9.45
/ 10
9.23
/ 10
9.20
/ 10
9.03
/ 10
8.83
/ 10
8.83
/ 10
8.75
/ 10
8.53
/ 10
8.35
/ 10
8.33
/ 10
8.30
/ 10
8.18
/ 10
8.15
/ 10
7.80
/ 10
7.68
/ 10
7.65
/ 10
7.53
/ 10
7.50
/ 10
7.28
/ 10
7.28
/ 10
7.20
/ 10
7.08
/ 10
6.68
/ 10
6.45
/ 10
5.83
/ 10
5.58
/ 10
4.38
/ 10
test
Smartphones: Stay Connected With the Most Powerful Mobile Devices
Smartphones have become ubiquitous parts of our lives. Our comparison breaks down what we love about the best smartphones in the world.
Design
PreviousNext
Usability
A-
A
A
A+
A+
B+
A+
A+
A+
A-
B+
A+
A+
A+
A-
A+
A+
A-
A
B+
A
A
A-
C+
C+
C-
D-
Build Quality
A+
A+
A+
A
A+
A
A+
A
A+
A
A
A-
A-
A+
A-
B+
A
B+
A
B
A
A
B
C
B
B-
B-
Operating System
Android 7.0
iOS 10
iOS 10
Android 6.0.1
Android 7.1
Android 6.0
Android 7.1
Android 6.0.1
iOS 10
Android 6.0.1
Android 6.0.1
Android 6.0
iOS 10
iOS 9
Android 5.1.1
iOS 9
Android 6.0
Android 5.0.2
Android 5.1.1
Android 6.0
Android 5.1
Android 5.0.2
Android 4.4.4
Android 4.4.2
Android 5.0
Android 5.1
Android 6.0
Screen Size (inches)
6.2
5.5
4.7
5.5
5.5
5.1
5
5.5
4.7
5.3
5.2
5.7
5.5
4.7
5.7
5.5
5.2
5.1
5.7
5.5
5.5
5
5.2
5.1
5.5
5.5
5
Display Resolution
1440p
1080p
750 x 1334
1080p
1440p
1440p
1080p
1080p
750 x 1334
1440p
1440p
1440p
1080p
750 x 1334
1440p
1080p
1080p
1440p
1440p
1080p
1080p
1080p
1080p
1080p
1080p
1080p
720p
Pixel Density (ppi)
570
401
326
401
534
577
441
401
326
554
565
518
401
326
518
401
424
577
520
403
401
441
424
432
403
401
294
Screen Technology
Super AMOLED
IPS LCD
IPS LCD
AMOLED
AMOLED
AMOLED
AMOLED
AMOLED
IPS LCD
IPS LCD
Super LCD
AMOLED
IPS LCD
IPS LCD
AMOLED
IPS LCD
IPS LCD
AMOLED
IPS LCD
AMOLED
In-Cell LCD
Super LCD
IPS LCD
AMOLED
IPS LCD
IPS LCD
Super LCD
Weight (ounces)
5.47
6.63
4.87
5.57
5.93
5.36
5.04
5.57
5.04
5.61
5.68
6.28
6.77
4.55
6.03
6.07
4.8
4.87
6.31
5.82
6.17
5.54
5.36
5.11
6
5.89
4.94
Dimensions (inches)
5.86 x 2.68 x 0.31
6.23 x 3.07 x 0.29
5.44 x 2.64 x 0.28
6.01 x 2.94 x 0.29
6.09 x 2.98 x 0.33
5.61 x 2.74 x 0.31
5.66 x 2.74 x 0.33
6.01 x 2.94 x 0.29
5.44 x 2.64 x 0.28
5.88 x 2.91 x 0.30
5.74 x 2.83 x 0.35
6.27 x 3.06 x 0.29
6.23 x 3.07 x 0.29
5.44 x 2.64 x 0.27
6.03 x 3.00 x 0.30
6.22 x 3.06 x 0.28
5.79 x 2.86 x 0.31
5.65 x 2.78 x 0.27
6.06 x 3.00 x 0.44
6.16 x 3.01 x 0.28
5.98 x 2.95 x 0.39
5.96 x 2.74 x 0.38
5.75 x 2.83 x 0.29
5.59 x 2.85 x 0.32
6.00 x 3.04 x 0.43
5.98 x 3.01 x 0.30
5.78 x 2.79 x 0.33
Camera
PreviousNext
Image Quality
A+
A+
A+
A
A+
A+
A+
A-
A+
A
A
A
A+
A+
A
A+
A-
A
A
B+
C+
C
B
A-
C+
C+
D-
Resolution (MP)
12
12 (x2)
12
16
12.3
12
12.3
16
12
16
12
12.3
12
8
16
8
12.3
16
21
16
13
20
20.7
16
13
13
8
Aperture Size (F-stop)
1.7
1.8
1.8
2
2
1.7
2
2
2.2
1.8
1.8
2
2.2
2.2
1.9
2.2
2
1.9
2
2
2
2.2
2.3
2.2
2
2
2.4
Max Video Resolution
4K
4K
4K
4K
4K
4K
4K
4K
4K
4K
4K
4K
4K
1080p
4K
1080p
4K
4K
4K
4K
4K
4K
4K
4K
1080p
1080p
720p
Max Video Frame Rate (fps)
60
240
240
120
240
240
240
120
240
30
120
240
240
240
60
240
120
30
60
120
120
120
120
120
30
30
30
Flash Type
LED
Quad LED
Quad LED
LED
Dual LED
LED
Dual LED
LED
Dual LED
LED
Dual LED
Dual LED
Dual LED
Dual LED
LED
Dual LED
Dual LED
LED
Dual LED
Dual LED
Dual LED
Dual LED
LED
LED
Dual LED
Dual LED
LED
Optical Image Stabilization
Enhanced Autofocus
Phase-Detect
Phase-Detect
Phase-Detect
Phase-Detect
Phase-Detect & Laser
Dual-Pixel
Phase-Detect & Laser
Phase-Detect
Phase-Detect
Laser
Laser
Laser
Phase-Detect
Phase-Detect
Phase-Detect
Laser
Phase-Detect
Phase-Detect & Laser
Laser
Phase-Detect
Front-Facing Resolution (MP)
8
7
7
16
8
5
8
8
5
8
5
8
5
1.2
5
1.2
5
5
5
5
5
4
2.2
2
5
5
5
Front-Facing Video Resolution
1440p
1080p
1080p
1080p
1080p
1440p
1080p
1080p
720p
1080p
1080p
1080p
720p
720p
1440p
720p
1080p
1440p
1080p
1080p
1080p
1080p
1080p
1080p
1080p
1080p
720p
test
Internal Specs
PreviousNext
Benchmark Results
100%
100%
100%
90%
75%
78%
78%
87%
81%
73%
78%
60%
72%
52%
63%
54%
51%
63%
49%
42%
56%
57%
44%
48%
45%
33%
14%
Processor Speed (GHz)
2.35
2.23
2.23
1.975
1.875
1.9
1.875
1.9
1.84
1.9
1.9
2
1.84
1.4
1.8
1.4
1.57
1.8
1.57
2
1.8
1.75
2.5
2.5
2.3
1.35
1.1
Processor Name
SD 835
Apple A10 Fusion
Apple A10 Fusion
SD 821
SD 821
SD 820
SD 821
SD 820
Apple A9
SD 820
SD 820
SD 810
Apple A9
Apple A8
Exynos 7420
Apple A8
SD 808
Exynos 7420
SD 808
SD 625
SD 810
SD 810
SD 801
SD 801
Intel Atom Z3580
SD 615
SD 210
Number of Cores
8
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
2
4
4
8
2
2
8
2
6
8
6
8
8
8
4
4
4
4
4
RAM (GB)
4
3
2
6
4
4
4
6
2
4
4
3
2
1
4
1
2
3
3
3
4
3
3
2
4
2
1.5
Built-In Storage (GB)
64
32/128/256
32/128/256
64/128
32/128
32/64
32/128
64
16/64/128
32
32/64
32/64/128
16/64/128
16/64/128
32/64
16/64/128
16/32
32/64/128
16/32/64
32
16/64
32
16/32
16/32
16/32/64
16
16
Max Expandable Storage (GB)
256
200
2TB
200
256
256
256
256
256
256
64
256
Battery Life
PreviousNext
Overall Grade
B+
C+
C+
A-
B+
B
C+
B-
C-
C+
B
A
B-
D+
A
C+
B+
B+
C+
A+
C-
C
B-
B
B-
C
B
Web Browsing Test (HH:MM)
10:39
10:38
9:03
10:27
11:11
8:43
8:16
8:33
6:46
7:57
9:56
12:25
8:16
7:27
9:35
10:00
11:30
8:32
6:27
13:46
8:07
7:14
12:09
9:28
7:05
6:56
9:04
Battery Capacity (mAh)
3000
2900
1960
3400
3450
3000
2770
3000
1715
2800
3000
3450
2750
1810
3000
2915
2700
2550
3000
3510
3300
2840
3100
2800
3000
3000
2200
Removable Battery
Rapid Charging
Wireless Charging
Some Models
test
Features
PreviousNext
Bluetooth
5.0
4.2
4.2
4.2
4.2
4.2
4.2
4.2
4.2
4.2
4.2
4.2
4.2
4.2
4.2
4.2
4.2
4.1
4.1
4.0
4.1
4.1
4.0
4.0
4.0
4.0
4.1
Bluetooth aptX Audio
Water Resistance
Rain Only
Rain Only
Fingerprint Scanner
USB Type-C Connector
Lightning
Lightning
Lightning
Lightning
Lightning
Lightning
Positional Sensors
No Gyro
No Compass or Gyro
Barometer
Near Field Communication
Infrared Blaster
FM Radio
AT&T Only
Carrier Availability
PreviousNext
Verizon Wireless
Bring to Carrier
Bring to Carrier
Bring to Carrier
AT&T
Bring to Carrier
Bring to Carrier
Bring to Carrier
Bring to Carrier
Bring to Carrier
Bring to Carrier
Bring to Carrier
Bring to Carrier
Bring to Carrier
Bring to Carrier
Bring to Carrier
Bring to Carrier
Bring to Carrier
Bring to Carrier
T-Mobile
Bring to Carrier
Bring to Carrier
Bring to Carrier
Bring to Carrier
Bring to Carrier
Bring to Carrier
Bring to Carrier
Bring to Carrier
Bring to Carrier
Bring to Carrier
Bring to Carrier
Bring to Carrier
Bring to Carrier
Bring to Carrier
Sprint
Bring to Carrier
Bring to Carrier
Bring to Carrier
Bring to Carrier
Bring to Carrier
Unlocked
test
by

Smartphones

Why Buy a Smartphone?

On April 21, 2017, Samsung released its two latest flagship smartphones: the 5.8-inch Galaxy S8 ($720) and the 6.2-inch Galaxy S8+ ($850). The devices are the same, with the exception of their prices, sizes and batteries. The S8 packs a 3000mAH battery, while the S8+ has a longer-lasting 3500mAH battery. We only reviewed the smaller variant, but you can read our sister site's review of the S8+ here.

The top performers in our review are the Gold Award winning Samsung Galaxy S8, the Silver Award winning Apple iPhone 7 Plus and the Bronze Award winning iPhone 7. Here’s more on choosing a smartphone to meet your needs, along with details on how we arrived at our rankings of the 10 best devices.

We've long since passed the point when people choose between smartphones and feature phones – dumb phones, as they've come to be called. Every major carrier and minor cell phone provider offers phones with touch screens and internet connectivity at virtually any price point – $600, $200, even $50. The question is no longer, "Should I buy a smartphone?" Rather, we now ask ourselves, "Which smartphone is best for me?"

With rigorous testing and our trademark side-by-side comparisons, we've identified 2017's best smartphones and ranked them for their processing power, battery life, camera quality and that almost intangible but extraordinarily important quality: design.

How We Tested the Smartphones

Whenever a major manufacturer comes out with a new smartphone, we put it through its paces with an intense sequence of performance benchmarks. The phone's display, processor, camera, battery life and unique features are each tested multiple times under identical conditions. Once we have our results, we compile them by Olympic average and aggregate them in the grades and scores you see above.

Of course, while synthetic benchmarking can reflect the capacity of a smartphone, it doesn't always reveal real-world performance. Consequently, we also run a series of real-world tests that simulate, as closely as possible, the experiences of a typical consumer.

To obtain each smartphone in our comparison, we either received them on temporary loan from the manufacturers or purchased the phones outright. Manufacturers had no input or influence over our evaluation methodology nor was it provided to any of them in more detail than is available through our reviews. Results of our tests were not provided to the companies in advance of publication.

Android, iOS or Windows Mobile

The first decision you need to make when picking a smartphone is probably the easiest: Which operating system should you choose? Whatever their die-hard fans might say, Android isn't better than iOS, and iOS isn't better than Android. Both platforms have powerful advantages and some nitpicky disadvantages, and your choice comes down to personal preference. Do you want everything on your phone to just work, and are you willing to pay a bit of a premium for that? Go iOS. Do you like customization and buying on a budget? Pick Android. Already have a preference? It's not wrong, so embrace it!

Windows Mobile, recently rebranded by Microsoft from Windows Phone, is the odd platform out. The OS is about to see some extreme revamping thanks to the impending release of Windows 10, and once that happens, it could well be a serious contender in the market. Until that time comes, however, Windows Mobile isn't as functional or reliable as Android or iOS. It takes more time and taps to do anything on a Windows Mobile device, and its app marketplace is dreadfully underwhelming.

Smartphone Pricing: Flagship, Budget and Midtier

There are essentially three tiers of smartphones available from the major providers. Flagship phones are the top-tier, brand-defining devices you see ads for. They have impressive specifications and tons of raw power under the hood but are usually rather expensive off-contract, clocking in at around $600. Samsung's Galaxy S series, HTC's One series, and Apple's iPhones are all flagship product lines.

Budget phones are on the opposite end of the spectrum. Often available from prepaid cell phone providers, these devices can range anywhere from $0.99 to $100 but are usually around $40 or $50. They overwhelmingly run the Android operating system, though usually a generation or two behind the most recent version of the platform. Budget phones are functional: They have cameras, internet connectivity and the ability to stream music and video, but they often chug under heavy app loads and don't have the same build quality as more expensive options.

Midtier devices split the difference between flagship and budget. They range from $150 to $400 off-contract and run either Android or the Windows Mobile operating system. Midtier phones are what you think of when you say to yourself, "I don't need the latest and greatest, just a phone that does what I need it to do." A few phones, like Google's Nexus line or the OnePlus series, are priced as midtier phones but deliver the power of flagships.

Smartphones: Our Verdict and Recommendations

There are dozens of recent smartphones on the market and well over a hundred once you account for older models still being sold. Picking the best for you can be a trying task, but we've made things easy. Here are our top recommendations:

The Best Performing Smartphone: Samsung Galaxy S8

The Samsung Galaxy S8 is not only the best Android flagship, but it is also the best overall smartphone. It's outfitted with a stunning edge-to-edge infinity display that is unlike any screen we've seen before on a smartphone. Not only that, the S8's overall performance blew us away. It has the latest and greatest Snapdragon processor, an impressive 10-hour battery life, and excellent cameras.

The Best Performing iPhone: Apple iPhone 7 Plus

The iPhone 7 Plus is wicked fast. Driven by Apple's custom A10 Fusion chip, which dynamically transfers processes between cores to optimize for both speed and battery life, the 7 Plus trounced our benchmarks and puts in surprisingly strong battery results to boot. With newly added water resistance and two rear-facing cameras with optical zoom and stabilization, it's no wonder the iPhone 7 Plus is our top iPhone pick.

The Best Value Smartphone: OnePlus 3T

The most recent OnePlus device, the OnePlus 3T costs hundreds less than similar phones from Apple and Samsung, but it screams past them in raw power, delivering better performance in our benchmarks than any other Android device we've ever tested. Thanks to a near-pure version of Android 6.0 Marshmallow, the OnePlus 3's usability is top-notch, and its extra features like USB Type-C and a flawless fingerprint scanner make you feel like you're on the cutting edge. Add to all this the phone's superb build quality, and you've got a device that anyone can love.

If you're still having trouble choosing the right device for your needs, try reading some of the articles on smartphones we've written up. Between them and the comparison chart above, you should have no problem picking a phone to be your in-pocket companion for the next couple of years.