AT&T customers have it great this year. They can choose from a wide range of excellent smartphones—not to mention that AT&T plans to overhaul its prepaid plans. Besides the smartphones sold directly by AT&T, new and existing customers can also bring their own device and use them on AT&T’s network. With so many enticing devices to choose from, it may not always be obvious which offer the best value and which should be avoided. Considering several common criteria, we’ve selected top 5 best smartphones for 2017 which work on AT&T’s network.
Best AT&T Phone: Samsung Galaxy S8
The Samsung Galaxy S8 is undeniably the best phone released this year. We already can’t wait to see what Samsung will come up with for the next version because many aspects of the S8 seem perfect as they are. At the first sight, what sets this smartphone apart from virtually all other phones on the market is the stunning Infinity Display, as Samsung calls the 5.8-inch Super AMOLED capacity touchscreen with 1440 x 2960 pixels and no bezels at all. Looking at the smartphone from the front, it looks as if the display is wrapping around the smartphone, which is actually true to some extent.
Despite its premium appearance, the Galaxy S8 is a touch smartphone designed to work both under water and in very dusty environments. Samsung has learned from its past mistakes, opting for a moderately large battery rated at 3000 mAh. To give the Galaxy S8 an above-average standby time, Samsung has significantly optimized the performance of the Snapdragon 835 chipset, making it consume very little battery power when it’s not necessary to use all its eight cores. But when do need all the processing power the chipset can offer—perhaps when using the Samsung DeX desktop experience—you can be sure that the Galaxy S8 can deliver it.
Another thing the Galaxy S8 can deliver are beautiful pictures taken both with the 12 MP rear-facing camera and the 8 MP front-facing camera. The rear-facing camera can record 4K video at 30 frames per second, while the front-facing camera can record 1440p video, also at 30 frames per second. In addition to the two cameras, the Galaxy S8 has an iris scanner, allowing you to unlock the smartphone in an instant.
Best Camera Phone: iPhone 7 Plus
If you’re not allergic to apples, you would be a fool not to consider the iPhone 7 Plus when looking for a smartphone capable of shooting beautiful pictures. The rear camera on the iPhone 7 Plus has two sensors with optical image stabilization, an ƒ/1.8 aperture, and a six-element lens. One lens is wide-angle, and the other one is telephoto, meaning you can get higher-quality zoom from farther away. In iOS 10.1 and above, it’s also possible to take pictures with blurred backgrounds using the new portrait mode, which blends images from the two cameras into a single picture. The 7 MP front-facing camera with f/2.2 and Full HD video recording capability has no trouble keeping up with the performance of the dual-camera setup on the back of the phone.
Of course, every iPhone is also just as much about its design and build quality as it is about cutting-edge features and processing power. In this regard, the iPhone 7 Plus may be the best iPhone Apple has released so far. The entire smartphone is water- and dust-resistant, it’s available in several eye-catching finishes, and features a sharp 5.5-inch display with ion-strengthened glass and oleophobic coating to keep both scratches and fingerprints at bay. The home button on the front has an embedded fingerprint scanner for easier unlocking and Apple Pay.
Finally, there’s also the new A10 chipset from Apple and the excellent PowerVR Series7XT Plus GPU. The A10 chipset is twice as fast as the chipset in the Apple iPhone 6, and it helps deliver the longest battery life ever in an iPhone. According to Apple, the iPhone 7 Plus should last two extra hours compared to the iPhone 6. And when the battery reaches single digits, you can charge the smartphone is just an hour though the Lighting connector, which now also doubles as a headphone jack.
Best Budget Phone: Motorola Moto G5 Plus
Year after year, Motorola makes it clear who’s the king of the budget category. The latest member in the G family of affordable smartphones with premium features shows just how far affordable smartphones have come over the years. Budget smartphones used to be made from plastic materials, they used to feature low-resolution displays with muted colors and horrible viewing angles, and their processing power used to leave a lot to be desired. All of that is now in the past.
The Motorola Moto G5 Plus looks and feels like a high-end smartphone, and we’re sure that many people wouldn’t believe that it’s in fact a budget device that retails for just around $200. Its rounded, metal exterior inspires confidence and repulses fingerprints. The 5.2-inch IPS display has the Full HD resolution and is covered with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 for extra protection against scratches.
Qualcomm’s new mid-range Snapdragon 625 chipset with an integrated Adreno 506 GPU have found their way into the smartphone, and we’re so glad that Motorola haven’t opted for a true low-end chipset. The Snapdragon 625 is more than capable of performing all common tasks, including gaming and HD multimedia consumption, with plenty of processing power to spare. It supports virtually every 2G, 3G, and 4G band, making the Moto G5 Plus a fantastic smartphone for people who often travel to different countries. The Moto G5 Plus is available with either 2 GB or 4 GB of RAM, and both versions perform great. Given how rapidly is the average amount of RAM of Android smartphones growing, the 4 GB version certainly seems more future-proof, but, unless you plan on using the smartphone for two or three years, even the 2 GB version should flawlessly cope with everything you throw at it.
To further cement the notion that this is really a mid-range device sold for the price of a budget device, Motorola has included a 12 MP camera with f/1.7 and the ability to record 2160p video at 30 frames per second. While the picture quality is a notch or two below the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S8 or the iPhone 7, it’s still mind-blowing just how sharp, vibrant, and well-exposed pictures this $200 smartphone takes.
Best Mid-Range Phone: OnePlus 5
Just like the Motorola Moto G5 is essentially a mid-range smartphone with a budget price tag, the OnePlus 5 could be seen as a high-end smartphone with a mid-range price tag. To start with, the smartphone comes with the same chipset as Samsung’s flagship smartphone. The Snapdragon 835 is currently the most powerful and most capable chipset from Qualcomm, and it makes the OnePlus 5 absolutely fly. There’s virtually nothing you could throw at the smartphone and cause it to reach the performance ceiling of the Snapdragon 835. That’s also because OnePlus has decided to include up to 8 GB of RAM. That’s right, 8 GB of RAM in a mid-range smartphone. Needless to say that with so much RAM at your disposal, heavy multitasking is what this smartphone is made for.
On the back of the OnePlus 5 is a dual-camera setup similar to the one in the iPhone 7. A primary 16 MP sensor with f/1.7 and a wide focal length of 24 mm is accompanied by a secondary 20 MP sensor with f/2.6 a less wide focal length of 36 mm. With a single tap on the screen, you can switch between the two sensors and enjoy 1.6x optical zoom as well as several clever software features that take advantage of the dual-camera setup.
Even though the OnePlus 5 can record 4K video at 30 frames per second, it comes only with a Full HD AMOLED display. The display is 5.5 inches large and is protected by the Corning Gorilla Glass 5 technology. Not including a display with a higher resolution is perhaps the biggest compromised OnePlus has made, and we think their reasoning was flawless. The Full HD resolution still results in a little over 400 pixels per inch, and it helps the smartphone lasts longer on a single charge than if it had a 4K display.
Best Phone With Physical Keyboard: BlackBerry KEYone
After the BlackBerry Priv, a flagship Android smartphone with a sliding physical keyboard, BlackBerry has recently released their newest Android smartphone, the BlackBerry KEYone. Looking back at the Priv, it seems that BlackBerry has somehow become more confident since its release, and the KEYone is a BlackBerry device at the first sight.
The main attraction here is the relatively large QWERTY keyboard located directly below the display. The keyboard has 35-chicklet-style keys, with each key being backlit for accurate typing at night. It will take a few hours to get used to it, but your typing speed and accuracy are going to improve dramatically once you do. What’s more, the keyboard has 52 customizable shortcuts, so you can use it to increase your productivity even when not typing.
Besides the keyboard, the KEYone can offer plenty other enticing features. Its design is decisively professional, with a strong aluminum frame and a soft texture on the back. The smartphone comes with Android 7.1 Nougat and BlackBerry’s security and communication apps. The powerful 3505 mAh battery has enough juice for an entire day of work, and it can be quickly charged to its maximum capacity through the USB Type-C port.
Inside the KEYone is the Snapdragon 625 mid-range chipset from Qualcomm and 3 GB of RAM. The relatively small IPS display is just 4.5 inches large and has 1080 x 1620 pixels. Both its size and the unusual resolution clearly indicate that this smartphone isn’t made for play—it’s made for work.