I love to tell you the Galaxy Note 7 is our pick for smartphone of the year. For most people, it’s easy to see why the device was such a revelation. But, thanks to the whole catching on fire fiasco, it wound up being one of this year’s biggest disappointments. But out of the device’s fiery ashes, a new champion has emerged, and it’s not from the labs of Cupertino.
Against all odds, the Google Pixel is our favorite smartphone of 2016. It offers the best, smoothest version of Android on the market, some wonderful Pixel-specific perks, and the market’s best mobile camera—even besting the ill-fated Galaxy Note 7. There were a lot of really good phones this year but the Pixel managed to come out on top—and by a wide margin. Here’s why.
The initial reaction to the Pixel was, more or less, tepid. In the run up to Google’s announcement, the device was fully exposed by leaks, and based on what we saw, we were less than impressed. The design was bland and it appeared to offer no discernible advantages over the competition. Plus, it was expensive, unlike the Nexus line it was replacing.
But shortly after the device was officially unveiled, the Pixel slowly started to win people over. Maybe Google wasn’t crazy after all.