The best Google Pixel alternatives
While it isn't quite the endangered species that its big brother has proven to be, at the time of publication the Google Pixel is still a hard-to-find phone. Considering bailing for something that can give you instant gratification? Here are our top alternatives.
If you were interested in the Google Pixel primarily because of Android, then obviously this is no help. But if it was the tight user experience and integration between hardware and software that drew you to Google's flagship, then you can't do better than the Pixel's muse.
The two phones also ring up for the same starting price of US$649.
While it's closer in size to the Pixel XL, the OnePlus 3T gives you a similar stock Android Nougat experience (with the notable omission of Google Assistant), as well as zippy performance for more than $200 cheaper.
Unlike most other phones in this price range, the OnePlus 3T has a premium, aluminum-unibody build.
Samsung Galaxy S7
Release cycle is the only factor holding the Galaxy S7 back from being one of our top recommendations: We'll likely see a revamped Galaxy S8 within the next month or two.
Last year's S7 is still a decent choice, with a terrific display that's a smidge bigger than the Pixel's, along with a camera that's still among the best.
While the Galaxy S7 performed smoothly at launch, we find its year-old processor doesn't hold up as well against the Pixel and OnePlus 3T: It's going to feel a bit laggy by comparison.
Only buy the S7 right now if you snag a good deal (even if that means a lightly-used or refurbished model). Otherwise brace yourself for regret when Samsung pulls back the curtain on the S8.
Another aging product, the HTC 10 still makes for a solid Pixel alternative.
HTC doesn't use stock Android, but it is one of the tamer custom manufacturer UIs you'll find. It also delivers a good camera, a slightly bigger (and ultra-sharp) display and fairly-snappy performance.
The HTC 10 adds the bonus of Hi-Fi audio: If you use wired headphones, the 10 will pour out some of the best audio you can get from a smartphone. (Only LG beats it in this department.)
For more on the best current flagships, you can check out our latest Smartphone Comparison Guide.