Best UK smartphones of 2017: The best Android and Apple phones you can buy right now

It’s always hard to know when to jump on the technology treadmill, and harder still with smartphones. They’re upgraded every year, and assuming you go with the standard two-year contract lifespan, you’re likely to spend at least half of that time looking enviously on at the latest phones and wondering why your pride-and-joy from 12 months ago isn’t as magical as it seemed then.

With that in mind, we’re regularly updating the best smartphones of 2017 list below, keeping you informed as to how the rankings change as we review newer models. Make no mistake, you’ll be very pleased with any handset on the list below – it’s just that what’s around the corner might be even better.

This is the only guide you need to uncover the best mobile phones of 2017. From budget marvels to the finest flagship smartphones, you’re guaranteed to find the device you’ve been searching for – at a price you can afford, and with all the features you need.

If you just want to start shopping right now, scroll down to read the review of our current favourite smartphone, and below you’ll find links to all the other top-notch smartphones that have made the cut. On each page, you’ll find quick summaries of our in-depth reviews, as well as all the key specifications you need to help you make a buying decision.

If you’re not sure what kind of smartphone is right for you, then have a read of our buyer’s guide. This will help you decide between Android, iOS and Windows Phone, and run you through all the key specifications you need to look for when buying a new phone. If you can’t be bothered to click the menu above, you can click here instead.

Best smartphones of 2017:

Apple iPhone X

Screen Camera Processor Storage Battery
5.8in 2,436 x 1,125 edge-to-edge AMOLED display Dual 12MP Apple A11 Bionic 64/256GB
No microSD
Unknown capacity, non-removable

Price: £999

The iPhone X has been released and we’ll have a full review of it up shortly, but for now our early thoughts are that the iPhone X looks great but is way too expensive. With its edge-to-edge AMOLED screen, glass rear and vertically arranged camera, the iPhone X looks to be Apple’s most attractive and powerful smartphone to date.

You can read our hands-on reviews and first impressions of the iPhone X via the link below:

1. Samsung Galaxy S8

Screen Camera Processor Storage Battery
2,960 x 1,440
Snapdragon 835

Price when reviewed: 64GB SIM-free, £689 inc VAT

Buy the Samsung Galaxy S8 now

The Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus sweep all before them in 2017: there’s no argument – these are the best smartphones on the market. They look gorgeous, with the most notable upgrade this year the taller, slimmer shape enabled by the new 18.5:9 aspect ratio.

That means, although the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus have 5.8in and 6.2in screens, they’re not as big and bulky in the hand as you might expect, and with the home button moving off the bezel and onto the lower portion of the display, there’s barely any screen border left in place on the front.

These are the best-looking phones we’ve come across, and are faster than last year’s S7 models. And although the price was originally very high, with the64GB Samsung Galaxy S8 costing £689 and the 64GB Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus going for a shudderingly high £779, both phones have recently dropped dramatically in price to around £590 and £650 respectively.

That means the Samsung Galaxy S8 in both guises is the phone to beat. Not only is it fast, packed full of features, with one of the best cameras you can get in a smartphone, but it’s also better looking and better value than many of its key rivals as well.What are you waiting for? Get out and buy one.

Click here to read our full Samsung Galaxy S8 review

2. OnePlus 5T

Screen Camera Processor Storage Battery
2,160 x 1,080
20/16MP (r)
16MP (f)
Snapdragon 835
64GB/128GB 3,300mAh

When it comes to reasonably priced phones OnePlus is still king and its latest handset – the OnePlus 5T – is mid-range mobile royalty. For £449, it packs in the sort of core componentry we’re more used to seeing in top-end, £600+ flagships such as the Samsung Galaxy S8, the Sony Xperia XZ Premium and the HTC U11 and combines this with sleek good looks and a range of high-end features.

Its dual-20-megapixel and 16-megapixel rear camera is focussed on low-light photography, and the new all-display front is a sheer joy to behold. It also runs Android 7 and all-round performance is fabulous battery life is top notch and, as you’d expect, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor ensures the phone feels incredibly fast.

The one fly in the ointment is that OnePlus phones are the most expensive they’ve ever been, and it might deter potential buyers. Where OnePlus handsets used to circle below the £400 mark, the OnePlus 5T – ever since the OnePlus 5 – is priced at £450. Still, that’s a good deal less than the rest of the phones on this list. Look Apple, you don’t need to price people out of house and home for the latest top-end smartphone, OnePlus is showing you how it’s done. 

Click here to read our OnePlus 5 review

Buy the OnePlus 5 now from OnePlus

3. Google Pixel 2

Price: £629 inc VAT, 64GB 

Screen Camera Processor Storage Battery
1,080 x 1,920 
Snapdragon 835

You might expect to find the Pixel 2 XL here along with its smaller sibling, but unfortunately, we found its display distinctly underwhelming and would struggle to recommend it to anyone. You can read John’s full review of the Pixel 2 XL here. 

The Google Pixel 2, on the other hand, is an outstanding device. It has the best camera we’ve seen on any smartphone and is capable of taking phenomenal snaps even in tricky light conditions. We also love its simple interface. Unlike many of its competitors, it’s not loaded with bloatware, and everything is easy to find and just feels right. You’ll also get software updates and the latest versions of Android before anyone else. Just don’t be tempted to buy the XL version.

 Click here to read our Google Pixel 2

4. HTC U11

Screen Camera Processor Storage Battery
1,440 x 2,560
Snapdragon 835

HTC has spent the last couple of years in the smartphone doldrums, but this year’s flagship – the HTC U11 is a triumph. The new, curvaceous glass design and two-tone colour finishes look sublime, and it couples its supermodel looks with incredibly fast performance, a camera that very nearly matches the Google Pixel phones for quality in all conditions, and solid battery life that will comfortably get you through a day of use … and a little bit more.

If you prefer your smartphones to have the shorter squatter profile of a 16:9 screen instead of the tall, thin Samsung Galaxy S8, this is the phone for you. It’s also, in our opinion, the best-looking phone on the market right now, although you’ll need to carry a cleaning cloth around with you to keep it looking its very best.

And, if you like your smartphones to be different, the HTC U11has a clever trick up its sleeve, too: you can squeeze the bottom half of the phone to launch apps and carry out actions, even from thelockscreen.

The only trouble with the HTC U11 is that, at currently just shy of £650, it’s already at a disadvantage compared with the Samsung Galaxy S8, a phone that started out costing £690 SIM-freebut that has fallen in price to a much-cheaper (and unbeatable) £590 in recent times.

Click here to read our HTC U11 review

5. Apple iPhone8 Plus

Screen Camera Processor Storage Battery
Dual 12MP
Apple A11 Bionic
No microSD

Price: 32GB SIM-free, £799 inc VAT

The iPhone 8 Plus is a very fine phone indeed – and with its dual cameras and bigger screen, it’s a big improvement on the standard iPhone 8. The trouble is that while it’s very good, it’s also rather expensive for what it is: £799 for the 64GB version puts it well ahead of the equally good phones above, and given there’s no way to expand the storage with a microSD card, you may well need to drop £949 for the 256GB version.

The battery life is good, the cameras are excellent and wireless charging is a welcome addition – even if its years behind Android in adoption. But crucially, this doesn’t feel like a big step forward from the iPhone 7 Plus, which makes the asking price a tough old pill to swallow. You won’t be disappointed, but if you’re willing to look beyond the walls of iOS, you’ll find better for less money.

Click here to read our Apple iPhone 8 Plus review

6.Sony Xperia XZ Premium

Screen Camera Processor Storage Battery
Snapdragon 835

Price: 32GB SIM-free, around £650 inc VAT

Sony is back with another 4K screen handset, and this one is very good indeed. The problem is that its brilliance is despite the 4K screen rather than because of it. You don’t need a 2,160 x 3,840 resolution on a 5.5in display – it’s silly and your eyes can’t tell the difference.

But it’s not quite as silly as the last time Sony pulled this stunt: it’s actually an improvement on the regular XZ (where the Z5 Premium was not compared to the cheaper Z5) and it’s at a price point that’s similar to its competitors the Samsung Galaxy S8 and the HTC U11. It’s just a shame that Sony didn’t save some of that money from the pointless screen to undercut them…

Click here to read our Sony Xperia XZ Premium review

7. Honor 9

Screen Camera Processor Storage Battery
1080 x 1,920
Dual 20MP/13MP rear & 8MP HiSilicon 960

Price: £380 SIM-free

If last year’s Honor 9 was a surprise hit, this year’s version – the Honor 9 – is an outright winner. It’s a proper rival for the OnePlus 5 in the mid-price smartphone race, looks much nicer and undercuts it on price.

It can’t quite compete with the OnePlus 5 for outright performance. Battery life isn’t nearly as good and neither is the camera. However, if £450 is still a bit too rich for you and you fancy a phone that looks almost as nice as a Samsung Galaxy S8, the Honor 9 could be just your cup of tea.

Click here to read our Honor 9 review

8. Apple iPhone SE

Screen Camera Processor Storage Battery
640 x 1,136
Apple A9
No microSD

Price: 32GB SIM-free, £379 inc VAT; 12GB SIM-free, £479 inc VAT

Buy the Apple iPhone SE now from Argos

If you’re one of those people who bemoans the lack of compact phones on the market, then the iPhone SE is for you. Apple’s tiny phone may not contain the latest bits and pieces, but it’s still fast, it still has a great camera, and it’ll slip into your pocket and you’ll barely notice it’s there.

The iPhone SE is millimetre-identical to the iPhone 5s but it contains all the power of the iPhone 6s and its rear-facing camera, plus the storage options are have been increased to 32GB and 128GB since launch.

The 4in screen might look like it’s lacking in pixels compared to today’s giant-sized handsets, but since those pixels are crammed into such a tiny space, it’s just as sharp as the iPhone 7. Of course, the tinier screen means that web pages are far more cramped than on those larger handsets – but many people will be willing to suffer such minor inconveniences in the name of compactness.

There are some downgrades compared to the larger, newer iPhones, but this remains one of the best compact smartphones out there still. Oh, and did we mention that the battery life is amazing? Well, it is.

Click here to read our Apple iPhone SE review

9. Samsung Galaxy J5

Samsung Galaxy J5 camera
Screen Camera Processor Storage Battery
720 x 1,280
13 & 5MP
Snapdragon 410

Price: 8GB SIM-free, £160 inc VAT

It’s taken years, but Samsung has finally nailed the budget formula – the Galaxy J5 gives a hint of Samsung’s flagship phone brilliance for a fraction of the cost of the Galaxy S7.

If you weren’t paying attention, it would be easy to mistake the J5 for Samsung’s not-so-elderly S5 flagship. The design looks nigh-on identical, and that is to say, quite lovely – there aren’t many £160 phones that look this good.

Crucially, though, the Galaxy J5 is actually a pretty great smartphone. There are, of course, limitations: the Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 processor is modest, so you shouldn’t expect a mind-boggling turn of speed in games, and the 720p display isn’t up to the standards of the very best.

Should any of this bother you, though? No, it shouldn’t. The Galaxy J5’s AMOLED display might lack for pixels, but it doesn’t lack for quality, serving up bold, vibrant images that IPS-equipped rivals can only dream of.

Battery life is top-notch, too, and the replaceable battery guarantees that the J5 won’t be set for the scrapheap once the battery begins to lose its potency. For a budget phone, that’s a big attraction.

The camera could be better, but who cares – at £160, this is a veritable bargain of a phone.

Click here to read our Samsung Galaxy J5 review

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