Best smartphones 2015: The best phones available to buy today
So, you want to buy a new phone? If you're looking for the best smartphone of 2015, you've come to the right place. We will guide you through the hottest mobile phones of the year to save you time when you go to your local phone shop.
We continually update our best smartphones feature to reflect recent launches, recognise price changes, and putting 2015's latest devices alongside the best of 2014. All the listed devices have been fully reviewed by us.
We're at a time of change in smartphones - new models are incoming, old models are falling by the wayside and the desirability of some of last year's models are waning.
Our best smartphones list covers all operating systems, all sizes, and prices, so you'll be armed with everything you need to consider when choosing to buy your next device. Of course, the most important factor in buying a new device is making sure you have the best smartphone for you. The best for your budget, the features you need, the size that feels right and platform that suits you best.
Be sure to let us know what you think is the best smartphone in the comments below.
19. Motorola Moto E
The Moto E continues Motorola's aim to deliver smartphones on a budget. This compact handset is incredibly cheap, but still manages to offer plenty of features.
The design is solid, for starters, and although the display is lower in resolution than many of the devices on this list, so too is the price. That's a significant factor, as this handset only costs £89.
You'll get all the glory of Android at almost disposable prices, but this isn't the fastest phone around and the camera performance isn't great. It lacks 4G connectivity, but does offer a range of coloured changable backs, so you can make it suit your style. There's now a second-gen Moto E, adding 4G and costing £109, that's likely to knock the original aside.
Buy the Moto E because you want smartphone features at a great price.
FULL REVIEW: Motorola Moto E review
DEALS: Motorola Moto E best deals
18. Nokia Lumia 1520
The Nokia Lumia 1520 brings Windows Phone into the realms of the phablet, but it does it with aplomb, giving you a device that offers size, power and a great camera performance, although this device is getting a little old.
Nokia's (now Microsoft Devices) commitment to the platform, dragging apps - kicking and screaming - over to Windows Phone really enhances what's on offer, but also pouring home-grown features in too.
We've been critical of some of the moves of Windows Phone in the past, but the Lumia 1520 feels like the hero device that was needed. It's powerful, it's wonderful to use and it's the rival of Android peers that rule the big-screen phone world.
Buy the Nokia Lumia 1520 if you want the biggest Windows Phone experience.
FULL REVIEW: Nokia Lumia 1520 review
DEALS: Nokia Lumia 1520 best deals
17. Microsoft Lumia 735
The Lumia 735 was launched alongside the Lumia 830, but it manages to match the specs in many areas, whilst also beating the price of its launch buddy, making it an interesting device.
It offers a great Windows Phone experience packed into a handset that's not too big and plenty affordable. It offers the latest Windows Phone 8.1 with Lumia Denim, which sees Microsoft's mobile devices getting stronger all the time.
There's a great pairing of cameras. There's a lovely front 5-megapixel camera and a rear 6.7-megapixel camera. Although the rear camera isn't the highest resolution, it's a good performer and offers Zeiss optics.
It's not the most powerful handset around, but the price at just £189 makes it difficult to ignore.
Buy the Microsoft Lumia 735 because you want a great all rounder without spending a fortune.
FULL REVIEW: Microsoft Lumia 735 review
16. Nexus 6
The Nexus 6 is a pure Google phablet and that's one of its strengths: it offers a pure Google experience, unfettered by manufacturer additions. Not so long ago that was a huge differentiator, but thanks to faster update cycles and Google's gradual unbundling of many of the Android apps - including the Google Now Launcher - the Nexus experience isn't as rare as it used to be.
The Nexus 6 takes the Moto X design and scales it up to 6 inches. There's plenty of space to play and you get a great high-resolution display to go along with that, along with powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 innards.
The camera isn't the best however and compared to something like the Note 4, there's very little that this big phone does with the extra space, apart from be big. It isn't hugely expensive at £499, however.
You still have the advantage of fast update times, being head of the list for Google, but as a phablet, we think you might find Samsung's offering more enticing.
Buy the Nexus 6 because you absolutely have to definitely have the pure Android on the big screen.
FULL REVIEW: Nexus 6 review
DEALS: Nexus 6 best deals
15. LG G Flex 2
The LG G Flex 2 might be something of a surprise entry in our list of best smartphones. The format is unconventional and the curved display might not appeal to everyone, which might make it a non-starter for some.
But this is one of a new generation of smartphones, a device that's packed with power from the Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 chipset. It's a great size at 5.5-inches, although the display on the devices we've seen so far aren't as capable some of the flat rivals.
There's a great camera on the back, but the software across the device isn't as slick and smooth as some, even those on older hardware. We know that LG is looking to clean things up, but there are some compromises for wanting to be different.
Buy the LG G Flex 2 because you want something unique.
FULL REVIEW: LG G Flex 2 review
DEALS: LG G Flex 2 best deals
14. OnePlus One
It's rare that an outsider jumps into the elite ranks, even rarer that it's widely lauded. The OnePlus One managed this, capturing the attention of smartphone lovers, not only for offering great value for money, but with viral marketing and a degree of exclusivity: it's not always been the easiest phone to get hold of.
When you do part with the £220-odd that you'll be asked to pay, you're left with a device that's powerful and has plenty of battery life, all on a budget. It also comes preloaded with CyanogenMod, offering a range of tinkering options.
There are some downsides, of course, like some network compatibility issues (Vodafone and O2 4G bands aren't supported in the UK) and being tricky to buy, but if you've got one, you'll be the envy of your friends.
Buy the OnePlus One because you know where to get one.
FULL REVIEW: OnePlus One review
13. Huawei Ascend Mate 7
Huawei has been looking to break into the top flight of smartphones for some time, and not without good results. Perhaps not as widely regarded as some rivals, there's no doubting that Huawei has come on a long way, and is selling a lot of phones.
The Mate 7 is its latest crack at the phablet, with a 6-inch full HD display and a metal design that's a far cry from the budget phones the company is known for. It's a big device, of course, but you get all that space to play.
There's plenty of customisation to the Android UI, some of which is really useful, presenting plenty of options, even if some of the design choices might not be to everyone's tastes. The long battery life, however, will be. The sub-£400 asking price is also appealing.
Buy the Huawei Ascend Mate 7 to get a great phablet experience without the cost.
FULL REVIEW: Huawei Ascend Mate 7 review
12. Nokia Lumia 930
The latest Lumia flagship is the 930. It refines the 925 offering, in a handset that's a little big chunkier, but nonetheless solidly built.
The Lumia 930 offers the new pinnacle of the Windows Phone experience. There's a great 5-inch full HD display, a wonderful camera on the back and some of the latest software from Microsoft, dabbed with Lumia additions. With the Denim upgrade, it makes Windows Phone more compelling than ever before.
There's no shortage of tech packed into the brightly-coloured handset, with optical image stabilisation on that camera and wireless charging for the battery.
Buy the Nokia Lumia 930 because you want the best of Windows Phone.
FULL REVIEW: Nokia Lumia 930 review
DEALS: Nokia Lumia 930 best deals
11. Motorola Moto G 4G
The Motorola Moto G took a lot of people by surprise. Motorola wasn't content with the original, so updated with microSD card support and 4G, making for a cracking device.
The Moto G 4G is a fantastic smartphone and incredible value for money that's difficult to ignore. With a price as low as £150, if you're on a budget, this is the handset to choose. The Moto G has now been updated, but the newer version is larger and loses some of the charm of the Moto G 4G.
Take the price out of the equation and you don't feel let down. The design is great, the display is excellent and there's plenty of power too. Yes, it will be out-performed by any number of handsets, but those are handsets that will cost you twice, if not three times, as much.
Better still, the Motorola Moto G was one of the first non-Nexus devices to be upgraded to Android 5.0 Lollipop, as it's pretty much stock Android.
Buy the Motorola Moto G 4G for the best Android experience in a budget handset.
FULL REVIEW: Motorola Moto G review
10. Apple iPhone 6 Plus
For years Apple was criticised for sticking to small displays, while other platforms got bigger, giving you more space to play. That's all changed with the launch of the iPhone 6 Plus, alongside the smaller iPhone 6.
The 6 Plus offers a lovely high-quality design, with an all metal body and a great display. The display curves into the edges for an almost seamless design, but there's no denying that this is a big handset overall. That's matched by a big price too; at £619, it's more expensive than most rivals.
There isn't a huge amount done to take advantage of the large display - the Samsung Galaxy Note handsets offer more custom features - but the 6 Plus offers a full HD display and plenty of power to take Apple into the realms of the phablet. Recent efforts from developers have seem more apps optimised for use on the larger display with Netflix, for example, offering full HD playback.
Buy the iPhone 6 Plus because you want big screen gaming and entertainment, Apple style.
FULL REVIEW: Apple iPhone 6 Plus review
DEALS: iPhone 6 Plus best deals
9. HTC Desire Eye
The HTC Desire Eye is something of a surprise package. Carrying a name from HTC's second tier of devices, the experience it offers is far from sub-flagship.
The Desire Eye offers all the internal power of flagship rivals and comes with a lovely full HD 5.2-inch display. It offers HTC's mature Sense 6 user interface layered over Android 4.4 KitKat, with the latest HTC Eye experience bringing a boost to the cameras.
The headline feature is the 13-megapixel front-facing camera with flash. But this phone is great not because of that camera, but despite it. The cameras perform well enough, even if the front selfie camera is a little over sold.
But what you get is a flagship experience at a price that's affordable at £399. You don't get the premium metal body of the HTC One M8, but you do get a fun and well-built phone with waterproofing.
FULL REVIEW: HTC Desire Eye review
DEALS: HTC Desire Eye best deals
8. Samsung Galaxy Note Edge
Samsung originally showcased the Note Edge as a limited release device, but following a glowing reception, it landed in stores in many territories.
The Galaxy Note Edge takes the Note 4 and curves one of the display edges, giving you a range of shortcuts down one side, adding functionality.
You get the plenty of power and a great camera, but the battery takes a bit of a hit over the original Note 4 and, although there are a lot of core features that take advantage of teh larger display, that curved edge perhaps doens't have the support or attention it needs.
It gives you a phone that's a little different, but we find it hard to really get the benefit from the additional curved area. Additionally, third-party support isn't really there, so it doesn't feel like a feature you absolutely must have. It's also more expensive than the Note 4, at £700, which is a lot to ask by any measure.
Buy the Samsung Galaxy Note Edge because you want a phablet that's a little different.
FULL REVIEW: Samsung Galaxy Note Edge review
7. Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
The Sony Xperia Z3 Compact succeeds by dominating its unique position. It offers flagship power, in a mid-range size. For anyone looking for a portable powerhouse, the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact is it.
Sony has also brought this handset to market at a price that's aggressive for the package you get. At only £429 you get a lot of phone for your money.
The 4.6-inch 720p display is good, if not the highest resolution at this size, but the outstanding feature is battery life. This is a phone that goes on and on, surviving the busiest days where larger rivals falter.
Mature UI tweaks, waterproofing, great camera performance and options galore, make the Xperia Z3 Compact the sort of device that power users will want.
Buy the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact if you want the best performance in a compact device.
FULL REVIEW: Sony Xperia Z3 Compact review
6. LG G3
The LG G3 was one of the first mainstream devices to step out of the door with a Quad HD display, or 2560 x 1440 pixels, pushing the pixels further than its rivals. It's capable of incredibly sharp details at 538ppi, but be warned - little content really makes use of that resolution, yet.
Although the G3 doesn't offer the same build quality as the HTC One, it's a good looking phone. But then real appeal here is the size of the display crammed into that body: you get a lot in your pocket.
LG has added plenty of smart functionality to the G3. There are gestures and shortcuts to make your life easier, as well as a range of functions to make use of all the display space, like dual app views, although the battery life isn't the best.
There's also a really impressive camera on the back which is slick and fast and performs well in most conditions. Add 4K video capture to the list and you've a smartphone package that sees you ready for the future. It also cost £379.99 SIM free, which is a reletive bargain.
Buy the LG G3 because you want a big screen experience in a managable package.
FULL REVIEW: LG G3 review
DEALS: LG G3 best deals
5. Motorola Moto X (2014)
The Motorola Moto X has been reborn for 2014 in this second generation device. Boosted to offer a larger 5.2-inch display, the design of the Moto X sits nicely in the hand, but most appealing of all are the options to customise, including a leather back if that's what takes your fancy.
The Moto X's unfettered Android experience is one of its strengths, as is the speed of updates as new Android versions come along, but at the same time, its rivals are much more fully featured, offering more straight out of the box. There's good battery performance and plenty of power on offer at a price that undercuts most rivals.
The weakness, however, lies in the camera, which isn't a consistent performer. There's also no microSD card which most Android rivals offer, but that's reflected in the £419 price.
Buy the Moto X for an Android experience that's almost pure and customisation options that are unrivalled.
FULL REVIEW: Moto X (2014) review
DEALS: Moto X (2014) best deals
4. Sony Xperia Z3
Sony has had a number of passes at its flagship model. Fortunately, the Xperia Z3 is where it all comes together. The body design has been refined to the point where the size now feels confortable. Slimming the body pays dividends, but so too does refining the edges and construction.
That's not all the Xperia Z3 offers though. The 5.2-inch display sits in front of powerful hardware that's speedy in execution of all your tasks.
Sony runs a number of customisations to Android through its own skin, but avoids the worst of duplication. Yes, there's some bloat and things are geared towards those using Sony's services, but it doesn't completely obliterate the Android experience in the process.
Then there's a great pair of cameras, the rear offering great quality, plenty of options and some lovely results. This is the best of Sony's handsets, the flagship device where Sony's perseverance paid off. At £499, the price is creeping down.
Buy the Sony Xperia Z3 for a powerful, waterproof, sharp shooting, Android handset.
FULL REVIEW: Sony Xperia Z3 review
DEALS: Sony Xperia Z3 best deals
3. HTC One M8
The HTC One M8 delivers design and user experience. There's no doubt that this is a premium device at the top of the Android pile. It's slick and fast and the refinement of Sense 6 adds plenty to Android 5.0 Lollipop. But its desirability is slipping, as its replacement, the HTC One M9 will be appearing by the end of the month.
The design is great, with a premium metal body offering a great feel in the hand. But this handset isn't only good looking, it offers a great 5-inch full HD display with some of the nicest visuals you'll find on a device at this size.
The camera is the reletive weakness for this phone, with the Duo Camera features not really appealing, and a feeling that there's insufficient resolution in some conditions, even if the low light performance is pretty good.
Buy the HTC One M8 for it's design, power and mature user experience, but be aware that it's still priced at £549 and by the end of the month, the One M9 will have replaced it.
FULL REVIEW: HTC One M8 review
DEALS: HTC One M8 best deals
2. Samsung Galaxy Note 4
Samsung has long ruled the phablet roost and the Galaxy Note 4 cements its mastery with big handsets: the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 is sensational. It's recent release means it's still a handset that has plenty of power with a Snapdragon 805 chipset, and it retains plenty of appeal.
Samsung manages to differentiate itself from the pack by filling the Note 4 with features that really make use of the screen space and the hardware. This isn't just about making a big phone, it's about making it useful.
Samsung's commitment to the S Pen is noteworthy in itself. Whether you choose to use the stylus or not, it genuinely opens up features that others simply don't offer.
There may be some bloat and a feature too many, but Samsung's software is neatly backed by some of the best performing hardware around. There's a fantastic display, plenty of power and endurance packed into a frame that's been sympathetically designed. Oh, and then there's the camera, which is amongst the best you'll find on an Android handset.
If you're looking for the best big screen experience around, then look to the Samsung Galaxy Note 4.
FULL REVIEW: Samsung Galaxy Note 4 review
1. Apple iPhone 6
The iPhone has never topped the our best smartphone charts, but in the iPhone 6 Apple has taken a big step forward. The size, for starters, gives us the screen space we've been asking for years. It might not be the highest resolution around, but it's a great quality display, a visual treat.
That's paired with design that's excellent. It's slick, with a high quality finish, with this bigger iPhone sitting nicely in the hand. It looks great, it feels great, and it's a pleasure to use.
The TouchID implementation is the most effective we've seen, and with Apple Pay having an impact in the US and coming to other countries, it could be a key to unlocking much more than your just your phone. The camera too offers great, consistent, results, with simplicity that many rivals lack. It might not pack in the most megapixels, but it does give you great consistent results.
This is all wrapped in the refinement of iOS 8. Apple might have been playing catch-up with Android in some areas, but in iOS 8 there's a consistency of experience that some other platforms lack, not to mention the huge developer support.
Buy the iPhone 6 because you want a premium handset offering a bigger Apple experience than ever before. Also because it won Best Phone at the Pocket-lint Gadget Awards 2014.
FULL REVIEW: Apple iPhone 6 review
DEALS: iPhone 6 best deals