The best phone of 2017: 15 top smartphones tested and ranked



Thinking of buying a new phone? We’ve got the best smartphones of the moment listed here – with the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus handsets duking it out with the iPhones at the top of our list.

[Update: We’ve overhauled our best phone rankings to take account of the latest round of handsets – is the iPhone X the best iPhone yet? Where do the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus land? Are the Google Pixel 2 duo the best in the land? And how does the OnePlus 5T stack up?]

We’ve spent hours whittling the contenders down to a top 15, and we take into account the power, specs, design and, most importantly, value for money of each handset.

A number of high-powered contenders for the title of ‘best smartphone’ have appeared in the second half of the year, and we’ve given a great deal of thought to where they should land in our influential ranking.

After all, you want the best phone out there for you, so we make sure we include as many phones in our tests as possible so you’ll truly know these are the best for your money.

(On that subject – if the prices of all these phones are too high, check out our list of the best cheap handsets that won’t cost you more than £200).

The best phone in the world right now is the Samsung Galaxy S8 – the mix of a lower price, combined with the powerful innards, top camera and amazing screen, mean it’s still the phone to beat.

That said, the competition is incredibly hot right now, so click through our list to see the top phones on the market – we’ll be pretty surprised if you can’t find one that takes your fancy based on price, design, power or just all-round performance.

  • Already know your favourite operating system? Then check out our best iPhone or best Android phone round-ups to see which is for you!
  • Not fussed with what’s here, but not sure how long to wait for the next big hitters? We’re already looking ahead to the Samsung Galaxy S9 release date and have all the information you could want on that phone.
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The Samsung Galaxy S8 is the best phone in the world for a few reasons, but none more so than the display: it makes every other handset on the market look positively antiquated.

The camera is of the excellent quality we’ve come to expect from Samsung, the screen quality is the best that can be found right now, and it’s smashed through all our benchmarking tests.

While it cost a lot when it was released earlier in 2017, the price has dropped a fair bit since – so the premium specs now look even better value for money, and with the screen Samsung has managed to deliver some impressive innovation at a time when there’s very little to be found in smartphones.

The placement of the fingerprint scanner still irks – it could have been much better located – and the facial / iris recognition on the S8 pales in comparison to Apple’s Face ID.

But as a smartphone package, the Samsung Galaxy S8 is by far the most complete on the market – you won’t regret your choice if you pick up this phone.

Samsung Galaxy S8 photography samples

  • Read our full, in-depth Samsung Galaxy S8 review

Also consider: Fancy even more screen? Then you’ll want to check out the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus with its gigantic 6.2-inch offering. It offers the same bezel-less Infinity display design, and exactly the same internals too – it is even more expensive though.

The Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus is our runner-up to its smaller sibling because it combines so much into one package.

The main thing that impresses us is the screen: the fact that there’s just so much of it, and the way it reaches around the sides of the handset. You can see why it’s been dubbed an Infinity Display by Samsung.

The camera, screen, power and battery life combination here is just excellent, and the only reason it’s not in the top spot is because it costs more to own the S8 Plus on contract or SIM-free than the Samsung Galaxy S8.

But if you’re after the out-and-out best Android phone on the market, you won’t be far off if you pick up the Galaxy S8 Plus.

Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus photography samples

  • Read our in-depth Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus review

Also consider: If the Galaxy S8 Plus is a little too big for your hands, the more compact Galaxy S8 could be right up your street. It still sports the impressive Infinity Display, while its 5.8-inch screen is still sizeable without being overbearing.

You want Android the way Google intended, in a form factor that can be easily used one-handed? The Pixel 2 sits nicely in the palm, and its 5-inch screen can be easily manipulated with a thumb.

The design may not set hearts racing, but the seriously impressive 12MP rear camera, which boasts a surprisingly solid portrait mode, certainly will. You’ll also be first in line for future Android iterations, ensuring that your phone is always up to date.

The dual front-facing speakers are great for firing audio directly at you, while a Snapdragon 835 chipset and 4GB of RAM keep everything running smoothly – and its water-resistant body means the Pixel 2 will even survive a dip in the bath.

Pixel 2 / 2 XL photo samples

  • Read our in-depth Google Pixel 2 review

Also consider: If you’re not going to go for the Google Pixel 2, how about the OnePlus 5T? It’s a bit of a left-field choice, but it has stock Android, and is a darn sight cheaper too.

The iPhone X is the most impressive handset Apple has ever made. Ever.

You could argue that the iPhone 4 or iPhone 6 should have that tag, but the X (that’s ‘X’ as in ’10’) represents something that most iPhone buyers want: a new design, after years and years of the same thing being released.

You know already that this is an expensive phone, but Apple has done all it can to justify that cost. It’s got an amazing, well-tuned screen, and a strong camera bolted on the back.

The lack of bezel around the device is a massive departure for the brand, and losing the home button has lead to a redesign of iOS 11 – you might struggle to transition for a day or two if you go for this phone, but trust us, it’ll become second nature in no time.

This is the phone to buy if you want to treat yourself to a high-end phone – a little extra per month for something you really enjoy taking out of your bag or pocket is worth it if you can afford it.

iPhone X photography samples

  • Read our in-depth iPhone X review

Also consider: If you’re in the market for an iPhone but don’t want to fork out the cost of the iPhone X, the iPhone 8 Plus is the handset to go for thanks to many similar features. Actually, if you wanted to be really thrifty you could get away with the iPhone 7 Plus, but the updates won’t last as long for that device.

The Huawei Mate 10 Pro is the phone to go for if you want great battery life –
the phone for someone who wants something a little different, and needs a handset that can easily last a day, and then some, on a single charge.

The biggest talking point of the Huawei Mate 10 Pro is, as you’ve guessed, its battery.

It’s big at 4,000mAh, and it translates to impressive performance, with the possibility of stretching usage to two days from a single charge if you switch it off overnight.

On the rear, the dual camera setup is a solid point-and-shoot option, but it really excels if you dive into manual mode; if you’re a camera enthusiast who’s willing to spend time fine-tuning, you can get some great shots from the Mate 10 Pro.

Huawei Mate 10 Pro photography samples

  • Read our in-depth Huawei Mate 10 Pro review

Also consider: The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is probably the closest rival to the Mate 10 Pro, also coming with a great manual camera mode, large and clear screen and phablet-sized, bezel-less proportions. However, it’s more expensive and has a shorter battery life.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is an incredibly impressive phablet that’s perfect for anyone who wants a productive, powerful device.

It’s got one of the best displays, one of the top cameras, and an excellent mix of speed and performance under the finger, while the S Pen is a real differentiator in a sea of similar phones.

It’s an expensive phone too – only just behind the iPhone X in terms of out-and-out cost. But it’s a better choice than the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus – its nearest competitor in terms of overall size and quality – if you want to be able to jot things down in an instant and take beautiful bokeh photos, as well as splash the phone in water.

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 photography samples

  • Read our in-depth Samsung Galaxy Note 8 review

Also consider: The Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus, with similar dimensions, a lower cost and longer-lasting battery is where we’d point you. It only has one camera sensor and the S Pen is absent, but many people could happily live with that.

If you’re looking for a powerful phone that packs everything that’s good about the Android world, look no further than the LG V30.

The LG G6 is a fine device, but the V30 is the sleek, refined and powerful version of that phone. It’s got the most powerful processor around, a great camera and delivers one of the best sonic performances from a phone on the market right now, thanks to the dedicated Quad DAC inside.

This means the LG V30 is a great phone to pick up if you value great-sounding tunes, and want a well-made phone into the bargain. Yes, the price is high, but the combination of features justifies that to a compelling degree.

If you’re after a phone that’s not from the ‘Big Two’, we’d recommend this one as a close second to the Google Pixel.

LG V30 photography samples

  • Click here to read our in-depth LG V30 review

Also consider: The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is a similar device in terms of both power and cost, while you get a slightly better camera and the use of the S Pen; however the V30 probably just edges it for audio performance.

The LG G6 wasn’t the most impressive phone when it landed, but it’s been subject to a couple of healthy price cuts since its arrival in the first half of 2017, which now means you can pick up a top-notch, high-end phone for less.

The larger, 5.7-inch display packs a QHD resolution resulting in great visuals, while under the hood there’s a decent slug of power with a Snapdragon 821 and 4GB of RAM.

On the rear the G6 offers a pair of cameras, with one featuring a wide-angle lens allowing you to squeeze more people or scenery into your shots. It’s easy to switch between the two lenses, and the versatility it provides comes in useful more often than you might think.

LG G6 photography samples

  • Click here to read our in-depth LG G6 review

Also consider: The main issue we have with the LG G6 is that it’s not powerful enough (although that means it’s a bit cheaper). If that’s a deal-breaker for you, go for the LG V30 – it’s the ‘grown-up’ version of the G6, with a lot of the same design and feature options, and as such comes in higher on our list.

The iPhone 8 Plus is the best ‘regular’ iPhone available right now – the iPhone X is the more impressive device overall, but the 8 Plus is a little more affordable.

The 8 Plus does use the same design as previous handsets, with the removed headphone jack, bezelled front and longer design in keeping with the traditional iPhone shape.

Whether that’s a good thing or not depends on how much you want the new X, but you’re still getting a brilliant phone here.

Wireless charging is hardly a new technology, but its presence on the iPhone 8 Plus is a real boon, and the improved screen technology makes using this handset a nice experience.

The camera is an improvement over the snapper on the iPhone 7 Plus, while the improvement in power makes usage even slicker and battery life is better than that of previous iPhones.

iPhone 8 Plus photography samples

  • Read our in-depth iPhone 8 Plus review

Also consider: The standard iPhone 8 is very good too, and with a more manageable form factor and lower price point it’s the phone that’s likely to appeal to a wider audience – but if you’re looking for Apple perfection and have a slightly bigger budget, it has to be the 8 Plus.

If it’s an affordable flagship you’re after, look no further. The OnePlus 5T offers facial recognition, a 6-inch 18:9 display, dual rear cameras, a premium metal body and the latest power under the hood, all for a price that comfortably undercuts Apple, Samsung and friends.

To achieve the lower price point some corners have been cut, but the cuts aren’t as severe as you might think. There’s no QHD resolution display, stereo speakers, expandable storage or standout camera, but what you do get is a highly capable Android smartphone that, more often than not, outperforms its price bracket.

The Honor 9 is cheap, but has fewer features, and while the Samsung Galaxy S8 and iPhone X may offer the ultimate smartphone experience, they have price tags which many will be unable to afford.

If you’re willing to put up with a few small compromises then you could argue the OnePlus 5T could be even further up this list. One thing is for sure though: in terms of value for money it won’t disappoint.

OnePlus 5T photography samples

  • Read our in-depth OnePlus 5T review

Also consider: The Honor 9 is the other cheaper flagship model in this best phones list, combining a lower price with high-end specs. Both it and the OnePlus 5T make compromises here and there, but overall they’re excellent value for what’s on offer.

A big-screen, pure Android experience and an incredible camera are the cornerstones of the Android smartphone fan’s wish list.

The Pixel XL 2 has an expansive 6-inch display that’s decent for gaming and video playback (although a few issues have surfaced around its viewing angles), and it boasts an improved design over the smaller Pixel 2, with slimmer bezels housing its dual front-facing speakers.

There’s plenty of power under the hood, where the latest Snapdragon 835 chip is coupled with 4GB of RAM, but it’s round the back, with the 12MP camera, where the Pixel 2 XL really shines.

Photos look fantastic, and they’ll please both casual and more serious snappers alike.

Google Pixel 2 XL photography samples

  • Read our full Google Pixel 2 XL review

Also consider: The obvious alternative here is the Google Pixel 2 – everything you get with the 2 XL you get with the 2, except the higher price. Note though that the Pixel 2 is a smaller phone, although it doesn’t have the same viewing angle issues.

We thought the days of the 4K phone were over – but Sony’s back, and has reinvigorated the technology by cramming in HDR compatibility, which really makes videos look stunning.

Sure, there isn’t masses of mobile HDR content out there at the moment, but the screen tech makes even the most mundane image look brighter and more colourful, and the rest of the phone is impressively powerful.

The camera is capable of taking exceptional pictures, the slow motion capabilities are insanely great in the right light, and the raw grunt of the handset is up there with the very best. If you’re a Sony fan, you’ll love this phone.

Sony Xperia XZ Premium photography samples

  • Read the full review: Sony Xperia XZ Premium

Also consider: The easiest comparison here is with the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus: they’re both impressive phablets with excellent HDR screens, so it really depends which brand you’re most attracted to.

You might think HTC is something of a forgotten brand – and, to a degree, you’d be right. But if you discount HTC you’ll be missing out on its latest flagship, which offers exceptional performance in a couple of areas.

The HTC U11 features an eye-catching design, programmable, squeezable sides and great audio performance – and if you’re a fan of Iron Man then you have to check it out in Solar Red, which is seriously beautiful.

The U11 was the first smartphone to introduce squeezable sides, and while the feature has since appeared in the two new Pixel handsets (and to better effect), the U11 remains the only phone on which you can set the action to launch something other than Google Assistant.

Plug in the bundled pair of headphones, meanwhile, and prepare yourself for a seriously impressive sonic experience, with the HTC U11 kicking out audio at a fantastic level.

It’s not quite the all-round package that some of the phones here offer (hence its lower position), but the reduced price makes it a more attractive proposition.

HTC U11 photography samples

  • Read our in-depth HTC U11 review

Also consider: It’s hard to know what to recommend here, as there’s nothing that really compares on the market right now. However, for the price you’d probably look at the Galaxy S8 or the LG G6 as something a bit different.

The key selling point for the iPhone 8 is that it’s a smaller iPhone – you’ll want it if you’re looking for something a bit cheaper, and more compact.

If you want a new iPhone, and can’t afford / don’t want the iPhone X, the iPhone 8 is a good choice for a number of reasons.

It offers much of the same functionality as the iPhone 8 Plus, including the same design, Touch ID home button, new A11 Bionic chipset and the freshest iOS 11 software.

Its screen may not be as sharp, and it may only have a single camera on the rear, but the iPhone 8 still delivers excellent performance in both these areas – and crucially its size makes for an easier in-palm experience.

The reason it’s so far down this list is because the iPhone X and 8 Plus are so good. Its main shortcomings are that because it’s cheaper and smaller than the other two new iPhones, battery life suffers and it lacks the dual camera sensor.

iPhone 8 photography samples

  • Read our in-depth iPhone 8 review

Also consider: The obvious alternative here is the iPhone 8 Plus, but we’d say that if money is no object (and that’s a big ‘if’) you’ll enjoy the iPhone X a lot more, thanks to the smaller in-hand feel and massive upgrades.

The Honor 9 is something of a rarity – a phone that excels in many places and offers many flagship specs, but which doesn’t cost a huge amount.

There’s a Full HD 5.1-inch screen which is bright and sharp, the same processor we’ve seen inside the Huawei P10 paired with either 4GB or 6GB of RAM, and Android Nougat software.

The Honor 9 also comes with a similar camera setup to the P10, with a dual-sensor 20MP and 12MP combination that takes two photos simultaneously and combines them. If you’re looking for superb performance, a fantastic design, a low price and lots of the little flourishes that make a top phone, the Honor 9 may be for you.

Honor 9 photography samples

  • Read our in-depth Honor 9 review

Also consider: If you’re not sold on the Honor 9, then the OnePlus 5T is your next-best bet. Higher up in this list, and packing comparable specs for not much more money, it’s a nice choice for anyone wanting flagship performance at a low price.

New phones for 2018

So those are our pick of the best phones you can get right now, but to conclude we’re going to highlight some upcoming handsets that may well get added to this list when they launch.

Below you’ll find the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S9 and iPhone 9, among many others, along with the hottest rumors we have for each of them, as well as expected prices and release dates.

To find out more about any of these handsets just click the link at the bottom of each entry to be taken to our main news and rumors page for them.

Samsung Galaxy S9

  • Expected release date: March 2018
  • Expected price: At least $720, £689, AU$1,199

The Samsung Galaxy S9 is likely to be the highest profile Android handset of 2018, and with a launch expected early in the year there probably won’t be long to wait for it.

Rumors point to the phone having a 3D face scanner like the iPhone X, plus an upgraded chipset with support for faster download speeds, a camera that can shoot at 1,000 frames per second, and a larger battery than the 3,000mAh one in the Samsung Galaxy S8.

We’re also expecting so see a larger Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus land alongside the phone.

Less likely possibilities include a fingerprint scanner built into the screen, a modular design, and the ability for the screen to repel water.

  • Read all the Samsung Galaxy S9 news and rumors

iPhone 9

  • Expected release date: September 2018
  • Expected price: Upwards of $699, £699, AU$1,079

We’re not sure what Apple’s naming convention will be for the next generation of iPhone, or how many models there will be, but it’s possible that we’ll see an iPhone 9, iPhone 9 Plus and iPhone X2.

Early rumors include the possibility that all models of the phone will have an OLED screen and a Face ID scanner, just like the iPhone X.

That likely also means that they’d ditch the fingerprint scanner and bezels found on the iPhone 8 for an all-screen front.

  • Read all the iPhone 9 news and rumors

LG G7

  • Expected release date: Spring 2018
  • Expected price: Probably at least $729, £568, AU$967

We don’t know much about the LG G7 yet, but LG has switched from LCD to OLED for the LG V30 and there’s a high chance the LG G7 will also therefore use OLED, which could mean a more vibrant display than the LG G6 has.

Elsewhere, we’ve heard that the LG G7 will probably use a Snapdragon 845 chipset, which is expected to be the main flagship chipset of 2018.

In that sense its inclusion wouldn’t be surprising, but the LG G6 used the Snapdragon 821, while many rivals used the Snapdragon 835, so if LG does use the 845 for the G7 it should be on a more equal power footing with rivals for its main 2018 flagship than it was with its 2017 one.

  • Read all the LG G7 news and rumors

Google Pixel 3

  • Expected release date: October 2018
  • Expected price: Likely upwards of $649, £629, AU$1,079

There might be three Pixel 3 handsets, with a Pixel 3, a Pixel 3 XL and an even more premium one at the top-end being launched according to one source.

We’ve also heard that the three phones are codenamed “crosshatch”, “albacore” and “blueline”, but exactly what their specs and features will be remains to be seen.

  • Read all the Google Pixel 3 news and rumors

HTC U12

  • Expected release date: Mid-2018
  • Expected price: Probably around $650/£650/AU$1,000

The only real rumor about the HTC U12 is that it could have a dual-lens camera, as HTC has revealed that it plans to build a dual-lens phone.

Everything else is just guesswork for now, but there’s a good chance the HTC U12 will have a Snapdragon 845 chipset, squeezy Edge Sense-powered sides and a similar design to the HTC U11 and HTC U11 Plus.

  • Read all the HTC U12 news and rumors

Samsung Galaxy Note 9

  • Expected release date: August 2018
  • Expected price: Probably at least $929, £869, AU$1,499

Rumors suggest that the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 could have a fingerprint scanner built into the screen, which is a feature both Samsung and Apple have been rumored to be working on for a long time.

That would mean the phone could have an all-screen front without relegating the scanner to the back.

There’s also a very, very small chance that the Galaxy Note 9 will have a folding screen. This is something Samsung’s been rumored to be working on for even longer, and it looks like the company could finally be close to launching such a phone, but we wouldn’t count on seeing the tech trialed on something as high profile as the Note 9.

  • Read all the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 news and rumors

Sony Xperia XZ2

  • Expected release date: September 2018
  • Expected price: At least $699.99, £599 (around AU$900)

So far we’ve only really heard one Xperia XZ2 rumor, but it’s a big one: the design of the phone might be completely changed.

Sony has stuck with largely the same smartphone design for most of its handsets for years now, so a redesign is long overdue.

That aside, expect typically high-end specs, though possibly just a 1080p screen, since other than the Xperia XZ Premium and Xperia Z5 Premium Sony has also seemed reluctant to up the resolution of its phones.

  • Read all the Sony Xperia XZ2 news and rumors

Huawei P11

  • Expected release date: February 2018
  • Expected price: Upwards of £569.99, AU$899 (around $750)

The Huawei P11 is likely to be one of the first flagships to land in 2018, but we still don’t know much about it.

The octa-core Kirin 970 chipset found in the Huawei Mate 10 will likely be used, and we’ve also heard that the Huawei P11 could have 8GB of RAM and a 4K screen, though we’re skeptical of this, as it would be a huge jump from the Huawei P10.

Whatever else though, it’s likely to be a stylish, metal-clad and relatively affordable flagship.

  • Read all the Huawei P11 news and rumors

OnePlus 6

  • Expected release date: June 2018
  • Expected price: Over $479, £449 (around AU$630)

While the OnePlus 5T is about to launch, it’s the OnePlus 6 that is the company’s next numbered handset, and that probably won’t arrive before mid-2018.

Currently there aren’t any OnePlus 6 rumors, but it’s likely to have many of the same specs and features as the OnePlus 5T, which itself is rumored to have a 20MP dual-lens camera and a 6-inch 18:9 screen.

We also suspect the OnePlus 6 will use the Snapdragon 845, and it’s unlikely to have more than the 8GB of RAM you can already get in the OnePlus 5.

  • Read all the OnePlus 6 news and rumors

Nokia 9

  • Expected release date: Late 2017 or early 2018
  • Expected price: Around $700, £640, AU$1,060

The Nokia 9’s release date is unknown, but we’re expecting to see it sooner rather than later, and when we do it could have a 5.5-inch QHD curved OLED screen, a water-resistant all-metal shell, a dual-lens 22MP Carl Zeiss camera and a 3,800mAh battery.

If those specs prove accurate then the Nokia 9 could truly compete with the best flagships around, though one slightly less promising spec rumor points to it having a Snapdragon 835 chipset.

That’s a flagship chip, but it’s one that’s been around for most of 2017. If the phone launches before the end of the year then that might still be the best option available, but if it slips into 2018 then hopefully it will use the Snapdragon 845 or equivalent.

  • Read all the Nokia 9 news and rumors

Source:: phones revews

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