Did you know the biggest day for phone activations is Christmas Day? In fact, in years past there have been issues with some of the wireless carriers because too many people were trying to activate a phone they'd just unwrapped as a present.
This year, just like every other year, there are many great options for new smartphones. They're all good now. They all have brilliant screens. They all have special features. They all have great cameras. So what differentiates one phone from the others?
Here's my annual list of the best smartphones of the year, which one fits your needs better than the rest and what features will you care about?
If you're an iPhone person you're choices are the iPhone 6s or the iPhone 7. The 7 was released earlier this year amid lots of fanfare but mixed reviews. Unlike the 6s, the 7 has dual cameras, one standard and another in wide-screen. This makes for incredible video unlike any we've seen on a smartphone. What the iPhone 7 has is important but to me, the decision between which iPhone to get comes down to what the 7 does not have.
Apple eliminated the earphone jack with the iPhone 7, pushing wireless earbuds for listening and combining the charging port with the earphone jack. That means you can't charge the phone and listen through earbuds at same time without adding a dongle, or splitter. That's one reason I believe the iPhone 6s, the top phone of 2015, is the top phone of 2016.
As usual there are many options for Android users. The Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge is the best choice for Samsung users. It's waterproof, has a great screen and camera, and works with all of the other Samsung devices such as the Gear VR virtual reality glasses.
The LG Vu is one of the newest smartphones, available for AT&T and T-Mobile customers. It has the best camera of all Android devices with 2 lenses on the back, like the iPhone 7, a standard hd camera and another wide-screen lens that offers the best photos and videos yet on Android devices.
The Motorola Moto-Z Droid is the coolest smartphone of the year. Carried by Verizon the Moto Z is a modular phone. You can add stereo speakers, an external battery, better camera or a high definition projector just by removing the back of the phone and making the exchange. The projector is dynamic. I've tried it out playing a movie from Google on a garage door and it's a terrific picture. This gives the Moto Z the nod for the best Android phone of the year.
Google's new Pixel phone, available at Verizon, is the phone to choose for Google power users. It has Google Assistant and all of the other Google features built right in. Google Assistant is the Siri for Android devices.
The camera is as good as most Android phones and it's solidly built but what makes the difference with the Pixel is the native integration with all Google products. Gmail, Google Maps, and all other Google services work best on the Pixel. It has a very solid but still lightweight feel to it. In addition, the Pixel gets the latest Android update before all of the other Android devices.
As far as the best smartphones of 2016? I'd choose the Motorola MotoZ Droid or LG VU android devices. But the best overall smartphone is the same from 2015. The iPhone 6s.