This is why you should trust our list of the best phones:
We’ve reviewed thousands of smartphones since we launched back in 2003, so it’s safe to say we’re one of the few outlets that can be trusted (no pun intended) to recommend a new product – and that’s because we aren’t paid by companies for coverage. All of our reviews are honest and unbiased.
We should note, however, that Trusted Reviews does earn some money when you click on a link to purchase a product, which helps us fund more impartial reviews. That also means we want you to be super-happy with your purchase so that you come back to us the next time you need buying advice.
Picking a new smartphone can often be a daunting task, and that’s because there are simply far too many to choose from. But to help make the process a little more bearable, we’ve rounded up ten of the best smartphones on the market – including the all-new Galaxy S9, Huawei P20 Pro and the four-month-old iPhone X.
How we select the best smartphones
Every handset we review is tested using the same combination of real-world use cases and repeatable benchmark tests. This means that we test everything from battery life and processor performance during the full range of everyday tasks, right up to call quality and screen calibration.
Phones are also now our go-to devices for taking photos, so the cameras are put through their paces in every situation possible. You want to know whether a phone’s camera will impress not just in bright sunshine at an exotic location, but also when taking shots of moving people at drunken parties, or just in the dull, flat light of a British winter.
Similarly, you might want to know how your phone will cope with a Netflix binge or video call, so our battery-discharge tests take that into account.
Most of all, we take these phones out and use them as our own over an extended period, living with them to learn their quirks and discover their hidden treasures.
So now you know how we select the best smartphones, let’s take a look at our highlights.
Samsung Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus
- Fantastic screen
- Feels great
- Improved speakers
- Average battery life
- Dual-sensor only on Plus model
- Some lag with Samsung’s software
You can’t go wrong with either the Galaxy S9 or Galaxy S9 Plus, though if we had to recommend one we’d go with the latter – and that’s because it comes with a dual-camera. The extra lens, in this instance, is used for zooming, making the camera far more versatile.
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Both the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus sport an identical build and similar internals, with the main differences being that the Plus model is equipped with an additional 2GB of RAM, a slightly bigger battery and the aforementioned dual-camera configuration – luxuries most customers should be able to live without.
The biggest update Samsung treated the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus to is a new variable aperture setting within the camera, letting customers switch between an f/2.4 and f/1,5 aperture whenever they see fit, which should ensure images come out bright and full of detail in almost all low-light environments.
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Apple iPhone X
- Stunning screen
- Much-improved telephoto camera
- The best-looking iPhone ever
- Face ID is much better than Touch ID
- Software needs more optimisation for the taller screen and notch
- No fast-charging plug included
- Very expensive
The iPhone X is not only the best smartphone Apple has released to date; it’s also the most expensive, setting customers back £999 for the 64GB base model. But it’s well worth it. Performance is fantastic, as are the images produced by the dual-camera setup, and Face ID is (honestly) the best thing since sliced bread.
Now let’s talk about its design. The iPhone X was designed to show the market that Apple hasn’t lost its touch when it comes to innovation, introducing an edge-to-edge OLED screen, complete with a notch, as well as Face ID. That, for those unaware, is the face-recognition feature that was introduced to replace Touch ID.
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Google Pixel 2 XL
- Stunning camera
- The best version of Android
- Minimal bezel
- Feels great to hold
- Lifeless screen
- No wireless charging
Those looking for the most vanilla Android experience will love the Google Pixel 2 XL. It’s one of the best smartphones we’ve put through its paces to date, earning a covered nine out of ten rating in our comprehensive review, with Max Parker, our resident Mobile and Tablets Editor, praising its build, camera and performance.
Our one qualm with the Google Pixel 2 XL is the screen. It’s a bit too plain for our liking, delivering poor viewing angles. It is, however, possible to alter the colour presets using an aftermarket application – but when you’re shelling out more than £600 for a smartphone, you’d expect it to be set to the optimum out of the box.
- Loads of features
- Fantastic audio
- The nicest-looking LG smartphone to date
- The screen isn’t great
- LG’s software is still ugly
While the LG V30 doesn’t have quite the same amount of power as the Galaxy S9, it’s still a fantastic flagship that’s worth your hard-earned cash. Sure, it suffers from the same flaws at the LG-made Google Pixel 2 XL in the screen department, but its Snapdragon 835 CPU and 4GB of RAM make up for that in the performance sector.
The main reason you ought to be interested in the LG V30, however, is for its dual-lens camera, which is one of the few on the market to feature a wide-angle lens. It’s superb, so much so we’re shocked more leading manufacturers haven’t rushed to adopt the tech. Seriously – once you go wide-angle, you’ll never go back.
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
- Stunning design and build
- Great screen
- Well-implemented stylus and software
- Superb cameras
- Average battery life
- Wildly expensive
Samsung was in a strange position after the world-famous Galaxy Note 7 debacle, having the choice to either axe the Galaxy Note range or come back with a safe bet to win then-former customers over – it chose the latter, opting to create the Galaxy Note 8, otherwise known as the best stylus-toting smartphone on the market.
And the firm didn’t disappoint, manufacturing a high-end handset with impressive internals, an incredible dual-camera setup and a fantastic square-like build, the latter of which feels nothing short of fantastic in the hand, that was awarded nine out of ten by our former Computing Editor Michael Passingham in his review.
Huawei P20 Pro
- Fantastic tri-camera
- 128GB of storage to boot
- Solid performance
- Stunning design
- EMUI interface has come a long way
- No 3.5mm headphone port
- Screen needs some fine-tuning
- No wireless charging
The Huawei P20 Pro is the first smartphone on the market to feature a tri-camera – a 40MP f/1.8 sensor, a 20MP f/1.6 monochrome sensor for depth and texture, and an 8MP f/2.4 telephoto sensor. But that isn’t its only claim to fame: it’s also equipped with a top-of-the-line processor, 6GB of RAM and a 4000mAh battery.
That means that the P20 Pro is a smartphone that can tickle everyone’s fancy. Whether you’re an aspiring or seasoned photographer, a power-hungry specs maniac or quite simply someone who’s after a handset that can last for 48 hours on a single charge, Huawei’s flagship has you covered. But it doesn’t come cheap.
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- Good OLED screen
- Slick software experience
- Excellent value
- 3Seriously fast
- No water-resistance
- Average camera
The OnePlus 5T is a fantastic choice for those looking for a high-end handset on a budget. It sports a 6-inch FHD+ screen, a Snapdragon 835 CPU, 6/8GB of RAM, 64/128GB of internal storage, a dual-camera (16MP + 16MP) and a 3300mAh cell – an incredible amount of tech for a smartphone that retails for less than £450.
Huawei P Smart
- Great 18:9 screen
- Heaps of value
- Slick design
- Frustrating EMUI software
- No fast-charging
- Some issues with build quality
Customers on a stricter budget should turn their attention to the Huawei P Smart. Sure, it doesn’t have the most interesting name, but it is – in my opinion, at least – the best affordable handset out there, offering users access to high-end hardware, including an aluminium body, for a fraction of the cost of a flagship.
Under the hood, there’s a 5.65-inch 18:9 screen, a Kirin 659 processor, 3GB of RAM, 32GB of expandable internal storage and a 3000mAh battery. There’s also a dual-camera setup on the rear (13MP + 2MP) that’s not too bad in well-lit environments, but misses the mark at night. At £179, though, it’s an absolute steal.
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