The 10 Coolest Smartphones Of 2017 (So Far)

Top Smartphones

While iOS fans wait to see what Apple ends up doing this fall for the next iPhone, Android smartphone makers aren't staying on the sidelines. The first half of 2017 saw a string of major new smartphones hit the market —with Samsung looking to get its groove back after the Galaxy Note 7 fiasco and phone makers LG, Sony and HTC among the others with notable device releases. A new BlackBerry-branded smartphone with a physical keyboard made its debut during the first months of the year as well.

In the following slides we've rounded up our picks for the 10 coolest smartphones to hit the North American market in the first half of 2017.

(For more on the "coolest" of 2017, check out "CRN's Tech Midyear In Review.")

BlackBerry KEone

Display: 4.5 inches, IPS (1,620 x 1,080 pixels)

Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 (octa-core, 2GHz)

Features: The KEYone is a BlackBerry-branded phone made by TCL, and its leading feature is a physical keyboard — which can do more than just type. Users can program keys to become shortcuts to certain contacts and apps, and the keyboard has some of the responsiveness of a trackpad, as well. Another differentiator is that the KEYone uses BlackBerry's fabled mobile security software, while the phone also promises all-day battery life (thanks to a 3,505mAh battery) and includes a 12-megapixel camera with a Sony IMX378 sensor.


Display: 5.5 inches, QHD+ (2,560 x 1,440 pixels)

Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (octa-core, 2.45GHz)

Features: The HTC U11 includes a number of unique design features, including a "liquid glass" surface around both sides of the phone and Edge Sense, which launches apps of your choice when you squeeze the sides of the phone. The phone also includes IP67 water resistance and Corning Gorilla Glass 5, along with a fast-focusing 12-megapixel rear camera and a 16-megapixel front-facing camera.

Huawei Honor 6X

Display: 5.5 inches, FHD (1,920 x 1,080 pixels)

Processor: Huawei Kirin 655 (octa-core, 2.1GHz)

Features: Despite the low price for the Honor 6X (it starts at $250), Huawei has outfitted the smartphone with some premium specs. They include strong battery life (up to 11.5 hours of video watching on a charge) and a dual-camera setup (of 12-megapixel and 2-megapixel cameras), along with high-definition video capabilities and improved photo editing software.


Display: 5.7 inches, QHD+ (2,880 x 1,440 pixels)

Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 (quad-core, 2.4GHz)

Features: Like Samsung's Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus, the LG G6 has only a small bezel around the display that helps keep the phone to a handle-able size. The display is also the first to include Dolby Vision display technology (for, in Dolby's words, "astonishing brightness, contrast, and color"). In addition, the LG G6 has an IP68 rating for protection against submersion in water, comes with a dual-camera setup of 13-megapixel rear cameras and features an option for wireless charging.

LG X venture

Display: 5.2 inches, FHD (1,920 x 1,080 pixels)

Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 435 (octa-core, 1.4 GHz)

Features: The LG X venture offers extra ruggedness beyond the typical smartphone, such as IP68 water/dust resistance and military-standard drop protection. Other outdoors-oriented features include Glove Mode for easier operation while wearing gloves, and a button on the side of the phone for launching LG's Outdoor Essentials app (which offers fitness tracking, a compass, weather and more). In addition, the X venture comes with a large battery (4,100mAh) and a 16-megapixel rear camera.

Motorola Moto G5 Plus

Display: 5.2 inches, FHD (1,920 x 1,080 pixels)

Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 (octa-core, 2GHz)

Features: Motorola's Moto G5 Plus is another budget phone (it starts at $230) that has some premium-level features and specs. The Moto G5 Plus promises all-day battery life and comes with a fast-focusing, 12-megapixel rear camera, a body made from high-grade aluminum and Corning Gorilla Glass 3 on the display.

OnePlus 5

Display: 5.5 inches, Optic AMOLED, FHD (1,920 x 1,080 pixels)

Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (octa-core, 2.45GHz)

Features: One key differentiator for the OnePlus 5 is the amount of RAM offered -- 6 GB or 8 GB -- which enables rapid speeds when paired with the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon processor. The smartphone also includes a dual-camera setup — of 20-megapixel and 16-megapixel rear cameras — with Sony IMX sensors, fast-autofocus and a large aperture. In addition, the OnePlus 5 features Corning Gorilla Glass 5 on the display, fast storage and lengthy usage times (thanks to its 3,300mAh battery).

Samsung Galaxy S8

Display: 5.8 inches, Super AMOLED, QHD+ (2,960 x 1,440 pixels)

Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (octa-core, 2.45GHz)

Features: The Galaxy S8 features a smaller display than the S8 Plus, but includes all of the other major features — minimal bezels around the display, strong durability and battery life, iris and facial authentication, and connection to the DeX dock for powering an Android desktop experience.

Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus

Display: 6.2 inches, Super AMOLED, QHD+ (2,960 x 1,440 pixels)

Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (octa-core, 2.45GHz)

Features: The Galaxy S8 Plus stands out by having a huge display with a minimal bezel so that the phone doesn't feel massive overall. Along with up to 15 hours of battery life, the Galaxy S8 Plus offers strong durability features — Gorilla Glass 5 for display protection, IP68 rating for withstanding submersion in water. The S8 Plus also offers iris scanning and facial recognition for biometric authentication, as well as the new DeX feature, which lets users connect the phone to an external display, keyboard and mouse using a special dock.

Sony Xperia XZ Premium

Display: 5.5 inches, 4K (3,840 x 2,160 pixels)

Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (octa-core, 2.45GHz)

Features: Sony says the Xperia XZ Premium is the first smartphone display with both 4K resolution and HDR (High Dynamic Range) viewing capabilities. The device features a metal back (a type of aluminum that Sony calls "Alkaleido"), and on top of that is a glass surface that goes around both the back and front of the phone. Meanwhile, Sony has outfitted the Xperia XZ Premium with a new camera that it's calling Motion Eye. Along with bringing a hefty 19 megapixels, the camera offers features such as the ability to shoot video in ultra-slow motion.