We all highly covet those little rectangles in our pockets. Smartphones play a massive part in our day-to-day lives, but buying the perfect smartphone for you can be an arduous task. But don’t fret – we’re here to help you buy the best smartphone that’s perfect for you. Here are the best smartphones you can pick up in 2017.
Now, we’ve painstakingly put every smartphone to the test, with the best coverage in the UK, so we can help you make the buying decision that’s right for you. We update this list regularly – so our best smartphone 2017 roundup is always kept up to date, so be sure to check back often as and when new phones hit the shops.
There’s also a helpful smartphone buying guide on the second page of this article, where you will find all the details you need to know when buying your perfect smartphone. Be it display quality, battery life and performance, we cover all the basics.
But before that, have our read of our definitive list of the top ten smartphones you can buy in 2017.
Best smartphone 2017
1. Samsung Galaxy S8: The definitive Android smartphone
Samsung’s Galaxy S8 is the best Android phone you can buy right now. Period. For starters – it’s the best-looking phone we’ve ever seen, with those gorgeous curves and that all display front catching gazes. Likewise, camera quality goes near unrivalled, while performance is similarly best in its class. This’ll be a phone that’ll last you for the years to come. Get the S8 if you’re after a proper smartphone investment.
Now, the sticking point lies in the S8′s sky-high asking price. It’s not cheap at £679, and it’s bigger brother is even more expensive – with the S8 Plus setting you back at least £779 for an extra 0.4in of screen real estate, and a slightly bigger battery. Regardless – the regular Galaxy S8 is a sheer marvel of a phone, and rightly earns the crown of best smartphone you can buy in 2017.
Read our full Samsung Galaxy S8 review for more details
2. OnePlus 3T: The mid-range alternative
The OnePlus 3 has been replaced by the OnePlus 3T a mere five months after its launch and, while it’s still a great phone, it isn’t quite the bargain the OnePlus 3 was. OnePlus has bumped the price up to £399 from £329 and given us a (slightly) faster processor, a higher-resolution front-facing camera and a bigger battery. The bad news is that it completely supplants the OnePlus 3, which the firm has now run out of.
Largely, though, the OnePlus 3T is the same phone as before, just a touch more expensive. Should you buy one? If you’re looking for a smartphone bargain, absolutely. With a Snapdragon 821 and a huge 6GB of RAM, the OnePlus 3 is among the fastest smartphones around, rivalling the LG G5 (also listed below), and it’s almost as fast as Samsung’s Galaxy S7 as well. Combine that with 64GB (or now 128GB) of storage, better battery life than before and a stunning aluminium chassis, and this £399 smartphone has plenty of ammunition to compete in the smartphone big leagues.
Read our full OnePlus 3T review for more details
3. LG G5: Budget perfection
LG’s done the impossible with the LG G5, combining a full metal unibody with an interchangeable battery. How has it achieved this feat of technical wizardry? By making the phone modular. It may not be the prettiest phone on this list, but the ability to tap a button and simply slide out the battery gives it a huge advantage over its fixed rivals.
It’s also incredibly quick, and its graphics performance even surpasses the Samsung Galaxy S7. Its 5.3in display is superb as well, and its rear dual cameras give it plenty of flexibility when taking photos. The main 16-megapixel camera is excellent, but its wide-angle 8-megapixel lens is also a really fun addition, giving creative types plenty to get stuck in with.
Read our full LG G5 review for more details
4. Motorola Moto X Force: A shatterproof wonder
The Motorola Moto X Force is truly a top-tier smartphone. With its incredible shatterproof display, you never need to worry about breaking your phone’s screen ever again. We’ve hit it with a baseball bat, chucked it on the floor (concrete or otherwise) and it’s come out completely unscathed.
It’s an astonishing feat of engineering, and to make things even better, Motorola has also equipped it with a gorgeous 5.4in, 2,560 x 1,440 AMOLED panel, a superfast octa-core processor, a fantastic camera and one of the largest batteries we’ve seen. Even if you’ve never dropped a smartphone in your life, you never know when that dreaded day might arrive. With the Moto X Force, you can just keep on rolling with the punches, earning it a place in our top ten smartphones.
Read our full Motorola Moto X Force review for more details
5. iPhone 7 Plus: Bigger is better
The iPhone 7 and its Plus-sized counterpart are the most expensive iPhones yet, but it’s the Plus that makes this list due to its dual 12-megapixel camera. The normal iPhone 7 doesn’t have a dual sensor, and thus misses out on the Plus’ 2x optical zoom feature. It also has better battery life than its little brother, making it more reliable over the course of the day.
Elsewhere, Apple’s made several improvements to the phone’s speed and overall build quality, but it’s not quite as big a leap forward as you might expect from a next-generation smartphone. The iPhone 7 Plus is still the best iPhone ever made, but iPhone 6s owners should probably hang on to their handsets for a while before they upgrade.
Read our full iPhone 7 Plus review for more details
6. Moto G4 2016: An excellent budget snapper
Step aside, budget smartphones, you’ve just been made obsolete by the brand-new Moto G4 2016. If you thought the third-generation Moto G was a great smartphone, then prepare to get your socks blown off by the Moto G4, which packs in even more power for just £10 more than the original launch price of the third-gen model. It’s truly astonishing what Motorola’s managed to achieve with the G4, with specs rivalling that of several smartphones that are twice as expensive.
With an octa-core 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 chip at its disposal, it’s faster than anything else in its price range, and its 3,000mAh battery also gives it buckets of stamina. Provided you’re not put off by the size, the Moto G4 is an absolute masterpiece and a more-than-worthy upgrade over the third-generation Moto G.
Read our full Moto G4 2016 review for more details
7. Google Pixel: Pixel perfect
Google’s pair of Pixel phones are both excellent in their own right, but it’s the camera that really sets these smartphones apart from the competition. Its 12-megapixel sensor is vastly superior to the camera on the iPhone 7 and Samsung Galaxy S7, and it’s capable of taking some truly stunning pictures. It doesn’t have an extra lens like the LG G5 or iPhone 7 Plus, but if you’re an avid photography fan, then the Pixel certainly won’t disappoint.
The Pixel is also fast and has an excellent battery life. The only real sticking point is the price. Starting at £599 for the regular-sized 32GB Pixel and £719 for the 32GB Pixel XL (with contracts for both starting at around £50 per month, on top of a hefty upfront fee), the Pixel just isn’t quite special enough to warrant such high prices, regardless of how good its camera is.
Read our full Google Pixel Phone review for more details
8. Moto Z Play: The modular wonderphone
The Moto Z Play is an incredible smartphone for £370. It faces strong competition from the slightly more expensive OnePlus 3T, but the Moto Z Play has a couple of fancy party tricks to make it stand out. Chief among these is its modular design.
Unlike the LG G5, the Moto Z Play’s extra attachments can simply snap onto the back of the phone, allowing you to slap on a speaker, optical zoom, battery pack or miniature projector as and when you please. It’s a brilliant bit of design, and the so-called Moto Mods themselves are infinitely superior to those you can buy for the G5.
The Moto Z Play’s real boon, however, is its stonking battery life. Lasting almost 24 hours in our continuous video-playback test, this is the longest battery-life score I’ve ever seen, even outstripping Samsung’s colossal Note 7 (when it wasn’t exploding). If you want a smartphone that can go the distance without breaking the bank, the Moto Z Play is the smartphone for you.
Read our full Moto Z Play review for more details
9. Samsung Galaxy J5: A flagship beater
The Samsung Galaxy J5 is an incredible budget handset. Not only does it have a gorgeous Super AMOLED display – a real rarity at this end of the market – but in our tests, its battery life even surpasses that of the significantly more expensive Galaxy S7. That’s a pretty impressive feat for a phone that doesn’t cost more than £200 SIM-free, and it shows you don’t have to spend a lot on a top-flight flagship handset to get the best a phone can offer.
In fact, it’s a pretty close-run race between this and Motorola’s third-generation Moto G for our favourite budget handset, and a large part of it will come down to whether you prefer to use plain Android (as on the Moto G) or are happy with Samsung’s TouchWiz interface. The Moto G has the edge when it comes to camera performance, but the J5 is still a highly accomplished smartphone for its price, and is easily one of Samsung’s best budget handsets to date.
Read our full Samsung Galaxy J5 review for more details
10. Vodafone Smart Prime 7: Affordable yet elegant
Most handsets under £100 are pretty awful, but the £75 Vodafone Smart Prime 7 shows other cut-price smartphones how it’s done. While the second-generation Moto E is still my favourite current sub-£100 smartphone, the Smart Prime 7 comes a very close second. It not only looks great, but its 5in, 1,280 x 720 display is arguably even better than the slightly more upmarket third-gen Moto G. It’s not the fastest smartphone in the world, but it’s still got plenty of oomph for everyday tasks.
Just don’t buy it on contract, as you can get the same entry-level 250MB data deal for almost half the price if you opt for one of Vodafone’s SIM-only plans instead.
Read our full Vodafone Smart Prime 7 review for more details