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.
2016 is coming to an end, and it's been a vintage year for phones. If you're getting ready to upgrade your phone, now is probably the time to do it. Actually two of our favourite phones of the year have just come out – the OnePlus 3T and Google Pixel.
Samsung's fantastic Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge are strong options, but both the LG G5 and stunning HTC 10 are also worth a look if it's an Android phone you're after. iOS fan? The superb iPhone SE is certainly a good choice. But the iPhone 7 is let down by poor battery, so it doesn't feature here.
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Oh, and let's not the Samsung Galaxy Note 7. A fantastic phone, let down by a dodgy battery that seems to be exploding. Ah, that's a bit of a problem. We've removed it from this list as it's no longer available to buy.
If you really can't wait, however, there are still many great phones to choose from. Click here to browse our best smartphone list now, or read on for more more smartphone buying advice.
Watch our smartphone buyers guide
Not sure where to start in your quest for a new phone? Whether you're seasoned buyer or are looking to buy your first smartphone, here are a few pointers to help you get started.
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 6S or LG G4 if you want to, but bear in mind that some crackers like the the 4G-enabled Motorola Moto E (2015) cost a fraction of the price and are brilliant phones in their own right.
It's also worth considering last year's top phones. The LG G4 and S6 now available for much less and are better than many new mid-range phones.
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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.
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.
Of all those, fingerprint scanners and NFC are quickly becoming must-have features. Not only does the former add extra security to your phone, the two combined open up the potential for contactless payments. Believe us when we say paying with your phone using your fingerprint is very cool.
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.
The Android operating system offers a better balance of variety and affordability than its rivals, due to the sheer diversity of Android smartphone manufacturers. There's a phone to suit any desire or budget and even the flagship ones are often much cheaper than iPhone rivals.
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.
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iPhones are some of the most expensive smartphones you can buy, and the last-generation iPhone 6 will still set you back a fair amount SIM-free. However, design is always on-point, the apps are great and they're 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.