Best smartphones of 2016: These are the best 25 mobile phones on the planet

Discover the very best mobile phones of 2016 - Alphr's guide gives you all the in-depth reviews and information you need

Alphr
4 Feb 2016

Page 1 of 3 Best smartphones of 2016: These are the best 25 mobile phones on the planet

There's such an enormous breadth of choice in today's smartphone market that deciding which to choose can be confusing. That's why we've put together this comprehensive guide to the best mobile phones of 2016. From budget bargains to the finest flagship smartphones, you're bound to find something here that will hit the spot.

If you want the full lowdown on any of the individual handsets, you can click through to our in-depth reviews, and if you're not sure what kind of smartphone is right for you, then help is at hand: use the dropdown menu above to click through to our detailed buyer's guide. Or just click here – it's entirely up to you.

Know what you're looking for? Great. Scroll down to check out all the best flagship phones, both new and old. Or, if you're after a more affordable option, click here to peruse the best budget handsets.

Whatever it is you're looking for, we research and update the prices regularly so you can get a good idea of how much they're selling for right now.

Best mobile phones of 2016

1. Google Nexus 6P

Price when reviewed: £449 inc VAT, 16GB; from free on a £27.50/mth, 24mth contract

A stylish, speedy phone with a pair of superb cameras, great software, impressive battery life and a big, sharp, colourful display, the Google Nexus 6P is our new favourite smartphone, knocking the Samsung Galaxy S6 off its perch after more than six months at the top. Why is it so good? Simple - because this 5.7in handset gets pretty much everything right, and wraps it up in a picture perfect package that doesn't cost a huge amount of money. It's a recipe its rivals are going to find it very hard to beat. Click here to read our Google Nexus 6P review

Screen Camera Processor Storage Battery
5.7in
1,440 x 2,560
12MP
8MP
Snapdragon 810
3GB RAM
32/64/128GB
No microSD
3,450mAh
Non-removable

2. Samsung Galaxy S6

Price: 32GB, around £410 inc VAT

Samsung finally ditched the plastic for its most recent smartphone design and, aside from a few reservations, the result is a real triumph. The S6 looks glorious with Gorilla Glass 4 at the front and rear and coloured metal beneath it to give it a glitzy, shimmering look. It isn't only the exterior of the handset that sees improvements, however: Samsung has improved performance and battery life. The highlight, however, is the phone's improved camera – it's superb. The S6's sibling – the Galaxy S6 Edge – is just as good and arguably the more attractive device, but its higher price means we'd recommend going with the standard S6. Click here to read our Samsung Galaxy S6 review

Screen Camera Processor Storage Battery
5.1in
1,440 x 2,560
16MP
5MP
Exynos 7420
3G RAM
32/64/128GB
No microSD
2550mAh
Non-removable

3. LG G4

Price: 32GB, around £340 inc VAT (for the plastic-backed edition)

Last year's LG G3 was a top smartphone – and still is – but the LG G4 is a different beast entirely: it has a camera to match the Samsung Galaxy S6, fast internals and a fantastic 5.5in Quad HD display. It isn't as slim, sleek or outright delicious as the Samsung Galaxy S6, but the leather-backed options are surprisingly attractive. Unlike Samsung's leading light, the G4 boasts a removable 3,000mAh battery, so you can carry a spare for emergencies or replace a failing battery a year or two down the track; and it also has a microSD slot, so you're not stuck with the 32GB stock storage allocation. Plus, it's a touch cheaper than the S6. It isn't quite as quick as the Samsung Galaxy S6 and battery life isn't as good, but it's a very, very close-run thing. Click here to read our LG G4 review

Screen Camera Processor Storage Battery
5.5in
1,440 x 2,560
16MP
8MP
Snapdragon 808
3GB RAM
32GB
microSD
3,000mAh
Removable

4. OnePlus 2

Price: 16GB, £239 inc VAT; 64GB, £289 inc VAT

It used to be the case that you could only buy a OnePlus 2 if an existing owner invited you, but now that's changed, and the company has put the 64GB edition of the phone on general sale. Alas, the 16GB version seems to be permanently out of stock now, but £289 still represents fabulous value for money for the 64GB version. Why is it so good? With great looks, a solid feel, a very good camera, decent screen and a top-end Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor, it has all the hallmarks of a flagship smartphone, but without the hefty price tag. By any definition, it's a bargain of epic proportions. Click here to read our OnePlus 2 review

Screen Camera Processor Storage Battery
5.5in
1,080 x 1,920
13MP
5MP
Snapdragon 810
4GB RAM
64GB
No microSD
3,300mAh
Non-removable

5. Google Nexus 5X

Price when reviewed: £329 inc VAT, 16GB SIM free; £379, 32GB

Google’s 2015 Nexus 5X may not be able to compete with the Sony Xperia Z5 Compact for looks (see below), but it’s a bigger bargain for those looking to save a bit on their next smartphone purchase. For your money, you get one of the best mobile phone cameras in the business, slick performance and - most important of all - pure Android 6.0 Marshmallow. It’s a class act. Click here to read our Google Nexus 5X review

Screen Camera Processor Storage Battery
5.2in
1,080 x 1,920
12MP
5MP
Snapdragon 808
2GB RAM
16/32GB
No microSD
2,700mAh
Non-removable

6. Sony Xperia Z5 Compact

Price: 32GB, around £400 inc VAT

Bigger isn't necessarily better. If you’re against the trend towards giant handsets and almost-tablet-sized screens, then the Xperia Z5 Compact is going to set you fumbling for a credit card. Its 4.6in screen is lovely and bright; the 20 megapixel camera is fantastic; and battery life is excellent for such a a compact handset. Factor in the reasonable price, reassuringly sturdy build and IP68 water resistance, and the Z5 Compact is something of a pint-sized superstar. Click here to read our Sony Xperia Z5 Compact review

Screen Camera Processor Storage Battery
4.6in
720 x 1,280
23MP
5.1MP
Snapdragon 810
2GB RAM
32GB
microSD
2,700mAh
Non-removable

7. Apple iPhone 6s

Price: 16GB, £539 inc VAT

Apple iPhone 6s review:

The iPhone 6s is a great smartphone – fast, reliable and with an excellent camera – and with its new 3D Touch (Force Touch) display, 12-megapixel camera and faster A9 processor it's the best iPhone yet. Battery life hasn't made great strides forward, but it's all-round a better phone than the iPhone 6 and as such replaces it in our list of best smartphones. Click here to read our Apple iPhone 6s review

Screen Camera Processor Storage Battery
4.7in
750 x 1,334
12MP
5MP
Apple A9
2GB RAM
16/64/128GB
No microSD
1,715mAh
Non-removable

8. Apple iPhone 6s Plus

Price: £619 inc VAT, 16GB; £699, 64GB; £789, 128GB

If you like your phones big, you’re going to love the iPhone 6s Plus. Equipped with a huge 5.5in Full HD display and ingenious pressure-sensitive touchscreen tech, it’s Apple’s biggest and fastest smartphone yet. Although it’s largely identical internally to the 4.7in iPhone 6s, it is superior in some respects: it has longer battery life and the camera’s optical image stabilisation (OIS) gives it the edge for low-light photography. Its high price will put many off, but make no mistake, the iPhone 6s Plus is one fabulous smartphone. Click here to read our Apple iPhone 6s Plus review

Screen Camera Processor Storage Battery
5.5in
1,080 x 1,920
12MP
5MP
Apple A9
2GB RAM
16/64/128GB
No microSD
2,750mAh
Non-removable

9. Moto X Force

Price: £500 inc VAT SIM free

MMotorola's Moto X Force is an Android phone with a difference. It's ruggedised to the point at which the screen is guaranteed for four years against accidental breakage - so no matter what stupidity you subject the phone to, you can be sure you won't have to put up with a cracked screen. Aside from that, it's a very decent smartphone, with excellent battery life and cracking performance. And although the camera isn't the best it still produces passable stills and video. Click here to read our Motorola Moto X Force review

Screen Camera Processor Storage Battery
5.4in
1,440 x 2,560
21MP
5MP
Snapdragon 810
3GB RAM
32/64GB
microSD
3,760mAh
Non-removable

10. OnePlus X

Price: £199 inc VAT (invite-only)

The OnePlus X shrinks the screen size down to a (relatively) compact 5in, and combines high-end hardware from 2014 with a lovely AMOLED display and elegant glass and aluminium chassis. For £199, this is probably all most people need to know, but now that OnePlus has made the OnePlus X invite free there's one more reason to buy one. Click here to read the OnePlus X review

Screen Camera Processor Storage Battery
5in
1,080 x 1,920
13MP
8MP
Snapdragon 801
3GB RAM
16GB
microSD
2,525mAh
Non-removable

11. Sony Xperia Z5

Price: around £510 inc VAT

Well, hello – you handsome 5.2in handset, you. We've been eagerly awaiting the Xperia Z5, and Sony has done a cracking job of bringing the big-screened Xperia bang up to date. The camera has received an impressive upgrade, and performance and battery life are excellent. The only problem is that the competition has got that much tougher – the Apple iPhone 6s and Samsung Galaxy S6 have markedly superior hardware, and the LG G4 is nearly as good while costing almost half the price. It's still a lovely, lovely phone, though. Click here to read our Sony Xperia Z5 review

Screen Camera Processor Storage Battery
4.6in
1,080 x 1,920
23MP
5.1MP
Snapdragon 810
3GB RAM
32GB
microSD
2,900mAh
Non-removable

12. Samsung Galaxy Note 5

Price when reviewed: around £430 inc VAT

It isn't officially available in the UK, so we can't give it the full double thumbs-up, but if you're willing to forgo the official manufacturer warranty it is an amazing smartphone. It's as fast as the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge+, has a glorious 5.7in AMOLED display, looks gorgeous, and best of all, has a pressure sensitive stylus built in, so you can jot down notes onscreen and sketch away to your heart's content. It's an all-round good egg, and great value, too. Click here to read our Samsung Galaxy Note 5 review.

Screen Camera Processor Storage Battery
5.7in
1,440 x 2,560
16MP
5MP
Exynos 7420
4GB RAM
32/64/128GB
No microSD
3,340mAh
Removable

13. Samsung Galaxy S5 Neo

Price: £300 inc VAT, from Carphone Warehouse

The Samsung Galaxy S5 Neo is, essentially, a remaking of the two-year-old Galaxy S5. It looks the same, and most of the specifications are the same, but the price is far lower than the once flagship used to command. The only major difference is the processor, which gets an upgrade in the Neo over the older S5. The result? A cracking smartphone that's quick, light, slim, takes great photos and video, and is an all-round pleasure to use. At only £300 it's among the best deals around at the moment. Click here to read our Samsung Galaxy S5 Neo review

Screen Camera Processor Storage Battery
5.1in
1,080 x 1,920
16MP
5MP
Exynos 7580
2GB RAM
16GB
microSD
2,800mAh
Removable

14. Samsung Galaxy Note 4

Price: around £285 inc VAT

If you're not willing to risk an unofficial import, the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 is still available and still a great handset. The Quad HD AMOLED display is fabulous, the battery life brilliant, and Samsung matches this with great features and performance across the board. It's no longer the king of smartphones that it once was, but it's very good for the money. Click here to read our Samsung Galaxy Note 4 review

Screen Camera Processor Storage Battery
5.7in
1,440 x 2,560
16MP
3.7MP
Snapdragon 805
3GB RAM
32GB
microSD
3,220mAh
Removable

15. Microsoft Lumia 950 XL

Price: £530 inc VAT

Neither of Microsoft's debut Windows 10 phones is good enough to be recommended above the rival Android flagships or iPhones, but for fans of the Windows ecosystem, they do represent a step forward from the previous best Windows handsets. That's why the Lumia 950 XL sits in our selection of best smartphones. Of the two launched at the end of 2015 it's the one we'd recommend to Windows Phone fans, and from a hardware point of view, it's mostly ship shape. The camera is excellent, the screen very good, it has a replaceable battery and storage expansion via microSD. Plus, via its USB Type-C socket and Microsoft's Continuum feature, you can connect it to a monitor, keyboard and mouse and use it like a desktop PC. One caveat: it's very expensive, but Windows Phone fans with money to burn need look no further. Click here to read our Microsoft Lumia 950 XL review

Screen Camera Processor Storage Battery
5.7in
1,440 x 2,560
20MP
5MP
Snapdragon 810
3GB RAM
32GB
microSD
3,000mAh
Non-removable

16. HTC One M9

Price: around £400 inc VAT

HTC One M9 review

HTC took the One M8's design and refined it for 2015, creating a truly stunning smartphone. The internals have been upgraded as well: Qualcomm's octa-core Snapdragon 810 SoC; the camera goes from the M8's 4-megapixel snapper to 20 megapixels; and HTC has added a host of features to its Sense Android launcher software. It's a beautifully crafted and highly competent smartphone, just like last year's HTC One M8. But it's only a small improvement on its predecessor. Click here to read our HTC One M9 review

17. Motorola Moto X Play

Price: 16GB, around £260 inc VAT

Squeezed between the Moto G and the Moto X Style, the Motorola Moto X Play is a more-than-decent mid-range smartphone with excellent battery life; if you can’t get an invite for the OnePlus 2, it’s an excellent alternative. Click here to read our Moto X Play review

Check out our list of the best upcoming and new smartphones of 2016, to make sure the phone you’re about to buy isn't due an update.

Page 1 of 3 Best smartphones of 2016: These are the best 25 mobile phones on the planet

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