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Best phone 2017: the 10 top smartphones we've tested

The best smartphone right now is the Samsung Galaxy S8

By Gareth Beavis | Apr 18, 2017, 09.35 PM IST
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Update: The Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus have entered our list of the best phones in the world right now - but where have they placed? Read on to find out!

Thinking of buying a new phone? We've got the best smartphones of the moment all listed here - and we've got the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus reviews hot off the presses which means both are now eligible for entry into our best phones list. But have they made the grade?

Here's the ranking we've spent hours whittling down to a top ten. We take into account the power, specs, design and, most importantly, value for money of each handset.

(If the price is too high, check out our list of the best cheap handsets that won't cost you more than £200). 

Best smartphone

For those in a rush, here you go: the Samsung Galaxy S8 is the best smartphone in the world.

A new stunning design, amazing screen and great camera combined make it for the best phone you can buy right now. Be sure to take a look through the full best phone ranking though to know what's best for your needs.

Sony has struggled to makes its phones stand out in recent years, and the Xperia XZ now ranks tenth in our best list despite not having a key selling point.

The Xperia XZ is a great culmination of fantastic Sony technology though into a simple to use package. It offers top of the range spec in almost every area.

You'll either love or hate the square design of the Xperia XZ, but if you like it we'd recommend picking up this latest phone from Sony. It's especially a good phone for those who want a powerful 23MP camera that's great at focusing quickly moving subjects for photos.

Read the full review: Sony Xperia XZ

  • What's next? Sony has already announced both the Xperia XZs and the Xperia XZ Premium , which we expect to be available in the coming months.

The Google Pixel is an excellent flagship phone that's an impressive debut for Google as a manufacturer - and the new Assistant is a great Siri rival. If you're OK with the price point, the Pixel is a breath of fresh Google air in a world of Android over-complication. 

The 12MP camera on the back is one of the best on the market, while the clean, fresh Android Nougat interface is a joy to use.

There's heaps of power under the hood making it perfect for gaming and multi-tasking, while the bright, colorful screen provides an excellent viewing experience for your movies and TV shows.

It may not be the most attractive handset on the market but it's far from ugly... and what you can be sure of is a lot of bang for your buck.

Read the full review: Google Pixel review

  • What's next? There's little information out at the moment regarding the Google Pixel 2 , but we do expect it to pack the new Snapdragon 835 chipset (or a slight upgrade on it) when it emerges around October this year - and it looks like it'll be water resistant too.

Also consider: Like what you see, but need more screen real estate? You you'll want the Google Pixel XL - the 5.5-inch brother of the Pixel which boasts an eye-popping QHD (that's 2K) resolution. 

If you’re looking for a high-spec budget phone, you’d be hard pressed to do better than the Lenovo P2. 

It features everything you’d expect to see in a mid-range phone but we’re continually surprised by how cheap it is.

The real standout feature here though is the battery life with the Lenovo P2 comfortably able to last two days on a single charge - a feat which is almost unheard of in today's smartphone market.

Read the full review: Lenovo P2

Also consider: If the P2 isn't doing it for you, then check out the Moto G5 which also has a strong spec sheet and low price - although the battery life isn't quite as good as the P2. 

HTC didn't really ignite the smartphone game with the One M9, but with the new HTC 10 the brand has made a beautiful phone that's 'sculpted by light', added in a genuinely impressive camera and improved the battery life. 

It's since added the HTC 10 Evo to the mix, but it's nowhere near as impressive as the original.

But that's not the best bit: that comes when you plug headphones into this thing. It's sensational - can this thing pump beautiful, Hi-Res Audio into your ears or what? It's sensational.

For that reason alone it's worth a place in the top 10, and the myriad other improvements (including a good camera for those that like to tinker with setting) impress equally.

Read the full review: HTC 10

  • What's next? The HTC 11 is going to be with us very soon, and strong rumours suggest it'll have a metal shell with an edge-to-edge display as well as the Snapdragon 835 chip - but it won't be using the 'One' brand previously adorning HTC flagships.

Also consider: It's hard to know what to recommend here, as last year's model was so underwhelming. We'd suggest having a gander at the LG G5 if you fancy an 'underdog' brand that can still make it big... great camera and some fancy innovation on offer there. 

The OnePlus 3T has still got the same beautiful all-metal design, the same 5.5-inch AMOLED display that's bright and vibrant and the fingerprint scanner is still lightning fast - all the main specs are there, and it's only the upgraded chipset and battery that make the biggest difference to the now-defunct OnePlus 3 .

The lack of a microSD card, and a battery which only lasts around a day, may put some off but considering the price you're paying the OnePlus is good value for money, despite a price hike over the OnePlus 3.

If you're desperate for a high-end phone, but don't have the money to stretch that far, the OnePlus 3T will make you rather happy.

Read the full review: OnePlus 3T

  • What's next? It looks like the OnePlus 4 is set for a raft of changes, from a dual lens camera to a sharper QHD screen - as well as a new glass display.

Also consider: If OnePlus isn't doing it for you, then check out the Moto G5 Plus which has slightly less power, but a still very strong feature set, a lower price tag and a new metal design.

Motorola Moto Z
Motorola Moto Z

Moto Z takes the modular accessory idea we liked so much about the LG G5 and actually makes it work with better add-ons and an easier-to-use snap-on design.

It's an Android phone that performs well right now and the potential behind its future accessories hold a lot of promise down the road. 

Usually when we talk about mid-cycle upgrades, we're strictly talking about new software. Moto Z could take on new form at any time, and new mods are still being offered a year on.

It may be the world's thinnest phone, but that comes at a cost with a reduction in battery size and the loss of the headphone jack - potential issues for some users. But if you can overlook these shortcomings then good news: you'll have a truly innovative device in your hands.

Read the full review: Motorola Moto Z

  • What's next? The Moto Z (2017) rumours are pretty thin on the ground right now, but the hottest leaks promise a metal-bodied phone with a QHD screen, coming around July.

Also consider: The only phone which comes close to matching the Z's modular capabilities is the LG G5 , although it's the Moto which has the more intriguing line up of mods.

The Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus fits a monstrous 6.2-inch curved display into an acceptably large body that doesn’t feel too different from its predecessor, the Galaxy S7 Edge

That’s not all that’s impressive. It features the best phone display, chipset and camera of any phone to date, plus it’s still water- and dust-resistant and it features 64GB of internal storage plus a microSD card slot for expandable storage.

The battery life is very good, it can power the next generation of mobile VR games and it has software that rivals stock Android. 

Aside from Bixby and some slightly clunky biometrics, the Galaxy S8 Plus is the perfect phone for anyone looking to maximism smartphone screen real estate. 

Read the full review: Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus

Also consider : If the Galaxy S8 Plus is proving a little too big for your hands, then 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 sizable without being overbearing.

The new iPhone is rather iterative: it comes with a similar look and feel to previous models, but it's still the iPhone many will hanker for. 

Apple's refusal to lower the price of its flagship phones over time also harms its place in the list, but then again, if you're an iPhone fan you'll probably look past the cost.

That doesn't mean it's a bad phone though. Actually, far from it - with a power boost under the hood, water resistant and a decent camera upgrade all on offer there's enough to keep potential buyers interested.

There's no point upgrading from the 6S to 7, but if you're currently using an iPhone 6 or older then the jump to the 7 is a smart one.

Read the full review: iPhone 7

  • What's next? Well, it's either the iPhone 7S (which would make sense with the naming convention) or the iPhone 8 , as it's the 10th anniversary of the first iPhone - and rumours are it'll pack an all-new design that uses more glass to allow for wireless charging and more powerful water-resistance. Could it even be called the iPhone X?

Also consider: If you want to save yourself a bit of money then the iPhone 6S is still an excellent smartphone. It looks identical to the 7, also runs iOS 10 and has the benefit of still having a headphone jack. Those wanting something a bit bigger should look at the iPhone 7 Plus – the best iPhone currently around. 

iPhone 7 Plus
iPhone 7 Plus

The iPhone 7 Plus is the best iPhone available right now, giving you a whole heap of power, water resistant body, not one, but two cameras on the back and super slick performance.

It does use the same design as previous handsets, and Apple's removed the headphone jack and upped the price - but if your pockets are deep and headphones wireless you'll love the 7 Plus.

The camera is a big improvement on the 6S Plus, while the improvement in power makes usage even slicker and battery life is better than previous iPhones.

Read the full review: iPhone 7 Plus

  • What's next? The current whispers surrounding the next, larger iPhone is that it'll be the iPhone 7S Plus with minor upgrades, and there'll also be a special edition, re-designed iPhone 8 . You'll have to wait until September for the launch though.

Also consider: The standard iPhone 7 is very good too, with a more manageable form factor and lower price point it's the phone that's likely to appeal to a wider audience - but for those looking for Apple perfection it has to be the 7 Plus. 

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 still excellent, the screen quality the best that can be found right now and it's smashed through all our benchmarking tests. 

While it costs a lot to own, there are a lot of premium reasons for the premium price, and with the screen Samsung has managed to find some impressive innovation at a time when there's very little to be found in smartphones.

Read the full review: Samsung Galaxy S8

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 too offers the bezel-less Infinity display design and exactly the same internals too. It is even more expensive though.

We're all about testing and rating all the phones here at techradar. There's nothing we like more than brewing a pot of tea and deciding where each new phone should sit in the list.

However, sometimes they don't make it into the top 10 - sad, we know, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't have a quick look to see if they fit your needs. After all, there are very few bad phones these days...

The Google Pixel XL is a phone you should definitely check out - it's one of the best phones out there in terms of speed, user interface and camera.

The reason it's not higher is the amazingly high price for this phone - it makes it hard to recommend as there are handsets with equivalent performance that are a lot cheaper.

But if you want the latest lick of Android in a phablet, the Pixel XL is the place to be.

Read:   Google Pixel XL

Motorola is doing well with its flagship Z series, but it's also a great brand for making low cost handsets as well. The G4 Play is a great mix of decent spec and low price - it's one of our very best budget phone recommendations.

It's nowhere near the power levels of the other phones we've suggested here, but if you're in the market for a bargain you could do a lot worse.

Read: Moto G4 Play review

Huawei Mate 8
Huawei Mate 8

The Huawei P9 is a phone that offers a lot for the price, and shows that the brand is really getting its act together in terms of making a phone that can mix it with the best.

The P9 shines in the camera - our tests have it as the third best snapper overall out of all the phones on the market - and the solid build quality. If this had come in at Huawei's usually-low price, it would have troubled the higher echelons of this chart, but even still the brand clearly knows what makes a good phone.

Read: Huawei P9 review

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