Best smartphones: the ten best mobiles

At five and a half inches the iPhone 6 Plus is simply too large for some pockets
At five and a half inches the iPhone 6 Plus is simply too large for some pockets.
1) iPhone 6
From £539
What’s made the iPhone so successful is its combination of user-friendly simplicity with sufficiently advanced functions and a beautiful, pleasing design. The iPhone 6 picks up where the 5s left off with a new larger 4.7-inch display, greatly improved battery life and slimmer body than ever before. It may not be the highest specced-model on the market, but frankly, none of the others come close to a winning combination of looks and functionality.
With the iPhone 6, no one feature stands out, but the combination shows Apple once again doing what it does best: reinventing and repackaging existing ideas into a new, improved iPhone that hits rivals out of the park
6.9mm Screen 4.7” Weight 129g Storage16GB/64GB/128GB Processor A8 64 bit Camera Front-facing:1.2MP Rear-facing: 8MP
2) LG G3
From £479
Style is the new battleground for Android phones – it’s increasingly hard to tell the difference between the core functions available on Samsung, HTC and other major brands. For that reason alone, LG’s G3 deserves high praise: it’s as well built as the latest HTC One and more discretely stylish than the Samsung S5. It’s got a superb camera, and sits beautifully in the hand.
While it’s not perfect, it’s close and the niggles are minor, making it one of the very best on the market right now.
Dimensions 146.3 x 74.6 x 8.9 mm Screen 5.5” Weight 149g StorageMicroSD, up to 128 GB, internal memory 16 GB, 2 GB RAM/ 32 GB, 3 GB RAM Processor Qualcomm MSM8975AC Snapdragon 801 CameraFront-facing:2.1MP Rear-facing:13.1MP
3) Samsung Galaxy S5
From £579.00
The Galaxy S5’s excellent 16MP camera is its main feature - with high dynamic range resulting in consistently brilliant pictures, and a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it autofocus. Samsung has also worked on improving the phone’s durability and usability from its S4 predecessor, with improved resistance to dust and water.
Its ridged silver edge and Elastoplast-style perforated back won’t be to everyone’s tastes, and the market for its use with other products including the Gear smartwatch and Gear Fit fitness band remains relatively small, but Samsung deserves credit for trying to create a whole new technology platform in an area where few rivals are striving as hard.
Dimensions 142.0 x 72.5 x 8.1mm Screen 5.1” Weight 145g Storage2GB, Internal Memory: 16/32GB, microSD slot up to 128GB ProcessorQualcomm MSM8974AC Snapdragon 801 Camera Front-facing: 2MP Rear-facing: 16MP
4) HTC One (M8)
From £535
HTC’s flagship is widely held to be the best-designed Android phone on the market - its all-metal construction has a class that other manufacturers have consistently struggled to provide. The camera, unfortunately is a let-down, despite its much-vaunted claims to use ‘ultrapixels’ rather than plain old megapixels. But the HTC Sense interface is both clean(ish) and useful where it is conspicuous: think a great weather widget and really useful ways to share photos and the ‘Zoes’, where films and pictures are combined into one clever image.
There are neat accessories, too, with a case that shows you the time through its aerated front, rather than simply hiding the whole screen.
Dimensions 146.4 x 70.6 x 9.4 mm Screen 5” Weight 160g Storage16/32 GB, 2 GB RAM, microSD, up to 128 GB Processor Quad-core 2.3 GHz Snapdragon 801 Camera Front-facing: 5MP Rear-facing 4MP
5) iPhone 6 Plus
From £619
If there’s a consistent complaint about the iPhone, it’s battery life. If there’s a consistent trend in mobile phones as a whole, it’s to ever bigger screens. With the iPhone 6 Plus, Apple addresses both those issues, and demonstrates that it may have taken its time but it can certainly play with the big boys. On the whole, the 6 Plus is the same as the iPhone 6 - scaled up, it adds various ways of making the most of its larger screen and slightly improves the camera. But the overriding question is simple: is it too big? In my view, no. The reasons to buy an Android phone have never been fewer.
Dimensions 158.1 x 77.8 x 7.1mm Screen 5.5” Weight 172g Storage16GB/64GB/128GB Processor A8 chip with 64-bit architecture CameraFront-facing:1.2MP Rear-facing: 8MP
6) Nexus 5
From £295
The Nexus range of phones are Google’s own devices, made with HTC, LG, Samsung and others, aiming to push the boundaries of what Android can achieve while also unifying hardware and software. And with the new Nexus 5 phone, Google is for the first time addressing both problems: it’s a premium handset, but one that’s accompanied by a new version of the Android software that could offer top performance even on slower mobiles. he underlying impression is that with the Nexus 5 Google is producing yet another smartphone that proves a point: its software can not only power premium devices sold for a decent price, but it can also lead the way with innovative ideas that will come to fruition in the future and probably in devices made by others. At this price, that sort of innovation is easy to get excited about.
Dimensions 69.17 x 137.84 x 8.59mm Screen 4.95” Weight 130gStorage 16GB / 32GB, no microSD slot, 2GB RAM Processor 2.3Ghz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 (quad-core) Camera Front-facing: 1.3MP Rear-facing: 8MP
7) Sony Xperia Z3
From £549
Waterproof and dustproof, Sony’s latest Xperia mobile is a triumph of discrete design. But its real triumph is in taking the best bits of the Sony empire and packing them into one single handset: so there’s the ‘Triluminos’ display that provides a superb screen, there’s high resolution audio and there’s superb 4K video via a 20.7MP camera. Design-wise, nylon corners make this expensive handset less likely to break if you drop it. Unfortunately, the camera is prone to overheating, and the operating system is occasionally a little buggy. Both of these are likely to be fixed, but they’re imperfections in a device that looks like it should be better.
Dimensions 146 x 72 x 7.3 mm Screen 5.2” Weight 152g StoragemicroSD up to 128GB, 16/32GB, 3GB RAM Processor Qualcomm MSM8974AC Snapdragon 801 Camera Front-facing: 2.2 MP Rear-facing: 20.7 MP
8) Samsung Galaxy Alpha
From £549.99
The slick, metal Galaxy Alpha. It’s not quite a flagship, say the South Koreans, but it is a beauty. Even if you’re not fetishistically attached to metal – HTC fans – it’s hard not to wonder what took Samsung so long. With a 4.7-inch screen, the Alpha is a more manageable size than the 5.5-inch monsters such as the S5 and Note 4 – this is a phone that is super slim (6.7mm), very light (115g) and generally manageable with one hand. A fast processor keeps it coping with everything you’re likely to throw at it. That small package necessitates a smaller battery but that doesn’t compromise performance – I found the battery lasted a day. There’s a decent camera, too. If there’s a hint of the iPhone about the design, this still feels like a distinctive Samsung product.
Dimensions 132.4 x 65.5 x 6.7 mm Screen 4.7” Weight 115g StorageRAM : 2GB Internal Memory : 16/32GB Processor Octa Core (Quad 1.8GHz + Quad 1.3GHz) or Quad Core 2.5GHz Camera Front-facing: 2.1MP Rear-facing: 12MP
9) Moto G
From £135
The Moto G is a solidly built plastic phone with a 4.5” screen, running the latest version of Android to be in any sort of widespread circulation. So far, so unexciting if you’re in the market for a Galaxy S4 or an HTC One. But the Moto G is £135: compared to its rivals at that price, it’s in another league. It would be easy to say the Moto G is not a device to excite geeks: that would be wrong. This is a phone that shows the potential for technology to get better and cheaper. And it’s also the phone to recommend to everyone on a budget, or to anyone who wants to enter the smartphone world for the first time.
Dimensions 129.9 x 65.9 x 11.6 mm Screen 4.5” Weight 143g Storage8/16 GB, 1 GB RAM Processor Qualcomm MSM8226 Snapdragon 400Camera Front-facing: 1.3MP Rear-facing: 5MP
10) Lumia 930
From £404
The Lumia 930’s camera is almost frighteningly good - at 20MP it eclipses almost every other rival. Its generous OLED screen gives colour a crisp edge and shades a deep contrast, and its metal frame and polycarbonate back lends it a reassuring heft. It’s let down slightly by the clunky and somewhat slow Windows interface and limited number of apps, but there’s no doubt it’s an excellent phone, and the most impressive Windows handset to date.
Dimensions 137 x 71 x 9.8 mm Screen 5” Weight 167g Storage 32 GB, 2 GB RAM Processor Qualcomm MSM8974 Snapdragon 800Camera Front-facing:1.2MP Rear-facing: 20MP
And the best of the rest...
• Note 4
Samsung’s implemented its new design language for the Note 4, and that means this is a beautiful phone that is made of metal and glass rather than the plastic that many had become used to from the South Korean giant. There are improvements to the S-Pen stylus, and if a big screen is what you want this is the phablet to go for.
• Z3 compact
Many people still claim they want a small phone - think people pining for their iPhone 4. Most of those don’t know what they’re missing and when they find out are in fact loathe to go back. But if you really do want a small phone that makes no compromises the Z3 Compact is almost everything its larger sibling is in a smaller package.
• OnePlus One
The OnePlus One is an oddity: this is an Android phone that runs ‘Cyanogen Mod’, a launcher usually installed by geeks and tinkerers who find Android isn’t flexible enough for their endless desire to change settings. That’s the appeal of this large, square device, but it’s also a very affordable top-of-the-line handset. If you can get your hands on the limited stock...
• Moto X
Recently updated the new Moto X is a superb device that provides a pure Google experience with just the merest hint of Motorola’s additional software. That means plenty of voice interaction and use of gestures too, but the combination of great design and reasonable price make it an intriguing prospect.
• iPhone 5s
Apple’s previous iPhone remains an excellent device that copes perfectly well with the latest software. It may be missing Apple Pay and improvements to the camera, but the former is currently US only and the latter is an incremental improvement. If you want a smaller iPhone than the 6, this is the best on the market and now a bargain too.


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