ShowMax website. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)
Johannesburg - South Africans are spoilt for choice when choosing how to consume video content after the launch of numerous multimedia streaming sites and apps.
But once you're in the comfort zone of your preferred streaming service, there are numerous factors to consider if you want to stream content from your smartphone.
And these factors will ultimately lead to certain brands that will deliver the best streaming experience.
Before choosing your streaming smartphone, best results often depend on what’s going on behind the scenes.
One of the best performing mobile processors of 2016 is the Snapdragon 820 from Qualcomm - fitted into many smartphones available on the market today.
The processor supports fast LTE upload and download speeds and is more efficient, allowing users to charge their device for less time through support for Quick Charge.
When coupled with the Adreno 530 Graphics Processing Unit, the processor supports video capture and playback of 4K Ultra HD.
Not only does this kind of technology enhance normal playback off the smartphone screen but also offers a better experience through a virtual reality method.
A range of smartphones from various manufacturers available today have the processor built in, making it a factor to consider when considering the best device for watching streaming content.
On the iOS frontier however, the most powerful chipset found in an iPhone is the A9 which features the PowerVR GT7600 GPU.
Of course in this size does matter too! Tablet display sizes can go up to 12 inches, while phablets can go up to around 5.5 inches before losing a “smartphone” classification.
Anyone serious about streaming video will agree that bigger is always better, when displaying high quality content, but screen size will always be dependent on the comfort of the user.
Gone are the days of owning a mobile that required a charge only once a week. Users’ demands from a mobile have increased, thus resulting in some of the best smartphones and tablets available lasting less than 24 hours.
However, many manufacturers have taken heed of this and more smartphones are being developed with extended battery life, faster charging time and of course the not-so-wireless wireless charging methods.
When performance of a device is optimised a smartphone with battery size of over 2700 mAh and tablet with battery size of over 7000 mAh will perform well for streaming content.
The top 5 2016 smartphones for streaming
After considering these above factors, these smartphones listed below are ideal for streaming purposes.
Samsung S7 and S7 Edge
Ticking almost all the boxes, the Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge are of the best devices on which to view streaming content.
Built with the Snapdragon 820 processor, Adreno 530 GPU, screen size of 5.1 inches and 3000 mAh battery – the S7 smartphones will offer rich content feedback with a battery life to match.
At the launch event for the devices in early 2016, DJ Koh, the President of Samsung's mobile business, said that the S7 device could be used to watch a whole season of Game of Thrones on a single charge.
The device was also launched along with the new version of the Galaxy Gear VR, making it Virtual-Reality-ready.
Sony Xperia X Performance
Synonymous with some of the first HD TVs produced, along with the respected Bravia tag – Sony still holds its weight as a great device to stream content.
With a slightly smaller 2700 mAh battery, but support for fast charge of 60% in 30 minutes, the new X Performance offers users Sony’s signature X-Reality Engine on a Triluminos display.
Pairing the device with other Sony devices in the household is also a seamless process, with PlayStation 4 support an added bonus.
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
Featuring the Apple A9 chipset, the display size on the iPhone 6S is just a PLUS. The 5.5 inch display is a great size for watching videos, while still being small enough to fit comfortably in the user’s pocket.
The iPhone 6S Plus boasts an 80-hour music playback time from its 2750 mAh battery, meaning it will offer hours of streaming content.
Xiaomi Mi 5
While Xiaomi is a fairly new competitor on the SA smartphone playing field, the Mi 5 is a powerful device that comes in at a decent price.
Like the S7, the Mi 5 features a 3000 mAh battery, Snapdragon 820 chipset and Adreno 530 GPU, but offers a very slightly larger screen.
The LG G5 is definitely one of the best smartphones released in 2016. At 5.3 inches, it features one of the best sized displays in an Android smartphone, while matching the processor, GPU and battery specs of the Mi 5 and S7 devices.
LG launched the device along with “Friends”, accessories which include a 360 degree camera and the most slim line VR headset available.
Kyle Venktess is a technology journalist at Fin24.
Follow @KyleVenktess on Twitter