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Best phones available now: we round up the top smartphones

Only the best and brightest make the cut.
smartphones 2016 generic

With fresh handsets from Apple, Samsung, HTC and Motorola, it’s been a busy year for smartphones. And keeping up with what’s good and what’s new is a full-time job.

With that in mind, we’ve put together a breezy, bite-size guide to the best phones that tells what you need to know and matches them to what uSwitch customers tell us they’re looking for.

I want an iPhone but don’t want to spend iPhone money

iPhone SE 4

The iPhone SE has the same set of features as the iPhone 6, but packs them into a smaller, compact four-inch casing. Priced from £18 per month with nothing to pay upfront, it’s a lot of phone for not much outlay.

Highlights are a 12-megapixel iSight camera that’s capable of recording 4K video that’s four times as sharp as standard HD and Touch ID biometric security that means you can unlock your handset using your fingerprint alone.

You also get the option to control your phone, conduct searches and get directions using your voice with the Siri digital assistant app and Apple Pay that lets you pay for goods and services in shops and restaurants by swiping your phone over a reader.

Find the best iPhone SE deals

I’m on a budget. What’s good and cheap?

Motorola G4

At £165 when bought outright and off-contract the Moto G5, AKA the Moto G 2017, is a very keenly priced smartphone with a handy fast-charge mode that gets you a full charge in a shade over 70 minutes.

It teams a breezy look with fingerprint security, a 5-inch full HD LCD screen, a 13-megapixel camera that produces strikingly natural colours and the latest Nougat version of Android. And you get an impressively large, long-life 2,800 mAh battery too.

The only disappointment is that it's only splash-proof and not water-proof. That means a bit of rain won't hurt it, but don't expect to be able to take it swimming with you or use it in the bath in confidence.

Still at this price, you don’t get everything. And you're still getting an awful lot for your money.

Check out our best Moto G5 deals.

Or you can buy the Moto G5 off-contract

I want a phone that does it all. What’s the best you’ve got?

Samsung Galaxy S8 air hockey table side on

With a stunning infinity display, the eye-catching Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus looks like no other smartphone. The 6.2-inch Quad HD screen really puts the comparably sized iPhone 7 Plus in the shade.

But all the fuss about its incredible screen and bezel-free design has meant that its staggeringly extensive features have been a tad overlooked.

It’s waterproof. There’s a fast-charge mode. It’s powered by the latest Nougat version of Google’s Android software. And the 12-megapixel camera takes Instagram-ready photos and has autofocus for better results in challenging conditions.

It also features a handy ‘always-on’ option, so you don’t have to wake up your phone every time you want to check the time of day, and there's a fingerprint scanner around the back of the device.

Samsung's own voice assistant, Bixby, is also has an iris scanner and facial recognition tech.

Find the best Samsung Galaxy S8 deals and the best Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus deals

I want something genuinely new and innovative. What should I choose?

motorola moto z

The Moto Z is a ‘modular’ phone and breaks from the norm by allowing you to change its features and capabilities by inserting accessories, or so-called ‘modules’, into its removable rear section.

Want better audio? You can attach the Moto Mod JBL speaker to boost your audio quality and turn your phone into a stereo.

Or you can turn your Moto Z into a projector with Moto Insta-Share Projector. But perhaps most useful is the Power Pack that boosts battery capacity by 22 hours.

The best thing about the Moto Z, though, is that Moto Mod accessories simply attach to the rear of the phone via magnets.

That’s in sharp contrast to the LG G5, which required you to remove the battery every time you wanted to attach a module.

Other features include a 5.5-inch quad HD AMOLED screen, a 13-megapixel camera with optical image stabilisation and a fingerprint scanner.

Buy the Moto Z

I just want a great cameraphone

Huawei P10 angled

The well reviewed Huawei P10 is a very capable, solidly constructed phone with a respectable 5.1-inch LCD screen, a fingerprint scanner and fast-charge mode.

But where it excels is as a camera phone. With technology from industry-leading camera company Leica and dual lenses, it performs superbly in low-light conditions and makes it easy to get great snaps.

It’s especially good for ‘bokeh’ pictures when the subject is in focus, but the background is blurred.

If you’re more serious about photography or just want to get more creative, there are 14 shooting modes including arty ones, such as tracers and time-lapse, that are tailor-made for Instagram.

Find the best Huawei P10 deals

I’m bored of Samsung and Apple. What’s the alternative?

OnePlus 5 standing next to box hero

The OnePlus 5 hasn’t got the radical looks of the Samsung Galaxy S8. And it hasn’t got the familiar iOS operating system that means when you buy a new iPhone you feel at home within minutes.

But if you’re growing tired of phones from those two manufacturers, it’s a very good bet.

Billed as the flagship killer, the OnePlus 5 has all the must-have features of an iPhone or a Samsung Galaxy but for a much better price.

It's also got a feature set that takes in fast charging, a 5.5-inch full HD screen that’s easy to read in bright sunlight, impressive storage options and a long-life 3,300mAh battery.

But the OnePlus 5 camera makes this handset one of the best we've used. With a dual-lens to capture more light, optical zoom and a stunning portrait mood, you'll be able to take professional-looking photos with zero expertise.

Find the best OnePlus 5 deals

I’m happy to wait a bit. What’s around the corner?

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 hero render

What isn’t around the corner? Keen to move on from the Galaxy Note 7 debacle, Samsung is promising great things for its new phone, the Samsung Galazy Note 8.

Due to be unveiled on 23rd August, the Note 8 is said to come with a dual lens camera, impressive storage and an in-screen fingerprint scanner.

iPhone 8

Similarly, Apple has big plans for 2017. To mark the 10th anniversary of the iPhone, the iPhone 8 promises to be a phone worth waiting for.

With rumours of a curved, glass screen, an iris scanner and wireless charging, Apple's 2017 flagship phone should appeal to fans who were disappointed with the iPhone 7's similarity to its predecessor, the iPhone 6.

Not due out until next September, Apple fans will have to wait a while to get hold of the new phone.

In the meantime, there are whispers that Apple might release an SE 2 model in March, following the success of the original SE, which was aimed at consumers on a budget.

Category: Features
Tagged: smartphones

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