So, you want to buy a new smartphone? If you're looking for the best smartphones, 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 guide to reflect recent launches, recognise price changes, and ensure 2017's latest devices appear alongside the best of 2016 (and before, if applicable). All the listed devices have been fully reviewed by us.
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.
We're going to run down the best smartphones, including:
- Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+
- Samsung Galaxy Note 8
- Apple iPhone 8 Plus
- Google Pixel 2
- OnePlus 5
- HTC U11
and plenty more.
Our top recommendation...
Here's our recommendation for the best all round smartphone on the market, right now.
1. Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+
Samsung has redefined its flagship handset in the Galaxy S8, offering two sizes of handset with an 18.5:9 display, losing the bezel and offering that premium dual-edge curved design. There's a long list of things that Samsung gets right in the S8: there's a pair of great cameras, the battery life is good, there's waterproofing, the latest hardware and the slickest Android of skins, fully-featured and packed full of useful functions.
The contentious point falls on the fingerprint scanner, as the location isn't optimal, but that's not a deal breaker given that the phones support iris scanning too. The real decision might just come down to how big you want your phone to be, with that taller screen meaning your phone doesn't feel huge, despite the large display. It is expensive, however.
If the price is too much to bear, the then Samsung Galaxy S7 edge comes highly recommended: it offers much of the same - great curved edge display, waterproofing, good battery life and a similar feature set and software experience - but you can buy the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge on Amazon for £200 less than the S8+.
Best of the rest...
The Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ aren't for everyone though, and there are plenty of other smartphones on the market to consider whatever budget you are on. Choosing the right phone for you is every bit as important as getting the best phone and there's loads to consider.
2. Samsung Galaxy Note 8
This might feel like a Samsung walkover, but the Note 8 is Samsung's most capable device so far. It has enhancements over the Galaxy S8+, like the S Pen and more RAM, but that comes at a price - the Galaxy Note 8 is one of the most expensive phones on the market. For those looking for the best, and that wonderful S Pen, then it has no rival.
One of the other advantages it has over the S8+ is the dual camera on the rear. This is not only great quality, but also offers stabilised zoom for super-sharp close-ups. That's great and it works well, as does the bokeh mode that's offered, but we're not certain it's a hugely important addition compared to the solid performance of the cheaper and more compact phones.
Ultimately, Samsung fans are well served: the Note 8 is a premium device, but the additions might be things you don't necessarily need. And personally, we prefer the Galaxy S8's slightly more curvy design, as it looks a little more radical.
Read the full review: Samsung Galaxy Note 8
3. Google Pixel 2
The 2017 Pixel 2 models have caused a stir. The smaller handset, the Pixel 2 is a phone you need to consider carefully. It has a subdued elegance in its design, while packing in all the power of a flagship phone. It's every bit as powerful as the top phones from Samsung, LG or the larger Pixel 2 XL, but it's more compact thanks to that smaller display.
While the Pixel 2 XL display struggles, the Pixel 2 is better, and it also packs in the full potency of that clever camera and the very latest from Android Oreo. It might not be the most exciting phone around, but it could be a big hit with those wanting a small but potent handset.
Read the full review: Google Pixel 2
4. Google Pixel XL
Have you gone completely mad? No, you haven't. The Google Pixel XL was one of the best phones of 2016 and although it is old, it still has a lot going for it, especially because the price has been slashed to nearly half that of some of the phones on this list. You can get it for just £400.
That's a lot of phone for your money, considering that it's 2016 flagship spec, it's running the latest version of Android Oreo and it has a really good camera. This is backed up by a display that's great, if not as fancy as some of the 18:9 displays on the latest phones, but it looks good and packs in loads of detail. Remember, Google's own head Sundar Pichai said that it was less about hardware and more about machine learning and AI. Here you have the full Google Assistant too.
It might not be around for long so if you're after a great Pixel phone for a little less money, then get one while it's a bargain.
Read the full review: Google Pixel XL
5. Apple iPhone 8 Plus
Apple iPhone 8 Plus isn't a hugely radical change in design like the forthcoming iPhone X. Instead it's the iPhone you know and love, but better. It's now sitting in a body with a glass black, bringing a change from the iPhone 7 Plus, but it also has all the power of Apple's latest chip and runs iOS 11.
The display benefits from True Tone technology, so it adapts as the environment around you changes to keep everything looking great, while the shift in materials around the back also gives you the benefit of wireless charging. Not only that, but it now supports fast charging too, so using a more powerful charger and the right cable, you'll be back to full in no time.
It's still a big phone and it perhaps looks a little old compared to the iPhone X now, but it's still a solid performer with a great camera. Importantly, it's going to be more affordable than the iPhone X, so if you want to go big on Apple without spending all your money, this is the phone for you.
Read the full review: Apple iPhone 8 Plus
6. OnePlus 5
OnePlus seems to have grown up with the OnePlus 5, its most ambitious phone yet and looking to be more competitive. Great design meets powerful specs, with the latest hardware to rival top devices. The display is good, although doesn't lift itself from Full HD like some of its rivals and that's somewhat reflected in the price. It also offers no waterproofing, which is starting to become something of a trend at the top.
There's a dual camera system on the back that's causing some controversy, but you can just stick to regular shooting and not get involved with any of that and still get great results. Of course one of the killer features of this phone is Dash Charge to make sure you're up and running in no time and oh, that it's still some £200 cheaper than most of its rivals.
Read the full review: OnePlus 5
7. HTC U11
The HTC U11 is a remarkable phone. Not because HTC added the ability to squeeze to it, no. It's a great phone because it does pretty much everything right: it has a unique rear design with those deep glass backs, a high quality of build and waterproofing. It offers a great high res display and the best sound quality you'll likely find on a phone. Pair that will fuss-free software that's free from bloat, if not quite as exciting as some of its rivals and you are on to a winner.
Throw in a camera that's fast and reliable, some excellent headphones with noise cancelling and about the only thing left to complain about is the lack of a 3.5mm headphone socket. This is a phone that will serve just about anyone's need, with lots of power from the Snapdragon 835, storage expansion and a battery life that while not quite the best, will get you through the day.
Best of all, the HTC U11 is a little cheaper than many of its rivals.
Read the full review: HTC U11
8. Google Pixel 2 XL
It might seem controversial to have the Pixel 2 XL drifting down this list, but for a phone that's all about the display, it doesn't have a very nice display. Google say this is due to it being tuned for realism, but that realism doesn't even let you see the excellent photos you take with the great camera on the back.
Aside from the display, this is a powerful phone, running the latest that Oreo has to offer and a lot of smart stuff thrown in too. The design perhaps doesn't make as radical use of space as other 18:9 phones, but there's no lack of performance.
Still, some may fall for its charms, of which there are many and this will likely remain a controversial device. Google has suggested it might look at changing the display performance, however, which would see it gain favour against other devices on this list.
Read the full review: Google Pixel 2 XL
9. LG G6
LG surprised many with its latest flagship smartphone, the G6. The new device offers a build and display that are all up there with the best smartphones available, as well as lightweight software that is easy to customise and a dual camera system that has a lot of versatility.
LG's decision to launch early now means rivals are faster, thanks to later hardware, so this is a phone that has aged quickly. The LG G6 is a great device though, even if the 18:9 display is now outshone by Samsung's Galaxy S8.
Read the full review: LG G6
10. Blackberry KeyOne
The BlackBerry KeyOne might be something of a surprise entry, with the company struggling to find form with its recent handsets. But just as we rated the BlackBerry Priv, the KeyOne brings something unique to the Android smartphone space with that physical keyboard.
The unique offering is a natural choice for those who loved the BlackBerry if the past, with programmable keyboard shortcuts and plenty of innovation on the top of Android to make this phone stand-out. It's not the most powerful handset out there, but at the same time, you're not being asked to pay flagship prices for it either.
Read the full review: BlackBerry KeyOne
11. Motorola Moto G5 Plus
The Moto G shocked the smartphone world when it launched: so much phone for so little money. The Moto G still dominates this end of the market, bringing features and experiences with a level of quality that many at this level lack. The Moto G5 Plus gives you a lot of phone for your money, with great build, finish and features.
The price is creeping up however, seeing this Plus model now sell for over £200. We'd still say that this is the best in this class of device, however, and if you can't spend too much on a phone, the Moto G5 Plus does it without feeling budget.
Read the full review: Moto G5 Plus
12. Honor 9
Honor's march into smartphones as a sub-brand of Huawei is having a real impact. Not only is it beating the parent brand, offering much the same technology for a better price, but it's also filling the void the ambitious brands like OnePlus are leaving behind. The "flagship killer" of yesterday is going up in price, while Honor is still offering performance for a great price.
The Honor 9 brings a lovely design, with a glossy finish that's turning more heads than the anodised metals of the past few years. There's plenty of power packed in as well as a camera that really performs: the result is a mid-range handset that has bags of appeal. It's a great size for practical daily use and although you'll find better displays on some of the devices above, it's hard not to like the Honor 9.
Read the full review: Honor 9
13. Honor 8 Pro
See the Honor 8 Pro on Amazon UK
The Honor 8 Pro isn't as exciting or as future-facing as some of the 2017 flagship smartphones, but it is still a great affordable device. It's the same size as the Apple iPhone 7 Plus, so it will be a little wide for some, but that size packs in a 5.7-inch Quad HD display and a great battery performance in its sub-7mm build.
The navy blue finish is great and the dual camera setup is good fun too. The EMUI software can be a little heavy-handed and it certainly isn't as clean as the pure Android experience of Pixel, but at £475, the Honor 8 Pro is a worthy consideration for those that want a big-screen, powerful and long-lasting phone that won't destroy your bank account.
Read the full review: Honor 8 Pro
14. Apple iPhone SE
Fulfilling the requirements of those looking for a smaller iPhone, the iPhone SE is about as budget as Apple gets. Starting at just over £300, the iPhone SE punches into the mid-range, but the only thing mid-range about this phone is the display size.
The iPhone SE has all the power of the iPhone 6S, giving you speed and power that smaller phones often fail to give you. It's a full-bore iPhone experience that's pared with an excellent camera, offering the consistency you expect from Apple. For those after the Apple experience without the hole in their pocket, the iPhone SE is an excellent choice. It's also one of the best-selling iPhones out there.
Read the full review: Apple iPhone SE
15. Huawei P10 and P10 Plus
The Huawei P10 and P10 Plus are the latest flagship smartphones to appear from the Chinese manufacturer, with the P10 Plus being our favourite of the two. The larger device is one of the best looking smartphones to come from Huawei to date, while also offering a great battery life, capable dual cameras, plenty of power and storage and mature EMUI software.
The P10 will be the better option for those that want a smaller device, but the P10 Plus is certainly right up there in terms of Android devices. It isn't perfect, with the screen's finish picking up fingerprints and the camera software not always excellent, but the P10 Plus is a solid example of a 5.5-inch smartphone.
16. Samsung Galaxy A5
The Samsung Galaxy A5 is an impressive device for a sub-£400 smartphone. It has a solid design and build, coupled with a display and performance that punches well beyond its price point. The A5 is a cheaper version of the S7 but without feeling like a cheaper alternative.
It doesn't offer the most powerful processor, the most pixel-dense screen or the best camera out there, but it's a compelling device that is well worthy of consideration if you're on a budget, or not too fussed about the latest and greatest software.
Read the full review: Samsung Galaxy A5
17. Lenovo P2
See the Lenovo P2 on Amazon UK
The biggest complaint in smartphones is battery life. The solution is to have a huge battery. The Lenovo P2 finds itself in a class of its own, a budget handset with a huge battery, so it will last longer than most people will need it to. While the battery is definitely king, the compromise is that the rest of the phone is only ok.
That means you get enough power, a camera that's ok and an experience that's ok rather than great. That said, you'll still be using it at the end of a long weekend, while most flagship phones will have flaked out.
Read the full review: Lenovo P2
18. Nokia 6
The Nokia 6 has its drawbacks, but it offers a superior build quality than many of its rivals. There's a quality feel in its body, backed up with a 5.5-inch display that's perfectly usable and larger than many rivals will offer at this price.
The mid-range chipset isn't hugely powerful, however, and that will mean that this isn't the best phone for some of the most advanced gaming options, but it will cope well enough with your daily tasks and watching videos online. It also benefits from great quality speakers and a nice fast fingerprint sensor to unlock it.
Read the full review: Nokia 6