2016 was an excellent year for smartphones, with all the manufacturers unveiling new flagship devices.
The Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge launched in South Africa on 11 March and at the time offered users the best Android phone ever.
iStore South Africa launched the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus on 14 October, giving local Apple loyalists the chance to get their hands on the best iPhone ever made.
Google unveiled its new smartphone – the Pixel – on 4 October. The premier phone was designed entirely by Google.
Motorola entered South Africa again with the launch of the Moto Z. The standout feature of the Moto Z is its modular design, which lets you attach a variety of accessories.
MyBroadband looked at a variety of sources, including international reviews, to determine which of these smartphones – and other devices launched this year – earned their place among the top five.
1. Samsung Galaxy S7/S7 Edge
The Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge look similar to their predecessors, but contain significant hardware improvements.
The most significant change is the return of the Galaxy’s ingress protection rating, coming in higher than on the Galaxy S5 at IP68.
This means the devices are rated shock, dust, and waterproof. Another change is support for expandable storage through a microSD slot.
2. Google Pixel and Pixel XL
Google’s new Pixel runs on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor and is the first phone with Google Assistant built in.
The device sports the “world’s best smartphone camera”, a 12.3MP unit which earned a record score of 89 on DxOMark.
3. Apple iPhone 7 and 7 Plus
The new iPhones feature new cameras and a new design, with a new high-gloss stainless steel finish called Jet Black.
A standout feature is the non-mechanical Home button, which is now a solid-state, force-sensitive unit with a taptic engine.
The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus are also water and dust resistant – at an IP67 rating.
The iPhone 7 Plus features a dual-lens rear camera, sporting a telephoto and a wide-angle lens. This allows for greater zoom – 2-times optical zoom and up to 10-times with software zoom.
4. Motorola Moto Z
The standout feature of the Moto Z is its modular design, which lets you attach a variety of accessories to the back of the device.
At launch, the Moto Z’s accessories included an extended power pack from Incipio, a Hasselblad camera attachment, and JBL speaker with kickstand.
5. LG G5
LG offered something interesting with its G5 flagship smartphone.
Its standout feature was also its modular design, which received a lot of attention in coverage and reviews of the device.
This is understandable, considering how unusual it was at the time and how dramatically it affected the design of the device. This ultimately overshadowed the other elements which made up a great smartphone.