The smartphone industry is set to grow by 10 percent in 2016 with more than 1.5 billion phones sold (source), but only one of those sales is important to you. We help you choose your new smartphone, with our guide to the 20 best phones you can buy in the UK in 2016/2017. Also see: Best new phones coming in 2017.
Also see: Best Phone Deals
When we review smartphones we take into account their build quality and design, ease of use, features, performance and value, although the latter isn’t always such a big deal when it comes to a phone you are most likely to buy on a contract. Generally speaking a flagship phone will cost between £500- and £600, or between £40- and £50 per month on a contract. If you are buying SIM-free then you should also check out our best SIM-only deals.
Value becomes more important when you consider older-generation phones. For example, we still think the Samsung Galaxy S6 is better than many of the phones in this chart, especially when you consider that it’s now available under £400 SIM-free. However, we move all older-generation smartphones to our best old phones chart, and you’ll now find the Galaxy S7 andS7 edge sitting at the top of this best phones chart. We also have a best budget phones round-up if you’re looking to minimise costs. Also see: Best kids’ phones 2016/2017
Note that we have removed the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 from our smartphone chart due to the ongoing battery issues which, in some cases, are catching on fire. Samsung has now discontinued the phone so you should stop using it and return it for a refund.
Best phone 2016/2017: Android vs iOS vs Windows
There are multiple mobile phone operating systems, but really only two worth talking about: Android and iOS. Windows phones account for around 1 percent of all phones sold, so it makes more sense to go with Android or an iPhone. If you do have your heart set on Windows, also see our list of the best Windows phones 2016/2017. (Similarly, for purely Android choices see Best Android phones.)
The vast majority of phones available run the Android operating system, with Marshmallowthe latest version. While Apple’s iOS platform has a much lower market share, developers always release their apps on iOS so it has one of the best app stores you’ll find. For more, seeAndroid vs iPhone.
Also, for a more in-depth look at each OS see our Android Marshmallow review, iOS 10 review and Windows 10 Mobile review.
If you have an Android phone or and iPhone and want to move to the other type of phone, it’s fair easy move your contacts and other data from one to the other. See How to move from Android to iPhone and How to move from iPhone to Android. What you can’t move is paid-for apps, so keep this in mind if you’re considering a change of platform.