Holiday Gift Guide 2017: Best Android Smartphones

Know someone that’s still rocking a phone from 2013? Is their Galaxy S3 screen finally going out? Hook them up with a new smartphone. It’s a big present, but if you want to show up Santa Claus at his own game, a nice phone will definitely impress everyone.

You’ve got options here, too. You can go for the carrier models, or just buy something unlocked to give them a little flexibility.

Google Pixel 2

You can’t go wrong with the best of the best from Google. Our Pixel 2 review found that Google’s 2017 flagship improved on its predecessor in just about every way possible, and it managed to avoid all the QC issues of its bigger brother, the Pixel 2 XL.

It’s easily one of the best cameras on the market, it comes with unlimited photo backup, and it’s the de facto Google and Android experience. Plus, Google offers a bunch of cool accessories for it, too. Might help to stuff a stocking.

You can snag the Pixel 2 from Verizon, but if you buy it from the Google Store directly, it’ll work on just about any carrier.

Buy it now: Google

Moto X4

The Moto X4 finally brought back the Moto X line that we all missed since before Lenovo’s Motorola acquisition, so naturally, we had high hopes. And while the Moto X4 does have some faults, it’s an overall fantastic device with a wallet-friendly price tag to boot.

Best of all, the unlocked Moto X4 will work on any carrier. Most unlocked phones hit a snag with CDMA carriers, but unlocked Moto devices tend to be better in that regard, and the Moto X4 is no exception.

You’ll get an extremely premium feeling phone with a dual camera system and plenty of storage, and you’ll pay less than $400 for it. It’s a no-brainer.

Buy it now: Amazon

Essential Phone

After an incredibly delayed launch, the Essential Phone seemed pretty iffy. Despite a rocky first few months, though, it delivered a pretty great device that’s more than competitive with similar flagships.

Except right now, the Essential Phone has a major advantage over other flagships; it’s way more affordable. After a series of price cuts, you can pick up an Essential Phone on the cheap right now, which might help you spread your budget around this holiday season.

It’s also totally unlocked, too, so you can comfortable gift it without worrying too much about the recipient’s current phone carrier.

Buy it now: Amazon

Moto E4

If you’re trying to stay really friendly with your wallet over the holidays, the Moto E4 has you covered. Motorola’s phones have always shined in the budget-friendly category, and that’s still going strong with the Moto E4.

It doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of some higher-end phones, but it’s packing a 5″ HD display, a fingerprint scanner, and water repellant coating. Oh, and did we mention it’ll work on any carrier? You can buy this one with confidence.

Buy it now: Amazon

Galaxy S8

Samsung has been at the top of the Android market for years now, and this year they released one of the best phones they’ve launched in quite some time. The Galaxy S8 took Samsung’s curved display to a whole new level, and that screen is really something to look at.

If you want to give someone a flagship phone that’s loaded with features, you can’t go wrong with the Galaxy S8 or its bigger cousin, the Galaxy S8+. It’s available unlocked and on all major carriers, so you can perfectly tailor this gift to be the best present you’ve ever given.

Buy it now: Amazon, International Version

About the Author: Jared Peters

Born in southern Alabama, Jared spends his working time selling phones and his spare time writing about them. The Android enthusiasm started with the original Motorola Droid, but the tech enthusiasm currently covers just about everything. He likes PC gaming, Lenovo's Moto Z line, and a good productivity app.