Tech companies are constantly trying to up their game when it comes to the latest new smartphones. Sometimes that results in just modest improvements and other times it means entirely new features. And in the case of Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7, it unintentionally lead to a phone with a battery that randomly catches fire—not something people want in their phones. Hopefully, these new phones offer worthwhile features without any unintended issues.
Google: The Best Smartphone Camera Ever?
Google’s newest family of phones, the Pixel ($650) and Pixel XL ($770), promise the highest rated smartphone camera ever with a 89 DxOMark Mobile score. But the camera is only the start. It will be first phone with Google Assistant built in (think Siri or Alexa), which is an upgrade to Google’s existing “OK Google” voice commands as it provides more of an on-going two-way dialog as it learns more about you and your preferences. The phone also offers free unlimited storage of pictures and images at full resolution via the cloud.
Motorola: Long-lasting Modular Phone
Companies have been toying with the concept of modular phones for a while, but Motorola—now owned by Lenovo—has delivered that concept to market. Its family of Moto Z phones are compatible with Moto Mods—interchangeable backs that snap onto the phone via powerful magnets and expand the phone’s capabilities. Moto Mods include Hasselblad True Zoom (offering 10x optical zoom), JBL SoundBoost (providing a more powerful speaker), and Insta-Share Projector (can project a 70-inch image on any surface). Even without a Moto Mod, the Moto Z Play ($449) offers an impressive long-lasting battery—up to 50 hours.
Apple: Number 7 Has Arrived
The iPhone 7 ($649 and up) and iPhone 7 Plus ($769 and up) improve on one of the iPhone’s most popular features—the camera. The new camera adds optical image stabilization and an ƒ/1.8 aperture, which help to improve photos taken in low light. Additionally, Apple also once again upgraded the display to make it more vibrant than ever, and added the new A10 Fusion Chip, which makes the phone faster than ever before, as well as more battery efficient.
Lenovo: The Augmented Reality Phone
Lenovo’s Phab 2 Pro ($499) will be the first smartphone to include Tango—a new technology from Google that enables augmented reality (AR) functions. While you may associate AR with games like Pokémon Go, it also has much more practical functions. For instance, by looking at your living room through your phone, you will be able to measure space to see if a new sofa will fit—and you can even visualize what the sofa will look like in the room.
LG: First Phone with Nougat
The LG V20 (no price available at press time) will be the first phone shipped with the new Android 7.0 Nougat OS pre-installed. New features available in Nougat include Dual Window Display to make multitasking easier; Doze, which delivers better battery performance; and Direct Reply, which allows users to respond quickly to text messages or update tasks using the notification interface. The LG V20 will also be the first one to showcase Google’s In Apps, a search function that allows users to find content from both built-in and user-installed apps.