What's the best smartphone? The best mobile phone is the Samsung Galaxy S6, closely followed by the Google Nexus 6P and Apple iPhone 6s Plus. Read more about the best smartphones and some top alternatives in our best phones chart below.
We test and review all the best smartphones money can buy across iPhones, Android, Windows Phone and BlackBerry (and sometimes others). So here are the best phones of 2016. They are the best mobile phones you can buy in the UK right now.
Smartphones are an important and personal tech purchase so at PC Advisor we review all the major handsets available to buy in the UK. Here we rank them into the 20 best smartphones of 2016.
Latest entries: OnePlus X and iPhone 6S.
Take a look below, and when you come to buy your smartphone you might be interested in using our exclusive Mobiles.co.uk codes to save you some extra cash if you're buying on contract. Use PC Advisor's exclusive PCAMOB10 code at checkout to remove £10 from the upfront cost of any pay montly deal where a payment of £10 or above is required (excludes O2). Or, use PCASIM10 to add £10 of automatic cashback to any 12 month SIM-only contract (excludes O2).
Of course, many of last year's phones are still great buys, especially as most are now available at a discount now that the next generation has launched. Here are the 14 best 'old' phones you can buy right now.
We test and review smartphones in-depth and here are the best of the best from all the operating systems including iOS, Android, Windows Phone and BlackBerry. We update this story all the time as we review the latest smartphones. See also: Best Android smartphones in UK: What's the best Android phone you can buy in 2016?
If you've visited this page in the past you may notice that we've cut the number of smartphone in the list. There are now just 20 to help you get a clearer and more concise look at the best phones on the market. (See also: best smartphones for business.)
We have also ranked the phones in order of performance: The fastest smartphones of 2016: processor, web and graphics performance comparison
Best phones list: Smartphones to look out for in 2016 UK
Although we've ranked the best smartphones which we've reviewed, there are some upcoming handsets to be aware of. Once we've had them in, tested them fully, and reviewed them, they are likely to make this chart. This means it might be worth holding off your purchase for a little while. Take a look at: The best tablets of 2016: What's the best tablet in the UK right now?
In the list are some of the biggest launches of 2015 including the Samsung Galaxy S6, HTC One M9, OnePlus 2 and LG G4 - The Sony Xperia Z3+ was a let down but the Xperia Z5 has now taken its place. Also look out for the iPhone 6S and Galaxy S6 Edge Plus. Please note the Galaxy Note 5 is there although it doesn't have an official European launch but you can still get hold of it. The Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P are also in the best phones list.
Smartphone material poll
Best phones of 2016: How to choose which phone to buy
One of the biggest things you need to decide when choosing a smartphone is which operating system to use. Although there are others around, it's best to stick with the big names including iOS, Android, Windows Phone and potentially BlackBerry. There are no Windows Phones in the chart at the moment but this might change with the Lumia 950. See: Best Windows Phones 2016.
If you're already using one then it might be best to stay in that camp – especially if you've invested time and money in its apps. However, it's not difficult to switch so you should consider them all. Note there aren't any BlackBerry devices on the market at the moment which we think are good enough to make this list but check out our BlackBerry Classic review and BlackBerry Priv review.
Design will come down to personal taste and most of the top smartphones now have a very thin and light chassis. The best smartphones typically use premium materials like glass, aluminium or even steel and on this front you're best off trying a phone out in the flesh to see whether it feels good for the size of your hand. Some even come with the option of wood, leather or other materials.
It's worth pointing out that only a handful of the best phones on the market come with a waterproof design. It's mostly Sony offering this feature across its Xperia Z range.
The screen size of a high-end phone is typically 5in or above with a key exception being the Xperia Z5 Compact. You're looking at a Full HD (1080 x 1920) resolution typically or even higher at Quad HD (1440 x 2560). Only one phone goes higher than this with a 4K screen (3840 x 2160) and that's the Xperia Z5 Premium which hasn't come out yet but we will review when we can.
These days, all the best phones have decent processors and plenty of memory. Some may be quad-core with 2GB of RAM but most are now octa-core with 3GB of RAM or more. Despite benchmark scores, you're typically going to get great performance from these devices - you tend to get what you pay for.
What is more important to look at is storage as once you run out, that's it. If you want to store lots of apps, photos, videos and music then look for a phone with plenty of internal storage – 64- or even 128GB. Less is ok but check for a microSD card slot meaning you can add more by buying and inserting a memory card.
When it comes to cameras, more megapixels is a good sign but isn't the be and end all so make sure you click through to our full review of each phone for our thoughts as well as sample photos and videos. See also: Best phone camera 2016.
Whether you care about it or not, the best phones will typically come with some additional hardware. The latest iPhones have fingerprint scanners, and so do many of Samsung's Galaxy phones which also often have heart rate monitors and even UV sensors. Lots of top phones have an IR blaster so you can control other gadgets around your home such as your TV. Audio fans will enjoy the stereo speakers of the HTC One M8 and M9 while Sony's Xperia Z range and some other phones offers High-Res playback support. Also see: Best sounding phone 2016.
Battery life will no doubt be important to you and there are still only a handful of phones which come with wireless charging built-in making it easier to keep your handset topped up. Battery life varies from device to device, so click through to our reviews to see how they got on in our tests.
Take a look below, and when you come to buy your smartphone you might be interested in using our exclusive Mobiles.co.uk codes to save you some extra cash if you're buying on contract. Use PCAMOB10 at checkout to remove £10 from the upfront cost of any pay montly deal where a payment of £10 or above is required (excludes O2). Or, use PCASIM10 to add £10 of automatic cashback to any 12 month SIM-only contract (excludes O2).
Best Smartphones of 2016: best phones reviews
20. Honor 6 Plus
- Reviewed on: 18 June 15
- RRP: £299
For anyone looking for a smartphone with a large screen, the Honor 6 Plus is absolutely worth considering. It has great specs, a good-looking and sleek design and a cool camera, all at a surprisingly low price.
Read our Honor 6 Plus review.
- Reviewed on: 30 July 15
- RRP: £230
The mid-range smartphone market is always tricky, especially with budget devices getting so good. If you are looking for something around this price, the Sony Xperia M4 Aqua is a solid choice although the Honor 6 is worth a look for extra features. It offers flagship-like design, a great camera and a user-friendly Android Lollipop.
Read our Sony Xperia M4 Aqua review.
- Reviewed on: 18 August 15
- RRP: From £159 inc VAT
With various upgrades including a waterproof design, great cameras and stock Android, the new Moto G 2015 is a great affordable phone. The device is still a bit chunky and it's a shame to see the stereo speakers gone. It's worth opting for the model with 16GB of storage and 2GB of RAM and when you customise the device with Moto Maker the price is a not so attractive £209. The Vodafone Smart Ultra 6 is worth a look at just £125 with its Full HD display.
Read our Motorola Moto G 2015 (3rd gen) review.
17. OnePlus X
- Reviewed on: 17 December 15
- RRP: £199 (Onyx); £269 (Ceramic)
The OnePlus X is the best value smartphone of the year. We love the premium design in a smaller form factor to the firm’s other phones. Software is a strong point and you get a gorgeous screen. However, cuts had to be made somewhere and the X is lacking features such as NFC, 11ac and Wi-Fi. It also is missing the fingerprint scanner and USB Type-C port found on the OnePlus 2. Battery life isn’t great and cameras aren’t best in class but this is a great phone for the price.
Read our OnePlus X review.
- Reviewed on: 17 November 15
- RRP: £629 inc VAT
With more memory and excellent battery life the Galaxy S6 Edge+ is a powerful phone and a great choice if you want a large screen. However, it's expensive, unwieldy and Samsung has dropped the IR blaster and hardly added anything to the edge screen. With the regular S6 available for less than £340 it's a no brainer.
Read our Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ review.
- Reviewed on: 15 December 15
- RRP: £279
Overall, the Moto X Play is a decent mid-range phone. But, it's not the great upgrade which Moto X owners were looking for. The camera is good, as is the screen, but performance could be better - as could battery life. Had Motorola offered the dual-SIM version in the UK and made the phone waterproof, it would have had enough to be a decent alternative to the OnePlus 2. For many, this more powerful rival will be more appealing. It's also cheaper and has optical stabilisation and the option to shoot 4K video. Yet, if you like the idea of creating your own custom phone and don't want the hassle of getting an invite to buy a OnePlus 2, it's really not a bad deal at all.
Read our Motorola Moto X Play review.
14. Google Nexus 5X
- Reviewed on: 11 November 15
- RRP: £339 inc VAT
Those looking to upgrade from a Nexus 5 will be happy and sad in almost equal measure. The 5X is a fantastic phone overall, with excellent cameras, a good turn of speed and an excellent screen. But it's noticeably bigger than its predecessor despite the small increase in screen size, it has limited storage compared to the Nexus 6P and it lacks a couple of camera features due to the slower processor. The absence of wireless charging is another blow for some, but additions such as the fingerprint scanner will make it a great upgrade for others.
Read our Google Nexus 5X review.
13. Honor 7
- Reviewed on: 4 February 16
- RRP: £249 inc VAT
Honor has once again impressed us with a flagship smartphone at an outrageous price. For under £250 you get a lot of phone for your money. Performance is good with the main camera and fingerprint sensors being the highlights on the hardware side. Emotion UI isn't our favourite Android skin but it's perfectly usable and you can always change it if you like.
Read our Honor 7 review.
- Reviewed on: 23 April 15
- RRP: £760 inc VAT
The Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge is a beautiful smartphone, one of the most attractive but the design has flaws such as sharp edges. While a non-removable battery is an inevitable outcome, we're surprised about the lack of waterproofing and a microSD card slot. Hardware is strong with a gorgeous screen, fast processor and great all-round camera. The key point here is that while dual edge display sounds like an amazing innovation it has very limited in functionality so simply isn't worth the extra money compared to the regular Galaxy S6.
Read our Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge review.
- Reviewed on: 23 October 15
- RRP: £359 inc VAT
If you're looking for a big screen phone, the Moto X Style is a great choice. It's got great specs across the board and it cheaper than rivals like the Nexus 6P and Galaxy S6 Edge+. We love the screen, stock Android and cameras. However, it really comes stands out when using the Moto Maker to customise it which costs more. With a screen only slightly smaller and a fingerprint scanner the OnePlus 2 is the spanner in the works here at £289 for the 64GB model.
Read our Motorola Moto X Style review.
10. OnePlus 2
- Reviewed on: 10 February 16
- RRP: £239 16GB, £289 64GB
The lack of NFC, a microSD card slot, a removable battery, and quick- and wireless charging means the OnePlus 2 is not a flagship killer. It does have some killer new features though, including USB Type-C, 4G dual-SIM support and some powerful hardware. At the reduced price of £249 (we don't recommend the 16GB OP2), it's an unrivalled deal.
Read our OnePlus 2 review.
- Reviewed on: 22 October 15
- RRP: £429 inc VAT
The Xperia Z5 Compact is the best small phone around, but then there's not much competition in this area anymore and there are a number of phones offering decent specs for a lot less. Those looking for Z5 design and specs in a smaller frame will be pleased but it's a shame about the chunky design with the sharp edges. The fingerprint scanner is a great addition and the Snapdragon 810 with almost stock Android provides slick performance. However, the camera isn't as good as Sony makes it out to be.
Read our Sony Xperia Z5 Compact review.
8. HTC One M9
- Reviewed on: 18 January 16
- RRP: £579 inc VAT
The HTC One M9 is a genuinely desirable smartphone with the best design and build available in Android land, even with Samsung upping the ante. It's good to see the powerful Snapdragon 810 and more memory, however, some key hardware remains the same meaning M8 users are unlikely to be tempted to upgrade – and the old model is now an attractive buy at around £350. The fact the Galaxy S6 is the same price with more impressive specs is also not a good thing for HTC.
Read our HTC One M9 review.
- Reviewed on: 18 January 16
- RRP: £549 inc VAT
There's no doubt that the Xperia Z5 is a solid flagship smartphone from Sony and an improvement on the Z3+. We certainly like the new frosted glass rear cover and the addition of a fingerprint scanner in that slim power button. Once again, the camera is great but it's tough competition out there and arriving late in 2015 means rivals are now available for a decent chunk less. Once the price drops, which it will, this will be a great option for those of you looking for a waterproof flagship with a Micro-SD card slot but we'd like the Full HD screen to be Quad HD and the design just isn't as nice in the hand compared to rivals.
Read our Sony Xperia Z5 review.
6. LG G4
- Reviewed on: 19 August 15
- RRP: £500 inc VAT
LG has gone down an unexpected route with leather models which we like apart from a couple of colours. The so called ceramic model will be cheaper but feels cheap and plasticky. On the whole, hardware is once again strong - particularly the camera - but not massively different from the G3 and has tough competition. We feel build quality could be better with a metal frame and dimensions going down, not the reverse. This is the flagship to go for if you want a removable battery and expandable storage but it's a shame to see features like wireless charging dropped. (Remember the G3 is now a steal at under £300 SIM-free and the OnePlus 2 is now here)
Read our LG G4 review.
5. iPhone 6S
- Reviewed on: 2 December 15
- RRP: From £539
We're really impressed by the offerings of the iPhone 6s, especially the 3D Touch technology. If it catches on (and we think it will) 3D Touch will completely change how people interact with their iPhones, both in terms of browsing the web and social media as well as when gaming. The camera overhaul is definitely a welcome addition too, especially when you consider Apple hasn't upped the resolution of its iSight camera since the iPhone 4s back in 2011. This works well with Live Photos, a new software feature that captures a gif-like video complete with audio when you take a photo - 1.5 seconds before the photo was taken, and 1.5 seconds after. It doesn't just boast impressive new features, the boosted internals provide us with a much faster iPhone than we're used to, and tasks that would take seconds on our iPhone 6 Plus took a split second on the iPhone 6s. We're excited about the technology the iPhone 6s offers, and what it means for future smartphones.
Read our iPhone 6S review.
- Reviewed on: 15 October 15
- RRP: n/a
So, what do we think of the Galaxy Note 5? We’re very fond of just about every aspect of the Galaxy Note 5, from its curved and sleek design to its vibrant display and high-resolution camera. It can handle almost anything you can throw at it thanks to its CPU, GPU and 4GB of RAM and we experienced no lag during our testing. The only bad point is that the Note 5 would sometimes falsely detect the S Pen detaching – and to point out such a minor fault says a lot about the quality of the handset. With this being said, we’re both surprised and sad that the Galaxy Note 5 won’t be heading to UK shores any time soon.
Read our Samsung Galaxy Note 5 review.
- Reviewed on: 19 October 15
- RRP: From £619 inc VAT
The iPhone 6S Plus is a remarkable phone, and it’s without doubt the best iPhone Apple has ever made. Just don't buy the 16GB model which doesn't have nearly enough storage. Few other phones are launching with screens under 5in which – if anything – makes the iPhone 6S look too small and the ‘giant’ 6S Plus normal. 3D Touch can sound gimmicky, but it’s absolutely not. It requires effort to force yourself to use it to begin with, but it quickly becomes second nature and it will be fascinating to see how app developers put it to use in apps and games. If you’ve already got an iPhone 6 or 6 Plus it’s hard to justify the upgrade for 3D Touch and the improved cameras. But for anyone with an iPhone 5S or earlier, there’s a world of difference and it’s a thoroughly worthwhile purchase.
Read our iPhone 6s Plus review.
- Reviewed on: 22 January 16
- RRP: From £449 inc VAT
Originally, Nexus phones stood out for being excellent value at a price that was low, but not the lowest. They weren't an alternative to flagship phones, but they had the advantage of running stock Android and getting the next version more quickly. The 6P, though, is not only a flagship, but is arguably the best Android phone to buy at the moment. It won't suit everyone due to its size, nor those looking for a phone with dual-SIM slots or a removable battery. There's no support for wireless charging either. But the excellent screen, front-firing speakers, quick charging, great cameras, speedy performance and Android Marshmallow add up to make this a phone that's a pleasure to use. And yes, it's also cheaper than its rivals, so unless you think it's worth shelling out extra on the Note 5, Galaxy S6 Edge+ or iPhone 6S Plus, the Nexus 6P is the one to buy.
Read our Google Nexus 6P review.
- Reviewed on: 18 January 16
- RRP: £599 inc VAT (32GB), £660 inc VAT (64GB)
Samsung's Galaxy S6 is the best Android phone of 2015 so far, although we've yet to see what's to come from the LG G4 and Sony Xperia Z4. It's fast, it's well built, it has a gorgeous screen and the software isn't overly intrusive. The fingerprint scanner is vastly improved, the heart-rate scanner a potential draw for some users, and the wireless- and fast charging welcome inclusions. We'd like to see the price come down (which we are sure it will) and it's a shame we've lost the removable battery, waterproofing and microSD support, but these are all things we can live with.
Read our Samsung Galaxy S6 review.