The 20 best smartphones in the world

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Darren Weaver

This month we welcomed the Galaxy Note 7 onto the list, as the faulty battery issue was deemed fixed. However, new reports of replacement devices exploding means we had to take the Note 7 back off the list.

Thats a shame, as the Note 7 was an otherwise excellent smartphone.

Here’s our ranking of the best phones you can buy.

Note: All prices below indicate how much the phones typically cost without a carrier contract. Prices may vary depending on the retailer.


20. BlackBerry Passport

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BlackBerry

The BlackBerry Passport may look strange, but a lot of BlackBerry fans seem to love it. It has a really nice physical keyboard, but the key feature is its unique square design.

Price: $470


19. Microsoft Lumia 950

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Lisa Eadicicco

If you must have a Windows phone, there’s only one device to consider: Microsoft’s Lumia 950. Although reviews were pretty bad, this phone does hold some promise for people who need Microsoft apps to do everything. It also has a really nice camera and can connect to a keyboard, mouse, and monitor and let you run a lightweight version of Windows.

Price: $445


18. BlackBerry Classic

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BlackBerry

If you were a BlackBerry fan back in the company’s heyday, you’re going to love the BlackBerry Classic. It looks similar to older BlackBerry models, but features a sharp touchscreen and an excellent physical keyboard.

Price: $284


17. BlackBerry Priv

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BlackBerry

The BlackBerry Priv is a huge departure for BlackBerry. Instead of running BlackBerry’s own operating system, the Priv runs Android. While it may look like a standard Android phone, the Priv has a slide-out keyboard. This could be a great device for those who want a physical keyboard but still have access to Google’s apps and services that aren’t available on other BlackBerry devices.

Price: $500

Click here for the BlackBerry Priv review >>


16. Moto G4

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Rafi Letzter/Tech Insider

The Moto G4 is available in three different models, including the regular $200 G4, the $250 G4 Plus, and the yet-to-be-priced G4 Play that’s coming later this summer.

We reviewed the G4 Plus model, which has a 16-megapixel camera compared to the 13-megapixel shooter on the regular G4, and found that it’s the best cheap smartphone you can buy. The G4 Plus also comes with a fingerprint sensor while the other models don’t.

Price: $200 – $250

Check out the three new Moto G4 smartphones here >>

Check out the Moto G4 Plus review here >>


15. Samsung Galaxy Note 5

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Antonio Villas-Boas/Tech Insider

The Galaxy Note 5 is a killer big-screen phone. Like previous versions of the Note, it has a large, vibrant display and a stylus for taking notes. The new metal and glass design is great too.

Price: $529

Click here for the Galaxy Note 5 review >>


14. ZTE Axon 7

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Antonio Villas-Boas/Tech Insider

The Axon 7 is made by ZTE, a relatively unknown Chinese smartphone maker in the US.

Why does it deserve a spot on this list? Because it offers the same, if not better, specs as the top Android players here, and it’ll cost you $250 less that going for the big name brands like Samsung, LG, or HTC. That means if you don’t like the Nexus devices, and you don’t want to pay top dollar for a Galaxy S7 or HTC 10, the ZTE Axon 7 might just be the phone for you.

Price: $400

Check out our hands-on with the ZTE Axon 7 for more details >>


13. LG G5

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Antonio Villas-Boas/Tech Insider

LG’s G5 smartphone has a gorgeous all-metal design. It also has a removable bottom that lets you swap out a dead battery with a fresh one. The removable bottom can also be exchanged with “modules” that offer new functions, like a camera grip with a zoom dial and a shutter button for better control.

If that weren’t enough, it’s also got a dual-lens camera, which gives you unusual versatility when it comes to taking pictures.

Price: About $650

Click here for the LG G5 pictures >>


12. HTC 10

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Antonio Villas-Boas/Tech Insider

The HTC 10 is a beautiful, extremely well-built smartphone. It runs a near-pure version of Android, and can be bought unlocked, which means you won’t find annoying bloatware on the 10.

Price: $549

Click here for the full HTC 10 review >>


11. Moto Z

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Tech Insider/Jeff Dunn

The regular Z model is one of the thinnest phones we’ve held, and it’s gorgeous. We also love the fact that it runs a near-pure version of Android.

The Moto Z phones also support different modules that can be attached to the back of the phone to give them new and better functionality. For example, you can attach a speaker module for better sound, or a projector module to project videos on a nearby wall.

The Moto Z will be released later this fall, and it should work with most carriers. The Moto Z Force model is a Verizon exclusive that’s currently available for a pricey $720. Compared to the regular Z model, it has an extra strong screen that Motorola claims is shatter-proof, as well as a larger battery.

Price: $625 – $720

Check out our review of the regular Moto Z here >>


10. OnePlus 3

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Antonio Villas-Boas/Tech Insider

The OnePlus 3 is easily one of the best Android smartphones you can own right now, and unlike previous OnePlus phones, you don’t need an invite to buy it.

The new metal back looks and feels fantastic, and it runs a near-pure version of Android, which is also a huge plus in our book. It also has some of the highest specs around for smooth and speedy performance, including an enormous 6GB of RAM. Some might dislike the fact that it doesn’t have expandable storage, but the OnePlus 3 comes only with 64GB of storage, which should be more than enough for most users. It also has a camera that rivals the Galaxy S7’s, which is considered the best smartphone camera ever made so far.

If you don’t care about water-resistance like the Galaxy S7 has, and you’d like to save $250 from the usual premium smartphone price tag, the $400 OnePlus 3 is absolutely the smartphone for you, and it’s worth every penny.

Price: $400

Click here for the OnePlus 3 review >>


9. Nexus 5X

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Marques Brownlee/YouTube

The Nexus 5X is one of Google’s newest flagships, and it’s one of the best phones you can buy today. The only true rivals it has are its big brother, the Nexus 6P, and the iPhone. If you don’t want an iPhone and want to see the best of Android, then the Nexus 5X won’t disappoint.

You might want to hold off on buying the Nexus 6P and 5X, as Google just announced its new Pixel smartphonesthat will take the wheel from Nexus as Google’s flagship devices.

Price: $320

Click here to see why the Nexus 5X is so good >>


8. Nexus 6P

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Marques Brownlee/YouTube

The Nexus 6P is a slightly larger version of the Nexus 5X. It’s made by Huawei, a Chinese smartphone company with an excellent reputation for hardware. Like the 5X, you get timely updates straight from Google as soon as they’re released, whereas other Android phones usually get updates several months later.

You might want to hold off on buying the Nexus 6P and 5X, as Google just announced its new Pixel smartphones that will take the wheel from Nexus as Google’s flagship devices.

Price: $499

Click here to see how the Nexus 6P camera compares to the iPhone 6S >>


7. iPhone SE

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Antonio Villas-Boas/Tech Insider

The iPhone SE, with its 4-inch screen, is the best small-form smartphone you can buy at the moment. You get all the best apps, ecosystem, support, and the same performance as the iPhone 6s for a relatively low $400 price tag.

It also comes with Apple Pay among other premium features, like Live Photos and a fingerprint sensor, not to mention great battery life.

Price: $399

Click here for the iPhone SE review >>


6. iPhone 6S Plus

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Antonio Villas-Boas/Tech Insider

Now that the iPhone 7 Plus is out, the iPhone 6s Plus gets a $100 price cut, and that’s a great deal.

Fine, you don’t get all the latest features that the iPhone 7 Plus has, like water-resistance or that fancy dual-lens camera, but the iPhone 6s Plus is no slouch, either. It runs on the powerful A9 chip and has features like 3D Touch, which can detect how hard you press down on the screen and open up a new layer of controls for you apps.

It also has an incredibly fast fingerprint sensor, as well as Live Photos, which captures a three-second video with audio when you press the shutter button.

Price: $649

Click here for the iPhone 6S/6S Plus review >>


5. iPhone 6S

The iPhone 6s is also a great deal, as you still get the premium Apple experience for $100 less than the new iPhone 7.

In addition to beautiful hardware, iPhone owners are guaranteed to always get the best apps first from third-party developers and reliable software updates with the latest and greatest features from Apple.

Price: $549

Click here for the iPhone 6S/6S Plus review >>


4. Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

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Antonio Villas-Boas/Tech Insider

The Galaxy S7 Edge has a bigger 5.5-inch display and larger battery than the regular Galaxy S7, while retaining the same features (water-resistance, a MicroSD card slot for expandable storage, and Samsung Pay).

Price: $617

Click here for the Galaxy S7 review >>


3. Samsung Galaxy S7

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Antonio Villas-Boas/Tech Insider

The Galaxy S7 sports the best camera we’ve seen on a smartphone, even beating the iPhone 6s Plus. It’s also very powerful and it sports some great features, like water resistance and a MicroSD card slot for expandable storage.

You also get Samsung Pay, which works with almost any payment terminal in any store, which the iPhone’s Apple Pay can’t do.

Price: $554

Click here for the Galaxy S7 review >>


2. iPhone 7

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Hollis Johnson/Business Insider

Without a doubt, the iPhone 7 brings the best apps and ecosystem to its users. And by ecosystem, we mean the support you get from Apple if something goes wrong, as well as getting the latest software updates straight from Apple. It also works amazingly well with other Apple products, too, like the new AirPods wireless earphones.

The hardware also got a few improvements over the iPhone 6s, like water-resistance, a camera that performs better in low light, a more powerful processor than its predecessor, and even redesigned antenna bands.

Price: $650

Click here for the iPhone 7 review >>


1. iPhone 7 Plus

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Marques Brownlee/YouTube

The iPhone 7 Plus is the best smartphone you can buy for the apps, ecosystem, water resistance, and its dual-lens camera.

The dual-lens camera is the key feature that places the larger iPhone 7 Plus in the top spot over the iPhone 7. It lets you take pictures with a professional-looking “bokeh” effect where the background is blurry in contrast to the subject – that particular feature won’t go live until later this year, but you can still use the iPhone 7 Plus’ second telephoto lens to achieve 2x optical zoom, which means it zooms into subjects without sacrificing picture quality like digital zoom does on most smartphone cameras.

Price: $769

Click here for the iPhone 7 review >>


BONUS: Google Pixel and Pixel XL

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Google

The new Pixels are Google’s “first” smartphones, where the company took more control over the hardware than it did with its line of Nexus devices.

What you get is a sleek-looking aluminum phone with a stylish glass panel on the back, and the best camera ever on a smarpthone, according to Google. Of course, we’ll be testing that claim extensively when we get our hands on the new Pixels for a good amount of time.

The Pixel smartphones also run Google’s Pixel launcher, which gives Android a cleaner look and bakes in Google’s helpful AI, Assistant. At the moment, the Pixel launcher is an exclusive for the Pixel phones.

Pre-orders have already begun starting at $649, and the “Really Blue” limited edition option was sold out within minutes. It’ll surely get a spot on the list after we’ve spent some quality time with the Pixel.


UPDATE: The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 has been taken off the list due to the second recall.

The Samsung Galaxy S7 made it back on the list in October when replacement devices were deemed safe to use again.

Alas, the device has been taken off the list again due to new reports of the replacement devices exploding just like the devices they’re replacing, as well as the fact that Samsung has halted production of the Note 7, AND that US carriers are no longer carrying the Note 7.