10. iPhone SE
A simply brilliant palm-friendly phone
Weight: 113g | Dimensions: 123.8 x 58.6 x 7.6mm | OS: iOS 9 | Screen size: 4-inch | Resolution:640 x 1136 | CPU: Apple A9 | RAM: 2GB | Storage: 16GB/64GB | Battery: 1624mAh | Rear camera:12MP |Front camera: 1.2MP
Apple's iPhone SE ranks at Number 10 mainly because there are so many other top-notch phones, but also because it has a tired design, screen that's several years old and a display size that's too small to get sucked into apps and movies on the move.
That said, it's one of very few high-end smartphones you can use one-handed and its iOS 9.3 operating system remains slick and easy to use. It won't be for everyone, but for those who dislike the supersized phones of today the iPhone SE is a top performer on a miniature scale.
Remember, the SE has the same power, same camera and same software as Apple's best iPhone, the iPhone 6S. It just happens to be in a size you can easily pocket and at a reasonable (for an iPhone) price: $400 unlocked and $50 on contract among US carriers.
Read the full review: iPhone SE
Also consider: Want a cheaper iPhone but find the iPhone SE just too small? Apple's still selling the original iPhone 6, with a 4.7-inch display, sleeker metal body and the same version of iOS. It's a bit more expensive, but you do get a bigger screen.
See today's best deals
- Compare and filter: see the best iPhone SE deals
Smaller, but still (almost) perfectly-formed
OS: Android 6 | Screen size: 5.2-inch | Resolution: 1080 x 1920 | RAM: 2GB | Storage: 16GB/32GB | Battery: 2700mAh | Rear camera: 12.3MP dual | Front camera: 5MP
The Nexus 5X is a phone that offers the very latest version of Android, a decent (ish) spec list and a more hand-friendly size to plop in your pocket.
The screen is a decent resolution and really clear to boot, and the price isn't as high as you might find on other phones in this spec bracket.
The best thing is that this will be constantly updated to the latest version of Android for a good while yet, and with an improved camera it's definitely worth a look - especially if you're not a fan of the cumbersome skins Samsung and LG like to chuck on their phones.
Microsoft Lumia 950
The beginning of a smartphone revolution?
OS: Windows Phone | Screen size: 5-inch | Resolution: 1920 x 1080 | RAM: 2GB | Storage: 32GB | Battery: 2,420mAh | Rear camera: 20MP | Front camera: 1.2MP
Maybe you're bored of the iPhone. Perhaps Android just doesn't do it for you. Maybe you're just wondering if there's something different out there? Well, Windows Phone 10 on the Lumia 950 will intrigue you. It can offer a PC-like experience by extending out to a larger monitor, and the camera is pretty strong.
However, there's one issue: apps. Or the lack thereof - and when combined with the slightly plastic design, it fails to trouble the top 10. However, it's a legitimate choice and easily one of the most impressive Windows Phones ever.
BlackBerry + Android = more impressive than expected
OS: Android | Screen size: 5.4-inch | Resolution: 1440 x 2560 | RAM: 3GB | Storage: 32GB| Battery: 3410mAh | Rear camera: 18MP | Front camera: 2MP
BlackBerry is back - and it's taking a new direction by finally jumping into bed with Android. It's got a slide-out keyboard, a superbly sharp screen, splendidly powerful innards and some decent privacy settings too.
However, it's not cheap. At all, and the keyboard - something we all used to love - now feels a little outdated. Combined with the chunkier design (to facilitate that keyboard) and some lag in performance, this isn't top table worthy. But there's a lot of promise here, and we're glad to see BlackBerry is still swinging.