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
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?
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?
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?
The iPhone X is being touted as a glimpse of the future. It's not hard to see why.
For starters, it's the first iPhone that breaks with tradition by ditching a home button, which means you interact with your phone in a whole new way.
It's also set apart by its all-screen front, which means Apple has managed to fit a large display in a very compact phone, and debuts wireless charging on an iPhone too.
Perhaps its standout feature, though, is Face ID. As the name suggests, this is facial recognition software that works brilliantly smoothly. And, except in very extreme cases (eg: identical twins), is amazingly watertight.
Add very good battery life and a revamped camera that can now take selfies in Portrait Mode and you've got a state-of-the-art smartphone.
Read the full iPhone X review on uSwitch.
Compare deals for the iPhone X.
I want a phone with an impressive screen
If you're looking for the perfect smartphone screen, you won't find bigger or better than the Samsung Galaxy Note 8. It has a stunning infinity display that measures an impressive huge 6.3–inches.
And while size isn't everything, it certainly means that you can watch videos without having to squint. And even better, the Super AMOLED tech will give you a crystal clear picture.
Naturally, the size of the screen does make it a bit too big for the average pocket. But if you like to watch a lot of videos or play a lot of games on your phone, it's more than worth the sacrifice.
And the Note 8 comes bundled with the S–Pen stylus, which makes it much easier to navigate the large display. Particularly as it gives you loads of extra functionality, including letting you make notes without unlocking the screen, select copy, images or clips for quick and simple sharing and doodle pictures.
Find our best Samsung Galaxy Note 8 deals.
I just want a great cameraphone
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?
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?
2018 isn’t far away now. And there are lots of exciting new smartphones likely to be heading our way early next year.
Chief among them will be the Samsung Galaxy S9. Rumoured to be out as early as January 2018, word is that the new S9 will come with an impressive dual-lens camera, increased biometric security and even slimmer bezels than the S8.
Then, of course, there’s Mobile World Congress, which kicks off in Barcelona on 23rd February. The international conference will likely see flagship phone launches from the likes of Sony, LG and Nokia, as well as Huawei and Motorola.
There’s also speculation that March 2018 could see the release of the iPhone SE2. The sequel to the 2016 budget iPhone is rumoured to come with a faster processor, improved front–facing camera and a bigger battery.