No, that doesn’t mean smartphones are as good as they’re going to be ever. But the jump forward and ensuing disruption that Apple brought to the industry with the original iPhone in 2007 is not likely to be seen again. What’s the best smartphone? I know.
Parts Is Parts
What’s the best smartphone? Well, to be fair and absolutely positively objective about a subjective issue, nobody wins. It’s all about parts. Samsung’s Galaxy OLED displays are ranked as best ever (no rankings for iPhone X… yet). Google’s Pixel 2 camera is considered a winner by a slim margin over iPhone 8 Plus and Samsung Galaxy Note 8. Apple wins with the fastest CPU and built-in SSD storage capacity. Samsung wins the micro-bezel competition. Apple wins with the Face ID and sensor array built in to the Notch (get over the looks; it will grow on you).
The winner as the best smartphone money can buy?
Yes, competition is intense and not one smartphone can win the crown as the best because each has a few parts better than their competitors but no single smartphone has the best of everything or even the second best in everything.
Let’s call it what it is. Peak smartphone.
Hey, already premium smartphones can take better than broadcast video. Already we have HD and 2k UHD displays. Apple promises HDR in iPhone X and a visually blistering 458 pixels per inch, and a 4k camera with rapid autofocus, a built-in zoom, both wide-angle and telephoto, but what counts is the photos and videos, not the specific bullet points.
Nobody wins the bullet point wars. Each of the premium smartphones these days wins a bullet point here and there, ties with competitor phones for other bullet points, and gets clobbered by a competitor on a few bullet points. Samsung’s iris scanner probably loses to Apple’s Face ID system. Google’s Pixel 2 screens get poor marks by comparison to Samsung and Apple (Samsung makes Apple’s OLED display).
None of the smartphones will get high marks for battery life and that’s telling. Peak smartphone. Yes, they will improve each year. But along with peak smartphone also comes peak sales. Apple’s iPhone will dominate, as usual, but don’t expect the iPhone 8 models to top iPhone 7 models in unit sales. Ever. Samsung seems to have overcome the exploding Galaxy Note 7 problems, but don’t expect sales of any premium smartphone in 2017 to top anything sold in 2016.
That’s peak smartphone. We’re here. Now we’re just waiting for the next great thing.