Hello friends, once again welcome to my blog We continually update these best smartphones’ features to reflect recent launches, recognize price changes, and ensure 2016’s latest devices appear alongside the best of all time (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 the platform that suits you best.
1 – 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 a 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. It’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 £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.
2 – Samsung Galaxy S6/Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung needed change and the Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 edge was the result. The standard S6 is the more affordable of the pair, but the S6 edge takes the win for great looks: it’s a phone that will turn heads with its dual-edge display.
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, comprising a metal frame that 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 color 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 S6 edge benefits from additional information down the sides.
Both are slick and fast, with heaps of power from the Exynos octa-core chipset and 3GB of RAM. They also support 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 on either 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, these are Samsung’s best phones ever.
You should buy the Samsung Galaxy S6 for the best Android experience of all time, made more attractive by falling prices. It’s now £479. The SamsungGalaxy S6 edge comes in at £549 if you want a little more flair and all the excitement.
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3 – 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. For many, with the absence of the Note 5, it’s the S6 edge+ that takes all the glory in the big screen stakes.
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 utilized 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, at £629.
It’s a showpiece, that’s for sure, but in the battle of the big devices, Samsung’s own Note will edge it out in terms of functionality – if it’s on sale in your country.
4 – 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 S6 edge+, for example.
You do get a new camera experience, however, and this model also sports optical image stabilization, 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.
5 – 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 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 3000mAh 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. It is, however, great value for money at £419.
Buy the LG G4 for a great camera experience in a large-screen phone.
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6 – Sony Xperia Z5
The Sony Xperia Z5 is a fully-fledged flagship update, wiping away the Xperia Z3+ that was released a few months previously as something of a stop-gap.
The Xperia Z5 brings Sony up-to-date in terms of hardware, but really pushes changes in the camera, with a new 23-megapixel sensor. It’s a good performer too but is hampered by slow software, making the experience a little lackluster.
There is plenty of power, as well as the water resistance that Sony is known for, although the design is pretty similar to the previous devices in the Xperia Z family and hasn’t seen much change. By current standards, as a flagship, the design isn’t quite as premium as you’ll find elsewhere.
This is a handset packed full of tech, as well as plenty of customization from Sony. But in a world where less is starting to feel like more, this update is overshadowed by more exciting rivals, with Sony’s software being the biggest bugbear. That can be improved with app substitution, but as it is, the Z5 feels like it needs plenty of updating before it matches the upper echelons.
7 – 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.
The HTC One M9+ is a better device than the flagship M9 in many ways. It has a large 5.2-inch display that’s not only better quality, but it’s also 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 persuasive case for itself.
Ultimately, the HTC One M9+ is the 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.
8 – HTC One A9
The HTC One A9 might be best known for its closeness to the iPhone 6 in design, but there’s a lot about this phone to love. It runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow, with a stripped-down version of HTC Sense, resulting in a lovely overall experience, full of refinement.
The design is great, it feels lovely in the hand and surprisingly, the performance is very good for a handset that has mid-range hardware.
The AMOLED display is great and there’s an improved camera that beats that of the M9, although it still struggles in low light conditions. There is also an excellent fingerprint scanner.
However, the HTC One A9 is expensive for a device at this level, priced over £400. You might get a premium body, but it’s still a mid-ranger at heart and that’s reflected in performance in some areas.
If you want something that’s well built and a decent size, then it’s definitely worth considering.
9 – 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.
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 customization 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.
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10 – BlackBerry Priv
BlackBerry returns to form with the Priv, its first Android handset. It’s the first time for a long time that BlackBerry has been including in the list of best smartphones, but this is a serious handset worthy of serious consideration, whether you’re a BlackBerry fan or an Android fan.
It is a slider handset with a huge 5.4-inch display, offering all the benefits of the latest Android devices, with a physical keyboard that BlackBerry users will find familiar.
It’s blessed with BlackBerry Hub and a range of BlackBerry shortcuts and features lifted from BB handsets and reinvented for Android. The result is an innovative handset that offers some charming twists, like the pop-up widgets and battery charging indicator, which both show software nouse from BlackBerry.
It’s not the fastest handset around, the camera isn’t the best and it lacks a fingerprint scanner while demanding top-draw prices for its wares at £559. However, BlackBerry continues to update the software, so some of those early complaints will likely be wiped out.
Choose the BlackBerry Priv because you want a physical keyboard and a device that’s very apt at messaging.