Holiday Gift Guide 2016: Best Android phones

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With the holidays just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about presents for loved ones and friends. And what better a gift than a brand new Android phone? Of course, there were tons of new and highly-anticipated releases this year from many different companies, so it might be difficult to choose the right phone to throw under the Christmas tree this year. With that in mind, we’re going to show you some of the top releases this year from big companies like Google and Samsung to hopefully help you make an educated buying decision.

Join us after the break to see what’s on our holiday shopping guide for the best Android phones!

Google Pixel

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You can’t go wrong with the latest and greatest from Google: the Pixel. It was a surprise to everybody this year, with Google opting to ditch its Nexus line and create a new brand with the Pixel. The Pixel, dubbed a “phone by Google” is the search giant’s first phone intended to take on giants like Apple and Samsung. Not only that, but it’s a true rendition as to how Android software should actually work on a phone.

It has a lot of great attractive features, too. Beyond great speed, battery life and an excellent camera, built into this device is Google’s new Assistant software. Intended to help you with your day-to-day life by offering contextual-based information, Assistant is there to help you with all of your basic tasks, such as reminding you about events, meetings, flights and so much more. Starting at $650, it’s one expensive handset, but it’s also among the very best in the world today.

Buy it now: Google Store, Best Buy, Verizon

LG V20

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The LG V20 is the latest and greatest from LG. Aimed at those who don’t mind a larger phone, it has a lot to offer. You get a crisp and clear 5.7-inch LCD display. It’s perfect for watching any sort of media, whether that be catching up on your YouTube subscriptions or watching a movie on a flight.

Beyond that, it has some unique capabilities. It has a removable back cover so that you can replace the battery if needed. In 2016, that’s become a fairly unique feature as most companies opt to not allow the user access to that back panel. In addition to that, you get an excellent 16-megapixel and 8-megapixel dual camera setup. And lastly, there’s a secondary screen for quick access to all of your favorite apps and more.

Buy it now: Best Buy, Amazon, Newegg

Samsung Galaxy S7 & Galaxy S7 Edge

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Samsung’s Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge were some of the hottest devices we saw this year. Both devices offer a premium experience we haven’t seen on an Android device before. Samsung’s Galaxy S7 comes in a smaller form factor. With a 5.1-inch Super AMOLED display, everything about this phone screams premium. Media is crisp and clear, the software is fast and it takes excellent photos with the Dual Pixel camera.

On the other hand, we have the Samsung’s Galaxy S7 Edge. For the most part, you get the same experience as the Galaxy S7, except with an unprecedented design. The 5.5-inch display lets you play media on an overall larger screen. This isn’t any normal screen, though. The display is actually a dual-edged display, which gives a neat perspective when watching video or swiping through your home screens. It also adds plenty of new, albeit gimmicky, features to the phone.

Whether you choose to go with the Galaxy S7 or Galaxy S7 Edge, you won’t be disappointed. Both are great phones and have received stellar reviews across the board.

Buy it now (Samsung Galaxy S7): Samsung, Best Buy, Amazon
Buy it now (Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge): Samsung, Best Buy, Amazon

Lenovo Moto Z & Moto Z Force

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The Moto Z and Moto Z Force are interesting ones. For the most part, you get your standard Android phone with a mostly stock Android experience. What’s unique about the two phones is that there are golden contacts on the back of the two devices for extended functionality through Moto Mods. With Moto Mods, you’ll be able to extend your device’s battery with a battery pack or even turn your phone into a projector with the projector Moto Mod. Moto Mods aside, the Moto Z has a beautiful 5.5-inch display for watching media. It takes excellent photos and has 2600mAh battery.

The Moto Z’s big brother is the Moto Z Force, but you get an overall better package. In addition to the Moto Mods functionality, you also get an unbreakable screen. Yes, that means no matter how much you drop it or run over it with your car, the display isn’t going to shatter into a million pieces. What might be the best part about this device is that you actually get an even bigger 3500mAh battery, giving you enough juice to use this device heavily all throughout the day.

Buy it now (Moto Z): Motorola, Best Buy, Amazon, Verizon
Buy it now (Moto Z Force): Best Buy, Verizon

Honor 8

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At least in the US, Honor isn’t a name you hear very much. Honor, and so many other brands, are overlooked because of the big names in the market with big advertising bucks; however, Honor and its Honor 8 shouldn’t be ignored. It’s one of the best phones you can buy today at bargain basement level prices. It’s your standard phone in a premium package, and only for $400.

Its most unique feature is the 12-megapixel dual camera lens. It allows you to take some magnificent photos not only in daylight, but during the night hours as well. Beyond that, you get a beautiful 5.2-inch display and a large 3000mAh battery with USB Type-C charging. If you want a premium phone with a fantastic camera, you can’t go wrong with the Honor 8.

Buy it now: Honor, Best Buy, Amazon, Newegg

Closing

And that wraps up our holiday shopping guide for the best Android phones. If you want to put excitement on someone’s face this holiday season, one of these phones will almost certainly do it. While all of the phones on this list are high-end and premium devices, they’re fairly unique across the board, meaning there’s something for everybody on this list.

First, you have the Google Pixel with Google’s built-in context voice assistant. Then, you have the LG V20 for power users with the removable battery and high-end camera. You also have the Samsung Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge, which will no doubt appeal to the average person thanks to its high premium design as well as the brand recognition. And finally, you get something a little more unique with the Moto Z and Moto Z Force thanks to Moto Mod compatibility.

No matter what you choose from this list to throw under the Christmas tree this year, you’re making a really good choice. And be sure to keep an eye out for holiday deals — you might just find yourself getting a steep discount on any one of these devices, too!


About the Author: Brad Ward

Brad is a tech enthusiast, writing and tinkering with all things technology since 2011. He currently bounces between the LG G3 and his beloved Moto X! His interests include reading, entrepreneurship, the gym, and of course, queso.