12 best smartphones 2017: our pick of the very best phones

T3's roundup of the very best smartphones money can buy

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Welcome to T3 Elite's roundup of the very best smartphones money can buy. We only include the best phones in this list, so you can be sure you're always geting the very latest cutting edge tech.

The T3.com team has tested every handset under the sun, and this page is designed to provide you with all the key info you need so you can choose the best smartphone for you. And we've listed in order of preference too, so there's no confusion. The first is the best.

So whether you're after the best Android smartphone money can buy, an iPhone upgrade or a new Windows phone (actually, let's forget about Windows, shall we?), we've seen and extensively tested them all so you don't have to. 

Take a look and we guarantee you'll find the best smartphone for you, beginning with the very best phone currently available...

1. iPhone X

Simply the best smartphone you can buy today

Specifications
Weight: 174g
Dimensions: 143.6 x 70.9 x 7.7mm
OS: iOS11
Screen size: 5.8-inches
Resolution: 1125 x 2436 pixels
CPU: Apple A11 Bionic
RAM: 3GB
Storage: 64/256GB
Battery: 2716mAh
Rear camera: Dual 12MP
Front camera: 7 MP f/2.2
Reasons to buy
+Incredibly desirable+Future of the iPhone
Reasons to avoid
-Gestures take getting used to-Fragile

Is the iPhone X the best phone this year? Yes. But only by a whisker. The Samsung Galaxy S8 is so close (especially if you prefer Android), while Apple’s own iPhone 8 Plus gives you so much of the iPhone X technology without the extra cost. In the end though, it's the ultra-desirability of the iPhone X that wins it.

The first thing that strikes you about the design is, obviously, the 5.8-inch AMOLED screen.  It's certainly true that the edge-to-edge screen looks absolutely stunning, both from a design perspective and from a technology viewpoint. 

Of course, there's also the top 'notch'. This does intrude on the screen slightly, especially when you want to be fully immersed in something, but call me crazy – I kind of like it. It gives the phone a visual identity. 

Aside from the screen you've got Apple's blazing fast A11 Bionic processor, fantastic dual camera with portrait lighting mode, and FaceID (which actually works very well).

It’s the marriage of software and hardware, something that Apple's always been good at, that’s so effective here and that’s especially the case when it comes to Face ID.  

Of course, we have to mention the price. The iPhone X costs a considerable £999, making it the most expensive iPhone to date. 

We'll start by saying this, if you think that's too much money then the iPhone X isn't for you. Is it worth £999? Well, it's complicated. Just like a Louis Vuitton Bag, there are more affordable alternatives that do exactly the same job, but it's all about prestige and branding. 

Apple has slowly been morphing into a luxury goods company for a while now, and the iPhone X is another step in that direction. It's essentially a luxury item from a designer brand, so I feel it charging £999 is somehow more justified than Samsung charging £850 for the Note 8. 

Basically, it's the refresh the iPhone needed, and Apple has succeeded in creating an incredibly desirable package. It's the best smartphone you can buy.

2. Samsung Galaxy S8

The OTHER best smartphone you can buy today…

Specifications
Weight: 155g
Dimensions: 148.9 x 68.1 x 8mm
OS: Android 7.0
Screen size: 5.8-inches
Resolution: 1440 x 2960 pixels
CPU: Exynos 8895 Octa
RAM: 4GB
Storage: 64GB
Battery: 3000mAh
Rear camera: 12 MP f/1.7
Front camera: 8 MP f/1.7
Reasons to buy
+Amazing design+Almost flawless
Reasons to avoid
-Fingerprint sensor location-Expensive

The Samsung Galaxy S8 is the best Android smartphone in the world right now, boasting the brilliant Infinity Edge display which occupies 84-percent of the body and cutting-edge guts. Yep, this futuristic smartphone is a looker, and instantly made its competitors look dated. It's the next step in smartphone design.

The S8 is the complete package, as well as the amazing display and industry-leading specs, this handset also has decent battery life, an excellent camera and amazing performance. With all of that combined, you get not only the best-looking smartphone, but one of the top performing smartphones in the universe. Yes, the universe! 

We think the 5.8-inch S8 is perfect, but if you're after an ever larger smartphone, Samsung also offers the Galaxy S8+, which features a massive 6.2-inch display.

Okay, so unfortunately Samsung hasn't released a perfect phone - there are a few small niggles - such as the weirdly places fingerprint sensor next to the camera and poor Bixby implementation. But we guarantee you won't be disappointed if you buy this phone.

3. Google Pixel 2 XL

The best smartphone camera

Specifications
Weight: 175g
Dimensions: 157.9 x 76.7 x 7.9mm
OS: Android 8
Screen size: 6.0-inches
Resolution: 1440 x 2880 pixels
CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
RAM: 4GB
Storage: 64/128GB
Battery: 3520mAh
Rear camera: 12MP f/1.8
Front camera: 8MP f/2.4
Reasons to buy
+Great camera+Super software
Reasons to avoid
-Plastic-like metal-Lackluster screen

We can't tell you how close it is between the Google Pixel 2 XL, iPhone X and S8 for the title of 'best smartphone in the world.' All three are great, but the sleek design, and amazing screen puts the iPhone and Samsung in the lead, just. The Google Pixel 2 XL is still an amazing smartphone - especially if you prioritise camera quality and want software straight from Google.

Whether it's the excellent camera, the metal-and-glass chassis, the oodles of power involved or just the fact that the software and virtual assistant work in perfect harmony with the hardware, Google's got a lot right here and this is a brilliant phone. 

2017 has seen Google come into its stride with the Pixel sequels. Google now has clear vision for its flagship smartphones. The design is distinctive and has character, and the Pixel 2 XL's edge-to-edge screen makes it the one to go for.

Of course, if you prefer smaller screens, the 5-inch Pixel 2 is also available, which is identical the OG (apart from size and screen).

4. iPhone 8 Plus

Overshadowed by the X, but still a brilliant smartphone

Specifications
Weight: 202g
Dimensions: 158.4 x 78.1 x 7.5mm
OS: iOS11
Screen size: 5.5-inches
Resolution: 1080 x 1920 pixels
CPU: Apple A11 Bionic
RAM: 3GB
Storage: 64/256GB
Battery: 2691mAh
Rear camera: Dual 12MP
Front camera: 7 MP f/2.2
Reasons to buy
+Excellent camera+Convenient wireless charging
Reasons to avoid
-Dated design-iPhone X is coming

Here we have the iPhone 8 Plus - probably one of the most anticipated smartphones of the year. Some feel its sheer size does make it tricky to hold, but there's no denying Apple's beautiful 5.5-incher is a winner. If you prefer iOS to Android and don't want to splash out on the iPhone X, this should be your first choice.

Apple has chosen to stick with a similar design to the iPhone 7, swapping the out the all-metal case for a glass back and making it heavier (more premium feeling). There is a glorious new Gold colourway available, and to top it off, the glass casing allows Apple to add wireless charging. The recent S8 design does make the iPhone 8 feel slightly dated now, however.

It's inside where the iPhone 8 Plus has received the biggest overhaul - now packing Apple's blazing fast A11 Bionic processor. The dual camera has also received a significant upgrade, now a better sensor and smart software powering it. To finish it off, the iPhone 8 Plus comes running iOS 11, Apple's latest and greatest mobile OS.

It is expensive, and may be too large for some, so the standard iPhone 8 with a 4.7-inch display is also worth your consideration.

5. LG G6

First of the bezel-less phones, with a great dual camera

Specifications
Weight: 163g
Dimensions: 148.9 x 71.9 x 7.9mm
OS: Android 7.0
Screen size: 5.7-inches
Resolution: 1440 x 2880 pixels
CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 821
RAM: 4GB
Storage: 32/64GB
Battery: 3300mAh
Rear camera: Dual 13MP
Front camera: 5MP f/2.2
Reasons to buy
+Large screen+Dual camera
Reasons to avoid
-Less premium than rivals-UI

LG has finally made a good-looking, premium smartphone free from gimmicks. There are a lot of features we love here - that wide-angle screen is great, the bezels are tiny, and the dual-camera is really handy. Basically, we really enjoyed using it.

But it’s far from a perfect phone. LG has used a 2016 chipset, so it’s not the most efficient smartphone available, and the skin over Android Nougat isn't the best out there. It also feels less premium than its rivals, with a slightly hollow feel to the rear casing.

Certainly though, LG has done enough to redeem itself from the unfortunately unsuccessful G5 last year. It’s not the best Android phone released in 2017, but we don’t think you’ll regret buying it, especially if you can pick it up for a decent price.

6. HTC U11

The best smartphone for music lovers

Specifications
Weight: 169g
Dimensions: 153.9 x 75.9 x 7.9mm
OS: Android 7.0
Screen size: 5.5-inches
Resolution: 1440 x 2560 pixels
CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
RAM: 4/6GB
Storage: 64/128 GB
Battery: 3000mAh
Rear camera: 12MP f/1.8
Front camera: 16MP f/1.8
Reasons to buy
+Great battery life and camera+Amazing sound and software
Reasons to avoid
-Bezels-Fragile design

The HTC U11 is the biggest shake up HTC has made to its flagship range for many years. Taking the best bits from the 11, and putting them in a sexy glass and metal casing, with a bit of extra innovation thrown in for good measure. It's again shown the rest of the competition how to make a premium smartphone, and its camera, battery life and performance is right up there too. HTC has really worked on the criticisms of the previous generation devices, and created their best ever flagship smartphone.

It's great to see HTC innovating with the squeezable edges, which make interacting with the device much easier, and the minimal tweaks they've made to stock Android are amazing, making this one of our favourite smartphones in 2017.

7. OnePlus 5

The best smartphone from a brand you might not of heard of

Specifications
Weight: 153g
Dimensions: 154.2 x 74.1 x 7.3mm
OS: Android 7.0
Screen size: 5.5-inches
Resolution: 1080 x 1920 pixels
CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
RAM: 6/8GB
Storage: 64/128GB
Battery: 3300mAh
Rear camera: Dual 16MP f/1.7 + 20MP f/2.6
Front camera: 16MP f/2.0
Reasons to buy
+Low(ish) price for great spec+Premium build
Reasons to avoid
-Not waterproof-Getting more and more expensive

Looking to upset dominance by the big brands is OnePlus, who took the mobile world by storm in 2014 with one goal, to be the flagship killer. We think it's fifth smartphone, the OnePlus 5, has finally achieved that goal. 

With a slightly more expensive price tag of £449, you'll get all the mod-cons of much more expensive handsets, including an HD screen, lightening fast fingerprint sensor, a decent dual camera and crazy powerful specs. And, whereas previous OnePlus phones lacked finesse - the OnePlus 5 as a genuine premium feel and the software is rock solid.

It looks slightly dated when compared to 2017 flagships (S8 and G6), but that's understandable when considering what a bargain this device is.

8. Huawei P10

Apple design with Android software, what's not to like?

Specifications
Weight: 145g
Dimensions: 145.3 x 69.3 x 7mm
OS: Android 7.0
Screen size: 5.1-inches
Resolution: 1080 x 1920 pixels
CPU: Kirin 960
RAM: 4GB
Storage: 32/64GB
Battery: 3200mAh
Rear camera: Dual 20MP + 12MP Leica
Front camera: 8MP f/1.9
Reasons to buy
+Slim design+Leica camera
Reasons to avoid
-Battery life-Last-gen design

The Huawei P10 is the latest flagship from the Chinese smartphone giant, and we really, really like it. It's the ideal smartphone if you love Apple's industrial design (because, let's face it, this is pretty much a carbon copy) and Google software. 

We love the P10's Leica-branded dual camera, which can capture some very pleasing images, and the OS is coming on leaps and bounds as well.

But it's far from perfect. The UI still lags behind its competitors, as does the camera, and the battery life isn't great either. While we love the design, it also lags behind Samsung and LG, who have moved to bezel-less smartphones - this makes it feel distinctly last generation.

Despite its flaws, we really enjoyed using it, thanks to a neat blend of design and features. It's stylish and fashionable, but not the most advanced phone on this list.

9. Honor 9

The best value smartphone available right now

Specifications
Weight: 155g
Dimensions: 147.3 x 70.9 x 7.5mm
OS: Android 7.0
Screen size: 5.1-inches
Resolution: 1080 x 1920 pixels
CPU: Kirin 960
RAM: 4GB
Storage: 32/64GB
Battery: 3200mAh
Rear camera: Dual 20MP + 12MP
Front camera: 8MP f/1.9
Reasons to buy
+Great price+Excellent design
Reasons to avoid
-So-so software-Low light photography

If you disregard the price, the Honor 9 is a good smartphone, it has a solid design, decent camera, and high-end specs. But when you take the price into consideration, it becomes the bargain of the century.

There are a lot of neat touches, too, we especially like the single navigation key, and the dual camera is capable of taking some striking images.

The Honor 9 is 100% solid in every key respect, although, it may lack that little bit of innovation which makes a phone a true Android flagship. Still, we really can't fault it at the price.

10. iPhone SE

The best small smartphone

Specifications
Weight: 113g
Dimensions: 123.8 x 58.6 x 7.6mm
OS: iOS 10
Screen size: 4.0-inches
Resolution: 640 x 1136 pixels
CPU: Apple A9
RAM: 2GB
Storage: 32/128GB
Battery: 1624mAh
Rear camera: 12MP f/2.2
Front camera: 1.2MP f/2.4
Reasons to buy
+It's small!+Great battery life
Reasons to avoid
-Old, boxy design-Due an update

Notice how all of these smartphones have 5+ inch screens? What if you have small hands? You can't reach all four corners of the screen. It's a problem not many of us face, but the truth is -- some people just prefer smaller phones but don't want to sacrifice high-end specs. The iPhone SE is for you. 

With a 4-inch screen and guts which match the iPhone 6S, including the 12MP rear camera, 2GB RAM, Apple Pay, Retina display, and Apple A9 chipset, this thing is a little pocket rocket.

There are a few drawbacks - the design isn't beautifully curvaceous like the iPhone 8 (the SE is based on the iPhone 5), the front-facing camera has fewer megapixels, and the Touch ID fingerprint sensor is older and therefore slower. The best thing about it? Despite its range-topping specs, the iPhone SE is also one of the cheapest smartphones Apple has ever released. What's not to love?

11. Motorola Moto Z2 Force

The best durable smartphone

Specifications
Weight: 143g
Dimensions: 155.8 x 76 x 6.1 mm
OS: Android 7.1
Screen size: 5.5-inches
Resolution: 1440 x 2560 pixels
CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
RAM: 4/6GB
Storage: 64/128GB
Reasons to buy
+Durable design+Unbreakable screen
Reasons to avoid
-Weak battery life-Not waterproof

The Moto Z2 Force is a refreshing phone - it's both designed to be sleek and sophisticated, as well as durable with the ability to survive a beating. That's mainly down to the screen, which features a thick, toughened outer layer which won't break - no matter how hard you try. 

The casing is also pretty rugged, with a strong aluminium skeleton, the Moto Z2 Force doesn't look like it belongs in a workman's tool bog. The specs are up there with every other device on this list, and the ecosystem of Moto Mods is impressive to.

Android is left close to stock which is also good news, but battery life isn't stellar.

12. Lenovo P2

The best smartphone for battery life

Specifications
Weight: 177g
Dimensions: 153 x 76 x 8.3mm
OS: Android 7.0
Screen size: 5.5-inches
Resolution: 1080 x 1920 pixels
CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 625
RAM: 4GB
Storage: 64GB
Battery: 5100mAh
Rear camera: 13MP f/2.0
Front camera: 5MP f/2.2
Reasons to buy
+Outstanding battery life+Great display (for price)
Reasons to avoid
-Camera so-so-Looks like a brick

The Lenovo P2 isn't pretty, it doesn't have a sexy bezel-less display, and it doesn't have an amazing camera. It does have the best battery life of any smartphone we've ever tested, with the P2 lasting up to three days! 

If all you care about is battery life, this smartphone is definitely for you, but Lenovo have done a good job elsewhere, as well, with a decent metal build, great display, and solid UI design. All in a pretty affordable package.

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