Read about the best new mobile phones of the year, from the high-flying flagships to the low cost options that aim to please budget-conscious buyers.
When ranking the best new mobile phones there are lots of things to think about, including design, hardware, software and price. For anyone looking to upgrade their handset at the moment there is an almost overwhelming amount of choice. Hopefully, this list will make things simpler, as it includes options from mainstream big-hitters like Samsung and Apple while also taking a look at alternative models that are equally worthy of your attention. So sit back, relax and prepare to find out all you need to know about the mobiles that will make waves in 2017 and beyond.
Samsung Galaxy S8
Samsung has bounced back from the disastrous S7 Note with a fantastic phone that stands head and shoulders above the competition (at least until the iPhone 8 arrives later this year) The S8 comes in 2 different sizes (the 5.8 inch standard model and the “+” size at 6.2 inches). The USP of this handset is its “Infinity Display” which removes the bezels and brings a wraparound screen that extends over each edge into a luxurious feeling aluminium back. Inside it is powered by the world’s most powerful smartphone processor, 4GB of Ram and 64 GB of storage (which can be extended to 256 GB via microSD). It has a 12mp camera on the back and 8mp camera on the front, wireless charging, an AI assistant called Bixby, is waterproof and dustproof and has some very neat new security features like iris scanning and facial recognition. Go buy it now, it’s truly magnificent!
Motorola Moto Z
Modular mobile phones may not be a mainstream hit quite yet, but the Moto Z comes closer than any of its competitors to offering impressive add-ons that expand its functionalities in interesting and relevant ways. It is also the thinnest phone in the world, before the modular upgrades are factored in, while also pre-empting the iPhone 7 range by ditching the traditional 3.5mm headphone socket to slim down as much as possible. This may irk some, but with a uniquely future-proof design, it is undoubtedly innovative and fundamentally appealing. Its modular add-ons include a camera module with a 10x optical zoom, external speakers, a cinema projector and cases with built-in battery boosters.
Google Pixel (and Pixel XL)
Google’s first branded smartphone, the Pixel, is best known for its excellent cameras (12.3 megapixel and 8 megapixel) which offers excellent performance in low light situations and brilliant colour reproduction. A built in finger print scanner keeps your device secure while its Android 7 software keeps it at the front of the pack. The phone looks great and comes with a 5 inch, full HD display and useful fast charging mode. 32GB and 128 GB models are available. The larger XL comes with a larger 5.5 inch screen.
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
Apple may have suffered lower sales than usual following the launch of its latest handset range, but the iPhone 7 Plus still packs plenty of promising features that make it a worthwhile step up for loyal customers. The 5.5 inch 1080p screen, A10 Fusion processor and twin 12 megapixel cameras come together to boost its appeal, especially in comparison with the smaller 4.7 inch iPhone 7 which lacks the dual camera configuration and is therefore a less sensible investment for owners of the iPhone 6S or indeed the iPhone 6S Plus.
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
Although its now over 12 months old and has been replaced by the S8, the S7 is now being sold at a fantastic price. It’s critically acclaimed and eminently stylish, the S7 Edge packs a 5.5 inch screen like that of the iPhone 7 Plus, but outdoes its closest competitor because of the fact that this display is curved and has a higher QHD resolution. The capacious 3600mAh battery is also a boon, giving it plenty of life from a single charge, while the expandable storage and premium build quality will convince many people that its high asking price is one worth paying, even in the face of Samsung’s current issues with the newer Galaxy Note 7.
A terrific alternative to the S8 and iPhone 7 Plus, the LG G6 packs top tier specifications (Snapdragon 821 chip, 4gb Ram, 32 GB storage) but can often be snapped up at a lower price point, helped in part by its manufacturer’s smaller share of the market. A 5.7 inch QHD screen is big without being oversized, while its removable battery is a boon for people who worry about the lack of replacement options on many other modern mobiles. It also has two 13MP cameras on the rear rather than one to expand its photographic horizonsand comes with Android 7.0 Nougat.
While still a relative newcomer, OnePlus has made a name for itself with its first four releases. Now its fifth-generation flagship is unsurprisingly one of the best new mobile phones around. Aside from its value-conscious price point, it benefits from a 5.5-inch full HD screen protected by Gorrilla Glass, blistering fast Snapdragon 835 chipset, 6GB or 8GB of RAM and 64GB/128GB storage capacity. It also has a 16MP dual camera. There is no microSD memory card slot here, which is a minor downside, but in all it captures the essence of what makes modern mobiles great – power, performance and value for money wrapped up in an attractive package.
While it may have fallen from grace in recent years, HTC has responded to its decline by building phones that are more focused on excellence in one or two key areas. With the U11, audio playback is king and it not only bests its rivals thanks to its built-in speakers but also delivers unrivalled performance when you are using headphones. A 5.5 inch Super LCD screen, Snapdragon 835 processor and 4GB of RAM are all present and correct, so it is a good Android all-rounder even if music is not your life. The U11 does have a couple of interesting gimmicks thrown it, firstly the ability to control the phone by squeezing it (no really!) and a new type of glass/metal combination finish that HTC calls Liquid Surface Design. It makes for a stunning handset that is also waterproof.
Making the move away from cheap and cheerful handsets, Huawei has forged a new niche for itself in the mobile market and the flagship P10 and P10 plus are its latest calling cards. They achieve a position as some of the best new mobile phones thanks to their slender design and impressive array of components, from the 5.1 inch 1080p display (5.5 inch 2k display on the P10 plus), octa-core Kirin 960 chipset to the dual 12-megapixel primary cameras and 8-megapixel front-facing snapper. Android 7.0 Nougat is installed onboard, with few adornments in place to ensure that the user experience is swift and uncluttered.