Choosing the best mobile phone
Which Samsung Galaxy mobile phone should I buy?
By Callum Tennent
Article 3 of 5
Samsung is the biggest smartphone brand on the planet. But with so many options to choose from, how are you to know which is best for you? Our guide will help you find the perfect Samsung Galaxy mobile phone at a suitable price.
If you've decided on a Samsung for your next mobile phone, you're only half way there. The real decision is exactly what model to go for. There are dozens to choose from ranging in performance and price. Read on to find out which model is best for you.
It's hard to escape Samsung's presence nowadays – the multi-billion-dollar Korean tech company is involved in a staggering number of products, from smart fridges to LED light bulbs. It's perhaps best known in the UK for its mobile phones and is the most popular brand with Brits by some distance.
With so many models being pumped out each year, you might be wondering not only if you need to opt for the most advanced model, but also if you even need the newest. Perhaps the previous year's edition at a knock-down price could suit you just fine?
Below we reveal the most popular Samsung Galaxy mobile phones and how they scored in our test lab. Only logged-in Which? members can view our exclusive ratings and verdicts below. If you're not yet a member, join Which? to get instant access.
Want to see what else is on test? Follow the link for all our mobile phone reviews.
Samsung Galaxy S8
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This is an excellent phone that’s currently available for a bargain price. A big talking point is its battery performance, which gives almost 24 hours of call time. The cameras were also an attraction for taking detailed photos that can be viewed on the super responsive screen. Much like other smartphones, it is rather large so beware if you prefer compact devices.
Samsung Galaxy S9
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Tied for first place as our highest scoring smartphone, this is a formidable entry to Samsung’s catalogue. It offers excellent battery performance that allows over 32 hours of call time and superb cameras. The clear downfall of the Galaxy Note 9 is the daunting price tag, but if you’re looking for top quality and maximised screen size, it may be a forgivable decision.
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
Samsung Galaxy A8
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The Samsung Galaxy A8 is the most advanced release from Samsung's mid-range mobile phone line to date. In fact, at a glance you'd be forgiven for thinking it was a high-end model, if it weren't for its reasonable price. With a host of high-end specs and the familiar Samsung design touches, could this smartphone be a top bargain? Read our full review to find out.
Samsung Galaxy J5 (2017)
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Looking for a smartphone without spending top dollar? You might consider the Samsung Galaxy J5 (2017), one of the company's cheaper mobile phones. It has a few nifty features, such as a fingerprint scanner, but our full review reveals whether it offers much in the way of battery life and whether it takes good photos.
Pricing, recommendations and test scores correct as of November 2018.
How much do Samsung Galaxy mobile phones cost?
When you think of a Samsung handset there's a good chance something like the Galaxy S9 comes to mind – a high-end, very expensive device. But there's actually a huge variety of options to choose from, and you don't need to break the bank for a great deal of them.
Samsung Galaxy S series
The Galaxy S series is the flagship range. The numerical suffix increases year-by-year, with the Galaxy S9 being released in 2018. There's also the Galaxy S9+, which packs in all of the great features of the S9 but builds upon it with a larger and sharper screen, more power and even better cameras.
Devices in the Galaxy Note series are even larger than the latest Galaxy S+ models. Despite being more expensive and more powerful, they're not usually talked about as being Samsung's flagship effort as they're too big and expensive for all but the most dedicated of fans. They're so big that they're one of the few smartphones that actually still come with a stylus.
Samsung Galaxy A series
Galaxy A models come in at a level below the Galaxy S range. They're mid-range handsets that aim to strike a balance between price and performance. They may lack some of the most sophisticated functions of their bigger brothers, and their design is a little more functional than fanciful, but they're an appealing choice for those who want a smartphone that can do everything they ask of it – without spending more than £30 per month on a contract.
Samsung Galaxy J series
The Galaxy J line is the entry-level, budget friendly option. They aren't quite as cheap as some other manufacturers' budget handsets, but in return you get the Samsung stamp of quality – and a mobile phone that feels more expensive than it actually is. If you don't use your smartphone for much more than the basics, this is a very valid option.
How to save money on a Samsung Galaxy phone
As with anything, waiting a year or more for the model you want to drop in price is a solid strategy. Some phones can be found for half their original price if you buy at the right time. An older phone may be perfectly adequate for your needs, especially if there aren't many features on the newer model that you'll actually use.
Storage size can often have a big impact on price, and if you can add more yourself this is far cheaper than opting for the larger model. Do you need to spend an extra £100 on 128GB of storage when you could just buy the 64GB variant and a £15 micro-SD card to do the same job?
Finally, always consider buying a phone outright to save money in the long-term. If you do opt to buy over contract, carefully work out the total cost to you so you know exactly how much extra you're paying.
Want to save even more money? Take a look at our guide to buying a refurbished or used mobile phone.
What to look for when choosing a Samsung Galaxy mobile phone
There are a few things to think about when deciding which Samsung Galaxy to opt for. Here’s our shortlist of what to consider:
- Size If you want a Samsung Galaxy that you can easily use with one hand, any model with a '+' in its name is out of the picture – as is the whole Galaxy Note range. That said, some may find the Galaxy Note manageable due to its handy stylus. Galaxy A and J series handsets have displays about 0.5 inches smaller than the S series.
- Storage space The pricier Galaxy S series handsets understandably offer the most storage, with 64, 128 or a whopping 256GB options, in some cases. At the other end of the spectrum, Galaxy J series models offer 8, 16 or 32GB variants. Big money-savers, but not enough for some. Galaxy A models tend to lie somewhere in between.
- Speed It's pretty simple: the pricier and bigger the handset, the more power it has. Every modern Samsung Galaxy device, even the most basic of J range models, runs on an Exynos octa-core processor. The model of that processor, along with the amount of Ram it's paired with, improves as you head up the ranges, usually peaking with the latest Galaxy Note.
- Cameras The latest and best Galaxy handsets have dual rear-facing cameras, wide-angled selfie lenses and advanced software to ensure you get the best images in all conditions. You won't get that sort of tech on the cheaper models, but they should still do a job for those who like to take the occasional snap.
Do any Samsung mobile phones make our favourites list? Find out in our top five best smartphones guide.