13 Best Smartphones and Mobile Phones 2015
Our best smartphone round-up includes only the very best mobile phones right now. If you're looking for a new phone then it's in this list somewhere.
We've added the Vodafone Smart Ultra 6 as part of our latest best smartphones update. It's an excellent phablet that's available for a ridiculously low price. The Ultra may not look like much, but it's packed full of brilliant features, including a 5.5-inch, Full HD display, 4G connectivity and a microSD card slot.
We've also removed the HTC One M9 and the Huawei Ascend Mate 7. While good, the HTC's so-so camera is already looking rather lacking compared to the latest phones. The Ascend Mate 7, meanwhile, remains among the best phablets, but there are quite a few phones we'd choose over it now.
Click here to browse our best smartphone list now, or read on for a glance at the full list and more buying advice.
We’ve split our best smartphone round-up into two categories: the best entry-level and mid-range phones that are more affordable and the best flagship phones that have all the latest features
Best Smartphones 2015 – Entry-level & Mid-range
You'll find that entry-level and mid-range phones are often powered by similar processors. Spending more won't get you a faster phone, but what it will get you is nicer design, a better screen or camera and other extra features.
Motorola Moto E 2 2015 – From £11 a month or £109 SIM-free – A 4.5-inch phone with 4G and great battery life, it's the best cheap Android phone you can buy.
Microsoft Lumia 640 – From £10.50 a month or £139.99 SIM-free – This 5-inch budget phone has a nice design, good overall performance and a useful camera. It's a good cheap option for anyone.
Moto G 2014 – From £14.50 a month or £139.99 SIM-free – This 5-inch smartphone with excellent battery life and 4G is enough phone for the majority of people and it delivers brilliantly.
Vodafone Smart Ultra 6 – From £17 a month or £125 SIM-free – An incredible 5.5-inch smartphone with 4G, a near-pure version of Android Lollipop and strong enough performance for 3D gaming.
Huawei Ascend G7 – From £18.50 a month or £199 SIM-free – This 5.5-inch smartphone has a great camera and class-leading battery life, making it a great option if you want top-end features at a knock down price.
LG G3 – From £26.50 a month or £285 SIM-free – LG's 5.5-inch smartphone with a stunning QHD screen, it's actually last year's flagship but it's still available and it's still great.
Best Smartphones 2015 – Flagship Phones
These flagship phones are the very best out there. In most cases you pay a little more for the pleasure of owning them, but you won't regret buying any of these great phones.
Huawei P8 – £359 – Huawei's new flagship phone is stunning and had a good camera to boot. It goes on sale later in May, but it's one to look out for.
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 – From £38 a month or £479 SIM-free – Samsung is still king of the phablet thanks to its 5.7-inch smartphone with a lovely QHD screen and a stylus.
LG G4 – From £35 a month or £530 SIM-free – LG's latest Android smartphone has a better screen and a faster camera, and you can get classy leather-backed versions, too.
iPhone 6 – From £38 a month or £539 SIM-free – Apple's 4.7-inch smartphone has excellent performance and a fingerprint scanner, though it's due to be replaced in the next few months.
Samsung Galaxy S6 – From £39.50 a month or £599.99 SIM-free – Possibly the phone of the year, Samsung's 5.1-inch mobile with a QHD AMOLED screen is a stunner.
iPhone 6 Plus – From £43.50 a month or £619 SIM-free – Apple's giant 5.5-inch smartphone comes with a good screen and excellent battery life, though you may want to wait before you buy.
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge – From £43.50 a month or £695 SIM-free – If you fancy showing off, this 5.1-inch smartphone with class-leading performance and an awesome camera also has an eye-catching curved screen.
Best Smartphone Buying Guide
That's our list of the best smartphones right now, but what should you look for when buying a new phone? Here are a few pointers to get you started.
How much should you spend on a new smartphone?
While flagships seem to be getting more expensive by the year, laying your hands on a good smartphone is actually cheaper than ever. By all means splash the cash on a show-stopper like the iPhone 6 or HTC One M9 if you want to, but bear in mind that some crackers like the the 4G-enabled Motorola Moto E (2015) cost less than £100 on pay-as-you-go and only slightly more SIM-free.
Another example, the LG G3 – TrustedReviews Phone of the Year in 2014 – is now available for less than £300 SIM-free. It's half the price of some other flagship phones. It’s still just as good now as it was last year, so it’s a great way to get top-end features at a lower price. Don’t assume you have to spend big on the latest and greatest.
Related: Best Cheap Mobile Phones
What size smartphone should you buy?
Large-screened mobiles are very much in demand these days, with even Apple embracing phablet fever. Phones measuring in at 5.5 inches and above can be considered as such, and are usually blessed with excellent displays that are great for watching videos and playing games on.
Anything between 4.5 and 5.1 inches is more practical for fingers and pockets, while still good for browsing the web, gaming and more. 4-inch smartphones, meanwhile, are ideal for children and users who aren’t fussed about games and videos. If you're unsure what's best for then a 5-inch is a good size for most people.
Other things to consider
You might consider extra features to be like the sprinkles on top of a cake, but they’re far more important than that. Things like microSD card slots, NFC, fingerprint scanners and water-resistance can dramatically affect the overall user experience of a smartphone. For more on these, and further buying advice, read our Mobile Phone Buyer’s Guide.
Android vs iPhone vs Windows: Which is best?
The smartphone world is notoriously divisive, with Apple-worshipping ‘fanboys’ on one end of the spectrum and Android-obsessed ‘phandroids’ on the other. The smaller Windows Phone OS has similarly militant supporters who don’t yet have a collective name, and you should ignore all of them.
We’ve explained the main advantages and disadvantages of each of the three main mobile operating systems below.
Buy an Android smartphone if you want a wide range of options
The Android operating system offers a better balance of variety and affordability than its rivals, due to the sheer diversity of Android smartphone manufacturers. Some flagship models, like the LG G3, are available for less than £300, while you can also find something less flashy but equally excellent for less than £150.
In Google Play, Android has the largest selection of apps and games too, but there’s a lot of rubbish mixed in with the good stuff. Overall, it’s a great operating system and it’s certainly the best option if you’d rather not spend big money on a shiny new smartphone.
Related: Best Android Phones
Buy an iPhone if you value simplicity
iPhones are some of the most expensive smartphones you can buy, and the last-generation iPhone 5S will still set you back close to £500. However, design is always on-point, meaning that the iPhone is as much gadget as it is fashion item, and it's very easy to use.
Apple’s App Store isn’t quite as populated as Google Play, but its restrictions are tighter, meaning that the overall quality of iOS games and apps is higher than what you’ll find on Android. It’s also a great option if you own other Apple gadgets, like MacBooks and iPads, as the tightly integrated services make life easy.
Buy a Windows Phone smartphone if you're a heavy Windows user
Windows Phone mobiles are instantly recognisable, thanks to the use of a single design blueprint. They’re all angular with clean corners and edges, and the choice of colours you get is far more vibrant and exciting than what you’ll find elsewhere. What’s more, there are a lot of cheap Windows Phone models available.
Unfortunately, the Windows Phone app store is tiny in comparison to those of Android and iOS. There are hundreds of thousands of apps and games available, but some favourites like Snapchat and Citymapper are still nowhere to be seen.
Related: Best Windows Phone Round-up
Microsoft plans to bring out a new version of its operating system in the coming months, so it’s worth waiting to see what that brings before buying. What it currently lacks in depth and quality of apps is excellent integration with Microsoft services, such as Office 365. This will only get better when the next version comes out later this year.