Best Smartphones on the Market Now

The smartphone war is a constant game of leapfrog, and Apple is currently in the lead. The iPhone 6s Plus is our top pick because of its innovative 3D Touch display, immersive Live Photos feature and class-leading A9 processor. (We prefer the Plus' bigger 5.5-inch display, but those who want to use a phone with one hand will like the iPhone 6s.)

If you'd rather use Android, now is actually the worst time to buy, as both Samsung and LG are expected to unveil new phones Feb. 21. If you need a phone now, Google's Nexus 6P is the phone to get, thanks to its stunning display, great camera, and outstanding battery life. The Galaxy Note 5 and Galaxy S6 Edge Plus are also great options if you prefer a larger display, but with the Galaxy S7 on the way you may want to hold off until at least late February before you decide.

On a budget? There are great unlocked phones from Huawei and Alcatel among our top choices. The Nexus 5X is a strong candidate for those who want Android Marshmallow and all-day battery life in a less-expensive unlocked device. We've tested all the major smartphones in all sizes, shapes and prices to bring you our Best Pick list.

Smartphone Rumors

The Galaxy S7 is expected to launch Feb. 21 at Mobile World Congress and will likely go on sale in March. Possible improvements include a pressure-sensitive screen, much better photos in low light and a waterproof design. Get all the latest info in our Galaxy S7 rumor roundup.

LG's G5 is on the horizon, as the company is expected to announce its new phone at Mobile World Congress Feb. 21. The device could pack a powerful Snapdragon 820 processor and a quad HD or even 4K display. The reported accessory slot could be the most compelling feature, allowing you to slip in a battery and other "cartridges."

The iPhone 7 is further down the road and likely won't launch until September or October. According to reports, Apple may ditch the 3.5 headphone jack in favor of the Lightning connector and Bluetooth. The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus could also sport a new waterproof design and possibly an OLED display.

How We Rate Phones

We rate smartphones using a combination of subjective criteria (e.g., design, ease of use); our own benchmarks (e.g., our battery, audio and display tests); and synthetic benchmarks (e.g., Geekbench for speed, 3DMark for graphics). We also take photos in different lighting conditions and compare the results.

After we've conducted all of our testing, we rate each device based on its features, performance and overall value. Only the very best devices make our Best list.

MORE: Which iPhone is Right for You?

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  • Good selection of phones. Im a bit intrigued as to why the Samsung S6 wasnt in your list
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  • Where are the Windows Phones?
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  • Done on the spot test with friends who have iphone 6s and they agree samsung galaxy s6 is faster, better screen, camera and video but would not swap due to prestige of Apple but all agreed mob factory phone was better except for snob factor
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  • In spite of those who say that Windows Phones are very good phones, they ARE very, very good phones.
    Noted by their absence.
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  • Why do you have the Apple 6S Plus priced at $299?
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  • Clearly whoever has compiled this LIST is on APPLE'S pay-rolls. How can you have Samsung Galaxy Note 5 as the best Phablet & iPhone 6s Plus as the Best Overall phone. In a feeble attempt to appear fair & impartial this Reviewer has shown his true colors.

    Also surprised to find no mention of Samsung Galaxy S6 in any of the categories. SO much for blind Apple worship.
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  • I can't speak for the reviewer's thoughts, but one of the main reasons to get a phablet is arguably a stylus. The 6S+ doesn't have a stylus so is questionably good as a phablet - but might still do well as a general phone.
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