The 17 best smartphones of 2015 - what's the best phone you can buy?

23 Apr 2015

Discover the best smartphone for your pocket, budget and apps with our buying guide and in-depth reviews

If you want to know what the the best smartphone on the market is, then you've come to the right place.

Scroll down to see our pick of the ultimate smartphones available at the moment, or click through our "jump to" section to discover the questions you should be asking yourself before you set out to buy any mobile phone.

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Best phones of 2015

1. Samsung Galaxy S6

Price when reviewed: 32GB, £600 inc VAT

Best Smartphones of 2015 - Samsung Galaxy S6

Samsung finally kicked out plastic for its latest smartphone design and, aside from a couple of reservations, the result is a triumph. The S6 looks glorious with Gorilla Glass 4 at the front and rear and coloured metal beneath it to give it a glitzy, shimmering look. And Samsung has significantly beefed up the innards without impacting on battery life negatively.

The highlight, however, is the improved camera, which now boasts optical image stabilisation and a wide f/1.9 aperture for stunning image capture in all conditions.

The S6 edge is just as good and arguably the more attractive device, but its unusual curved screen and the fact that there's no 32GB option bumps the price of an already expensive phone up to an eye-watering £760. Buy the S6: you won't regret it.

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2. LG G4

Price when reviewed: £530 inc VAT (for the plastic-backed edition)

LG G4 release date and launch

Last year's LG G3 was a top smartphone - and still is (see below) - but the LG G4 is a different beast entirely: it has a camera to match the Samsung Galaxy S6, fast internals and a fantastic 5.5in quad HD display.

It isn't as slim, sleek or outright delicious as the Samsung Galaxy S6, but the leather backed options are surprisingly attractive, and if you place practicalities before aesthetics, the LG G4 beats the S6 hands down.

Unlike Samsung's leading light, the G4 boasts a removable, 3,000mAh battery so you can carry a spare for emergencies or replace a failing battery a year or two down the track; and it also has a microSD slot, so you're not stuck with the 32GB stock storage allocation. Plus, it's a touch cheaper than the S6.

Currently, we have the LG G4 in second place in our smartphone list, because it isn't quite as quick as the Samsung Galaxy S6 and battery life isn't as good either, but it's a very, very close run thing.

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3. Sony Xperia Z3 Compact

Price when reviewed: £348 inc VAT

Best Smartphones of 2015 - Sony Xperia Z3 Compact

Sony’s pint-sized smartphone packs in a host of premium features without the high-end price, including fast performance and waterproofing. It's the battery life that really sets this handset apart from the crowd, however, regularly delivering one to two days of use per charge.

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4. Samsung Galaxy S5

Price on 30/03/15: £330 inc VAT

Best Smartphones of 2015 - Samsung Galaxy S5

There's an awful lot to like about the Samsung Galaxy S5: it's good-looking, tough, big, feature rich and we love the user-replaceable battery and memory expansion. It's a great smartphone in every way, and now that the S6 is here, the price is more reasonable. If you're not precious about the way your phone looks, the Samsung Galaxy S5 is a great buy.

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5. iPhone 6

Price when reviewed: £539 inc VAT

Best Smartphones of 2015 - Apple iPhone 6

 

It's a brave new world for Apple's larger iPhone, and it's much the better for it. Super-fast, beautiful to look at and lovely to use. It's the dictionary definition of a flagship handset.

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6. Motorola Moto G

Price when reviewed: £145 inc VAT

Best Smartphones of 2015 - Motorola Moto G

A high-quality budget Android handset with an excellent screen and decent battery life. There's now a 4G version as well, for those hankering after faster mobile data.

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7. HTC One M9

Price when reviewed: £580 inc VAT

Best Smartphones of 2015 - HTC One M9

HTC took the One M8's design and refined it for 2015, creating a truly stunning smartphone. The internals have been upgraded as well: Qualcomm's octa-core Snapdragon 810 SoC; the camera goes from the M8's 4-megapixel snapper to 20 megapixels; and HTC has added a host of features to its Sense Android launcher software. 

It's a beautifully crafted and highly competent smartphone, just like last year's HTC One M8. But it's only a small improvement on the M8.

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8. LG G3

Price when reviewed: £459 inc VAT

Best Smartphones of 2015 - LG G3

LG rustles up a classy, top-rung smartphone, with a ridiculously high-resolution screen and super-fast camera; but that display takes its toll on battery life.

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9. Samsung Galaxy Note 4

Price when reviewed: £599 inc VAT

Best Smartphones of 2015 - Samsung Galaxy Note 4

Samsung has produced the finest phablet yet. In addition to a new Quad HD display and a smart new look, Samsung has bumped up the speed, battery life, camera quality and range of features – big-screened phones don't get any better than this.

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10. Samsung Galaxy Note Edge

Price when reviewed: £609 inc VAT

Best Smartphones of 2015 - Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Edge

With most of the same features as the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and a funky curved-edge display, it’s hard to criticise the Edge. However, that curved display, intriguing as it is, adds significantly to the cost – and that's enough to cement the Note 4 as our large-screen smartphone of choice.

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11. Nexus 6

Price when reviewed: £499 inc VAT

Best Smartphones of 2015 - Google Nexus 6

The Nexus 6 has taken us by surprise in the short time we’ve had it. Once you sidle past the unavoidable fact of its gargantuan size, there’s an awful lot it does right. Battery life is good, the camera is excellent, and the build and design quality are second to none. And although its rivals hold an edge over it in many areas, the differences aren’t huge.

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12. iPhone 6 Plus

Price when reviewed: £619 inc VAT

Best Smartphones of 2015 - Apple iPhone 6 Plus

 

Apple’s 5.5in giant isn’t for everyone, but for some it may prove the perfect mid-point between an iPad and iPhone. And contrary to initial reports, our long-term review sample hasn't suffered from any undue bending - it's remained rock-solid in the face of all the abuse we've dished out.

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13. Samsung Galaxy Alpha

Price: £280 inc VAT

Best phone Samsung Galaxy Alpha

The Galaxy Alpha is among Samsung's best-looking smartphones, and now that the Galaxy S6 is here the price has sunk to a tempting £280 - almost half its original price. If you want a feature-packed smartphone at a reasonable price, it's worth a look.

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14. Motorola Moto X

Price when reviewed: £419 inc VAT

Best Smartphones of 2015 - Motorola Moto X

Motorola’s second-generation Moto X hits most of the right notes, coupling beautiful design with a hatful of innovative and useful features.

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15. Nokia Lumia 930

Price when reviewed: £419 inc VAT

Best Smartphones of 2015 - Microsoft Nokia Lumia 930

The Lumia 930 is a knock-out from the first moment you pick it up. It's a Windows Phone device, so it can't compete on apps, but the design of Nokia's flagship is sumptuous and right up there with the best around.

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16. Sony Xperia Z3

Price when reviewed: £477 inc VAT

Best Smartphones of 2015 - Sony Xperia Z3

The successor to the Z2 isn't that much different. It's a touch slimmer and lighter than the Z2, the screen is brighter, and the processor is clocked a fraction higher, but almost everything else is the same. It's a very good Android device, and if you can still find a Z2 for sale it will be much cheaper and almost as good.

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17. Motorola Moto E

Price when reviewed: £109 inc VAT

Best Smartphones of 2015 - Motorola Moto E

Makes plenty of compromises to keep costs down, but performs where it counts; the Moto E is another winner from Motorola at a highly tempting price. This is the best £100 handset by a country mile, and now it includes 4G.

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Check out our list of the best upcoming and new smartphones of 2015, to make sure the phone you’re about to buy isn't due an upgrade.

Read more

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