Hot Holiday Gift Guide 2016: Tablets, Smartphones, Laptops, and Systems

Article Index

'Tis The Season of Smartphones

iPhone 7 / 7 Plus - Starting at $677

Some folks were a little underwhelmed by the iPhone 7, especially over the removal of the headphone jack (don't worry, there's a dongle for that). But Apple still delivered a lot of new high performance tech with their flagship phones. The iPhone 7 and larger iPhone 7 Plus are powered by an A10 Fusion processor, which is 40 percent faster than the A9 in CPU intensive tasks, and its GPU is 50 percent faster than the one used in the iPhone 6 and 6S. Apple also claims the phone has the longest battery life of any iPhone, the screen is top notch, and it sports upgraded front and rear cameras. Read our preview here.

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Samsung Galaxy S7 / S7 Edge - Starting at $419

The Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge are among the best Android-based smartphones on the market currently. They're not vastly different in terms of their overall industrial design versus the S6, but Samsung has made a number of improvements over the prior generation regardless. From their larger batteries, to faster processors, more rigidity, fantastic cameras, and killer Super AMOLED screens, we consider the Samsung Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge some of the best looking, best performing and best shooting smartphones on the market. Read our review here.

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LG V20 - Starting at $659

The LG V20 came up a little short in our battery tests with the pre-release hardware we tested, but in every other aspect it was a solid performer, on par with other top flight Android phones. It shipped with the latest version of Android, codename "Nougat," which was a big plus and the V20 put up some of the best numbers we've seen thanks to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 inside. The dual-camera system works well, the second screen is very handy, and build quality is excellent as well; LG did not skimp on parts. Overall, a solid entry and worthy of consideration if you're in the market for a larger-sized smartphone.  Read our preview here.

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Moto Z - Starting at $699

While the Moto Z is limited to just Verizon, it's still a fantastic piece of hardware. It scored at the top of our benchmarks thanks to the Snapdragon 820 chip inside and its clean Android installation with minimalist UI. Also adding to the coolness factor is Moto Mods, which lets you clip hardware to the backside of the ultra-thin phone, such as a higher end camera or projector. It has a gorgeous AMOLED display and a 21MP camera as well. Read our review here.

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Google Pixel - Starting at $789

We haven't had a chance to look at the Pixel yet, but judging by the near-unanimous raves for it, Google has really improved the phone over its already-well reviewed Nexus line. It sports a beautiful 5.5-inch AMOLED quad-HD display, runs a Snapdragon 821 and has 4GB RAM for applications, 32GB or 128GB of storage, a USB-C port and a hefty 3,450mAh battery. But the real prize is the software. Pixel is a showcase for Google's Android offerings, and not just the OS but Google Assistant. The Pixel is also Daydream VR-ready, is you'd like to jump into the world of mobile virtual reality.

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