Which? tests uncover six new Best Buy mobile phones and two Don’t Buys that should be avoided at all costs. Read on to find out more about our latest mobile phone tests.
Our tough mobile phone lab tests have proved that, once again, not all phones are created equal. Our latest batch of test results show that the gap between the best mobile phones and worst is huge.
For instance, our battery tests revealed that the best phones will provide in the region of 31 hours of battery life for making calls or 13 hours for browsing the web. The worst can only muster 6.8 hours of talk time or a tiny bit over five hours of web browsing.
When it comes to processing power, we discovered a real gulf between the high performers and those not worthy of your time. The best react instantly to your touch and will handle the latest apps and games. Whereas the worst will be frustratingly slow and sluggish, even when completing simple tasks such as adding contacts or swiping through menus.
As for screen quality, some proved themselves to be incredibly sharp, with flawless screens and vibrant colours. The worst are incredibly dull and have a poor angle of view – this means that if you glance at the phone from any other angle aside from head-on, whatever is on screen will appear faded and distorted.
Want to find out which mobile phones topped our tests? See our Best Buy mobile phones.
Putting mobile phones through their paces
We subject each and every mobile phone that passes through our test lab to the exact same set of tough tests. These allow us to compare the phones like-for-like and give them a score, so you know exactly how they rank against their peers and can buy the best and avoid the worst.
We examine each phone assessing the following:
1. Battery life – We charge each mobile phone so the battery is full. Then we time how long it lasts when making continuous calls. We then charge it up again and time how long it manages when browsing the web. There’s a bit difference between the best and worst. The top scorers can see you through the day without reaching for the charger, the worst will have you plugging in your phone long before tea time.
2. Available memory – The manufacturer will tell you the total amount of space the phone has, but not how much is taken up by the pre-installed apps or the operating system. That’s why we measure exactly how much is available for you to use on each mobile phone. One phone in this batch has a respectable 23GB of space for you to use, whereas the stingiest offers just over 1.5GB. That’s the difference between being able to store your apps, music and photos easily and not having room for anything.
3. Call quality – Phones might do everything from browsing the internet to recording 4K video, but one of their primary functions is to make calls. So we test each phone to see what the call quality is like. We make test calls against a noisy background to see how they cope if you’re in a loud public space, such as a coffee shop. The best can match the quality of a cordless phone phone, the worst make your conversations sound garbled and hard to understand.
4. Camera – With many people choosing to use their phone in place of a camera, the snapper on your smartphone has never been more important. To assess the photo quality, we take nine different types of test shot. The best produce clear and detailed snaps, even in dim conditions. While the worst produce grainy photos with inaccurate colours.
5. Processor – A phone that’s slow to respond when you tap and swipe the screen can be incredibly frustrating. That’s why we run industry standard speed tests as well as assessing how speedy it feels when completing everyday tasks, such as accessing the menu system or swiping through websites. Again the difference is huge – the best react immediately, the worst will leave you wondering if you even tapped the screen properly in the first place.
We reveal the mobile phones you should avoid – see our Don’t Buy mobile phones.
Mobile phones on test
The mobiles phones below are the latest handsets to have passed through our tough lab tests. Click the links to find out whether they passed with flying colours or are best avoided.
- Apple iPhone SE – £359
- HTC 10 – £520
- HTC Desire 530 – £140
- Huawei Honor 5X – £169
- Huawei P9 – £549
- Huawei P9 Lite – £230
- LG G5 – £430
- LG K4 – £90
- Samsung Galaxy A3– £230
- Sony Xperia X – £404
- Sony Xperia Z5 Compact – £309
- Vodafone Smart First 6 – £20
- Vodafone Smart First 7 – £20
- Vodafone Smart Prime 6 – £70