There are several factors to consider when buying a new smartphone: Price, battery life, and how the device looks and feels in your hand are all important considerations. But for many of us, the camera is key.
If you're all-in with Apple products, the iPhone 7 Plus is a great pick, but you might want to wait for the iPhone 8. If you prefer Android, like forum user Neo810, the wealth of options can be overwhelming. Samsung's newish Galaxy S8 is a top contender, but Huawei's P10 Plus and HTC's U11 are also in the running.
Behind the lens
Samsung's 5.8-inch S8 and 6.2-inch S8+ are our picks for the best camera phone and the best smartphone overall; the only differences in the two are display size and price. Both devices sport a 12-megapixel rear lens, just as the Galaxy S7 does, but the front-facing cameras have been beefed up from 5 MP to 8 MP.
Where Samsung truly elevated the S8's camera was in its image processing software, which made a world of a difference in our testing. The S8 and S8+ can now shoot better low-light photos and capture multiple high-dynamic-range images, which the device then tweaks and enhances on the back end without any manual editing required.
We haven't tested the P10 Plus because it isn't available to buy in the U.S. While Huawei's flagship device has earned high marks elsewhere for its Leica dual-lens camera, it pales in comparison to the Galaxy S8 in terms of overall experience. Some reviewers found that the P10 Plus had unreliable battery life and that it could be prone to overheating. Reports indicate that Huawei sourced components from a variety of sources, so not every P10 Plus is built from the same parts. The device also lacks water resistance and wireless charging, both of which can be found in the Galaxy S8.
The P10 Plus sports a Leica 20-MP monochrome sensor and a 12-MP color camera with f/1.8 aperture. And in tests from other outlets that we've seen, its results are truly stunning. However, Huawei's software isn't always spot-on — portrait mode, bokeh and other effects can be uneven, which is a problem we haven't experienced with the S8's camera effects. (The S8 lacks a dual-lens camera, but its bigger Note 8 sibling has one.)
The S8's status as a premium mainstream Android flagship also distinguishes that device because it means it is future-proofed for at least a couple of years. For instance, Google's new augmented-reality initiative, ARCore, brings AR apps to Android smartphones — but just the S8 and Google Pixel to start.
As far as software updates, it's unclear when the S8 and the P10 Plus will receive the recently released Android Oreo. (It seems likely that S8 owners will get the upgrade sooner.) Both devices offer 64GB of storage, and both are expandable with a microSD card — the S8 up to 256GB and the P10 Plus up to 128GB.
The Galaxy S8's Super AMOLED edge-to-edge display looks like the future of smartphone design. Rumor has it that the iPhone 8 will embrace the look when it launches in September, and other new Android devices are also on board with a nearly bezel-free style. The P10 Plus has a decidedly old-school look, with a physical home button and thick bezels on the top and bottom.
The Huawei P10 Plus has a cool camera, but you need a reliable device that will last. Samsung's Galaxy S8 is your best bet. Check out the best Galaxy S8 deals before you buy.
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