Best phones 2017: 10 best smartphones you can buy

Best Phones 2017

Finding the best mobile phone for your needs has changed a lot since the days of Snake — here are the best phones to buy in 2017.

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. No longer just a tool for making and receiving phone calls, 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 has been 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's and this year's flagship smartphones, putting them through their paces and have argued long and hard to create this list of 2017's best smartphones. We'll be updating this page constantly, with 2017's first major smartphone release from Huawei, the Mate 9, skyrocketing to the top half of the list already. To find out where these phones - and all the rest of this year's best devices - landed on the list, read on.

1. Samsung Galaxy S7

Samsung Galaxy S7

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

Samsung well and truly cemented its place as the smartphone manufacturer to beat in 2016. The Galaxy S7 was the first major flagship refresh of the year, and it set the bar very high for the rest of the market. The Galaxy S7 manages to combine amazing build quality with powerful performance and impressive battery life to create a phone that is frankly tough to beat.

But what's most impressive about the Galaxy S7 is the fact that Samsung has managed to take 2015's impressive Galaxy S6 and improve in practically every way. There's a waterproof design, an external storage slot and the curved, metallic body feels great in the hand. Plus, Samsung's camera has set the benchmark for smartphone photography this year, although Apple and Google have both risen to the challenge with their respective flagships.

Buy the Samsung Galaxy S7:

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    2. Apple iPhone 7 Plus

    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 on par with Samsung's top offering, but the iPhone 7 Plus's cheapest configuration still manages to come in at more that the full RRP of the Samsung device. And given the fact that the Galaxy S7 series have been around for 6 months and are now regularly discounted, it's impossible for us to give the 7 Plus top billing.

    Store Store description Phone Price
    Cheapest Price
    Free standard shipping to metro areas sitewide. Apple iPhone 7 Plus 128 GB
    $1,239.00
    Go to site
    Free shipping for orders over $300. 12-month Standard Warranty included. Apple iPhone 7 Plus 128 GB
    $1,294.99
    Go to site
    Free Kogan SIM card with device purchase. Apple iPhone 7 Plus 128 GB
    $1,389.00
    Go to site
    Fast shipping: Item leaves warehouse in 1-2 days Apple iPhone 7 Plus 128 GB
    $1,389.00
    Go to site
    Apple iPhone 7 Plus 128 GB
    $1,419.00
    Go to site

    3. Huawei Mate 9

    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

    The 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
    Free standard shipping to metro areas sitewide. Huawei Mate 9 64 GB
    $899.00
    Go to site
    Fast shipping: Item leaves warehouse in 1-2 days Huawei Mate 9 64 GB
    $949.00
    Go to site
    Free Kogan SIM card with device purchase. Huawei Mate 9 64 GB
    $999.00
    Go to site
    Free shipping for orders over $300. 12-month Standard Warranty included. Huawei Mate 9 64 GB
    $1,009.99
    Go to site

    4. Google Pixel XL

    Google Pixel XL

    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.

    Buy the Google Pixel XL:
    Store Store description Phone Price
    Cheapest Price
    Free standard shipping to metro areas sitewide. Google Pixel XL 32 GB
    $1,159.00
    Go to site
    Free Kogan SIM card with device purchase. Google Pixel XL 32 GB
    $1,259.00
    Go to site

    5. Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

    Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

    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

    Our top 10 phone list currently feels a little bit stacked in favour of a certain South Korean electronics company, but the reality is that Samsung has stretched itself magnificently this year to release a trio of truly superb flagship phones. The Galaxy S7 Edge is the true powerhouse of the three, happily sitting at the top of the performance and battery life benchmark charts even 6 months after launch.

    That said, the curved screen still feels like a bit of gimmick, even after a couple of years of development, and makes the phone a bit more slippery to hold, which is why it sits below the other two Galaxy flagships in this list.

    Ultimately though, what you get with the S7 Edge is a truly impressive powerhouse of a phone, with a sleek design and unbeatable specs.

    Buy the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge:
    Store Store description Phone Price
    Cheapest Price
    Free standard shipping to metro areas sitewide. Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge 32 GB
    $719.00
    Go to site
    Free shipping for orders over $300. 12-month Standard Warranty included. Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge 32 GB
    $789.99
    Go to site
    Free Kogan SIM card with device purchase. Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge 32 GB
    $819.00
    Go to site
    Fast shipping: Item leaves warehouse in 1-2 days Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge 32 GB
    $819.00
    Go to site

    6. Apple iPhone 7

    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.

    Buy the Apple iPhone 7 32GB:
    Store Store description Phone Price
    Cheapest Price
    Free Kogan SIM card with device purchase. Apple iPhone 7 32 GB
    $929.00
    Go to site
    Fast shipping: Item leaves warehouse in 1-2 days Apple iPhone 7 32 GB
    $929.00
    Go to site
    Free shipping for orders over $300. 12-month Standard Warranty included. Apple iPhone 7 32 GB
    $979.99
    Go to site
    Apple iPhone 7 32 GB
    $1,079.00
    Go to site

    7. Motorola Moto Z

    Moto Z review with hasselblad

    QUICK SPECS – Screen size: 5.5in | Storage: 64GB | Weight: 136g | Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 | Rear cam: 13MP | Front cam: 5MP | Battery: 2,600mAh | Screen res: 2560 x 1440 | Display density: 535ppi

    A late launcher in the 2016 smartphone market, the Motorola Moto Z is a fascinating piece of hardware. On its own, the Moto Z is one of the thinnest phones you will ever hold, but the key selling point of this device is its modular accessory ecosystem.

    Dubbed Moto Mods, they allow the phone to feature a dedicated projector, or a Hasselblad camera lens, or a JBL speaker system, all by simply magnetically attaching the mod to the back of the phone. The integration is seamless, though being a first generation product the mod selection is limited and can get pricey if you add multiple accessories to your purchase.

    Still, compared to LG's take on a modular phone, this is a far superior offering. And if the pricetag is a little overwhelming, there's also the cheaper Moto Z Play to consider.

    8. Sony Xperia XZ

    Sony Xperia XZ

    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.

    Buy the Sony Xperia XZ:
    Store Store description Phone Price
    Cheapest Price
    Sony Xperia XZ 32 GB
    $999.00
    Go to site

    9. LG G5

    LG G5

    QUICK SPECS – Screen size: 5.3in | Storage: 32GB | Weight: 159g | Processor: Snapdragon 820 | Rear cam: 16MP/8MP | Front cam: 8MP | Battery: 2,800mAh | Screen res: 2560 x 1440 | Display density: 554ppi

    More than any other manufacturer in 2016, LG can be given credit for trying to accomplish something different in the LG G5. Completely overhauling the design of the well-received G4, LG introduced a modular battery system that allowed it to introduce new accessories, like the dedicated photography attachment or the digital amplifier.

    Paired with the unique new dual-camera setup, which offers users a super wide shooting option alongside the traditional rear camera, the LG is a powerful contender. It's a great idea that is implemented fairly well, though things like removing the battery are still a little clunky to be considered practical.

    With some refinement, LG's friends ecosystem could become a powerful point of difference in an extremely competitive smartphone market.

    Store Store description Phone Price
    Cheapest Price
    Free standard shipping to metro areas sitewide. LG G5 32 GB
    $639.00
    Go to site

    10. Huawei P9

    huawei p9

    QUICK SPECS – Screen size: 5.2in | Storage: 32/64GB | Weight: 144g | Processor: Quad-core Kirin 955 | Rear cam: Dual 12MP | Front cam: 8MP | Battery: 3,000mAh | Screen res: 1920 x 1080 | Display density: 423ppi

    Technically the Huawei P9 is the Chinese firm's second entry in the list, given that the Nexus 6P is in fact manufactured by Huawei. And it's obvious when you wrap your hands around the P9 that Huawei learnt a lot from its collaboration with Google, as the P9 is the best self-branded handset the company has produced.

    Most notable is the dual-lens camera setup, which is itself a collaboration with camera company Leica. The P9 features two rear cameras, one which takes a black and white photo and the other which takes colour, and then software stitches the two together for super sharp results.

    Throw in some solid battery life and respectable performance and you have a very solid flagship offering from a brand traditionally located between the budget and mid-range markets.

    Store Store description Phone Price
    Cheapest Price
    Free standard shipping to metro areas sitewide. LG G5 32 GB
    $639.00
    Go to site

    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 S7
    Number 2Apple iPhone 7 Plus
    Number 3Huawei Mate 9
    Number 4Google Pixel XL
    Number 5Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
    Number 6Apple iPhone 7
    Number 7Motorola Moto Z
    Number 8Sony Xperia XZ
    Number 9LG G5
    Number 10Huawei P9
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    2 Responses to Best phones 2017: 10 best smartphones you can buy

    1. 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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