The humble mobile phone has come a long way in a short space of time, with even the cheapest handsets of today proving more than a match for the premium flagship phones of just a few years ago.
With that in mind, the mobile phones of 2016 are not only ramping up in terms of speed but also when it comes to innovative features, and at ever more competitive pricing. We’ll continue to update this page as the likes of Samsung, LG and Huawei announce their mobile phone innovations for this year.
Best Buy mobile phones – the smartphones that aced the Which? tests
Best mobile phones 2016 – Samsung Galaxy S7
At first glance you’d be forgiven for not noticing the changes from the S6 to the S7, but Samsung has given its flasgship handset a curved back as well as slightly curved screen edges to make the phone easier and more pleasant to grip. The camera is more inconspicuous now too.
Samsung has clearly been looking back at previous Galaxy phones as the S7 includes a micro-SD card slot and is waterproof to a depth of one and a half metres for up to 30 minutes – two features we had come to expect from Samsung phones, but were absent from the S6.
We were impressed by the camera too which was already excellent on the S6. The aperture speed increase from 1.9 to 1.7 means low light photography will be sharper and more defined. Dual pixel technology also means the auto focus is lightning-quick – something we saw for ourselves when we had a go at the launch event.
Best mobile phones 2016 – LG G5
Announced at Mobile World Congress 2016, the G5 is LG’s latest premium handset. It has an all-new look sporting a metal unibody case, which marks a departure from the plastic and leather finish seen on older models in the G range. Unlike with some rivals, it’s still possible to add a micro-SD card slot to increase the memory and to replace the battery.
It’s a modular phone – which means you can add extra parts to provide new features. For example, the LG Cam Plus is an extra that clips onto the side of the phone, making it easier to hold and use when taking photos. It has a dedicated shutter and zoom button plus it’s claimed to provide an additional 40% battery life.
There’s good news for those who have a habit of checking their phone for news and notifications every few minutes (apparently that’s all of us!). LG has incorporated an always-on display. It uses the top third of the screen and shows the date, time and any new notifications. And the company claims it only uses 0.8% of the battery per hour.
Best mobile phones 2016 – Huawei Mate 8
Receiving top-billing at Huawei’s CES 2016 press conference was the Huawei Mate 8 – a 6-inch Android smartphone with more tricks up its sleeve than a Swiss Army knife. Huawei claims that the Mate 8 is 100% faster than its predecessor thanks to a octa-core processor, but also announced how its battery will last for a whopping 20 hours of web browsing from a single charge.
The Chinese manufacturer also claims the handset will keep going for a full day from just a 30 minute charge, which is also impressive if true. We’ll be keen to test both those battery life claims when we get the Mate 8 in our lab.
Away from its battery the Mate 8 has a fingerprint scanner that doubles as a shutter button for its 16-megapixel camera and the phone also boasts something called a ‘secure keyboard’ that claims to mask your keystrokes whenever you type in a password to stop malware in its tracks. Expect prices to start at €599 (around £440) for the entry-level 3GB Ram, 32GB storage Mate 8, when it launches in the first quarter of 2016.
Best mobile phones 2016 – LG V10
The V10 is a new flagship Android smartphone from LG, which differs from the company’s other flagship phone, the LG G4, in a number of innovative ways. The most striking feature is the phone’s secondary screen, which takes the form of a bar that runs along the top of the handsets main 5.7-inch QHD display. You can use the bar for quick access to your most commonly accessed apps and contacts.
The material used in the build of the phone is also a little different from the LG G series. The V10 uses what LG calls ‘Dura Skin’ which is a mixture of steel and silicon – something claimed to be more robost than your average smartphone. The phone features a 16-megapixel rear camera and 5-megapixel front-facing camera, while the hexa-core processor should be speedy enough to handle any apps you care to throw at it. We look forward to seeing how it fares in our labs when it comes to the UK later this year.