To help us provide you with free impartial advice, we may earn a commission if you buy through links on our site. Learn more

Best smartphone 2024: The finest Android and Apple phones you can buy

Rear of Google Pixel 8 Pro in hand against bookcase background

The best Android and Apple smartphones to buy this year, as tested and reviewed by us

We all covet those little rectangles in our pockets. Smartphones play a massive part in our day-to-day lives, but buying the perfect smartphone can be an arduous task. However, don’t fret – we’re here to help you buy the best smartphone for you.

We’ve painstakingly put every smartphone to the test, with the best coverage in the UK, so we can help you make a buying decision. Our best smartphone roundup is always kept up to date, so be sure to check back often.

The Google Pixel 8 Pro is back to its record-low price

We recommend the standard Pixel 8 over the Pro because it’s better value for money, but this discount makes the Google Pixel 8 Pro a tempting prospect. Coming down from an average of £922, the Pixel 8 Pro is back to its record-low price of £849. For this five-star Best Buy phone, that’s a terrific price.

Amazon Avg £922 Now £849 View deal at Amazon

The best flip phone is just £2 off its lowest price on record

The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 is our recommended flip phone, garnering a five-star review and Best Buy award after our in-depth testing. Right now, it’s discounted from an average price of £825 to just £749 – just £2 more than its record-low price.

Amazon Avg £825 Now £749 View deal at Amazon

Best smartphone: At a glance

Best smartphoneSamsung Galaxy S24 Ultra (~£1249)Check price at Amazon
Best budget smartphoneMotorola Moto G54 5G (~£179)Check price at Amazon
Best Apple smartphoneiPhone 15 Pro (~£999)Check price at Amazon
Best smartphone cameraGoogle Pixel 8 (~£699)Check price at Amazon

How to choose the best smartphone for you

Finding the right smartphone for your budget can be tricky, especially when there are so many expensive contracts to sift through. To make things easier, we’ve rounded up everything you need to know about buying your perfect smartphone, as well as what you need to know about picking out a contract.

Should I buy a smartphone on contract or SIM-free?

Generally speaking, buying a phone unlocked and SIM-free is the best option, as you can use any SIM you like and sell the phone when you want to upgrade, but you do have to have the money upfront. If you can’t stomach the upfront cost, go with a contract, but work out the total cost of it over the period to make sure you aren’t getting ripped off: if you can afford a bit more upfront, you’ll most likely save over the contract’s length.

Which smartphone operating system do I need?

There are two smartphone operating systems to decide from: iOS and Android.

You’ll only find iOS on Apple’s own smartphones. Typically, iOS gets apps first and is a wonderfully slick OS. It isn’t as customisable as Android, but there’s no doubt that it’s incredibly easy to use.

Android has a much wider reach than its Apple counterpart and is found on the majority of smartphones on the market. There are many different versions of Google’s operating system available, though. Generally speaking, you’ll want a phone running Android 12 or higher, as older versions will now be outdated. Manufacturers often customise their own versions of Android, which means that the experience can differ between handsets.

READ NEXT: The best Android smartphone to buy

What should I look for in a smartphone display?

As most smartphones are controlled entirely with their touchscreens, the size and quality of a handset’s display are very important. A larger screen will make everything easier to read and is particularly useful for web browsing, but a big display makes for a big phone that you may find harder to carry around.

A screen’s pixel density, measured in pixels per inch (ppi), will give you an idea of how clear and sharp text will appear on a screen – a smaller number of pixels stretched across a huge screen, for example, will lead to jagged edges. Screen technology can also be very important, with AMOLED screens and IPS being the two main technologies, each with their own pros and cons.

What about performance and battery life?

Most smartphones are powered by octa-core processors these days. As a general rule, the clock speed of a processor (measured in GHz) shows how fast the phone is and will give you a rough indication of how fluid the operating system feels, as well as how the phone copes with running apps and games.

READ NEXT: The best phone battery life

Alternatively, lengthy battery life is one of the biggest things you need to look for when picking up a new phone. Our battery tests help you make the right decision about the handset that’s right for you, but generally speaking the bigger the phone’s battery capacity (measured in mAh), the longer it will last on a single charge.

How much smartphone storage do I need?

Generally speaking, a minimum of 64GB of onboard storage is fine if there’s a microSD slot, but you’ll soon find the internal storage filling up quickly. With more of an emphasis on smartphone cameras in recent years, it’s likely that your Instagram snaps will be the main culprit in using up your storage so we recommend at least 64GB to get you started.

How does Expert Reviews test smartphones?

When a handset arrives for review, we test it using a number of benchmarking methods. We typically start with CPU and GPU processing, where we use the Geekbench 5 and GFXBench applications found in the Google Play Store and Apple App Store – these provide us with a set of scores which we use to compare against similarly priced rivals. A phone’s screen is tested using DisplayCAL software and a display colorimeter. This gives us an accurate reading of how good the display is at reproducing colours, as well as maximum brightness and contrast.

Testing a smartphone with Geekbench 5

Next up is battery life. This is where we use our in-house video rundown test, which displays a looped video with flight mode enabled and the screen set to 170cd/m2 brightness. We simply play the video and record the timestamp when we first boot up the phone after it runs dry. A phone’s cameras are put to the test in a variety of shooting scenarios, including scenic shots, low-light and indoor photography as well as rapid video panning in a range of modes.

READ NEXT: The best budget smartphones to buy

Buying a shiny new phone from the list below? This is the PERFECT SIM deal to make the most of it

If you decide to buy one of the phones below outright, you can’t do better than combining it with a SIM from Smarty, the best mobile provider in the UK as voted by you. At the moment, you can pick up 100GB of 5G data for a jaw-dropping £12/mth on a rolling, 30-day plan – but the company is also serving up more or less data for ultra-competitive rates. There’s something for every type of phone user.

The best smartphones you can buy in 2024

1. Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra: Best smartphone overall

Price when reviewed: £1,249 |Check price at AmazonSamsung Galaxy S24 Ultra review - Phone face up on a book

It’s hard to sum up in just a few sentences all that the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra gets right. Yes, it’s expensive; but for that price you get unparalleled performance with blistering speeds from the new Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 for Galaxy processor, plus the best battery life that we’ve recorded on any smartphone to date.

Following in Apple’s footsteps, all of that power is encased in a sturdy and wonderfully tactile titanium frame. The other significant new inclusion is the debut of Galaxy AI, which brings features such as generative fill for rotated images, frame interpolation for video and circle to search to the S24 series. For more details on Galaxy AI, read our full review (linked below); but in summary it made a strong first impression with the convenience and efficacy of features on offer.

Top it all off with a robust camera suite that surpasses already high expectations, another bright and beautiful QHD+ display and a new S Pen stylus – the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra is unequivocally the best smartphone on the market right now.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra review for more details

Key specs – Processor: Octa-core 3.39GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 for Galaxy; Screen: 6.8in, 3,120 x 1,440; Camera: 200MP, 50MP (5x zoom), 10MP (3x zoom), 12MP (wide); Storage: 256GB, 512GB, 1TB; Operating system: Android 14

Also consider: Samsung Galaxy S23

Not got Ultra-sized sums for one of Samsung’s latest flagships? Not to worry, the regular Galaxy S23 is just as formidable, with much less of an impact on your wallet.

It’s a significantly smaller handset than the S23 Ultra, with its 6.1in display, so it’s also better suited for tinier hands and skinnier trouser pockets. It uses the same Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset as its bigger sibling, too and while its 50MP main camera might not be as headline-grabbing, it still managed to capture some truly excellent images in our tests. The real icing on the cake, of course, is the fact that it costs a huge £400 less. The S23 is truly a flagship for the frugal.

Check price at Samsung

2. Motorola Moto G54 5G: Best budget buy

Price when reviewed: £179 | Check price at AmazonMotorola Moto G54 5G sitting face up on a desk, clock and apps showing on homescreen

Motorola has a reputation for delivering impressive budget phones, and the Moto G54 5G might just be the brand’s best yet. The display is particularly impressive, hitting a level of colour accuracy and contrast that’s far from common in this price range. Equally, performance punches well above its weight, with CPU scores rivalling handsets that cost a fair bit more.

In good lighting conditions, the main camera produces decent images with natural tones and a good balance between brighter and darker areas; but it struggles to match that quality in low-light conditions. Also disappointing is the promised software support, with Motorola only committing to one future OS update.

However, even with these issues the Moto G54 5G is ridiculously good value for money, offering one of the best displays on any budget smartphone, impressive performance and a solid main camera – all for £10 less than its predecessor.

Read our full Motorola Moto G54 5G review for more details

Key specs – Processor: Octa-core 2.2GHz MediaTek Dimensity 7020; Screen: 6.5in, 2,400 x 1,080; Camera: 50MP, 2MP (macro); Storage: 256GB; Operating system: Android 13

3. Google Pixel 8: Pixel perfect

Price when reviewed: £699 | Check price at Amazon

View deals at

Front of black Google Pixel 8 held in hand against bookcaseCheaper than the rest of the flagship-class handsets on this list, Google’s Pixel 8 is yet again a true Android tour de force. Not only does it undercut rivals in terms of price, but it surpasses them when it comes to photographic performance. Yet again the top contender for the camera crown, the Pixel 8’s dual cameras are practically flawless, beating the competition in terms of clarity, detail and colour reproduction.

It’s also the perfect flag bearer for Android 14. There’s no better showcase of Google’s latest version of its mobile operating system, so if you’re a keen photographer, or you’re simply after the very best that Android can get, then the Pixel 8 certainly won’t disappoint.

Read our full Google Pixel 8 review for more details

Key specs – Processor: Octa-core 3GHz Google Tensor G3; Screen: 6.2in, 2,400 x 1,080; Camera: 50MP, 12MP ultrawide; Storage: 128GB, 256GB; Operating system: Android 14

Also consider: Google Pixel 8 Pro

google pixel 8 pro reviewIf you have the budget and you’re happy to spend more than the regular Pixel 8, then its bigger brother is also a terrific choice. For your extra £299, you get the same camera array as the smaller model, albeit with a third 48MP 5x telephoto unit.

The screen is also bigger (6.7in) and higher resolution (2,992 x 1,344). Everything else is the same, however, so if you aren’t fussed about the extra zoom camera and fancier screen, then the regular Pixel 8 is still your best bet.

Check price at Amazon

4. OnePlus 11: Best-value flagship

Price when reviewed: £679 | Check price at Amazon

If flashy features like 100x zoom and 200MP cameras don’t impress you much, OnePlus’ latest flagship may be more your speed. Trimming the fat to focus on the fundamentals, the OnePlus 11 may be lacking in the thrill factor, but it more than makes up for it in sheer value.

Performance is terrific across the board, with the top-of-the-line Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor keeping up with phones that cost hundreds more and the battery lasting for over 28 hours in our tests. The standout, though, is the Hasselblad-branded camera suite, with the new portrait module (essentially a 2x telephoto lens) being a particular highlight. Images are crisp and clear, with lifelike skin tones, strong lines around the focal subject and a buttery smooth bokeh effect in the background.

There are a couple of compromises, of course – the portrait camera, while good, is no replacement for a long telephoto, and the autofocus doesn’t always hit the mark – but at this price it’s hard to be too bothered by them. For a flagship smartphone that doesn’t cross the £1,000 threshold, the OnePlus 11 is your best bet.

Read our full OnePlus 11 review for more details

Key specs – Processor: Octa-core 3.2GHz Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 2; Screen: 6.7in, 3,216 x 1,440; Camera: 50MP, 48MP (ultrawide), 32MP (portrait); Storage: 128GB, 256GB; Operating system: Android 13

5. Apple iPhone 15 Pro: Refined quality

Price when reviewed: £999 | Check price at AmazonBest smartphone - iPhone 15 Pro in hand

The list of improvements with the Apple iPhone 15 Pro isn’t as impressive as it has been in previous years, but that’s not as much of a problem when the base you’re working with is this solid. The 6.1in OLED display is as beautiful as ever, and it’s paired here with a new titanium frame that feels both premium and rugged in the hand.

As expected, the new A17 Pro chipset is blisteringly fast, outpacing both the non-Pro iPhone 15 models and even the best offerings from the previous generation, and battery life is some of the best Apple has ever managed. Throw in a versatile new action button and cameras that may not be upgraded, but still perform very well, and the Apple iPhone 15 Pro is a subtle, but effective refinement of a terrific formula.

Read our full iPhone 15 Pro review for more details

Key specs – Processor: Hexa-core 3.78GHz Apple A17 Pro; Screen: 6.1in, 2,556 x 1,179; Camera: 48MP, 12MP (3x zoom), 12MP (wide); Storage: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB; Operating system: Apple iOS 17

Also consider: Apple iPhone 15

Best smartphone - iPhone 15 on a chairLess powerful but more of a generational improvement than its Pro-branded counterpart, the Apple iPhone 15 is the best “entry-level” iPhone in a long time. First of all, it’s cheaper than the iPhone 14 was at launch, but for this lower price, you get an improved main camera, a faster processor and the Dynamic Island notch that was previously exclusive to Pro models.

Battery life takes a bit of a dip, and you don’t get some of the more high-end camera features that appear on the 15 Pro and Pro Max, but for its price, the standard iPhone 15 is well worth considering.

Read our full iPhone 15 review

Check price at John Lewis

6. Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5: Best folding phone

Price when reviewed: £1,049 | Check price at Amazon
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 in the hand, half foldedFolding phones might still be getting off the ground, but the Galaxy Z Flip 5 is a non-conventional flagship worth buying. Offering peace of mind features such as IPX8-rated waterproofing, as well as a hard-wearing “Armor Aluminium” frame and a massive cover display, the Flip 5 not only looks the part, but it’s also a clumsy-proof folding phone as well. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 powers things, providing a huge processing boost over last year’s model, and the main display’s refresh rate is a generous 120Hz, too.

Best of all, however, is that the Flip 5 is still the cheapest folding phone on the market right now. Priced the same as a regular-sized flagship, the Flip 5 is a much more tantalising proposition. Now’s the time to jump aboard the folding bandwagon if you haven’t already.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 review for more details

Key specs – Processor: Octa-core 3.36GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2; Screen: 6.7in, 2,640 x 1,080 (cover: 3.4in, 748 x 720); Camera: 12MP, 12MP (wide); Storage: 256GB, 512GB; Operating system: Android 13

7. Nokia C21 Plus: Best smartphone around £100

Price when reviewed: £109 | Check price at Amazon

The Nokia C21 Plus is a perfect example of not judging a phone based solely on how much (or in this case, how little) it costs. For less than £100, the Nokia C21 Plus does everything any other smartphone is capable of doing, and you can buy almost ten of these for the price of just one iPhone 13. Naturally, there are a handful of drawbacks; performance is a bit on the slow side and it only charges via Micro-USB but for the most part, the Nokia C21 Plus is a solid budget pick for those that don’t fancy spending triple figures.

You might be able to find better low-priced handsets if you’re willing to spend just a little bit more, but if your budget is limited, you can’t do much better than the Nokia C21 Plus when it comes down to sheer affordability.

Read our full Nokia C21 Plus review for more details

Key specs – Processor: Quad-core 1.6GHz Unisoc SC9863A; Screen: 6.52in, 1,600 x 720; Camera: 13MP, 2MP (depth); Storage: 32GB; Operating system: Android 11 Go

8. OnePlus Nord 2T 5G: Simply superb value

Price when reviewed: £370 | Check price at Amazon

Sitting at the top of OnePlus’ mid-range smartphone selection, the Nord 2T 5G is an excellent value proposition. The MediaTek Dimensity 1300 processor delivers some of the fastest speeds you can get at this price and the battery life extended beyond 23 hours in our testing. This will easily see you into a second day of moderate use, and when it runs out, the 80W fast charge can get the battery back to full in under 30 minutes.

The display doesn’t get any upgrade from the OnePlus Nord 2, but it’s still a beautiful AMOLED panel, with essentially perfect contrast and a slick 90Hz refresh rate. There are a couple of small issues with the cameras – namely, the portrait mode isn’t particularly effective and the 4K video recording lacks stabilisation – but these problems are relatively small compared to how much value the OnePlus Nord 2T offers.

Read our full OnePlus Nord 2T 5G review for more details

Key specs – Processor: Octa-core 3GHz MediaTek Dimensity 1300; Screen: 6.43in, 2,400 x 1,080; Camera: 50MP, 8MP (ultrawide) 2MP (depth); Storage: 128GB, 256GB; Operating system: Android 12

9. Xiaomi 13: Best compact flagship

Price when reviewed: £849 | Check price at Mi

Sometimes a flagship smartphone is simply too big to handle, and it’s here where the Xiaomi 13 really comes into its own. A proper pocket-sized powerhouse, the Xiaomi 13 is as high-end as it gets, with a terrific 6.36in AMOLED display and top-notch performance courtesy of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip. What really sets it apart, however, is its size: at just 153 x 72 x 8mm (HWD) it’s one of the most compact flagships we’ve reviewed in recent years.

A breath of fresh air, especially if plus-sized phones aren’t really your thing, the Xiaomi 13 is undoubtedly the best smartphone the company has produced in quite some time. It addresses a host of pain points we had with the previous model, too, including the addition of IP68 waterproofing and a rather special 3.2x optical zoom camera. It really is the complete package, so if compact phones are more your style, there’s absolutely nothing better.

Read our full Xiaomi 13 review for more details

Key specs – Processor: Octa-core 3.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2; Screen: 6.36in, 2,400 x 1,080; Camera: 50MP, 10MP (zoom), 12MP (wide) Storage: 256GB Operating system: Android 13

Check price at Mi

10. iPhone SE 3 (2022): Best-value iPhone

Price when reviewed: £379 | Check price at John Lewis

View deals at

With the iPhone SE 3 (2022), you’re getting a heck of a lot of smartphone for not a lot of much money. It might look like a bit of a relic – it shares the same design as the 2017 iPhone 8 – but the iPhone SE 3 is Apple’s best-value handset yet. Why? Well, it’s all about what’s inside: the iPhone SE 3 (2022) uses the A15 Bionic chipset, which is the same processor shared by the pricier iPhone 13.

That means you get the same levels of performance achieved by those high-priced flagships, at just a fraction of the cost. Likewise, the single 12MP camera might seem unassuming at first but actually manages to go toe-to-toe with the iPhone 13 in terms of sheer detail capture, especially when it comes to low-light photography.

The only fly in the ointment is that the iPhone SE 3’s battery life is quite poor by modern standards. However, if you have this amount to spend and you’d rather not use a big-screened handset, then the iPhone SE 3 (2022) remains a worthy choice. It may be the cheapest iPhone, but it’s still mightily impressive.

Read our full iPhone SE 3 (2022) review for more details

Key specs – Processor: Hexa-core 3.23GHz Apple A13 Bionic; Screen: 4.7in, 1,334 x 750; Camera: 12MP; Storage: 64GB, 128GB, 256GB; Operating system: iOS 15

Check price at John Lewis

Read more

Best Buys