The smartphone war is a constant game of leapfrog, and Apple has vaulted past Samsung. 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 to the iPhone 6s' puny 4.7-inch screen.) If you'd rather run Android, the Nexus 6P is the phone to buy, 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.
On a budget? There are great unlocked phones from Motorola and Alcatel among our top choices. Prefer a removable battery and expandable storage? The LG G4 is your best bet. The Nexus 5X is another 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.
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.