How to get the best out of your phone display

What's the best phone for picture quality?

The five best phones for watching movies

We've covered the specifics to consider on the previous page, but if you just want to know which phone is best for picture quality - and especially for video - you've come to the right place. You won't go wrong with any of the following five.

1. Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus

Samsung's supersized superphone

Weight: 173g | Dimensions: 159.5 x 73.4 x 8.1mm | OS: Android 7 | Screen size: 6.2-inch | Resolution: 1440 x 2960 | CPU: Exynos 8895 | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 64GB | Battery: 3,500mAh | Rear camera: 12MP | Front camera: 8MP

Big, brilliant screen
Great camera
Very expensive
Flawed fingerprint scanner

While the curve in this 6.2-inch, 18.5:9 screen doesn't particularly help with video, the Infinity Display – which is a Super AMOLED panel – boasts a Quad HD+ resolution of 1440 x 2960 pixels, so 529 pixels per inch. It's also capable of Mobile HDR Premium and DCI-P3 wide color gamut.

2. iPhone 7 Plus

The biggest and best iPhone

Weight: 188g | Dimensions: 158.2 x 77.9 x 7.3mm | OS: iOS 10 | Screen size: 5.5-inch | Resolution: 1080 x 1920 | CPU: A10 Fusion | RAM: 3GB | Storage: 32/128/256GB | Battery: 2,900mAh | Rear camera: 12MP+12MP | Front camera: 7MP

Slick performance
Excellent camera
Screen only 1080p
No headphone jack

Everything is stacked against Apple's flagship putting in a decent performance with video. Not only does its 5.5-inch display use LCD screen tech rather than AMOLED, but it only offers a 1080p resolution with a paltry 401 pixels per inch.

However, somehow the 7 Plus sneaks through an awesome image, with a bright screen capable of DCI-P3 wide color gamut images.

3. Sony Xperia XZ Premium

4K all the way

Weight: 195g | Dimensions: 156 x 77 x 7.9mm | OS: Android Nougat | Screen size: 5.5-inch | Resolution: 2160 x 3840 | CPU: Snapdragon 835 | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 64GB | Battery: 3,230mAh | Rear camera: 19MP | Front camera: 13MP

4K display
Lots of power
Chunky bezels
Lack of 4K content

OK, so we already said that 4K was wasted on small screens, but that doesn't mean Sony's ground-breaker should be ignored.

Equipped with a 5.46-inch display, its 2160 x 3840 pixels (and resulting 807 pixels per inch) should play second fiddle to its ability to show HDR video. However, Sony has used an LCD screen, not AMOLED. We also don't know yet how quickly that 4K panel will eat into its battery.

4. LG G6

LG's best phone screen and design yet

Weight: 163g | Dimensions: 148.9 x 71.9 x 7.9mm | OS: Android Nougat | Screen size: 5.7-inch | Resolution: 1440 x 2880 | CPU: Snapdragon 821 | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 32/64/128GB | Battery: 3,300mAh | Rear camera: 13MP+13MP | Front camera: 5MP

Great screen
Water-resistant body
Older chipset
Removable battery gone

LG’s new flagship is designed to be held in one hand, which could make this the best phone for commuters wanting a video fix on their way to work.

Combined with DCI-P3 wide color gamut capability, the G6's 18:9 QHD+ screen – branded ‘FullVision’ – measures 5.7 inches and totes a 1440 x 2880 resolution for 564 pixels per inch. That display uses LCD, but crucially, it supports Dolby Vision and HDR 10, which means it's a bona fide HDR phone.

5. Google Pixel XL

Google's iPhone alternative

Weight: 168g | Dimensions: 154.7 x 75.7 x 8.5mm | OS: Android Nougat | Screen size: 5.5-inch | Resolution: 1440 x 2560 | CPU: Snapdragon 821 | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 32/128GB | Battery: 3,450mAh | Rear camera: 12.3MP | Front camera: 8MP

Brilliant camera
Streamlined software
Peculiar design
No waterproofing

A blend of top display technology and realistic resolutions, Google's 5.5-inch flagship is clearly designed to tackle the iPhone 7 Plus.

It's got a higher – but not ridiculously high – resolution at 1440 x 2560 pixels (that's 534 pixels per inch) on the same-sized 5.5-inch screen, but it uses AMOLED technology – and video does look richer and have better contrast.

However, it's only got one speaker, so make sure you put some decent earphones into its 3.5mm jack.

Five of the best phone stands

OK, so we’ve all sat on a train, bus or plane holding a phone in front of our face while trying to ignore the slow ache of an arm, but there are plenty of stands available. Here are five of the best.

Note: we've ranked these from cheapest to most expensive according to prices at time of writing.

1. MoKo Wooden cell phone stand

Real wood at a really low price

Colors: Walnut, Birch | Material: Wood

Cheap
Stylish
Bulky
Not adjustable

A simple curved wooden stand, the MoKo works well on desktops and the tray tables of airplanes, trains and coaches. It supports a host of different phones in either landscape or portrait orientation, though it’s not great for travelling with due to its awkward L-shape.

2. Kenu Stance Compact Lightning Tripod

Small and collapsible

Colors: Silver | Material: Zinc alloy

Pocket-sized
Includes a bottle opener and key ring
No color options
Plain design

Sure, you can use the Kenu Stance to take a picture, or even take a video, but it’s just as useful propping up a phone on a table top in landscape orientation. It has an orange plastic insert shaped for an Apple Lightning slot and, best of all, it folds-up flat to pocket-size.

3. CM4 Q Card Case

A durable two-in-one

Colors: Various | Material: Rubber and fabric

Works as a wallet and stand
Air cushioned corners
Only works with certain phones
Only works as a stand if you also put a card in it

Essentially the CM4 Q Card Case is the kind of wallet case that travellers love, but this one has more than credit up its sleeve. Able to take three bank cards, it can also be used to prop-up the phone, and at two separate viewing angles. It also has air cushioned corners to absorb shocks from drops.

4. The Airhook

Built for frequent flyers

Colors: Jet Black, Sky Blue, Cool Gray | Material: Plastic

Includes a cup holder
Makes planes more spacious
Looks cheap
Only useful on planes

Although some airlines are beginning to spec built-in phone mounts instead of in-flight entertainment systems (notably United Airlines' Boeing 777-200 planes in the US), they're still pretty rare.

So if you prefer your own phone to the cheap seat-back LCD screen, get an Airhook. It clips onto a tray table latch and cradles a phone (or tablet), and also has a cup holder.

5. Moshi Kameleon for iPhone

A great case that's also a stand

Colors: Black, White, Titanium | Material: TBC

Withstands drops
Stylish
Pricey
Only works with iPhones

Available for everything from the iPhone 5 and iPhone SE right through to the iPhone 7 Plus, Moshi's Kameleon phone case has a built-in aluminum kickstand that props horizontally as well as vertically. It's also military-grade drop-tested for when it slides off a tray table during turbulence.

The best earphones and headphones for phones

As George Lucas says, sound is half the experience. Does that mean you should turn up the volume on your phone's speakers as loud as they go?

No, your phone's speakers are not even close to the sound from a decent pair of earphones (no, not the cheap ones in the box), headphones or – if you plan to watch while on trains, planes or automobiles - some cans with active noise cancellation.

1. Sennheiser Momentum In-Ear

Powerful and packed full of features

Colors: Black, Red

Stellar sound
Feature-packed
Mids presence is lacking
Not compatible with every smartphone

Complete with tangle-free cables and inline controls, Sennheiser's sporty and sophisticated in-ears deliver bass-heavy sonics within a warm yet detailed soundstage that's perfect for movie music.

2. Oppo PM-3

The best you can get for this sort of money

Colors: Black, White

Stunning sound quality
Great isolation
Faux leather earpads
Less precision than open-back cans

The benchmark; a truly stunning pair of closed-back headphones that use planar magnetic drivers to sculpt sound with balance and precision.

With a design that isolates the listener from ambient noise while effortlessly delivering dazzling definition, these are what to go for it you want layers of sound – and you don't mind paying for them.

3. AKG K92

Looks cheap but sounds expensive

Colors: Black and gold

Great sounding
Comfortable to wear
Budget plastic construction
Bulky

If it's sound quality you're after above all else – and you don't need either wireless, noise-cancelling or a travel-friendly design – the K92 deserves an audition. Great for around the home, these comfortable cans deliver clear, crisp and balanced audio.

4. Bose QuietComfort 20/20i

Lightweight and comfortable

Colors: Black and white

Incredible noise-cancelling
Very comfortable
Expensive
Battery module is huge

Though a few years old, these remain sought-after among frequent flyers for their sheer portability. Why? Lightweight and comfortable, they do a great job at noise-cancelling sound. Musically they’re average, but who wants to travel with bulky over-ear headphones? The perfect middle way for travellers.

5. Sony MDR-1000X

Wireless and long-lasting

Colors: Black and white

Noise-cancelling
Good battery life
Finicky Ambient Noise mode
More expensive than Bose

They're not quite the kings of noise-cancelling, but these over-the-head cans do a great job of keeping out ambient sound while boasting a high-end performance. Able to decipher hi-res audio codecs including LDAC, AAC and aptX, the MDR-1000X are also wireless, with a 20-hour battery life.