2016 11 Best smartphones
1. Best smartphone - iPhone 7 Plus
Apple's dual camera, big screen phone is a winner
Gorgeous water resistant design
Could be too big for some
Here we have the iPhone 7 Plus - probably the best-looking smartphone around. Some feel its sheer size does make it tricky to hold, but there's no denying Apple's beautiful 5.5-incher is a winner. If you're an iPhone user and you fancy picking up the best smartphone around, this should definitely be your first choice. Apple has chosen to stick with the iPhone 6S design, improving it with rerouted antenna lines and a more integrated camera bump. There are glorious new colours available, and to top it off, the casing is now water resistant.
It's inside where the iPhone 7 Plus has received the biggest overhaul - now packing Apple's blazing fast A10 Fusion processor. The camera has also received a significant upgrade, now with two 12MP sensors capable of 2x optical zoom. To finish it off, the iPhone 7 Plus comes running iOS 10, Apple's latest and greatest mobile OS.
It is expensive, and may be too large for some, so the standard iPhone 7 with a 4.7-inch display is also worth your consideration.
2. The other best smartphone - Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
Curving into the future with impressive specs
The Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge is so close to being the best smartphone in the world right now. It boasts the brilliant dual curved display, with the screen bending around on both sides so it looks like no other phone ever made (apart from the S6 Edge last year). Yep, this futuristic smartphone is a looker, and it'll have your friends begging for a chance to play with it.
That combined with industry leading power, an amazing display, decent battery life, an excellent camera and amazing performance make it not only the best-looking smartphone, but one of the top two smartphones in the universe. Of course, if you're not a fan of the curved display, the regular S7 is close to perfection as well.
3. Google Pixel XL
The best large smartphone
Not water resistant
Design a little uninspired
We can't tell you how close it is between the Google Pixel XL, iPhone 7 Plus and S7 Edge for the title of 'best smartphone in the world.' All three are beautiful, but the sleek design, intuitive UI, and leading ecosystem puts the iPhone 7 just in front. The Google Pixel XL is still an amazing smartphone - especially if you adore large screens and virtual assistants.
Whether it's the excellent camera, the metal-and-glass chassis, the oodles of power involved (from Qualcomm's newest Snapdragon processor) or just the fact that the software and virtual assistant work in perfect harmony with the hardware, Google's got a lot right here and this is a brilliant phone. Of course, if you don't like large screens the 5.0-inch Pixel is also available, which is identical the XL (apart from size).
4. iPhone SE
The best small smartphone
Great battery life
Old, boxy design
16GB storage base model
Notice how all of these smartphones have 5+ inch screens? What if you have small hands? You can't reach all four corners of the screen. It's a problem not many of us face, but the truth is -- some people just prefer smaller phones but don't want to sacrifice high-end specs. The iPhone SE is for you. With a 4-inch screen and guts which match the iPhone 6S, including the 12MP rear camera, 2GB RAM, Apple Pay, Retina display, and Apple A9 chipset, this thing is a little pocket rocket.
There are a few drawbacks - the design isn't beautifully curvaceous like the iPhone 7 (the SE is based on the iPhone 5), the front-facing camera has fewer megapixels, and the Touch ID fingerprint sensor is older and therefore slower. The best thing about it? Despite its range-topping specs, the iPhone SE is also one of the cheapest smartphones Apple has ever released. What's not to love?
5. OnePlus 3T
The best smartphone from an alternative brand
Low price for great spec
Getting more and more expensive
Looking to upset dominance by the big brands is OnePlus, who took the mobile world by storm in 2014 with one goal, to be the flagship killer. It's fourth smartphone, the OnePlus 3T, has finally achieved that goal. With a slightly more expensive price tag of £399, you'll get all the mod-cons of much more expensive handsets, including an HD screen, fingerprint sensor, a decent camera and powerful specs. And, whereas previous OnePlus phones lacked finesse - the OnePlus 3T as a genuine premium feel and the software is rock solid.
6. Nexus 6P
The best value smartphone
All metal design
Still pretty big
No wireless charger
The Nexus may have been superseeded by the Google Pixel, but that only makes the highly affordable Nexus 6P a steal. The phone is made by Huawei and includes a 5.7-inch 2K display, 2GB of RAM and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 chipset inside. The battery life is very impressive for a phone this size but sadly there's no wireless camera. The camera offers a 12MP sensor and there's a fingerprint sensor on the back for the very first time.
The design is especially lovely this year with a metal back and a rounder design than before - but it may prove too big for some.
7. LG G5
The best smartphone with a removable battery
Interesting dual camera
Not a luxe as rivals
Accessories are a gimmick
This phone is aimed at those who want a truly innovative, gadgety smartphone, and while it doesn't look as special as the Galaxy S7 Edge, it does have a kick-ass unique feature. This phone, you see, has a modular design, letting you add optional attachments (such as a camera grip or high-res audio). It's also the only flagship smartphone in 2016 which lets you swap the battery. Sure, it doesn't feel as premium as the Samsung or iPhone, but if you want to make a geeky statement, this is the phone for you.
With leading specs, an excellent screen and the latest version of Android, this is definitely LG's best smartphone ever and comes highly recommended.
8. HTC 10
The best smartphone for music
Great battery life and camera
Amazing sound and software
The HTC 10 is a phone that takes the design heritage, DNA and all the other good bits of last year's One M9 and, well, does them again, but better. It's again shown the rest of the competition how to make a premium smartphone, and its camera, battery life and performance is right up there too. HTC has really worked on the criticisms of the previous generation devices, and created their best ever flagship smartphone.
It would have been nice to see HTC really push the boat out in terms of design, but the minimal tweaks they've made to stock Android are amazing, making this one of our favourite smartphones in 2016.
9. Huawei Mate 9
The best smartphone for battery life
Outstanding battery life
Fingerprint sensor and large display
Misses the mark on design
If your budget can't quite stretch to a snazzy California or South Korean-designed smartphone, you may wish to consider a Chinese brand instead. The Huawei Mate 9 is the best smartphone to hail from the People's Republic. It has a great 5.9-inch display, and brilliant battery life thanks to the large 4,000 mAh unit. It's not without its flaws though, the Emotion UI isn't great (although, has been improved over previous generations), and the design just isn't as sleek as its rivals.
10. Sony Z5 Premium
The best smartphone for 4K
Battery life is bad
Sony has just made the world's first ever 4K smartphone, but we're not exactly sure if it's necessary yet. It's a huge 5.5-inch screen with a huge 806 pixels-per-inch as well so is perfect for any phablet lovers out there. There's a new fingerprint sensor running along the side of the phone that works perfectly and then there's a great 23MP camera on the back of the phone.
The battery life may not be perfect, but this is one of the best phones if you love to have the newest tech first.
11. Motorola Moto X Force
The best durable smartphone
Close to stock Android
Noticeably plastic screen
The Moto X Force is a refreshing phone - rather than trying to be elegant and premium - it's durable and will survive a beating. That's mainly down to the screen, which features a thick, toughened outer layer which won't break - not matter how hard you try. The casing is also pretty rugged, our favourite finish being the 'Ballistic Nylon' back. The specs are pretty powerful, and the battery life is also impressive.
Android is left close to stock which is also good news. It's not as cutting edge as Samsung's or Apple's latest efforts, but it's a great all-rounder