Thank you: Android manufacturers finally listened to users in 2016

We tech writers spend most of our time ranting about something or the other, so let me acknowledge something positive instead: 2016 has been by far the best year for Android phones.

I don’t just say that as the usual yearly platitude, the way one might say ‘the iPhone 7 is the best iPhone ever” (2016 tech is better than 2015 tech, duh). I mean that after trying out nearly every flagship available in the US this year, it feels like 2016 is the year Android manufacturers actually listened.

Take Samsung; after users complained about the S6’s lackluster battery life, overwrought UI, and missing water resistance (the S5 had it, after all), Samsung addressed all of these problems with the S7.

Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Note7

It did the unthinkable and made its phones noticeably thicker to fit a larger battery and waterproofing, and pared down TouchWiz as well for less clutter and speedier operation. The Note7, despite taking some heat for giving off way too much heat, is the least flawed phone I’ve ever used.

HTC rose from the ashes and created a competitive flagship with the HTC 10. Even if it hasn’t performed too well sales-wise, it featured an elegant, sturdy and water-resistant design, and finally addressed HTC’s yearly camera woes with a decent, gimmick-free shooter.

No gimmicks necessary.