Which? uses cookies to improve our sites and by continuing you agree to our cookies policy

Top five best smartphones for 2017

By Oli McKean

We reveal the best smartphones for 2017. These all aced our tests thanks to brilliant battery life, cracking cameras and dazzling displays.

Put us to the test

Our Test Labs compare features and prices on a range of products. Try Which? to unlock our reviews. You'll instantly be able to compare our test scores, so you can make sure you don't get stuck with a Don't Buy.

We've handpicked five terrific smartphones that are really worth considering, and highlighted three that we think you should steer clear of.

As well as a few of the very top scorers, our top five list also unearths some smartphones that offer excellent value for money.

Our five favourites impress across the board, from battery life and camera quality, to screen clarity and processor speed. Below, we also show you some of the worst we've seen, which are nothing short of infuriating to use.

Only logged-in Which? members can view our recommendations in the table below. If you're not yet a member, you can get instant access by taking a £1 trial to Which?

Our pick of the best smartphones for 2017

Which? score 86%
Reviewed May 2017
Battery:
4 out of 5
Camera:
5 out of 5
Screen quality:
5 out of 5

This is an absolutely outstanding smartphone with a whole host of features. It offers loads of storage space, and it looks simply stunning. It's hard to find anything to fault with this mobile phone.

Which? score 85%
Reviewed Sep 2017
Battery:
4 out of 5
Camera:
5 out of 5
Screen quality:
5 out of 5

A phenomenal phone that's absolutely packed with features. On top of this, it offers good battery life and takes fantastic photos and videos - one of the best phones we've ever tested.

Which? score 82%
Reviewed Nov 2017
Battery:
3 out of 5
Camera:
4 out of 5
Screen quality:
5 out of 5

A largely stunning phone with lots of extra features and impressive cameras. Its battery life does hold it back a little, though.

Which? score 74%
Reviewed Aug 2017
Battery:
4 out of 5
Camera:
4 out of 5
Screen quality:
4 out of 5

A brilliant phone that doesn't cost the earth to buy. It will speed through simple and demanding tasks, it takes good photos and videos, and its battery life is impressive to boot.

Which? score 73%
Reviewed May 2017
Battery:
5 out of 5
Camera:
4 out of 5
Screen quality:
4 out of 5

This smartphone is nothing short of amazing for its price. It has brilliant battery life, takes good photos and has some handy features. Interestingly, it does better overall in our tests than some other much pricier phones.

Haven't found the product for you? Browse all of our mobile phone reviews.

And here are three mobile phones to avoid

With the good come the bad. Not all smartphones are worth spending money on - the three we've highlighted below have dismal screens, rubbish cameras and unimpressive battery life.

Which? score 32%
Reviewed Mar 2017
Battery:
2 out of 5
Camera:
3 out of 5
Screen quality:
1 out of 5

This phone is so poor that we've made it a Don't Buy. The low-resolution display is unpleasant to use, battery life isn't impressive and the cameras don't take good photos. It has a few redeeming features, but not enough to make it a phone worthy of recommendation.

Which? score 21%
Reviewed Jun 2016
Battery:
2 out of 5
Camera:
1 out of 5
Screen quality:
1 out of 5

This smartphone is so slow, and the screen is so poor that it makes for a very infuriating experience. Even if you're new to smartphones and considering this as a starter model, we simply can't recommend it.

Which? score 15%
Reviewed Jun 2016
Battery:
1 out of 5
Camera:
1 out of 5
Screen quality:
2 out of 5

This is an awful mobile phone that you should steer clear of at all costs. It has one of the worst screens that we've ever seen, it's slow and the battery life is abysmal.

Top five tips for choosing a mobile phone

There are hundreds of mobile phones to pick from. As so many make grand claims about how they're the best for this, or the highest rated for that, you'd be forgiven for wanting to cut through the noise.

We've rounded up our top five tips for compiling your shopping shortlist:

  • Price While it's possible to pick up a phone for a two-figure price, we'd recommend spending at least £100 to help you avoid buying a complete dud. If you just want a phone for simple everyday tasks, such as messaging and web browsing, you can find a few good options for £150-£200. Spend upwards of £400, and you'll find phones with vibrant displays, high-end specs and a few more extra features.
  • Size Many of the latest mobile phones have 5.5-inch displays, making them harder to use with one hand. While bigger phones are great for watching films and browsing the web, they aren't for everyone - some people find them too large and awkward to hold. The best way to find out which handset size is right for you is to try holding a few in a shop.
  • Storage Think about how many apps and photos you're likely to want on your smartphone. If it's just a few, you might get away with 16GB storage space or less. But if you like to have several news apps, lots of photos and some streaming apps, such as Spotify and Netflix, it's worth thinking bigger. An alternative to buying a larger-capacity phone is to make sure you buy one that has a micro-SD card slot - this lets you buy and insert a separate memory card to give you more wiggle room.
  • Operating system This is the software that powers your phone. It shapes what the phone menu looks like and what apps it can run, and impacts how easy the phone is to use. There are three main operating systems to choose from: iOS, Android and Windows. iOS is the operating system used by Apple iPhones and is pretty easy to use, although Apple iPhones are expensive. Many manufacturers use the Android operating system, including Samsung, LG and Sony, and it's extremely customisable. Windows isn't as popular as Android or iOS and there isn't much to choose from - there have been very few Windows phone releases over the past few years. That said, you might like it if you're a fan of the Windows operating system on your PC or laptop.
  • Features Consider which features you might like. For instance, you might like a fingerprint scanner for fast unlocking of your phone (and to feel like James Bond). You might also want a water-resistant phone, especially if you have previous experience of accidentally dropping your phone in the toilet.

For more information on making the right choice with your next smartphone purchase, head straight to our guide on how to choose the best mobile phone.

SHARE THIS PAGE

Related products

See all mobile phones