The Moto G line from Motorola was originally king of the mid-range. However, thanks to companies like OnePlus, the old mid-range is really more of a budget class these days. The phone at the top of the heap this year is the Moto G5.
Featuring a 5″ 1080p display, 13 MP shooter, fingerprint reader and an octa-core processor you can’t go wrong for the price. The G5 also comes with expandable storage up to 128GB.
The G5 can be picked up on Amazon for under $275 CAD.
The latest offering from OnePlus is the 5T, which is an iterative upgrade on the OnePlus 5 from earlier this year. The 5T is what the 5 should have been, just like the “s” release of an iPhone is always an iterative upgrade on the previous model.
OnePlus, as always, brings an impressive spec sheet that rivals even the top Android flagships it is trying to undercut. The 5T comes with a Snapdragon 835 CPU, 6 or 8 GB of RAM, 64 or 128 GB of onboard storage and a dual camera setup that seems capable of holding it’s own against the upper tier devices. The second sensor is not a wide-angle like LG’s implementation, but rather is only used in extremely low-light scenarios. I would have preferred the LG style option, but again, that price is so good compared to others it is hard to complain here.
The OnePlus 5T can be purchased from OnePlus for $659 CAD.
This year has been the year of the camera for Android devices. In the past a phone would launch and check every single box with the exception of the camera. Take the OnePlus 3, 3T for example. That device was so powerful, well built and performed exceptionally well. It still out performs most devices today for that fact. However, the camera just plain sucked. I owned both the 3 and 3T, and the camera let me down in almost every single use case, especially when used indoors or with low light.
For years, Google’s own Nexus project brought us great phones with less than stellar cameras too. At the end of 2016 Google announced the Pixel and Pixel XL, which was Google’s first foray into first-party hardware (sort of). On paper, the camera looked like just another basic sensor that would be likely to flounder like the Nexus cameras before it (excluding the 6P’s output quality). However, to everyone surprise the Pixel devices pod to be the most capable cameras on the market and the Pixel 2 had taken moved the quality bar up another notch or two compared it’s predecessors.
It’s also worth noting that the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL will soon be able to take advantage of something known as the Pixel Visual Core which is a dedicated chip that is designed to further improve Google’s HDR+ implementation found within the camera app. The Visual Core should go live when Google pushed the OTAs out for Android Oreo 8.1. If you want to learn more about the Pixel Visual Core, check this out.
The Google Pixel 2 is available from the Google Store for $850 CAD.
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
This was likely the easiest pick of them all. The Note line from Samsung has done incredibly well since its inception in 2011. Well, there was that one minor issue last year when the Note 7 started blowing up at every turn, but those fireworks aside, the Note line has been the best of the best for some time now.
This years Note, the Note 8 has all the top end specs you would expect for a 2017 smartphone.
The Note 8 comes with a Snapdragon 835 CPU, 6GB RAM, 6.3″ display, 12 MP and 8 MP cameras, 64 GB or storage and expandable storage. It is hard to beat.
The Note is made a little more special thanks to the S-Pen, which is not for everyone, but if you’re a power user the added functionality it provides makes the steep price worth it in the end.
The Note 8 is available for $1299.99 CAD direct from Samsung, but can be subsidized if you purchase through a carrier.