Update: Our definitive best phone guide has a new entry: OnePlus 3. It joins the list with HTC 10, LG G5, Samsung Galaxy S7, S7 Edge and last year's iPhone. Here's our new rankings.
Knowing the best smartphone you can buy in 2016, is more than just a hunch for us. We test out the latest and - sometimes - greatest phones in comprehensive mobile phone reviews.
To drill down to a list of our 10 favorites in the US this year, we based the updated rankings on a lot of geeked-out factors: design, performance, battery life, camera quality and software updates.
Sure, your personal preference among iOS 10, Android N and Windows Mobile 10 could sway you to another device besides our top-ranked phone. Likewise, your contract with AT&T, Verizon, Sprint or T-Mobile is a personal outlier. The best phone for AT&T may not be available on-contract on Verizon, and vice-versa.
But that's why we have more than just a No. 1 pick, which, spoiler alert, isn't Apple's iPhone 6S or iPhone 6S Plus. We're not that predictable. Before you lock into a binding contract or spring for an expensive unlocked, SIM-free smartphone, consult our best phone guide, updated regularly.
While you peruse this definitive best phones list, please know that we haven't finished testing the Moto Z and ZTE Axon 7 since they're not out yet and lack a firm price for us to pass final judgment.
- Find a good deal with TechRadar: mobile phone deals
10. Nexus 6P
Google goes again for a phablet, and it's a corker
OS: Android 6 | Screen size: 5.7-inch | Resolution: 2560 x 1440 | RAM: 3GB | Storage: 32GB/64GB/128GB | Battery: 3,450mAh | Rear camera: 12.3MP | Front camera: 8MP
Google and Huawei teamed up to make the Nexus 6P, and it's really the best smartphone from either company and a relief over Motorola's Nexus 6 from a year prior.
It has a vivid quad HD 5.7-inch display that's much more manageable in two hands and sometimes one. And yet while the Nexus 6P is easier to hold, it remains tall and just enough for watching movies and browsing the web.
You won't be hungry for Android updates with this phone either. It's currently running the latest version of Android Marshmallow and can beta test Android N Developer Preview. You'll also be more secure thanks to its well-placed fingerprint scanner on the back - which is both quick and accurate.
What keeps the Nexus 6P on the list and also from ranking higher is its price. It's a steal at $499 in the US for an unlocked phone. Problem is, you won't find it subsidized by any carriers. We also found the camera to be fantastic for a Nexus phone, but not as sharp as photos taken by Samsung handsets.
Full review: Nexus 6P
Also consider: If you're after a Nexus phone, you're thinking about getting the latest version of Android in a smartphone - and you can get that in the Nexus 5X too. It's cheaper, and not as powerful in some ways, but it's cheaper and more palm-friendly.