OnePlus-3T
OnePlus-3T. Image: Phone Arena.

The top priority for end-of-the-year gift lists seem to be Google’s smartphone ever and Samsung’s latest flagship handset, but 2016 was a year of innovation and success for many other companies.

The Pixel phone is probably the best smartphone in 2016, with the S7 following closely, but both devices find competitors everywhere that always get the third, fourth, of fifth spots on a given list.

Here are the best five smartphones of 2016 that are not the Pixel Phone or the Samsung Galaxy S7. From premium to budget, this list looks to adjust to all tastes and serve all needs.

1. OnePlus 3T

  • Price: Starts at $439
  • Where to get it: OnePlus, Amazon.
  • Release date: November 2016.

The OnePlus 3T has been the third-place on most best-of-2016 smartphone lists. It has a very compelling combination of internal specs that features a Snapdragon 821 with 6GB of RAM, two more for half the price of the Pixel and the S7.

The 5.5-inch handset sports a 16MP camera both in the front and read, a feat that not many phones can pull off today. Also, it has a fingerprint scanner, Gorilla Glass, excellent resolution, and up to 128GB of internal storage, starting at 64.

2. HTC 10

  • Price: Starts at $499
  • Where to get it: HTC, Amazon.
  • Release date: May 2016.

A common combination, 4GB RAM with Snapdragon 820, with an Adreno 530 GPU (just like number one) makes the HTC 10 a fast option. It has 32GB of internal storage for starters (up to an impressive 256GB), 12MP rear camera and 5MP selfie snapper, fingerprint scanner and great battery life.

HTC does not get the love it deserves. The company has been consistently making quality phones since its inception and yet, their sales have plunged recently. Model 10, however, is the of the best of the company’s smartphones on the market today.

3. LG G5

  • Price: $497
  • Where to get it: LG (with carrier), Amazon (unlocked).
  • Release date: April 2016.

LG surprised users with the sleek design and the dual 16MP camera included on this handset, which came out seeking to revolutionize video recording on Android phones. To do so, it draws power from a Snapdragon 820 and 4GB of RAM.

It also features a fingerprint sensor (on the rear), great display, and is already running Android Nougat. It comes with 32GB and can hold up to 256GB in a dedicated microSD slot or the SIM slot number two.

4. Huawei P9

  • Price: $462
  • Where to get it: Amazon.
  • Release date: April 2016.

Another company dedicated to reinventing smartphone photography. The P9 has a dual Leica lens that only shoots 12MP stills but features the recognizable image quality of the 167-year-old German camera maker.

Huawei’s latest premium handset from its P series packs a HiSilicon Kirin 955, not as famous as Qualcomm’s chipsets but probably as fast as them. It comes in two models, 32GB internal memory with 3GB of RAM, or 64GB internal memory with 4GB of RAM.

5. Moto Z Play

  • Price: $449
  • Where to get it: Amazon.
  • Release date: September 2016.

The Z Play model features the reliable quality of the Moto brand with a Snapdragon 625 and 3GB of RAM. However, many users have noted that it seems a bit overpriced, as proven by the other phones on this list.

The Nougat-ready device features all the perks mentioned above for the other phones and comes with a 16MP rear camera, a 5MP front lens, an outstanding 3510mAh fast-charging battery, and excellent design overall.

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