If it’s one thing South Africans are deeply passionate about, it’s smartphones. There’s a reason we have more phones in the country than we have people, and it’s that passion we saw played out in the voting for this year’s Smartphone of the Year according to our readers. The winner probably won’t surprise you, but here we go anyway…

WINNER

Samsung Galaxy S7
Price: R16 999 (but it can be found online for less)

Specifications
  • 5″ QHD (2560×1440) Display
  • Octa-core 2.3GHz + 1.6GHz CPU
  • Android 6 (Marshmallow)
  • LTE Cat 9 FDD/TDD :800/850/900/1800/2100/2600
  • 3G:HSPA+42/5.76 850/900/1900/2100
  • 2G:EDGE/GPRS 850/900/1800/1900
  • 4GB (RAM) + 32GB Internal Memory
  • Micro SD Support Up to 200GB
  • Dual Pixel 12MP AF Rear Camera + 5MP Front
  • 3600 mAh
  • Wifi 802.11 a/b/g/n /ac MIMO WI-FI direct, + BT v4.2 LE, USB 2.0
  • NFC
  • Accelerometer, Barometer, Fingerprint Sensor, Gyro Sensor, Geomagnetic Sensor, Hall Sensor, HR Sensor, Proximity Sensor, RGB Light Sensor
  • GPS + GLONASS
  • MicroUSB (11pin), USB2.0, 3.5mm Ear Jack
  • Nano Sim Card
  • IP68 Water & Dust Resistant
  • Wireless charging compatible

Sammy’s second-biggest phone release of the year (behind the S7 edge) found a lot of favour among locals, as it was a straight-up Android powerhouse of a phone that did what it said on the tin. A brilliant fingerprint sensor (and a major improvement over that of the S6), Samsung’s trademark awesome display tech and extra-zippy performance regardless of the task easily made it a South African favourite, helping it edge out Apple’s phenomenal iPhone 7 as the country’s favourite phone. According to those surveyed, anyway.

And this time, the votes weren’t nearly as close as that other hotly-contested Apple-versus-Samsung category, Wearables: the S7 won by an impressive 6.6% margin, with 32.9% of the votes versus the iPhone 7’s 26.3%. Clearly, removing the headphone jack from the latest iPhone hurt Apple in the hearts and minds of SA gadget-buyers. Let’s hope a similar kicking doesn’t get dealt to Samsung when its S8 goes the same route…

Votes
Percentage of votes: 32.6%
Runners-up: Apple iPhone 7 (26.3%), Sony Xperia XZ (14.9%)

Journalist’s choice

Brendyn Zachary

Samsung made its mark on the smartphone world in a big way relatively early on in 2016. The Galaxy S7 edge was to my mind the finest example of what a premium smartphone should be. Everything from the design of the handset through to the usefulness of the always-on display left my mouth agape in wonder. The camera is superb, the battery life is great for a phone this powerful – and it is extremely powerful. I have yet to see a phone that matches the S7 edge’s performance numbers, easily making it my favourite of 2016.

Deon got his first taste of PC gaming at the tender age of 11 when his father bought an 8088 XT, ostensibly to "help him with his homework". Instead, it introduced him to Leisure Suit Larry, King Graham, Sonny Bonds and many more, and Deon has been a PC gamer and hardware enthusiast ever since. He landed his first professional writing gig in 2006 at a prestigious local PC magazine, a very happy happenstance as he got to write for a living about things he loves - tech, PCs, gaming, and everything in between. He's been writing about it all ever since, and loves every minute of it.