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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.

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

Motorola G4

At £169 when bought outright and off-contract the Moto G 4, AKA the Moto G 2016, 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 5.5in full HD LCD screen, a 13-megapixel camera that produces strikingly natural colours and the latest Marshmallow version of Android. And you get an impressively large, long-life 3,000 mAh battery too.

The only disappointments are that it doesn’t support Android Pay, so you won’t be able to pay for goods and services by swiping the Moto G 2016 over a reader. And unlike last year's Moto G, 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.

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

Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge Review - screen

With a curved screen that functions as a secondary display, the eye-catching Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge looks like no other smartphone.

But all the fuss about its looks meant that its staggeringly extensive features were a little overlooked.

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

We also loved the crisp 5.5-inch Quad HD screen, which really puts the comparably sized iPhone 6S Plus in the shade, and features an ‘always-on’ option, so you don’t have to wake up your phone every time you want to check the time of day.

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.

The Moto Z isn’t available yet. But with Motorola promising a summer due date, it should be out any time now.

I just want a great cameraphone

huawei p9

The well reviewed Huawei P9 is a very capable, solidly constructed phone with a respectable 5.2-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.

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

HTC 10 0

The HTC 10 hasn’t got the radical looks of the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge and sticks closely to the ‘metal slab’ school of phone design.

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.

Not least because what the HTC 10 does offer is a premium construction that’s among the best around.

It's also got a feature set that takes in fast charging, a 5.2-inch LCD screen that’s easy to read in bright sunlight, expandable storage and a long-life 3,000mAh battery.

There’s also s 12-megapixel camera that’s capable of record video footage in lush 4K (that’s four times as sharp as standard HD), fingerprint security, impressively full sound for music playback and Boomsound stereo speakers.

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

galaxy note 7

What isn’t around the corner? August should see the launch of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7, which purportedly features an eyeball scanner for an extra layer of security, along with a fast-charge mode and the Note range’s trademark stylus.

September is due to bring the iPhone 7 and the larger iPhone 7 Plus.


In a break with form, 2017’s models are supposed to feature the same design as the current-generation iPhone 6S, but with a better dual-lens camera, a sharper screen, more power and a headphone slot that doubles as a port for battery-charging. And it’ll be waterproof too.

Category: Features
Tagged: smartphones

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