there’s no truly compelling case to upgrade right now.
The design of the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus hold up over a year after its introduction. Want proof? The Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus look almost identical to them. We love the infinity display that smartly wraps around the sides of the phone. Samsung is routinely praised making the best mobile displays on earth and when you look at a Galaxy S8, you see why.
There’s more to love about the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus too. The cameras are simply fantastic. They lag only behind some top-tier phones like the Pixel 2, Galaxy Note 8, and Huawei P20 Pro. There are also a ton of little features we love, too, like fast wireless charging, a micro SD card slot, water resistance, and a pressure-sensitive home button under the display.
All of that for a few hundred bucks less than the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus? Sign us up.
Sure, we’re as excited as anyone about the OnePlus 6, but anyone overlooking the OnePlus 5T is crazy. The OnePlus 5T was one of the best phones of 2017 at any price and it took until June of 2017 for it to be dethroned from our list of The Best Flagship Phones.
Led by the fantastic Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor, the OP5T also has 6 or 8 GB of RAM, 64 or 128 GB of storage, and a 3,300 mAh battery. The 6-inch AMOLED display is simply a joy to use and this thing is FAST.
Part of that speed comes from the processor, but a lot of depends on the software. OnePlus’ Oxygen OS skin is one of the lightest skins out there and reminds us a ton of stock Android. We’re definitely inclined to call it “Stock Plus” because of the small, but smart, additions to Android. It tops the list of our favorite Android skins.
You can’t buy the OnePlus 5T straight from OnePlus anymore, but there are still many ways to get it. You can check out third-party retailers like GearBest or you can check out the used market on sites like eBay and Swappa (we recommend the latter).
Until June 2018, the LG V30 was the best LG device you could buy. Some would say it still is since it doesn’t have a notch, but to each their own. We still love the LG V30 for a ton of reasons, but the biggest might be that it’s essentially an LG G7 for a much smaller price.
The devices both feature a similar design, a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor (845 for the G7, 835 for the V30), and large batteries. They both have similar cameras, quad-DACs and headphone jacks, and Android Oreo.
So, what are the differences? Well, there is that notch for one. The G7 has a slightly smaller LCD display whereas the V30 has a smaller, non-notched, AMOLED display. The G7 also has the ThinQ moniker which brings a few AI smart features with it but… are people really using those? Are they just buzzwords for features we already have?
For our money, the V30 is a much better value right now, especially if you can save yourself a few hundred dollars.
Moto Z2 Play
We were big fans of the Motorola Moto Z2 Play when it came out last year, and nothing has changed in that regard. If you’re looking for a solid midranger, this a great place to start. And now you can get it even cheaper!
One of the things we love the most out of the Z line is the Moto Mods. If you’re unfamiliar with them, Moto Mods are accessories that attach to the back of Motorola devices and expad the functionality. We’ve seen batteries that have Qi wireless charging, speakers, more batteries, projectors, printers, and some more batteries. One of the coolest is a gamepad that gives you physical buttons for your games. This landed the Moto Z2 Play on our Best Gaming Devices list.
Another compelling reason to pick up the Moto Z2 Play is the software experience. Even after its purchase by Lenovo, Motorola has stayed committed to running a “Stock Plus” software on its device. You get a base version of Android with some excellent software additions like Moto’s voice controls and always-on-display that make the phones a real joy to use. Sure, we’d love to see faster updates, but that’s one of the only drawbacks.