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 this best smartphones feature to reflect recent launches, recognise price changes, and ensure 2015's latest devices appear alongside the best of 2014 (and before, if applicable). All the listed devices have been fully reviewed by us.
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.
20. Nexus 6
The Nexus 6 is a pure Google phablet and that's one of its strengths: it offers a stock Android 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.
However, the Nexus 6 is large. It takes the Moto X design and scales it up to a 6-inches screen device, which may be too large for some. That screen does mean plenty of space to play and you get a great Quad HD high-resolution display, along with powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 innards to keep everything moving along at pace. However, compared to something like the Samsung Galaxy Note family the Nexus 6 doesn't show off that extra screen real-estate with any extra features to benefit from it.
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. If price comes into it then the £369 price point means the Nexus isn't hugely expensive, but with the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P recently announced, there's better Nexus devices waiting in the wings.
Buy the Nexus 6 because you absolutely have to definitely have the pure Android on the big screen.
FULL REVIEW: Nexus 6 review
19. LG G Flex 2
The LG G Flex 2 might be something of a surprise entry in our list of best smartphones. The curved display format is unconventional and might not appeal to everyone, which may make it a non-starter for some.
But this is a device that's packed with power from the Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 chipsetm and is a great size at 5.5-inches, although the display on the devices we've seen so far aren't as capable as some of the flat rivals.
There's a great camera on the back too, but the software throughout the device isn't as slick and smooth as some competitors, 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. The G Flex 2 will cost you around £479.
Buy the LG G Flex 2 because you want something unique.
FULL REVIEW: LG G Flex 2 review
18. Nokia Lumia 930
The current Lumia flagship is the 930, although the announcement of the Lumia 950 and 950 XL cast a shadow on this incumbent, as it's soon to be made redundant.
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. Running Lumia Denim, it's expected to soon step up to Windows 10.
There's no shortage of tech packed into the brightly-coloured handset, with optical image stabilisation on its camera and wireless charging for the battery. It's now pretty attractive at £279.
Buy the Nokia Lumia 930 for a great Windows Phone experience.
FULL REVIEW: Nokia Lumia 930 review
17. Motorola Moto E (2015)
The Moto E is Motorola's play for the even more budget section of the market, with a price tag of £109 seeing it as even cheaper than the Moto G. However, in its 2015 form, we find the Moto E is the best of the two for the balance of size (it's now got a 4.5-inch screen), price and features. It might not have the fastest processor in the world, but this rarely affects use.
Principal to the Moto E is a great design - which now includes interchangeable "Bands" for a lick of colour, a good display, excellent battery life and microSD support for expanding the internal storage. Compared to the original 2014 model, the 2015 Moto E also adds a front-facing camera, a smoother Android experience, as well as all-important 4G connectivity for fast internet browsing.
Despite its low price point and slightly bulky build, the Moto E has glimpses of premium about it. It's a brilliant handset for just over the £100 mark and the budget handset to beat.
Buy the Motorola Moto E 2015 for the best Android experience on a budget.
FULL REVIEW: Motorola Moto E (2015) review
16. HTC One M9+
Many will say that HTC stumbled with the One M9, choosing refinement in design over dealing with the biggest problem it faced: camera performance. No sooner had the One M9 hit the shelves, HTC launched a bigger device, with better specs in Asia, announcing wider availability of the HTC One M9+ a few months later.
But the HTC One M9+ is a better device than the M9 in many ways. It has a large 5.2-inch display that's not only better quality, it's a higher resolution too. It offers a fingerprint scanner on the front that's fast to unlock it and it also doesn't get quite as hot as the regular M9.
But HTC doesn't really address the camera issue with the HTC One M9+. Using the same 20-megapixel sensor on the rear, it has the same problems as the regular M9, being poor in low light, and struggling to match the quality of rival cameras, even in good light. It also offers Duo Camera functionality, but it feels like a short-lived novelty, rather than something that makes a pursuasive case for itself.
Ultimately, the HTC One M9+ is device to pick for the latest HTC experience, but even in this enhanced model, it struggles against flagship rivals. Although we'd recommend this phone over the regular M9, which is expensive at £579, the M9+ is a little hard to come by.
FULL REVIEW: HTC One M9+ review
15. Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
The Sony Xperia Z3 Compact succeeds by dominating its unique position: it offers flagship power in a mid-range size. It has recently been supplanted by the Sony Xperia Z5 Compact, dating this handset and reducing its immediate appeal, considering the current £429 asking price.
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 user interface tweaks, waterproofing, great camera performance and options galore will make the Xperia Z3 Compact the sort of device that power users will want - without needing giant pockets (both in physical and cash terms).
Buy the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact if you want the best performance in a compact device, but beware it's about to go out of date.
FULL REVIEW: Sony Xperia Z3 Compact review
14. Sony Xperia Z3
Sony has had a number of passes at its flagship Z-series model. In the Xperia Z3 it all cames together, performing better than the Xperia Z3+ that replaced it. However, there's now the Xperia Z5 waiting in the wings, reducing this handset's appeal.
The body design has been refined to the point where the size now feels comfortable. 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 those 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 other services and products, 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 results and plenty of shooting options. This is the best of Sony's handsets, the flagship device where Sony's perseverance paid off, but the price at £499 is too expensive for a handset this old.
Buy the Sony Xperia Z3 for a powerful, waterproof, sharp-shooting Android handset.
FULL REVIEW: Sony Xperia Z3 review
13. Motorola Moto X (2014)
The Motorola Moto X was reborn for 2014 in its second-generation guise. Boosted to offer a larger 5.2-inch display than the original, the design of the Moto X sits nicely in the hand, but most appealing of all are the options to customise the design materials using Moto Maker - including a leather back if that's what takes your fancy (and it should).
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 many Android rivals offer.
The £395 price is appealing, although the incoming Moto X Play will push this handset into the shadows.
Buy the Moto X for a great Android experience with unrivalled customisable design options to truly make your own mark.
FULL REVIEW: Moto X (2014) review
12. Sony Xperia M4 Aqua
Sony introduced the Xperia M4 Aqua as a mid-range handset that offered waterproofing. The Xperia M4 Aqua is a lovely looking device that takes many of its design cues from the flagship Xperia Z3 and Xperia Z3+. It's not all just about looks though, offering a decent battery and solid performance that outpace its sub-£200 price tag - and much of the competition.
The lack of internal storage, along with an average display and average camera do bring it down a peg or two but the Sony Xperia M4 Aqua is a good mid-range smartphone, made even better by offering that protection against the environment.
Buy the Sony Xperia M4 Aqua because you want a fully waterproof device with a good design for less than £200.
FULL REVIEW: Sony Xperia M4 Aqua review
11. Honor 7
Honor is a sub-brand of Huawei, looking to shake things up with impressive specs paired up with competitive prices. What the Honor 7 really does is cram in a lot of the technology you'll find in the Huawei Mate S, also featured in this list. It doesn't have the premium sheen that the Mate S offers, but you do get a lot for your money.
And at £250, you get a great 5.2-inch display, a good quality of build, a fingerprint scanner on the rear that's fast and packed with extra features, as well as a camera that's a good performer too.
Combine that with plenty of power and you're faced with a phone that offers plenty. The customisation of Android is a little heavy and is bettered with a little unpicking, but if you're looking to escape the mainstream familiarity that many devices offer, then Honor is worth a look.
Buy the Honor 7 to get performance at a budget price.
FULL REVIEW: Honor 7 review: Brilliance on a budget
10. Motorola Moto G (third-gen)
The original Moto G was a brilliant device when it first launched in 2013, taking many by surprise. It has been updated no less than five times since it first arrived and while we weren't massive fans of model three and four, the fifth version of this handset is a winner.
The design has been redefined and despite still being a little on the chunky side, the third-generation of Moto G is lovely. Water resistance has been added, as has Moto Maker, which means this device can be customised more than the majority on this list.
The third-gen Moto G has a good battery life, an improved camera over its predecessors and an almost raw Android experience with some great software enhancements. The specs aren't as impressive as some others in this feature, but this phone isn't about numbers, it's all about the experience. And as affordable experiences go at £159, it's a true return to the top.
Buy the Moto G (third-gen) because you want a good smartphone experience at a more than reasonable price.
FULL REVIEW: Motorola Moto G (third-gen)
9. Huawei Mate S
The Huawei Mate S is the best Huawei device we've seen so far, with a design and build that challenges the best devices out there.
There are some points on the spec sheet that will see the Mate S pale in comparison with flagship superphones however. There's a 5.5-inch display sitting at 1920 x 1080 pixels, hardly the sharpest around, but it has a trick up its sleeve - it's pressure sensitive on the top luxury model.
This brings some individuality to this device - you can remove the Android navigation buttons in favour of hard presses for example - but it doesn't go to the depths of innovation that Apple has with 3D Touch.
But even opting for the Mate S models that lack the pressure sensitive display gives you a great smartphone experience. There's plenty of power, the option for microSD expansion, camera that perform very well, and a battery that while lower in capacity than some, will get you through the day.
Huawei's EMUI software skin sitting over Android takes the shine off things in some areas, but with a tweak and a swap of stock apps, you'll have a very nice big screen experience that's a third cheaper than big brand rivals. You can expect to pay from £469.
FULL REVIEW: Huawei Mate S review
8. Apple iPhone 6S Plus
Apple's larger model has had a chance to find its feet, updated in the iPhone 6S Plus to mirror the updates brought to the regular iPhone 6S. That brings you the advantage of a 3D Touch display, with more methods of interaction, a faster Touch ID experience, backed by faster hardware.
If you're looking for a larger iPhone, then the 6S Plus is where you need to look. Some might say that by the time you reach 5.5-inches, the full HD display isn't as sharp as some rivals. That's the case with the 6S too, but here there's the slight feeling that Apple isn't offering more features through that large display, as you might find in a Samsung Galaxy Note, for example.
You do get a new camera experience, however, and this model also sports optical image stabilisation, along with new 4K video capture and Live Photos, making for one of the slickest camera experiences around.
But in the process of updating the 6 Plus to the 6S Plus, this larger than life iPhone has piled on an extra 20g in weight. It's pushing the scales a little, and could be too weighty for some. It's also expensive at £619.
FULL REVIEW: Apple iPhone 6S Plus review
7. LG G4
If you're in the market for a big phone then the LG G4 could be your ideal match. From the optional leather finish, to excellent camera performance, this 5.5-inch phone-meets-phablet has plenty going for it. It might not have the most powerful flagship processor inside, but that doesn't mean it isn't every bit the flagship phone. Quite the contrary.
Its high-ranking position in our top phones list reflects these qualities, but the one thing holding it back from greater success is battery life. Despite squeezing a brighter Quad HD screen and new processor into the mix, the 3,000mAh battery is too much an echo of the earlier G3, delivering performance a little below par. On the upside the battery is removable so you can easily swap it for a reserve.
However, it is both bigger and thicker than many other flagship devices on the market by some distance. We can't help but be distracted by the Samsung Galaxy S6 or S6 edge, or even Samsung's larger-screen but slimmer Note 4. It is, however, great value for money at £419.
Buy the LG G4 for a great camera experience in a large-screen phone.
FULL REVIEW: LG G4 review
6. Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+
The Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+ takes one of 2015's most innovative models and expands it. Swelling the edge+ up to 5.7-inches over the original 5.1, it's a leap forward in screen size, even if much of the specification remains the same.
The Samsung Galaxy S6 family offers some of the best camera performance around and that's repeated on the S6 edge+, combined with a great fingerprint scanner and some innovative features in those curved display edges.
Some might say that the curves are a little under ultilised and in reality, the S6 edge+ doesn't have quite the feature set as the Note Edge that it replaces, or the Note 5 that it sits alongside. That's a bitter pill to swallow considering that this handset is one of the most expensive devices on the market, although you can get it for around £599 on special offer.
It's a showpiece, that's for sure, but in the battle of the big devices, Samsung's own Note family will edge it out in terms of functionality.
FULL REVIEW: Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+ review
5. Samsung Galaxy Note 4
Samsung has long ruled the phablet roost and the 5.7-inch Galaxy Note 4 cements its mastery with big handsets: it's a sensational device, offering plenty of power from the Snapdragon 805 chipset, and an included stylus - known as the S Pen - for added feature functionality. It has been replaced by the Note 5, but that device has limited availability currently. At least that has seen the Note 4 price fall to £549.
Even if you don't use a stylus, 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 - with genuinely useful multi-tasking features that other manufacturers simply don't offer. It's a true workhorse, for work and play.
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 a great big screen experience, then look to the Samsung Galaxy Note 4.
FULL REVIEW: Samsung Galaxy Note 4 review
4. OnePlus 2
OnePlus 2 has been shaking things up in the smartphone world. The Chinese company might not have the high street profile that Samsung or Apple do, but in the underworld of smartphone geekery, OnePlus is overload.
That's due in many parts to the great value proposition that OnePlus presents. There are few other places where you'll get this grade of hardware for this price, undercutting the likes of budget darlings Huawei in many cases.
In 2015's model, the OnePlus 2 presents great build quality at a price that many will find surprisingly cheap, along with slick performance from OxygenOS and great battery life.
There are shortcomings, like the lack of NFC and specifications that don't quite rival the best out there. The OnePlus 2 isn't so much the flagship killer, but it decimates the mid-range and sub-premium bracket.
To get yourself a OnePlus 2 isn't just a case of walking into your local store however, you'll have to have an invite to buy one and that might pose a barrier to a number of potential customers, but at £239, it's money well spent.
FULL REVIEW: OnePlus 2 review
3. Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
For many, the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge should top this list. It's everything that the SGS6 is, but with innovation in that display design (or what some will see as nothing but design excess). However, although these two phones are matched, the S6 edge comes at a price premium which only really extends to the design - there's not the more extensive functionality as realised in the larger Note devices to be found here.
Yes, the curves to the display do lead to jaw-dropping design, and that screen is punchy and vibrant, but we feel they could do a little more. Perhaps that will change in the future and bring justification for the £160 surcharge you have to pay over the SGS6, a staggering £669.
However, the S6 edge offers the same slick user experience that the SGS6 does. It's fast, powerful, with refinement in the TouchWiz user interface that makes it better than ever before. There's a fantastic camera on the rear that produces great results with very little effort too.
It has the same shortcomings as the SGS6, namely that there's no longer a removable battery or microSD support, the display resolution doesn't really add a huge amount and the waterproofing of the last-generation Galaxy S-series has dried up.
Buy the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge because you want a great phone that turns heads.
FULL REVIEW: Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
2. Apple iPhone 6S
The iPhone 6S takes a strong design and supercharges Apple's smartphone. The iPhone 6S might be an "incremental" model, with no changes to the exterior design, but under the skin there's a lot that's new in the iPhone 6S.
A natural starting point is the display. Although it isn't the highest resolution handset out there, Apple has introduced pressure sensitivity to the new iPhone and called it 3D Touch. Even that's not unique, but the depth to which Apple has empowered this new feature stands it aside. Being able to trigger alternative actions, peek into apps and then pop them open, changes navigation around the phone.
This is a more powerful handset than previously, so things are slicker and faster, but there's also been a refresh to the camera, the first update in a long time. A new 12-megapixel sensor powers proceedings, with new features, including 4K video capture. You can now take Live Photos, bringing movement to stills, as well as an improved selfie experience, with the display firing as a flash.
The result is an iPhone in which it looks like not much has changed, but in reality, it has. It's a better, faster, more engaging experience than it was the last time around. It is, however, still one of the most expensive smartphones around at £539, and although it offers a premium experience, some will see that the iPhone is behind the curve in some areas, such as display resolution.
FULL REVIEW: Apple iPhone 6S review
1. Samsung Galaxy S6
Samsung needed change and the Samsung Galaxy S6 was the result. Launched alongside the also excellent (but far more expensive) Samsung Galaxy S6 edge, the S6 betters its innovative brother by being more affordable for much the same experience.
The Samsung Galaxy S6 ditches Samsung's tired design for a body that's more interested in quality. There's no more plastic, instead you have a slick body that turns heads, comprising a metal frame which sandwiches Gorilla Glass both front and back.
There's a fantastic display on the front. The Super AMOLED panel gives deep blacks and plenty of colour vibrancy, only really marred by not creating the cleanest whites around. It offers a super-sharp Quad HD resolution, although it's questionable whether this brings any real benefits in daily use - the same criticism we have of all other handsets with this resolution, but found here condensed into a 5.1-inch display.
The SGS6 is slick and fast, with heaps of power from the Exynos octa-core chipset and 3GB of RAM. It also supports both common standards of wireless charging, which should be of interest as the battery is no longer replaceable and the battery life is a little on the short side. There's also no microSD card slot any more due to the fixed body design.
However, the performance from the 16-megapixel rear camera is one of the most consistent and impressive from any smartphone you'll find. The experience is wrapped in a TouchWiz interface that's slicker, cleaner, and less intrusive than ever before. Then there's the fingerprint scanner that works just as well as it does on the iPhone. In short, this is Samsung's best phone ever.
You should buy the Samsung Galaxy S6 for the best Android experience of 2015, made more attractive by falling prices. It's now £499.
FULL REVIEW: Samsung Galaxy S6 review