So your contract is coming to an end and you’re in the market for a new phone. Let us help you pick one.
If you’re anything like us, you’ll be increasingly overwhelmed each time you need to upgrade and start shopping for a new handset. Do you stick with the latest iPhone, or do you branch out? What do the latest phones even do any more? Charge wirelessly, unlock with your face, store infinite photos, shine your shoes..?
The first thing you should do before you start looking is work out what kind of user you are. Are you most attracted to a good camera, large storage, or do you want all of the bells and whistles?
We’ve tried to narrow things down and show you the best phones in a few different categories to make your life that little bit easier. Aren’t we nice…
Best High-End – iPhone X
See also – Samsung S9
At £700 for the standard model and £850 for the 256GB, Apple’s newest flagship smartphone is the latest in a line of high quality offerings from the American company. It is waterproof up to 1 metre submerged, it is more likely to be useful as rain/splash/drink proof. This is faciliated, however, by the lack of headphone jack, as with all other modern Apple models.
The phone comes with all the gimmicks now expected of flagship smartphones, such as wireless charging and Face ID. What makes the phone stand out from other top-of-the-line models is its design, with a significantly larger screen fitted onto a base not much bigger than on the iPhone 8. The phone itself looks more revolutionary than any recent iPhone, and the 5.8 inch, Super Retina Display screen means that what you’re doing looks better as well. There are some issue with this phone – it’s eyewatering price, for instance. The ‘notch’, the panel at the top of the screen that carries the camera and earpiece, gets in the way of full screen videos or gaming, and the lack of home button can be disturbing to returning Apple customers. The iPhone X may not be value for money, but then Apple’s MO has always been demonstrating what Apple can do, as well as experimenting with design and the screen.
The iPhone’s traditional rival, Samsung, has most recently put out the S9, an upgraded version of the still relevant S8, at a similar price to the iPhone X. The S9 offers a fingerprint scanner on the back, but is also more susceptible to damage with a curved glass screen and finnicky buttons on the side. Overall, another solid smartphone, although perhaps with not quite the extreme luxury and quality expected of a high-end flagship device.
Best on a Budget – Motorola Moto G6
See also – Honor 9 Lite
At only £220, the G6’s superb image quality and processing power are the icing on the cake of what is essentially a stock Android smartphone. It does everything you could ever really need a smartphone to do, and is packaged in a smart body reminiscent of a small Samsung Galaxy S9. It is simple value for money, with little difference in quality or specs from flagship phones that are hundreds of pounds more expensive.
The Honor 9 Lite is also a good choice, retailing at only £170 online, with similar specs, such as a 1080p display.
Best for Photography – Huawei P20 Pro
See also – iPhone X
With all-round good photographic performance and its superb Portrait mode, the iPhone X is hard to beat. Offering 4K video recording at 60fps, Slo-mo at 240fps and Portrait lighting for both the front and rear cameras, it is certainly the best camera ever offered by Apple. However, the undeniable winner for the best smartphone camera is the Huawei P20 Pro, which offers three rear cameras – main, telephoto, and monochrome. The camera comes with dynamic AI, changing mode automatically when it detects a different subject – sports, portrait, blue skies, etc. The telephoto lens has actual manual zoom, offering significantly better quality than the standard digital zoom on other smartphone cameras. Photos are also automatically edited and brushed up – although this may frustrate some users, who would prefer a raw picture that they could edit themselves.
Best for Battery Life – Lenovo P2
See also – Motorola Moto Z Play
The battery life on the P2 is absolutely incredible – a whopping 30 hours of standard use, or 79 hours of talk time. This is far, far more than any other phone on the market, and it came an initial price of £169. However, the P2 is no longer in production, so prices will be slightly inflated from third-party resellers.
The Motorola Moto Z Play is the only phone currently in production with anywhere near the same battery life, with around 25 hours of standard use.
Best for Gaming – iPhone X
See also – Sony Xperia X72
The iPhone X is again the best smartphone for this particular niche. The Super Retina Display screen, combined with the quality of the App Store, provides the best smartphone gaming experience. Major label games, such as Fortnite, are often only available on iOS, with Android users left in the lurch. The offer of 256GB storage is also useful for avid gamers.
The X72, the latest Xperia phone from Sony (the makers of PlayStation), is arguably the best Android phone for mobile gaming, with a screen only a tenth of an inch smaller than the iPhone’s, and dual speakers offering stereo sound. It also has a micro-SD slot, allowing up to 400GB of additional storage.
Whichever phone you do choose, head over to our mobile comparison page to find the best tariffs on the market.