Apple finally came out with the iPhone 8 specs last week, so now its time to do a partially objective comparison between some of the major flagship smartphones released in 2017. We’ll be comparing different specs between phones, but this time, we’ll try to rank them like a fantasy sport… in rotisserie scoring.
Some rules for this game: 1) Best smartphone in that category will receive a 10 while the worse phone in the category will receive a 5. 2) We will look at 8 different categories including: screen size, processor, cameras, battery specs, storage, audio, OS, and pricing.
The war on the phone bezel continues. Most of these smartphones are as large as their previous models with the exception of the Samsung Galaxy S8 +, which comes with a ridiculous 6.2” screen. However, there have been some improvements in the technical features of each screen with most of the Android phones using Gorilla Glass 5 along with larger resolutions. The Galaxy S8, however runs away with the screen battle, given the screen to phone ratio along with the massive display size, with LG coming in at second. The Z2 comes in at 3rd because of its Shatterglass screen, giving a slight edge over the HTC U11. iPhone 8 would be ranked second to last here just because of the resolution, but is definitely better than the XZ1 screen because of the Retina HD screen.
Processor and Chip set
Given recent reviews of the newly announced Iphone 8, the new A11 chip with its hex-core processor is a slightly imbalance of raw power and battery life saving options. As it is the most powerful chip in the set, we rank it 1st in the category. This is followed by the U11’s Octa-core processor with a high computing frequency at 4 x 2.45 Ghz. This together with the Snapdragon 835 chipset gives it an edge over the XZ1, S8 and Z2. The G6 comes last in this category as it’s processor is only a quad-core. This does not necessarily mean that it is under powered, but it will have a noticeable effect on the battery life of the phone.
Camera’s are a necessity for smartphones. With greater graphics and processing power available today, users expect to have some features for still and video editing along with professional grade capturing. Despite having a smaller Megapixel rating than some of the other phones, the iPhone 8 shows it’s versatility by providing 2016p video recording as well as 1080p capturing at rates twice as fast as its competition. This gives it a very slight edge over the Xperia XZ1, which has a much higher camera resolution (19MP) and is able to record videos in slow motion with its 960 frames per second option. the S8, Z2 and U11 share similar specs with slight differences while the G6, despite having a 13MP camera, has slower rates of recording.
As the war on bezels continues, so does the war on battery life. Given the larger computing requirements of these smartphones, it has been difficult for makers to provide proper battery life. Given that, the S8 runs away in this category since it provides a non-removable battery with 3500mA (assuming they do not explode anymore). Add that to the octa-core processor, and the phone gives a longer battery life than the second place G6, which has a 3300mA battery, but has an quad-core processor, which should be expected to drain faster when playing games. The iPhone has improved in battery life in models after the iPhone 5s, but its storage capacity is still the lowest among the class.
Give someone space, and he/she will figure out how to fill it up. the G6 takes this category because of the amount of storage space choices it has, put together with an expandable memory through microSD for up to 256 GB. (This will probably be filled within the first 6 months). the S8, Z2 and U11 all come with similar storage options and RAM and therefore share second place. The Sony XZ1 beats the new iPhone 8 just because it has expandable storage up to 256 GB. After 10 years, Apple may never include expandable memory as an option.
This area might be the most subjective among the other categories. There are different things to consider with a phone’s audio capacity. Does it have a standard jack? Does it have stereo speakers for watching movies and playing games? Does it have the power to provide high quality audio to headsets? iPhone takes a hard fought first in this category. Many people have wondered how they would adapt to having no jack (and how those pods stick to your ears), but all iphones come with the lightning to 3.5mm adapter anyways. And Apple has always provided a solid audio interphase powerful enough for a variety of headsets. Samsung comes in second because of it’s audio features along with the fact that it still has a standard jack.
Another subjective category that can change between users. For this section we considered the usability of the OS with the phone, standard features and update availability. The S8, G6, Z2, and U11 all start with Android 7.0 (Nougat), with some of the models expecting updates to the newer OS sometime soon. Second place here would be the XZ1 as it was released with the Oreo firmware (Android 8.0). But as it has been the case in recent models, the IOS for the iPhone 8 (IOS 11) has some simplified features with an OS that properly integrates to third party apps and provides security and uniformity in updates, unlike its Android counterparts that also have an equal chance of not getting an update at the same time as other brands. That, together with the excellent sync features of the IOS to other Apple systems, gives a more wholistic approach to the workability of the device.
Price may change for these devices as time goes on, but for now we found average prices for the smartphones on amazon.com and used them as a basis for the category. In this case, the Samsung Galaxy S8 + still sells at $800.00 making it the more expensive unit of the group. The iPhone becomes the next most expensive, partially because it will be released in a few weeks… but mostly because its an Apple product…. First place for this category, which runs at a steal, considering the features, is the HTC U11 Force, which retails at $640.00.
Compiling the scores in a table, it looks like the HTC U11 is the best flagship smartphone in the market for this year. Given its consistent placing in all categories, and a great price, the device could prove to be the best purchase among the group. Samsung’s Galaxy S8/S8 + comes in at second with strong features such as its larger screen and larger battery storage, despite its earlier release to the other models in this list. The new iPhone shows strong results in 4 of the 8 categories but suffers in third place because of its screen size and low battery life. This is followed by the LG G6 which is a solid phone with some short comings in the processor, camera and OS categories. It does pass the Moto Z2 because of its memory capacity options. In last place, the Sony Xperia XZ1 shows below average ratings in most categories with weaknesses in screen size, battery life, and audio.
This, however, does not mean that the lower three smartphones in this article are horrible. They are still miles ahead of lower models and may even come with unique features which were not mentioned here. Some of these categories were also judged subjectively and the results might change if you ran these through your own ratings. That being said…
How would you score these phones?