2017 has been a vintage year for smartphones - but which one is officially the best?
We've got our own opinion, obviously, and duly awarded the Samsung Galaxy S8 the accolade of Smartphone of the Year in our 2017 Stuff Gadget Awards. But that award was handed out before the release of the Google Pixel 2 and 2 XL, Apple iPhone X, Huawei Mate 10 Pro and OnePlus 5T (curses on those pesky manufacturers releasing new phones so late in the year). And while we're pretty certain that we're the best tech site in the world, we do accept that other ones exist too.
So, in order to bring you the definitive result, we selected 20 of the best phones released this year, compared their review scores across 10 of the biggest tech websites, then worked out each handset's average rating out of five.
Will Samsung's Galaxy S8 top the pile again - or will Apple's pricey iPhone X prove more popular? Will the Pixel 2 or OnePlus 5T make a late burst for the title? And where do LG, HTC and Sony feature? Read on to find out.
20) BlackBerry KeyOne (Average score: 3.66)
BlackBerry might be a long way from challenging for the top spot but you have to admire the ambition required to put a proper QWERTY underneath a 4.5in touchscreen. Its typing tricks take a bit of getting used to but for those craving a return of the ‘CrackBerry’ era, the KeyOne is a welcome return.
19) Motorola Moto G5 (Average score: 3.84)
Moto’s been king of the budget smartphone for a few years now, and while the G5 isn’t quite as all-conquering as previous efforts, it still offers a lot for such little cash. Its tasty metal design and fingerprint sensor make it appear more pricey than it is, while the screen is much better than you’d expect from a budget offering.
18) Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact (Average score: 3.92)
Proof that you don’t have to go big to get good specs, Sony’s sub-five-incher can do almost everything its full-size sibling can but in a chassis that won’t stretch your digits. That smaller screen also means the battery can go further and while the design of Sony’s Xperia range has become a little too familiar, if you want something smaller there really is no better choice.
17) Huawei P10 Plus (Average score: 4.13)
While it certainly owes a debt of gratitude to the iPhone for its design, Huawei’s P10 Plus is as impressive as it is large. That 5.5in QHD screen is a real stunner, perfect for checking out the pics taken using its dual-lens Leica camera, and its only real letdown is a less-than-spectacular battery life.
16) LG V30 (Average score: 4.15)
If you’re a muso, look no further than LG’s V30. An onboard DAC that adapts to the type of headphones you’re using, plus support for MQA hi-res audio, means the V30 is a real treat for the ears. The OLED display should have made it a treat for the eyes too, but unfortunately a few HDR hiccups counted against it on that front.
15) Google Pixel 2 XL (Average score: 4.16)
With a big 6in screen and 18:9 display ratio that’s all the better for showing off what its incredible camera is capable of, the larger of Google’s two Pixel phones is a joy to take photos on. Its untouched Android experience is up there with the best, too, but some users complained that the display suffered from colour and burn-in issues. Pricey, too.
14) Motorola Moto Z2 Play (Average score: 4.25)
Not many mid-range phones have features to set them apart from the rest but Moto’s sub-£400 wonder retains the modular design of its predecessor, allowing you to add functionality with Moto Mods. Even without them the Z2 Play is an impressive performer, with a premium build and great performance that belie its affordable price.
13) LG G6 (Average score: 4.25)
LG is often the first to unveil its big flagship for the year and when the G6 appeared it set the bar for the others. In hindsight, most of the competition cleared it without breaking a sweat but that doesn’t mean the G6 is a bad phone. Lovely design, a dazzling HDR screen and top-quality camera make the G6 LG’s best-ever phone.
12) Apple iPhone 8 (Average score: 4.27)
A new glass-backed design means that Apple has finally caught up with Android on the wireless charging front but the iPhone 8 doesn’t spring any real surprises. You know what you’re getting with it but when that’s a solid performer, with a great camera and top-notch build quality, it’s hard to be disappointed by more of the same.
11) Honor 8 Pro (Average score: 4.29)
While there’s no one main feature that makes the Honor 8 Pro stand out, this dependable 5.7-incher has managed to a ton of great reviews simply by being a solid all-rounder. It’s best feature is probably its screen, although the battery life is impressive too, and when you consider that it costs less than £500 it all seems like an excellent deal.
10) Google Pixel 2 (Average score: 4.3)
The Pixel 2 might look almost identical to last year’s Google phone but it’s a better phone all round. While the hardware isn’t the best in class, the software is a different story. It feels like the phone that Android Oreo was designed for, with an absolutely phenomenal camera on the back.
9) iPhone 8 Plus (Average score: 4.32)
The larger battery, better screen and more capable camera on Apple’s iPhone 8 Plus allowed it to beat its smaller incarnation by a whisker but its all-screen sibling was rated higher still. Improvements over the 7 Plus might be minor but they all add up to an impressive package.
8) Samsung Galaxy Note 8 (Average score: 4.42)
Banishing the bad memories of the Note 7’s short-lived existence, the Note 8 was a fine return to form for Samsung’s biggest blower – and not an exploding battery in sight. It’s still a niche product, with not many people demanding a stylus or a phone that’s unwieldy to hold in one hand, but when it’s this powerful any phablet fan will be more than satisfied with what the Note 8 has to offer.
7) HTC U11 (Average score: 4.45)
With squeezable sides and Alexa onboard, HTC’s U11 offered up some genuine innovation to go with its shiny shell and top-notch camera, even if it did only have one lens. While it doesn’t quite match up to Samsung’s Galaxy S8, there’s still a lot to like about the U11, with the noise-cancelling in-ear headphones that come in the box a nice touch.
6) Honor 9 (Average score: 4.5)
Now that OnePlus have hiked up the price with the 5T, Honor’s 5.15in is officially the best phone you can get for less than £400. In pure performance terms it’s a real winner, with bags of power and a great screen. That shiny back is certainly eye-catching, too, and although it's not quite perfect, at this price you really can’t complain.
5) Apple iPhone X (Average score: 4.5)
A strong showing from Apple’s most expensive iPhone ever sees it sneak into the top five, although only ahead of the Honor 9 because it had been reviewed by more places. Face ID and that buttonless design went down a treat with reviewers and most didn’t even mind the notch.
4) Huawei Mate 10 Pro (Average score: 4.54)
If the Mate 10 Pro’s reviews are anything to go by, Huawei’s plan to become one of the world’s biggest smartphone makers seems to be on track. Getting Leica back to help out with the dual cameras produced one of the best snappers going, while its AI-assisted innards are a sign of things to come.
3) Lenovo P2 (Average score: 4.57)
Anyone who says they saw this coming is either a liar or a cheat. The P2’s party trick is its mammoth battery life but there’s clearly more to it than that. Its AMOLED screen and sleek metal build belied the price tag, so it’s a real shame they’re already quite hard to find. Let’s hope Lenovo follows it up with another stonker in 2018.
2) OnePlus 5T (Average score: 4.64)
It might not be quite as cheap as previous OnePlus models but the 5T is still a bona fide bargain when you compare it to most other flagships. With specs you’d expect to pay significantly more for, it offers a bigger screen and better camera than before without demanding more cash. What’s not to love about that?
1) Samsung Galaxy S8 (Average score: 4.75)
The return of the king. Samsung’s Galaxy S8 garnered so many five-star reviews this year that its 'Galaxy' moniker really started to fit. Apart from a frustratingly positioned fingerprint scanner there are almost no downsides to owning an S8, from its amazing camera to its simply stunning design. It may well be the most attractive phone ever made, and it's definitely one of the best.