It’s now that time of year where we discuss the best and worst from the past 12 months. Choosing the best smartphone of 2017 is a difficult task, especially because it was a groundbreaking year.
Apple finally released its upgraded iPhone X. And though it is certainly a great phone, it didn’t completely live up to its hype as the new “Jesus Phone.” The Face ID is a great concept, but doesn’t work 100 percent of the time. But at least it works better than the facial recognition feature on the Galaxy Note 8. However, the Note 8 also has a rear fingerprint scanner, and it works better than Apple’s Face ID. Yeah, it’s a little annoying to have the scanner on the back, but at least it’s there. Both Apple and Samsung couldn’t get an under-the-screen fingerprint scanner working, but Apple thought it was a great idea to completely leave this off.
The Smartphone of the Year Award is certainly a toss-up between the Galaxy Note 8 and the iPhone X, but the former wins. Hardware wise, the Galaxy Note 8 is easily ahead of the iPhone — it has a higher-resolution screen, and it is the perfect digital note-taking device with the included S Pen. For some reason, Apple decided not to make any of their latest iPhones compatible with the Apple Pencil. However, that may change in 2018.
The dual-lens camera on the Galaxy Note 8 is also a champ, and I’ve learned to love it more as time goes by. It beats out every other smartphone when used as a video camera since it takes clips in stereo sound. The stereo mics are located on each side of the device, and the space between them makes the stereo separation really dominating.
The Galaxy Note 8 doesn’t have stereo speakers like the iPhone does for listening to music and watching movies, but the monaural speaker has a lot of “oomph” to it, and the sound, even at high volume, doesn’t get distorted. It’s still best to use the Note 8 with a pair of stereo headphones, and you have the option of using either wired or wireless cans.
The Galaxy Note 8 really defines “smartphone” in that it can do everything and do it very well. It’s hard to imagine how Samsung will top the Note 8 with the Note 9 in 2018. However, one can always count on Samsung to break new ground.