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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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Glossary: Key smartphone terms to consider
|Display||AMOLED 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.|
|OS||This 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.|
|RAM||RAM 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 pixels||MP 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 size||Too many megapixels for a small image sensor will ruin the image quality.|