Smartphone Reviews

1

Sometimes bigger is better. When it comes to phones, that's more true than ever — a bigger screen is easier to read, and a bigger body hides larger batteries and means more battery life. And that means Huawei's massive Mate 9 is one of the best new Android phones you can buy in 2017.

3

The Oppo R9s is a smartphone that will cost you less than $600 to buy, but that promises an experience — camera, interface, design and build quality — on par with a $1000-plus iPhone or Pixel or Galaxy. Can it keep that promise?

9

Step back, LG G5. There's a funky new modular smartphone on sale in Australia, and it's also — in its standard, straight-out-of-the-box guise — the world's thinnest. Motorola's Moto Z measures just 5.2mm from front to back, but still has the latest in high-tech hardware under the hood. Where LG's top Android phone ejects its modular components like a pistol's magazine, though, the Moto Z snaps them onto its rear case to add extra battery power, a high-res camera or a more powerful speaker.

5

The LG V20 is a very late entrant into this year's Android phone boxing match, but for exactly that reason it's arriving to the fight fresh and with a whole set of new tricks up its sleeve. Is this — very quietly, now — the best Android phone of 2016?

19

Sony actually has a top-end smartphone now. Learning from the stumbles of the rocky six month transition between the venerable Z Series phones and the Xperia X Performance, the new Xperia XZ brings back a little bit of finesse into Sony's smartphone design.

5

Until I had my hands on Playstation VR I couldn't understand the need for any VR that wasn't mobile. Samsung Gear VR and Google Cardboard are both "good enough" experiences with price tags a mere fraction of those of hulking VR systems like HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. For most people the only VR you need is the kind you show off at parties and family gatherings, and never think about again.

17

The camera on the iPhone has developed such a reputation for excellence that it's one of the device's central selling points. It's worth upgrading to a new phone just to get the latest and greatest camera. After a week of rigorous shooting, one thing is totally clear: the iPhone 7 has a damn fine phone camera that's the best you can buy right now.

19

At a glance, the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus might both be confused for their predecessors, the 6s and 6s Plus. It's deceptive. The iPhone 7 is perhaps the most drastic revision of the phone since it was first released nearly a decade ago. It's not just the missing headphone jack. There are several other big ideas, including a new dual camera system (on the 7 Plus), a new touch sensor home button, and mercifully, newly added water resistance. These are substantial changes, and they hint at what we can expect from the future of Apple phones.