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Best Smartphones

Our Best Picks

MORE: How We Test Smartphones
MORE: Apple iPhone 6 & 6 Plus Review
MORE: Google Nexus 6 Review



MORE: All Smartphone Content

There are many factors to consider when choosing a smartphone: size, performance, features, software, price. Our comprehensive reviews give you the knowledge and data to make informed decisions, but if you do not have the time to read our smartphone novellas, or feel overwhelmed by all the charts and numbers, we also give you a shortcut. Every month, we publish our top picks in several different categories and tell you what makes these particular phones stand out.

While we could categorize phones based on ecosystem (Apple, Google, Microsoft) or screen size, we decided to differentiate based on price, with one exception. Our recommendations cover three different price tiers: Low-End (less than $200), Mid-Range ($200 - $500), and Flagship (more than $500). We also include a separate Phablet category for phones that make the best use of their larger screens.

To gain a better understanding of how we evaluate display, audio, camera, system, gaming, and battery performance, please read How We Test Smartphones And Tablets.

About Our Recommendations

  • We only recommend smartphones we’ve actually tested.
  • We only review phones for sale in the North American market.
  • Our recommendations are based on data that we’ve collected and our own subjective experiences. We recognize that our readers are diverse, however, with different needs, preferences, and opinions, so our best picks may not be the best for you.
  • The list is based on full retail U.S. prices from online retailers. We do not list carrier subsidized prices, because it’s not fair to phones that are only offered unlocked at full price (Also, why should we have to sign a two-year contract just to buy a computer?).
  • The prices are for new phones only, not used or open-box.
  • Prices and availability change on a daily basis, but the embedded green links provide real-time pricing.
  • FritzEiv
    Archived comments are found here: http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/id-2871290/smartphones.html
    Reply
  • basroil
    Seriously? The S6 and iphonie over the Xperia Z5? It's available in "north america" (canada for Z5, and USA for Z5 premium), it has less preinstalled garbage than both, it has better preinstalled software than both (music software is second only to Zune's stuff), and specs that beat both (premium is a freaking 4K 5.5" phone with better camera and great (if a bit hot) processor)
    Reply
  • Taintedskittles
    I have a Verizon Motorola Moto E (2nd gen). Wish I would of went with a phone with 2gbs ram instead. The 1gb ram just doesn't cut it anymore with android smartphones. Good for phone calls, basic apps, and web surfing(light gaming). Bad at multi-tasking, occasional browser crashes, and small storage 8gbs(32 SD card). But hey they're dirt cheap and reliable, got mine for $50,($30 now online).

    Hoping one day smartphones will have modular ram for upgrading, like SD cards.
    Reply
  • giovanni86
    Samsung needs to take "notes.". We want a better version of the Note 4. Not the Note 5. Still rocking my Note 4, the horizon says i will be here for awhile.
    Reply
  • wh3resmycar
    g4 > s6.. don't need that fragile "glass" body that'll eventually be wrapped in rubber.
    Reply
  • Non-Euclidean
    I'll have to grab a Note4 soon, it appears to be the last of the Notes with a removable battery and SD card. My Note3 is starting to give weird color flashes (like when it overheated), so I will have to see how long it can still go.
    Reply
  • jjb8675309
    How are the Nexus 5x and 6p not on this list? Pure Android.
    Reply
  • ldogg1981
    Low end pick should be the ZTE Zmax 2. 1280x720 resolution, 2GB of RAM. 16GB of storage, microSD card slot and snapdragon 410. All for $130. Your Motorola pick means you haven't actually looked for anything else.
    Reply
  • ldogg1981
    The low end pick should be the ZTE Zmax 2! For $130 you get the same processor, but higher pixel density, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, microSD card slot and a larger removal battery.
    Reply
  • DotNetMaster777
    Asus ZenFone 2 and IPhone 6 have quire similar characteristics but the difference in the price is big.
    Reply