Best phone 2016: the 10 top smartphones we've tested

The best smartphone right now is the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

We're all about reviewing and rating all the phones here at techradar. There's nothing we like more than brewing a pot of tea and deciding where each new phone should sit in the list.

However, sometimes they don't make it into the top 10 - sad, we know, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't have a quick look to see if they fit your needs. After all, there are very few bad phones these days...

ZTE Axon 7

Sony Xperia XZ

Weight: 161g | Dimensions: 146 x 72 x 8.1 mm | OS: Android Marshmallow | Screen size: 5.2-inch | Resolution: 1080 x 1920 | CPU: Snapdragon 820 | RAM: 3GB | Storage: 32GB/64GB | Battery: 2900mAh | Rear camera: 23MP | Front camera: 13MP

Impressive camera improvements
Return of waterproofing
Only Full HD
Not running Android 7

The key thing to know about the Sony Xperia XZ is that it's a very good phone indeed - it's just lost in a sea of other very good phones that sometimes cost a little bit less.

The camera on this Sony phone is, as ever, technically very able and the top choice if you really want to spend time framing a shot with excellent auto focus.

The design is subtly improved, the speed and performance good... in short, a decent buy. 

Read: Sony Xperia XZ review

Huawei Mate 8

Huawei P9

Weight: 144g | Dimensions: 145 x 70.9 x 7 mm | OS: Android Marshmallow | Screen size: 5.2-inch | Resolution: 1080 x 1920 | CPU: HiSilicon Kirin 955 | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 32GB | Battery: 3000mAh | Rear camera: 12MP | Front camera: 8MP

Powerful processor
Good camera setup
Average battery life
Questionable interface

The Huawei P9 is a phone that offers a lot for the price, and shows that the brand is really getting its act together in terms of making a phone that can mix it with the best.

The P9 shines in the camera - our tests have it as the third best snapper overall out of all the phones on the market - and the solid build quality. If this had come in at Huawei's usually-low price, it would have troubled the higher echelons of this chart, but even still the brand clearly knows what makes a good phone.

Read: Huawei P9 review

Nexus 5X

Sony Xperia Z5 Premium

Weight: 180g | Dimensions: 154.4 x 75.8 x 7.8 mm | OS: Android Marshmallow | Screen size: 5.5-inch | Resolution: 2160 x 3840 | CPU: Snapdragon 810 | RAM: 3GB | Storage: 32GB | Battery: 3430mAh | Rear camera: 23MP | Front camera: 5.1MP

Empty List
Empty List

If you're wondering why this phone is still in the recommended list, we've got a couple of reasons for you.

Firstly, it's got a frickin' 4K display, which actually does add quality here and there. Secondly, the cost has dropped A LOT of late, so it's got some good specs with Sony's good build quality for a decent price.

Worth a punt? Absolutely. If only Sony would come out with a phone-based VR headset, this thing would be unstoppable.


Read: Sony Xperia Z5 Premium review

Google Pixel XL

Weight: 168g | Dimensions: 154.7 x 75.7 x 8.5 mm | OS: Android Nougat | Screen size: 5.5-inch | Resolution: 1440 x 2560 | CPU: Snapdragon 821 | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 32GB/128GB | Battery: 3450mAh | Rear camera: 12MP | Front camera: 8MP

Great camera
Streamlined software
Peculiar design
No stereo speakers

The Google Pixel XL is a phone you should definitely check out - it's one of the best phones out there in terms of speed, user interface and camera.

The reason it's not higher is the amazingly high price for this phone - it makes it hard to recommend as there are handsets with equivalent performance that are a lot cheaper.

But if you want the latest lick of Android in a phablet, the Pixel XL is the place to be.

Read:  Google Pixel XL

Motorola Moto G4 Play

Weight: 137g | Dimensions: 144.4 x 72 x 9.9 mm | OS: Android Marshmallow | Screen size: 5-inch | Resolution: 720 x 1280 | CPU: Snapdragon 410 | RAM: 2GB | Storage: 8GB/16GB | Battery: 2800mAh | Rear camera: 8MP | Front camera: 5MP

Excellent value
Simple design
No gyroscope
Slower processor

Motorola is doing well with its flagship Z series, but it's also a great brand for making low cost handsets as well. The G4 Play is a great mix of decent spec and low price - it's one of our very best budget phone recommendations.

It's nowhere near the power levels of the other phones we've suggested here, but if you're in the market for a bargain you could do a lot worse.

Read: Moto G4 Play review

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Global Phones, Tablets and Wearables Editor

Gareth (Twitter, Google+) has been in charge of phones, tablets and wearables at TechRadar for the best part of a decade. He can instantly recommend the best phone for you, or can be found running around the nearest park with the latest fitness tech strapped to his wrist, head or any other applicable body part.