Update: The OnePlus 5 has now entered our list of top phones, but where does it place against the Samsung Galaxy S8, HTC U11, Sony Xperia XZ Premium and iPhone 7?
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 handsets duking it out with the iPhone at the top of our list.
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).
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.
- 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 below but not sure how long to wait for the next big hitters? Try our well-stocked iPhone 8 release date or Google Pixel 2 release date pages to help you out.
- Find a good deal with TechRadar: mobile phone deals
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
HTC is back with another effort aimed at becoming the phone you want to have in your pocket – and this one has squeezable sides.
You read that right – and unfortunately, they don’t really add a lot. But wait! Beyond that this is a very impressive phone, getting the basics right across the board.
The camera offers some brilliant snaps and has a strong HDR mode, the audio performance (combined with the bundled buds and headphone upgrader in the box) is excellent and the two-tone design is thoroughly unique.
It doesn’t do enough to topple the Galaxy S8, but if you’re looking for something a bit different the U11 is a phone that won’t disappoint.
Read the full review: HTC U11
- What’s next? The HTC U12 will be next in line, but we know nothing about that yet – except that it probably won’t be called the U12 as HTC keeps messing around with its naming strategy.
Also consider: It’s hard to know what to recommend here, as there’s nothing that really compares on the market right now. However, with the price you’d probably look at the Galaxy S8 or the LG G6 as something a bit different.
We thought the days of the 4K phone were over, but Sony’s back and reinvigorated the technology by cramming in HDR compatibility… which really makes videos stunning.
Sure, there’s not masses of HDR content out there, but the 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 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.
Read the full review: Sony Xperia XZ Premium
- What’s next? We’re not sure what Sony is cooking up next, but chances are we’ll see a sequel to the Xperia XZ at IFA this year – stay tuned for more information on that in the coming months.
Also consider: The easiest comparison here is to 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.
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.
The OnePlus 5 is one of the more affordable devices in this list and offers one of the best Android phone experiences on the market. It comes with a more refined and comfortable to hold design than previous OnePlus handsets as well as dual-cameras round the back and some phenomenal power under the hood.
There’s a 1080p 5.5-inch AMOLED display on the front and inside is the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor and you have the choice of either 6GB or 8GB of RAM. The battery life isn’t incredible on the OnePlus 5, but it rivals a lot of the other devices you’ll find on this list.
There’s still no microSD support on the OnePlus 5, much like previous OnePlus phones, but you do have the choice of either 64GB or 128GB of internal storage.
The true highlight of the OnePlus 5 is the price though and this may will be one of the best devices for you on this list if you’re looking to spend as little as possible on a top-of-the-range phone.
Read the full review: OnePlus 5
- What’s next? We expect the OnePlus 6 to launch at some point in the future, but considering the OnePlus 5 launched in June 2017 it’ll likely be a very, very long way off.
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.
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
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
By Gareth Beavis
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