Best phones 2017: 10 best smartphones you can buy

UPDATE 26 April 2017: Samsung's Galaxy S8 family of phones has overhauled our top 10, with the S8 shooting to the top of the list.


The best phone you can buy right now is the Samsung Galaxy S8. Read on to find what other phones are worth your investment.

1. Samsung Galaxy S8

Samsung Galaxy S8 on Virgin Mobile $86/month 8GB data from Virgin Mobile

  • New Samsung Galaxy S8 included
  • 8GB of data (includes 2GB bonus data)
  • Unlimited calls to standard local, national and mobile numbers and text
  • Data-free music streaming incl. Spotify, iHeartradio, Pandora and Google Play Music

  • All for use within Australia. Total min. cost over 24 months: $2064.00

    View details
    QUICK SPECS – Screen size: 5.8in | Storage: 64GB | Weight: 152g | Processor: Exynos 8895 | Rear cam: 12MP | Front cam: 85MP | Battery: 3,000mAh | Screen res: 2960 × 1440 | Display density: 567ppi

    Last year's Galaxy S7 was the best phone you could buy, right up until the point the Galaxy S8 was released. With its incredible screen, impressive battery life and powerful performance, the Galaxy S8 is the new benchmark for what smartphones need to be in our modern day life. Samsung's digital assistant Bixby is underwhelming, but it's not enough to keep the S8 from claiming the top spot in our list.

    2. Apple iPhone 7 Plus

    Apple iPhone 7 Plus 128GB with 3GB for $124/month from Telstra deals

  • Includes 128GB Apple iPhone 7 Plus
  • 3GB of data every month
  • Unlimited calls to standard local, national and mobile numbers and text
  • Data free music streaming plus 6 month Apple Music membership

  • All for use within Australia. Total min. cost over 24 months: $2976.00

    View details
    QUICK SPECS – Screen size: 5.5in | Storage: 32/128/256GB | Weight: 168g | Processor: Apple A10 Fusion | Rear cam: Dual 12MP | Front cam: 7MP | Battery: 2,900mAh | Screen res: 1920 x 1080 | Display density: 401ppi

    If you can get past the loss of the 3.5mm headphone jack, the iPhone 7 Plus is a powerful phone that seriously competes with Samsung's devices for top billing in this list.

    We debated long and hard about where the iPhone 7 Plus would fit in our list of the top phones, and ultimately its position as runner up comes down to a single factor – price. On performance, features and battery life the iPhone 7 Plus is an impressive contender, but even at its cheapest configuration (which has half the storage) is still more expensive than Samsung's newest offering. If you're keen to remain inside the Apple and iOS ecosystem, this is the phone to choose, but for everyone else, the Galaxy S8 gets top billing.

    3. LG G6

    QUICK SPECS – Screen size: 5.7in | Storage: 32GB | Weight: 163g | Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 | Rear cam: Dual 13/13MP | Front cam: 5MP | Battery: 3,300mAh | Screen res: 1440 x 2880 | Display density: 564ppi

    Following the disappointing response to last year's LG G5 smartphone, Korean manufacturer LG went back to the drawing board to ditch the modular design and deliver a flagship worth crooning about.

    The LG G6 features a striking 18:9 display and retains the dual camera setup from the G5, and manages premium performance out of both the camera and the processor. LG has also added water resistance, while boosting the battery life, making it an impressive all rounder.

    4. Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus

    Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus on Woolworths Mobile $95/month 8GB data from Woolworths Mobile deals

  • New Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus included
  • 8GB of data
  • Unlimited calls to standard local, national and mobile numbers and text

  • All for use within Australia. Total min. cost over 24 months: $2280.00

    View details
    QUICK SPECS – Screen size: 6.2in | Storage: 64GB | Weight: 173g | Processor: Octa-core Exynos 8895 | Rear cam: 12MP | Front cam: 8MP | Battery: 3,500mAh | Screen res: 2960 × 1440 | Display density: 530ppi

    The plus variant of Samsung's new Galaxy S8 family offers almost identical specs to the smaller version, but with a larger 6.2-inch screen and a 3,500mAh battery. While that extra battery capacity leads to incredible longevity, the extra cost involved with the S8+ holds it back from a spot on the podium. It's an impressive phone for anyone keen on owning a large-screen device, but for most users the Galaxy S8 will be a better choice.

    5. Huawei Mate 9

    QUICK SPECS – Screen size: 5.9in | Storage: 64GB | Weight: 190g | Processor: Octa-core Kirin 960 | Rear cam: Dual 20/12MP | Front cam: 8MP | Battery: 4,000mAh | Screen res: 1920 x 1080 | Display density: 373ppi

    Huawei Mate 9The first major flagship of 2017 comes from Chinese manufacturer Huawei, and it's a keeper. Having strengthened its collaboration with Leica, Huawei's dual camera setup delivers incredible photos for a smartphone, which is reason enough to consider this larger than life handset.

    But Huawei kept the improvements coming, from shifting the fingerprint sensor to the back and making it incredibly fast, to incorporating not just a great battery but also intelligent charging features. The processor is also incredibly fast, putting it at the top of the current pack for multi-core performance.

    Sure, the Emotion UI still isn't our favourite Android skin, and the lack of waterproofing feels like an oversight, but make no mistake this is a handset that can hold its own against the bigger players in the market.

    Buy the Huawei Mate 9:
    Store Store description Phone Price
    Cheapest Price
    Fast shipping: Item leaves warehouse in 1-2 days Huawei Mate 9 64 GB
    $849.00
    Go to site
    Free Kogan SIM card with device purchase. Huawei Mate 9 64 GB
    $869.00
    Go to site

    6. Google Pixel XL

    Google Pixel XL 128GB on Telstra $120/month 3GB data from Telstra deals

  • 128GB Google Pixel XL included
  • 3GB of data
  • Unlimited calls to standard local, national and mobile numbers and text
  • 6 months Apple Music subscription
  • All for use within Australia. Total min. cost over 24 months: $2880.00

    View details
    QUICK SPECS – Screen size: 5.5in | Storage: 32/128GB | Weight: 168g | Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 | Rear cam: 12MP | Front cam: 8MP | Battery: 3,450mAh | Screen res: 2560 x 1440 | Display density: 534ppi

    Google may be the driving force behind the Android operating system, but the search giant has dipped its toes into the well of mobile handsets too. This year however, the company ditched the Nexus branding in favour of the Pixel name, and the Pixel XL has headed straight to number three in our best phones list.

    The Pixel XL makes a big deal of its integrated camera, which sings in natural light situations by producing vibrant images. Like most mobile cameras though, it still struggles in low light. Google has also focused on delivering a super smart digital assistant in the Pixel XL, with voice control technology that learns over time to basically deliver you the best information you need using easy to understand natural language.Unfortunately, the phone's design is rather dull though.

    7. Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

    Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge on Woolworths Mobile $83/month 8GB data from Woolworths Mobile deals

  • Includes Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge handset
  • 8GB of data every month
  • Unlimited calls to standard local, national and mobile numbers and text
  • 300 minutes/month for calls to selected international destinations

  • All for use within Australia. Total min. cost over 24 months: $1992.00

    View details
    QUICK SPECS – Screen size: 5.5in | Storage: 32/64GB | Weight: 157g | Processor: Octa-core Exynos | Rear cam: 12MP | Front cam: 5MP | Battery: 3,600mAh | Screen res: 2560 x 1440 | Display density: 534ppi

    Thanks to the arrival of the Galaxy S8 at the top of the list, our last year's Galaxy S7 Edge has slipped a few notches down the rankings, but is still worth consideration if you are on a tight budget. The arrival of the newer phones means you can get this impressive device at a remarkable price, with its solid battery life and still solid performance worthy of its place in our top 10 list.

    8. Samsung Galaxy S7

    Samsung Galaxy S7 on Woolworths Mobile $70/month 4GB data from Woolworths Mobile deals

  • Includes Samsung Galaxy S7 handset
  • 4GB of data
  • Unlimited calls to standard local, national and mobile numbers and text
  • Includes 150 minutes/month for calls to selected international destinations

  • All for use within Australia. Total min. cost over 24 months: $1680.00

    View details
    QUICK SPECS – Screen size: 5.1in | Storage: 32/64GB | Weight: 152g | Processor: Octa-core Exynos | Rear cam: 12MP | Front cam: 5MP | Battery: 3,000mAh | Screen res: 2560 x 1440 | Display density: 577ppi

    Last year's best phone by a long margin, the Galaxy S7 has been replaced by the even better Galaxy S8. While it's still worthy of your consideration if you are on a budget, the price drop that has accompanied the phone is not as remarkable as that of the Galaxy S7 Edge, which is why the curved screen variant now sits a spot higher than the S7. It may not be the best phone you can buy right now, but it's a viable alternative to the newer, more expensive models.

    9. Apple iPhone 7

    Apple iPhone 7 32GB on Telstra $105/month 8GB data from Telstra deals

  • 32GB Apple iPhone 7 included
  • 8GB of data
  • Unlimited calls to standard local, national and mobile numbers and text
  • Data free AFL, NRL & Netball streaming
  • Unlimited calls and texts to 10 countries

  • All for use within Australia. Total min. cost over 24 months: $2520.00

    View details
    QUICK SPECS – Screen size: 4.7in | Storage: 32/128/256GB | Weight: 168g | Processor: Apple A10 Fusion | Rear cam: 12MP | Front cam: 7MP | Battery: 1,960mAh | Screen res: 1334 x 750 | Display density: 326ppi

    Apple's A10 Fusion processor appears in both the iPhone 7 and the 7Plus, and marks a serious performance boost for both of 2016's Apple flagships. With two low powered processors for handling smaller tasks without burning through battery life, the chip gives the iPhone 7 and its big-screened brethren market-leading performance.

    Where the iPhone 7 slips up is in battery life. While the iPhone 7 offers a big step up over last year's iPhone 6S, compared to other 2016 models, the 1,960mAh battery just doesn't deliver enough juice to push it into a podium place in our best phones list.

    That said, if you're prepared to regularly charge your phone and can afford to pay the Apple premium, the iPhone 7 is a fantastic device with plenty of grunt to get things done.

    10. Sony Xperia XZ

    Sony Xperia XZ on Telstra $85/month 3GB data from Telstra deals

  • Sony Xperia XZ included
  • 3GB of data
  • Unlimited calls and text to standard local, national and mobile numbers
  • Data free AFL, NRL & Netball streaming
  • Data free music streaming plus 6 month Apple Music membership

  • All for use within Australia. Total min. cost over 24 months: $2040.00

    View details
    QUICK SPECS – Screen size: 5.2in | Storage: 32GB | Weight: 161g | Processor: Snapdragon 820 | Rear cam: 23MP | Front cam: 13MP | Battery: 2,900mAh | Screen res: 1920 x 1080 | Display density: 424ppi

    It seems one major smartphone family launch a year just isn't enough for Sony, with the company backing up the release of the Xperia X trio of devices with the Xperia XZ. It's a good move too, because the XZ is the best phone the company has ever produced.

    With a nice design and an aggressive price point of under $1,000 for a flagship phone, the XZ may not compete with the performance of Samsung's flagship phone, but it does offer solid battery life and fast, crisp photos using its 23MP camera and 5-axis image stabilisation.

    The return of water resistance is also welcome, which sees this device sneak into the top five against some of this year's other premium devices.


    Why you should compare the best mobile phones in Australia

    Ever since Steve Jobs took to the stage in 2007 and unveiled the very first iPhone to the world, the smartphone has become one of the most important tech devices you will ever own. Today's smartphones manage our very existence, connecting us with friends and family and informing us of every part of our day-to-day lives.

    The sheer impact of the smartphone on today's society makes the decision on which smartphone to purchase all the more important. These products can be expensive, and are quite often purchased on a contract every two years, meaning you have to live with your choice for an extended period of time.

    To make matters harder, these days there are so many great mobile devices to choose from, with major technology manufacturers from around the world all producing excellent quality devices. We're here to help you choose.

    2016 was the best year for mobile phones to date, and 2017 is shaping up to be even better. The trend towards larger screen smartphones has allowed for phones to feature larger batteries, helping overcome the challenge of running out of juice before you get home from work each day. Improvements to mobile operating systems like iOS 10 and Android N also allow us to accomplish more from our phones than ever before.

    It hasn't all been smooth sailing though. Despite debuting at the number two spot, Samsung's Galaxy Note 7 was recalled because of fear of spontaneous combustion. It then had replacements issued and then when some of those caught fire had shipments paused around the world. It's reached the point that the phone has been recalled worldwide and won't be relaunched, and so we've removed it from our list altogether.

    Note 7 issues aside, here at finder we've reviewed all of 2016 and 2017's flagship smartphones, putting them through their paces to see which is best. We've argued long and hard to create this list of 2017's best smartphones, which we'll be updating constantly.

    2017's first major smartphone release from Huawei, the Mate 9, skyrocketed to the top half of the list and with the LG G6 bumping it from the top 3 when it was launched. The Galaxy S8 is arriving soon too, so we expect even more movement in the table.


    Latest Mobile Phones news

    Glossary: Key smartphone terms to consider

    DisplayAMOLED displays don’t need a backlight, screen pixels are actually turned off to produce blacks, which can save energy. Super AMOLED has improved visibility in direct sunlight. LCD displays use a backlight, which reduces contrast. IPS LCD displays has truer colour reproduction and looks better when you view the screen from an angle.
    OSThe operating system. The Apple iOS works seamlessly with the App store for a dynamic and engaging mobile phone experience. Android is an open source platform created by Google — anyone can have a play with it. All the phones on the list use the Android OS except the Apple iPhones.
    RAMRAM is your phone’s short term memory. When you use an app, instead of writing data to your phone’s internal storage or SD card (long term memory), the data is stored in the device’s RAM so it can be recalled quickly and easily when it’s needed. The more RAM the better.
    The Apple iPhone has far less RAM than the Android smartphones. When the RAM fills up on an Android phone, RAM is recycled through a memory heavy process called garbage collection. Apple does it differently and is able to run just as smoothly with half the RAM of most Android mobile phones.
    Mega pixelsMP is short for Megapixels and is generally accepted as a guide for image quality. More megapixels doesn’t mean a better looking photo. Megapixels are about the maximum size of the image and the image quality. The more megapixels, the larger you can ‘blow up’ your picture without it becoming distorted.
    Sensor sizeToo many megapixels for a small image sensor will ruin the image quality.

    10 best phones you can buy in Australia

    Position Phone
    Number 1Samsung Galaxy S8
    Number 2Apple iPhone 7 Plus
    Number 3LG G6
    Number 4Samsung Galaxy S8+
    Number 5Huawei Mate 9
    Number 6Google Pixel XL
    Number 7Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
    Number 8Samsung Galaxy S7
    Number 9Apple iPhone 7
    Number 10Sony Xperia XZ
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    6 Responses to Best phones 2017: 10 best smartphones you can buy

    1. Default Gravatar
      John | May 7, 2017

      Is there any news about a possible release of huawei mate 9 pro in Australia. If so when?

      • Staff
        Anndy | May 8, 2017

        Hi John,

        Thanks for your question.

        Huawei currently sells the Mate 9 outright in a dual SIM configuration through Harvey Norman and JB Hi-Fi for $999. If you prefer a phone on contract, the single SIM variant is offered by both Vodafone and Optus on 24 month contract terms. You can check this page for more information on the phone plans.

        Cheers,
        Anndy

    2. Default Gravatar
      Barratone | April 28, 2017

      Do you know if any of the mobile services in Australia will be picking up the new Android Nokia’s this year, before Christmas hopefully??

      • Staff
        Anndy | May 1, 2017

        Hi Barratone,

        Thanks for your question.

        We don’t have information yet as to which mobile service provider will include Android Nokia in their plan. But there are some speculations. You may want to check this news article for more information.

        Cheers,
        Anndy

    3. Default Gravatar
      Kafe | August 26, 2015

      What is the best mobile phone with the largest ram and expandable memory at a cheap price with excellent features and apps

      • Staff
        Brodie | August 27, 2015

        Hi Kafe,

        The new Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge boasts a massive 4GB of RAM. However, the latest Galaxy handsets (including the S6 Edge) do not offer expandable memory. I’d recommend either waiting to see what the Sony Xperia Z5 offers or settling for a Samsung Galaxy Note 4, which has 3GB of RAM and expandable memory up to 128GB.

        Thanks,

        Brodie

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