Buying a phone can be a chore, but we’ve done the work for you
There are a lot of great smartphone options available at any given moment, so it can be a challenge to sort through them all if you’re trying to choose the absolute best one. The stakes here can’t be understated: your smartphone is most likely the most important gadget in your life and you’ll probably be living with the one you buy for at least a year, if not two or three.
Fortunately, we’ve tested and reviewed every major smartphone that’s worth your time and have found the best phone for most people to buy. But one thing you should consider: smartphones come in seasons, and it’s often best to wait for the right time. iPhones and Google phones land in the September/October timeframe, while everybody else is scattered throughout the year. So if you are in the market for a phone but don’t have to buy right away, consider waiting until later in the year to see what’s coming next.
This article will be continually updated as new phones are released and reviewed, so be sure to check back if you’re not buying a phone right now.
The best phone right now: Samsung Galaxy S8 / S8 Plus
Samsung’s Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus is the best phone for most people. It’s available across all four US carriers and unlocked. It has the best display on any smartphone right now, a head-turning, premium design, a top of the line camera, reliable battery life, and fast performance. Thanks to Samsung’s popularity and the support of all four carriers, the S8 also has plenty of accessories, from cases to battery packs to wireless chargers, available to it.
The S8 comes in two flavors: the standard model and the larger S8 Plus. Deciding between the two basically comes down to whether you want a larger 6.2-inch screen or a more manageable in one hand 5.8-inch display. Everything else (except for price, the Plus model is about $100 more) is the same between the two models.
The mostly glass design of the S8 might concern you about durability, but in the couple of months that we’ve been regularly using the phone, it hasn’t been much of an issue. The S8 also has IP68 water resistance, so you don’t need to worry about dropping it in a puddle or getting it wet at the beach.
Not everything is perfect with the S8 — the placement of the fingerprint scanner is its biggest flaw — but it gets enough right that we’re confident recommending it to everyone.
A second option: Apple iPhone 7 / 7 Plus
If you’re not into the S8’s curvy design or are locked into Apple’s ecosystem, the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus are the best options for you. Both models have great build quality, sharp, color accurate screens, fast performance, and easy to use software. The larger 7 Plus not only gives you a bigger screen, but it also offers a dual camera system that allows for unique photographic tricks.
If you are in desperate need of a new phone right now, the iPhone 7 is an good choice, but if you’re able to wait a few months, Apple is expected to release a new model this fall with a new design and larger display. We’d wait if that’s an option for you.
If the Galaxy S8 or iPhone 7 aren’t your style, here are some other options that might work for you. We don’t consider any of them to be the best phone for most people, but depending on your needs, budget, or priorities, they could be a better choice for you.