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Most reliable mobiles

With mobile phones serving as essential tools for web browsing, photography, navigation and beyond, it's crucial to choose a model that you can rely on.
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When comparing mobile phone deals, there are many things to consider. From camera quality to battery life, it’s important to research your handset to ensure you choose a mobile that will withstand the test of time.

If you find a reliable mobile phone that lasts for years, you could then opt for a SIM only deal at the end of your contract.  This will prolong the life of your handset and also save you money on your phone bill in the long run. 

Here are some of the most reliable mobile phones on the market. If you own one of these handsets, you probably don't need to upgrade just yet and could save money with a SIM only deal once your phone contract has ended.

Most reliable new mobile phones

For this section, we’ve looked at the best mobile phones that are currently available, ranking them on the following factors:

  • Battery life

  • Display refresh rate

  • Camera quality

  • Waterproof rating

  • Warranty period

  • Processor score

  • Review score

1. Google Pixel 6 Pro & Google Pixel 7 Pro - 9.47 / 10

Two handsets are tied as the most reliable smartphone, both from the Google Pixel family. The Pro versions of the Pixel 6 and 7 only differ very slightly regarding the metrics studied.

Both have a 50-megapixel camera, an IP68 water resistance rating, a two-year warranty, a processor rating of 78 and a screen refresh rate of 120 Hz. This means that the display is able to draw a new image 120 times per second.

There are just two slight differences between the Pixel 6 Pro and the 7 Pro. First, the 6 Pro has a marginally bigger battery compared to the 7 Pro. However, this is balanced out by the fact that the 7 Pro has a slightly higher average review score of 4.48 compared to 4.46 for the 6 Pro.

3. Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra - 8.95 / 10

In third place, behind the Pixel 6 and 7 Pro, is another Android phone: the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra. With Samsung’s Note series being discontinued, this phone is its true successor.

The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra has a 108-megapixel main camera, which is significantly better than any of the other phones on this list, delivering incredibly sharp and rich images. It also has a 5,000 mAh battery, meaning it should have a battery life of just under 20 hours. Overall, the S22 Ultra holds an impressive average review score of 4.5.

RankPhoneBattery capacity (mAh)Refresh rate (Hz)Camera quality (MP)Water resistance rating (IP)Warranty period (years)Processor scoreAverage review scoreOverall score /10
1Google Pixel 6 Pro5,00312050682784.469.47
1Google Pixel 7 Pro5,00012050682784.489.47
3Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra5,000120108681854.58.95
4Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max4,32312048681994.628.42
5Google Pixel 64,6149050682784.387.89
6Google Pixel 74,3559050682784.467.37
7Apple iPhone 14 Pro3,20012048681994.56.84
8Samsung Galaxy Z Fold44,40012050X81924.26.32
9Samsung Galaxy S22+4,50012050681854.065.79
10Samsung Galaxy S223,70012050681854.085.26

Most reliable mobile phone brands

1. Google - 7.14 / 10

Looking at the above factors as an average across each brand, Google Pixels are the most reliable smartphones. The main reason for this is that they come with a two-year warranty, unlike Apple and Samsung phones, which come with one-year warranties. Pixels also retain the greatest scores for battery life and reviews, as well as being tied with Samsung in camera quality.

2. Samsung & Apple - 3.57 / 10

Samsung and Apple were actually tied in second place behind Google, both scoring 3.57. The two brands both outperformed each other in three different categories. Samsung phones tended to have a longer battery life, higher refresh rates and superior camera quality, helped by models, such as the Galaxy S22 Ultra. On the other hand, Apple phones triumphed in terms of water resistance, processor scores and average reviews. While Apple only offers a one-year warranty, the brand does offer a reliable in-store aftercare service, delivering mobile repairs and software services.

RankManufacturerBattery capacity (mAh)Refresh rate (Hz)Camera quality (MP)Water resistance rating (IP)Warranty period (years)Processor scoreAverage review scoreOverall score /10

Most reliable refurbished phones

While a brand-new phone should last you a long time, refurbished phones can also be extremely reliable. And a lot cheaper, too.

Here, we’ve ranked some of the best phones that have been discontinued in the last two years, using the same factors as above.

1. Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra - 10 / 10

When it comes to refurbished models, the best phone is the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra’s predecessor, the S21 Ultra.

The Ultra represents the high-end version of the S21. And, until the arrival of the more recent version, it was considered the pinnacle of Android devices.

It has the best battery life of the phones on this list, with an excellent capacity of 5,000 mAh. This mobile also has a 108-megapixel camera.

2. Samsung Galaxy S20+ - 9.50 / 10

Another Samsung model comes in second, with the S20+ scoring 9.5 out of 10. The S20+ was among the best phones on the market when it launched, and it still holds up today.

Among its best features is its 64-megapixel camera and battery life (4,500 mAh capacity) and it scores an average of 4.5 on review sites.

While the Galaxy S20+ was also one of the most expensive smartphones available when it launched at £999, you can get a refurbished model for as little as £338.

3. Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra - 9.00 / 10

Completing the Samsung Galaxy top three is the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra. This was the final entry in Samsung’s Note range of phablets before it was incorporated into the S series Ultra models.

As well as an improved S-Pen and 5G connectivity, the Note 20 Ultra has a whole host of impressive features, such as performance optimisation for mobile gaming and wireless sync with desktop and laptop PCs.

As with the S21 Ultra, it has an incredible 108-megapixel camera and a great battery life, with a 4,500 mAh battery.

RankPhoneBattery capacity (mAh)Refresh rate (Hz)Camera quality (MP)Water resistance rating (IP)Warranty period (years)Processor scoreAverage review scoreOverall score /10
1Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra5,000120108681774.4210
2Samsung Galaxy S20+4,50012064681654.59.5
3Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra4,500120108681654.429
4Google Pixel 54,0809016682464.228.5
5Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max4,35212012681914.428
6Samsung Galaxy S204,00012064681654.267.5
7Samsung Galaxy S214,000120646817747
8Samsung Galaxy S20 FE4,50012012681654.286.5
9Samsung Galaxy Z Fold34,40012012X81834.185.5
9Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max3,6876012681854.465.5

Which refurbished phones offer the best savings?

The refurbished phones that offer the best savings graph, Samsung Galaxy S9 tanks first with a saving of 77%

Buying a refurbished phone is a much more sustainable option than purchasing a new handset. And it’s also great value. Older refurbished models are usually significantly cheaper than the phones were when they first launched. But just how much could you save?

1. Samsung Galaxy S9 - 77% saving

The phone on this list with the biggest saving is the Galaxy S9, which initially launched with a price tag of £739 but can now be picked up for £169. The Galaxy S9 is a solid phone, despite not offering much improvement on the S8 that came before it. Significant features include a better camera and improved location of the biometric scanner for unlocking the phone.

2. Samsung Galaxy S10 - 71% saving

Next is the successor to the Samsung Galaxy S9, the S10. It launched at £799, but the average cost of a refurbished model today is 71% less, at £228.

Launched to mark the 10th year of the Galaxy S series of flagship phones, the S10 is still a great phone today. If you’re looking for a top-quality Samsung but don’t want to shell out for the S20, the S10 could be the perfect compromise for you.

3. Samsung Galaxy S10+ - 69% saving

Completing the top three is the larger Samsung Galaxy S10+. The S10+ initially retailed at £899, but a refurbished model currently costs around £275. As the name implies, the S10+ has a larger display size than the standard model but is also a touch more expensive.

RankPhoneLaunch RRPRefurbished priceDifference
1Samsung Galaxy S9£739£169-77%
2Samsung Galaxy S10£799£228-71%
3Samsung Galaxy S10+£899£275-69%
4Samsung Galaxy S20+£999£338-66%
5Apple iPhone Xʀ£749£266-64%
5Samsung Galaxy S9+£869£316-64%
7Samsung Galaxy S20£799£297-63%
8Google Pixel 5£599£232-61%
9Apple iPhone SE (2020)£419£173-59%
10Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3£1,599£684-57%
10Apple iPhone 11£729£313-57%

Which refurbished phone brands offer the best savings?

Looking at three major phone manufacturers, it seems that the greatest savings to be had are on Android phones.

Of the phones that we looked at, the average Samsung retailed at just shy of £1,000, but a refurbed model can be picked up for £368. That’s a saving of just over 60%, more than Google phones and significantly more than Apple phones.

The average refurbished Pixel phone is 56% cheaper than its original list price, which drops to 42% for Apple iPhones.

RankManufacturerAverage launch RRPAverage refurbished priceDifference

It's important to do your research before choosing a smartphone. The most reliable iPhones and Androids can potentially last several years. Therefore, rather than regularly taking out a new handset contract, consider opting for a SIM only deal to prolong the lifespan of your mobile. 

A SIM only plan is perfect if you’re already happy with the phone you have. And it can be a great way of cutting down your costs. This means you only pay for your data, calls and texts, so there’s no pricey smartphone to pay off. And, unlike pay as you go, you don’t have to go through the hassle of topping up your phone credit. You can get 12-month SIM only deals or one-month rolling contracts on major UK networks, including Three, O2, Vodafone, and Tesco Mobile.

Explore mobiles studies.

Visit our mobiles studies to learn more if you’re seeking for the newest mobile statistics or want to get inspiration from our experts’ research.


Methodology and sources

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Creative Commons