Best phones 2017: the 10 best smartphones you can buy

Here at finder, we review all the major phones released in Australia to compare what they have to offer. From our comprehensive review process, we've come to the conclusion that the best phone you can buy right now is the Apple iPhone 8 Plus. With most of 2017's big phone launches behind us now, read on to find out what other phones are worth your investment.

UPDATE 15 November 2017: Apple's flagship, the iPhone X, has joined the top 10 list alongside the second generation Google Pixel 2 XL, but neither managed to take the top spot.

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    10 best phones you can buy in Australia

    1. Apple iPhone 8 Plus

    GalaxyS8_Banner_450

    SPECS: Screen: 5.5in | Storage: 64GB/256GB | Weight: 202g | Processor: Apple A11 Bionic | Rear cam: Dual 12MP | Front cam: 7MP | Battery: 2,691mAh | Screen res: 1,980 × 1,080
    Given Apple announced the iPhone 8 Plus moments before unveiling its newer flagship, the iPhone X, it was a pleasant surprise to discover that the iPhone 8 Plus is an absolute powerhouse, washing away the competition in benchmark tests for both performance and battery life. Its dual camera system may have been trumped in performance by the Galaxy Note 8 in terms of low-light photography, but the end result for iPhone owners is a big phone worth bragging about.

    Read full iPhone 8 Plus review


    2. Google Pixel 2 XL

    Pixel 2 XL

    SPECS: Screen: 6in | Storage: 64/128GB | Weight: 175g | Processor: Snapdragon 835 | Rear cam: 12.2MP | Front cam: 8MP | Battery: 3,520mAh | Screen res: 2880 x 1440
    Google reinvented its smartphone offering last year with the Pixel, and while it was a pure form of Android and introduced a real focus on the Google digital assistant, it's the second generation that has refined the device to one capable of toppling Samsung's presence from the top of our list. With an incredible camera loaded with machine learning, this is a powerful companion for anyone who lives and breathes Google's services.

    Read full Pixel 2 XL review


    3. Samsung Galaxy S8

    GalaxyS8_Banner_450

    SPECS: Screen: 5.8in | Storage: 64GB | Weight: 152g | Processor: Exynos 8895 | Rear cam: 12MP | Front cam: 8MP | Battery: 3,000mAh | Screen res: 2,960 × 1,440
    Samsung has dominated the top slot on this list since the Galaxy S7, but it's now slipped into position two. With its incredible screen, impressive battery life and powerful performance, the Galaxy S8 was the benchmark for what smartphones needed to be to fit our modern lifestyle, right up until Apple launched the iPhone 8 Plus.

    Read full Galaxy S8 review


    4. Apple iPhone X

    Apple iPhone X

    SPECS: Screen: 5.8in | Storage: 64/256GB | Weight: 174g | Processor: Apple A11 Bionic | Rear cam: Dual 12MP | Front cam: 7MP | Battery: 2,716mAh | Screen res: 2436 x 1125
    Coming about a month after the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus hit shelves, the iPhone X is the first major rethink of the iPhone in years. With its Face ID technology, OLED display and overhauled user interface, the iPhone X is the best example of Apple's plans for the future with its smartphones. However, all that new stuff comes at a cost and given the similar performance, the iPhone 8 Plus is just a better value offer.

    Read our full iPhone X review


    5. Sony Xperia XZ Premium

    SPECS: Screen: 5.5in | Storage: 64GB | Weight: 195g | Processor: SnapDragon 835 | Rear cam: 19MP | Front cam: 13MP | Battery: 3,230mAh | Screen res: 3,840 × 2,160
    This year's phones have continued to impress, with the Sony sitting in third position thanks to its 960fps slow motion camera, incredible speeds, impressive battery life and integrated water resistance. It's a little bulky, but it comes with a lot of solid performance inside.

    Read full Xperia XZ Premium review


    6. Samsung Galaxy Note 8

    Galaxy Note 8

    SPECS: Screen: 6.3in | Storage: 64GB | Weight: 195g | Processor: Octo-Core Exynos 8995 | Rear cam: Dual 12MP | Front cam: 8MP | Battery: 3,300mAh | Screen res: 2,960 x 1,440
    After last year's explosive disaster of the Galaxy Note 7, some were surprised that Samsung kept the Note brand alive. Fortunately it did, because the Note 8 is a fantastic device with plenty of power and impressive battery life (and no explosions). Unless you're desperate for a stylus, the price premium over the also-excellent Galaxy S8 has pushed it down the list to fourth spot.

    Read full Galaxy Note 8 review


    7. HTC U11

    HTCU11_8_738

    SPECS: Screen: 5.5in | Storage: 64GB | Weight: 169g | Processor: Snapdragon 835 | Rear cam: 16MP | Front cam: 12MP | Battery: 3,000mAh | Screen res: 2,560 × 1,440
    It's been a few years since HTC blew the world away with the HTC One, but the U11 is a real return to form. While it's ultimately bested by the Galaxy S8, it's a fair bit cheaper with relatively impressive performance and a unique design style.

    Read full HTC U11 review


    8. Apple iPhone 8

    SPECS: Screen: 4.7in | Storage: 64/256GB | Weight: 148g | Processor: Apple A11 Bionic | Rear cam: 12MP | Front cam: 7MP | Battery: 1,821mAh | Screen res: 1,334 x 750
    The performance and battery efficiency of the iPhone 8 was a bit of a surprise, but it is a testament to Apple's engineering team in their ability to manage such solid performance despite shrinking the battery capacity of last year's models. The fact that the 8 doesn't have the same dual-camera and portrait functionality as the 8 Plus sees it slide down to the bottom half of the top 10, but it's still an impressive device for iOS users.

    Read our full Apple iPhone 8 review


    9. OnePlus 5

    SPECS: Screen: 5.5in | Storage: 64/128GB | Weight: 153g | Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 | Rear cam: 16MP/20MP | Front cam: 16MP | Battery: 3,300mAh | Screen res: 1,920 x 1,080
    The OnePlus 5 is the first time the brand has launched a flagship phone in Australia, and with a starting outright price of $599, the OnePlus 5 is an impressive device, bringing top performance to a more budget-conscious market. There's no expandable storage and the screen resolution is a bit lower than most current flagships, but this still outperforms many more expensive rivals.

    Read our full OnePlus 5 review


    10. Samsung Galaxy S8+

    S8Plus_7_738
    SPECS: Screen: 6.2in | Storage: 64GB | Weight: 173g | Processor: Octa-core Exynos 8895 | Rear cam: 12MP | Front cam: 8MP | Battery: 3,500mAh | Screen res: 2,960 × 1,440
    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 equals 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.

    Read full Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus review


    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 keeping us informed throughout our day-to-day lives.

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

    To make matters harder, there are 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.

    2017 has been a step-change for phones. While 2016 saw devices that massively increased efficiency and power, it was also marred by the explosive Galaxy Note 7 recall. 2017 also saw Apple's impressive return, after they managed to create a series of phones that outperform Android devices on both performance and battery life.

    We've also seen some major improvements to Android devices, with features like super slow motion cameras and facial recognition logins.

    Here at finder.com.au we've reviewed all of the 2016 and 2017 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 update constantly.


    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. An IPS LCD display has truer colour reproduction and looks better when you view the screen at an angle.
    OSThis is the 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, meaning anyone can play around 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 reaches capacity 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 in relation to 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.

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    12 Responses

    1. Default Gravatar
      AnayaSeptember 19, 2017

      Hi

      I am looking at buying a new mobile phone. I am currently using a Note 5. I am just wondering if you could help me find a phone with good battery life and good camera also a decent screen size (phablet type). I had a look at S8, but it appeared too narrow. Note 8 is really expensive and I can’t justify spending that much money. Ideally I am looking at buying something within $1000.00 range.

      Could you please help me find a phone?

      Cheers,
      Anaya

      • Default Gravatar
        JonathanSeptember 19, 2017

        Hello Anaya,

        Thank you for your inquiry.

        Currently we don’t have dedicated page for phablets, but if you’re looking for long-battery life handsets and good camera ones, then we have those on a plan. In case you’d like to buy it outright, you can visit the respective stores of the providers offering them.

        Alternatively, if reading multiple tabs is of no concern then you can use our finder search result page regarding different phablet reviews.

        Hope this helps.

        Cheers,
        Jonathan

    2. Default Gravatar
      BobJune 29, 2017

      I want to buy a mobile phone 3G or 4G? All I have seen is you have to swipe a finger across and as I shake it, will not work as I’m over 80.

      I want a simple one like a 2G phone I do not use text only used to dial out and receive phone call only. I do not have much money and with the 2g I have a Vodafone 365 day deal pay $20 per year.

      What can I buy?

      • Default Gravatar
        JonathanJune 29, 2017

        Hi Bob!

        It sounds to me that you only need a basic phone or also known as a “feature” phone. :)

        Please check this page that we have for feature phones available. You may stay on 3G handsets since you mostly use it for calls and texts.

        Take note this is only a handset, you need to buy a 3G or 4G compatible sim to use your new phone.

        Hope this helps.

        Cheers,
        Jonathan

    3. Default Gravatar
      JeffJune 12, 2017

      After a new one, intending to choose LG or HTC, was wondering what happened to Sony XZ or Z5 ?? Only asking as my old Z1 had an excellent camera, and curious if the new ones are any good.
      Thanks
      Jeff

      • Staff
        DanielleJune 13, 2017Staff

        Hi Jeff

        Thank you for contacting finder.com.au. We are a comparison website and general information service, we’re more than happy to offer general advice.

        For a review of the Sony XZ you may refer to this page. And for a review of the Sony Z5, you may click here.

        I hope this helps.

        Cheers,
        Danielle

    4. Default Gravatar
      JohnMay 7, 2017

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

      • Staff
        AnndyMay 8, 2017Staff

        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

    5. Default Gravatar
      BarratoneApril 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
        AnndyMay 1, 2017Staff

        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

    6. Default Gravatar
      KafeAugust 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
        BrodieAugust 27, 2015Staff

        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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