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 all have to offer. From our reviews, we've come to the conclusion that the best phone you can buy right now is the Samsung Galaxy S8. Read on to find what other phones are worth your investment, and we'll be assessing the newly announced iPhone X and iPhone 8 to see how they place in this list as soon as they launch.

UPDATE 30 August 2017: Budget manufacturer OnePlus has stormed into the top ten with its first official Australian device, the OnePlus 5.


1. 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: 2960 × 1440
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 to fit our modern lifestyle.

Read full Galaxy S8 review


2. 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: 3840 × 2160
This year's phones have continued to impress, with the Sony leapfrogging HTC to the second top spot thanks to its 960fps slow motion camera, incredible speeds, impressive battery life and integrated water resistance. It's a little bulky, but you get a lot of solid performance inside that chunk.

Read full Galaxy S8 review


3. 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: 2560 × 1440
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 also a fair bit cheaper, with relatively impressive performance and a unique design style

Read full HTC U11 review


4. 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: 1920x1080
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 is still outperforms many more expensive rivals.

Read our full OnePlus 5 review


5. Apple iPhone 7 Plus

iPhone7Plus_HPJ_450
SPECS: Screen: 5.5in | Storage: 32/128/256GB | Weight: 168g | Processor: A10 Fusion | Rear cam: Dual 12MP | Front cam: 7MP | Battery: 2,900mAh | Screen res: 1920x1080
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. If you're keen to remain inside the Apple and iOS ecosystem, this is the phone to choose, but the price premium on the iPhone 7 Plus means the Galaxy S8 gets top billing.

Read full Apple iPhone 7 Plus review


6. Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus

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: 2960×1440
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.

Read full Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus review


7. Huawei P10

HuaweiP10_450
SPECS: Screen: 5.1in | Storage: 64GB | Weight: 145g | Processor: Kirin 960 octa-core | Rear cam: Dual 20/12MP | Front cam: 8MP | Battery: 3,200mAh | Screen res: 1920x1080
Combining impressive battery life for a standard-sized handset and solid performance, the Huawei P10 manages to rocket to the top half of our list. Some clever developments for the fingerprint sensor and impressive photo skills are rounded out by an impressively accessible asking price, making it a real contender for anyone looking for a great new phone without spending a fortune.

Read full Huawei P10 review


8. LG G6

LG_G6_P_450
SPECS: Screen: 5.7in | Storage: 32GB | Weight:: 163g | Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 | Rear cam: Dual 13MP | Front cam: 5MP | Battery: 3,300mAh | Screen res: 1440x2880
The LG G6 features a striking 18:9 display and retains the dual camera setup from the G5. It also manages to get 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.

Read full LG G6 review


9. Apple iPhone 7

iphone-7-feed
SPECS: Screen: 4.7in | Storage: 32/128/256GB | Weight: 168g | Processor: Apple A10 Fusion | Rear cam: 12MP | Front cam: 7MP | Battery: 1,960mAh | Screen res: 1334x750
With two low-powered processors for handling smaller tasks without burning through battery life, the A10 Fusion chip gives the iPhone 7 market-leading performance. While the iPhone 7 offers a big step up over the iPhone 6S, the 1,960mAh battery just doesn't deliver enough juice. If you're prepared to regularly charge your phone and prepared to pay the Apple premium, the iPhone 7 is a fantastic device with plenty of grunt to get things done.

Read our full Apple iPhone 7 review


10. Google Pixel XL

Google Pixel XL
SPECS: Screen: 5.5in | Storage 32/128GB | Weight: 168g | Processor: Snapdragon 821 | Rear cam: 12MP | Front cam: 8MP | Battery: 3,450mAh | Screen res: 2560x1440
The Pixel XL makes a big deal of its integrated camera, which sings in natural light situations by producing vibrant images. The Pixel XL also offers a super smart digital assistant, 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, but the pure Android experience counteracts that disappointment.

Read our full Google Pixel XL 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 the decision on 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.

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 when some of those caught fire, shipments were paused around the world. It's reached the point that the phone has been recalled worldwide and won't be relaunched, so we've removed it from our list altogether.

Note 7 issues aside, here at finder we've reviewed all 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 be updating constantly.

So far, 2017 has launched with an explosion of superb devices, from the Mate 9 and P10 from Huawei to the Galaxy S8 family from Samsung. We've still to see where Sony and HTC's new handsets will appear in the list, but we'll update this page when they do.


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 from 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 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

PositionPhone
Number 1Samsung Galaxy S8
Number 2Sony Xperia XZ Premium
Number 3HTC U11
Number 4OnePlus 5
Number 5Apple iPhone 7 Plus
Number 6Samsung Galaxy S8+
Number 7Huawei P10
Number 8LG G6
Number 9Apple iPhone 7
Number 10Google Pixel XL
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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

    • Staff
      JonathanSeptember 19, 2017Staff

      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?

    • Staff
      JonathanJune 29, 2017Staff

      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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