Best phones in Australia 2024: top smartphones tested and ranked

Best phone: quick list

Deciding on, and buying, the best phone for your needs gets increasingly more difficult with each passing year, as new options consistently emerge. The top flagship handsets from Apple, Samsung and Google are all excellent handheld marvels with imposing power, but they often also carry a price tag to match, so knowing where to invest your money is super important (if you are on a budget, then be sure to check out our guide to the best cheap phones).

With this in mind, we’ve put all manner of phones to the test – assessing their price, design, display, performance, cameras and more – in order to determine how they stack up to the rest of the smartphone competition in Australia. 

Whatever your needs, desires and budget, there’s guaranteed to be an option right for you in our list of the ten best phones in Australia below.

The best phones in Australia: quick list

The best phones in Australia 2024

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Below you'll find full write-ups for each of the best phones in our list. TechRadar's team of phone experts has tested each on extensively, which allows us to say categorically which ones are genuinely worthy of your attention. 

The best phone for most people

iPhone 15 Pro review front flat angled handheld

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)
The best phone for most people

Specifications

Weight: 187g
Dimensions: 146.6 x 70.6 x 8.25 mm
OS: iOS 17
Screen size: 6.1-inch
Resolution: 2556 x 1179
CPU: A17 Pro
RAM: 8GB (unofficial)
Storage: 128GB/256GB/512GB/1TB
Battery: 3,274mAh (unofficial)
Rear camera: 48MP (wide) + 12MP (ultra-wide) + 12MP (telephoto with 3x optical zoom)
Front camera: 12MP

Reasons to buy

+
Outstanding performance
+
Beautiful titanium design

Reasons to avoid

-
No change to battery longevity or charging
-
3x telephoto zoom no longer Apple's best
Buy it if

You want the best 6.1-inch phone around: The iPhone 15 Pro bundles the best of Apple's mobile technology into a palm-friendly, titanium-clad package.

You want photos with less work: The iPhone 15 Pro doesn’t have the absolute best camera tech available, but Apple makes taking photos super simple for everyone. The phone's highly capable 48MP main lens will be more than enough for most people.

You want an iPhone with USB-C: Like its larger sibling, the iPhone 15 Pro is equipped with a USB-C port for faster data transfer and better compatibility than its predecessor.

Don't buy it if:

You want more zoom power: The iPhone 15 Pro's maximum 3x optical zoom is starting to seem more quaint than useful. Samsung (and Xiaomi) owns the super-zoom space.

You want better charging technology: Despite offering strong battery life and USB-C, the iPhone 15 Pro lacks the fast charging capabilities of similarly-priced handsets.

If you prefer the palm-friendly size of Apple's 6.1-inch iPhones to its supersized Max devices or the even bigger Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, then the iPhone 15 Pro is the best phone money can buy right now. The 15 Pro Max may have a slightly superior 5x periscope zoom lens, but in every other department, the iPhone 15 Pro can be thought of as exactly the same phone for a more digestible price.

For starters, this is an undeniably beautiful handset. The iPhone 15 Pro boasts a gorgeous titanium design that can withstand unwelcome drops more effectively than its predecessor, and the addition of a USB-C port makes this a more versatile device, too (in terms of both charging and compatibility).

The iPhone 15 Pro's stunning 6.1-inch Super XDR OLED screen (with ProMotion) is unchanged from the (also excellent) iPhone 14 Pro, but this time, everything is underpinned by Apple's all-new A17 Pro chipset, which delivers console-level gaming performance and supreme multi-tasking capabilities.

On the back, you're getting a 48MP quad-pixel main cameras lens, alongside a 12MP ultra-wide lens and 12MP telephoto lens that's capable of 3x optical zoom. As mentioned, that last figure is bettered by the iPhone 15 Pro Max (not to mention the Galaxy S23 Ultra), but the iPhone 15 Pro's overall camera setup still ranks among the best on the market; everyday users will find more than enough photographic power here. 

Sure, the $999 / £999 / AU$1,849 asking price is high, but the iPhone 15 Pro will almost certainly see you through the next four or five years without issue.

Read our full iPhone 15 Pro review

The best iPhone

iPhone 15 Pro Max

(Image credit: Future / Lance Ulanoff)
The best iPhone

Specifications

Release date: September 2023
Weight: 221g
Dimensions: 159.9 x 76.7 x 8.25mm
OS: iOS 17
Screen size: 6.7 inches
Resolution: 2796 x 1290 pixels
CPU: A17 Pro
RAM: 8GB (unofficial)
Storage: 256GB/512GB/1TB
Battery: 4,422mAh (unofficial)
Rear camera: 48MP (wide) + 12MP (ultra-wide) + 12MP (telephoto with 5x optical zoom)
Front camera: 12MP

Reasons to buy

+
Gorgeous albeit subtle redesign
+
Excellent photography

Reasons to avoid

-
Pricier baseline (but more storage)
-
Charging should be faster
Buy it if

You want the biggest and best iPhone: The iPhone 15 Pro Max is the most technologically advanced iPhone Apple has ever made, period.

You want the most powerful phone: Apple's A17 Pro chipset is more powerful than anything else on the market, so much so that you're able to play console-quality games on the iPhone 15 Pro Max.

You want a versatile camera system: In addition to its 5x optical zoom capabilities, the iPhone 15 Pro Max features the smartest portrait photography tech around.

Don't buy it if:

❌ You want the best mobile zoom camera: The addition of 5x optical zoom on the iPhone 15 Pro Max is great, but it's still technically not the best. Samsung's 10x optical zoom on the Galaxy S23 is better.

You need fast charging: The iPhone 15 Pro Max offers reassuringly-solid battery life and functionally-fine charging, but rivals from every angle offer much faster speeds.

The iPhone 15 Pro Max is indisputably the best iPhone money can buy in 2023, so for Apple fans with a bottomless supply of cash, this is the top choice. The smaller iPhone 15 Pro is also an exceptional handset that's worth considering if you prefer its more practical 6.1-inch size, but since the larger iPhone 15 Pro Max offers a 5x periscope zoom lens, the latter phone is the objectively superior device.

In addition to that periscope zoom lens – which marks the first of its kind on an iPhone – the iPhone 15 Pro Max boasts a 48MP quad-pixel main lens and a 12MP ultra-wide lens, making it the most capable and versatile iPhone yet for mobile photographers.

Beyond its photography capabilities, the iPhone 15 Pro Max packs an excellent 6.7-inch Super XDR OLED screen (with ProMotion), a gorgeous titanium design, a USB-C port and Apple's all-new A17 Pro chipset, which delivers mobile gaming performance comparable to some high-end PCs, should you be so inclined. 

In other words, when it comes to iPhones, the iPhone 15 Pro Max is the best of the best, but you'll have to pay handsomely for the privilege of owning one, and Samsung's similarly priced Galaxy S23 Ultra actually has slightly better cameras.

Read our full iPhone 15 Pro Max review

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra

(Image credit: Samsung)
The best Samsung phone

Specifications

Release date: January 2024
Weight: 232g
Dimensions: 162.3 x 79 x 8.6mm
OS: Android 14 / One UI 6; 7 years of upgrades
Screen size: 6.8-inch
Resolution: 3088 x 1440
CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 for Galaxy
RAM: 12GB
Storage: 256GB, 512GB, 1TB
Battery: 5,000mAh
Rear camera: 200MP (wide) + 12MP (ultrawide) + 10MP (telephoto) + 50MP (telephoto with 5x optical zoom)
Front camera: 12MP

Reasons to buy

+
Improved cameras over predecessor
+
Supremely powerful

Reasons to avoid

-
AI features not always useful
-
More expensive
Buy it if

You want the most feature-packed phone: The Galaxy S24 Ultra packs in every feature in the history of mobile devices, including wireless charging, water resistance, and even a stylus – but it can also replace your laptop, camera and tablet.

You're onboard with AI: The S24 Ultra's suite of AI smarts, such as Circle to Search and Live Translate will likely be useful for many, and we expect more features to arrive in the future.

Don't buy it if:

You don't like big phones: The S24 Ultra is smooth, and curved, and also very, very big. It's so big that it can hide a full stylus and a huge battery inside and remain water resistant. With a case, it's a behemoth.

You hate One UI: Samsung messes with Android, and though One UI gets better every time we use it, Google's own Pixel version is still simpler and more refined.

Samsung has stuck to a tried and tested design formula with the Galaxy S24 Ultra it seems: it looks nigh-on identical to both its S23 Ultra and S22 Ultra predecessors. But that's pretty much where the similarities end, because Samsung's latest is a far more powerful – and far smarter – beast entirely, so much so it is realistically the best phone you can buy right now if you're not an iOS loyalist. 

To start, the S24 Ultra has the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 at its core, and this already impressive processor gets a further boost thanks to a collaboration between Samsung and Qualcomm for the former’s new device. The result, which Samsung calls the 'Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 Mobile Platform for Galaxy', is a processor that can comfortable run multiple apps and games at once, without so much of a stutter. This new processor is also the brains behind Samsung's on-device Galaxy AI capabilities.

Truth be told, the screen and battery of the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra are pretty much identical to the model it replaces, but perhaps most importantly, the camera has received a small but not insignificant upgrade. While the insane 200MP wide sensor makes a comeback, you'll now find a new 50MP 5x zoom periscope camera (which replaces the S23 Ultra's 10MP 10x telephoto lens). While the physical zoom capabilities have effectively been reduced, you'll be able to pick out far greater detail in the images you take and for our money, we'd take a more detailed photo over one that employs far too much zoom. 

Naturally, the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra isn't a cheap phone, and you will have to dig deep if you want to own one. Be sure to check out our round-up of the best Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra plans for the latest deals.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra review

The best Pixel phone

A Google Pixel 7 Pro

(Image credit: Google)
The best Pixel phone

Specifications

Release date: October 2023
Weight: 213g
Dimensions: 162.6 x 76.5 x 8.8mm
OS: Android 14
Screen size: 6.7-inch
Resolution: 1344 x 2992
CPU: Google Tensor G3
RAM: 12GB
Storage: 128GB/256GB/512GB/1TB
Battery: 5,050mAh
Rear camera: 50MP (wide) + 48MP (ultra-wide) + 48MP (telephoto)
Front camera: 10.5MP

Reasons to buy

+
Great materials
+
Call Screening feels natural is is very useful
+
Super long seven years of updates

Reasons to avoid

-
Wealth of Android settings can be confusing
-
AI features take some adjustment
-
Cameras don't beat the iPhone 15 Pro
Buy it if

Photography isn't your strong suit: The Pixel 8 Pro can fix whatever photos you have in your Google Photos library, even if you took them with a different phone in the past.

You’re a die-hard Android fan forever and ever: Good news, Android fans, this phone will last longer than any other Android, seven years to be precise. This also makes it great from a sustainability perspective.

You want a receptionist to answer your calls: The call screening feature really works (if you can find it), and it gives you a quick, written transcript of what your caller wants before you decide to answer.

Don't buy it if:

You want the absolute best cameras: While the Pixel 8 Pro is impressive, and the iPhone 15 Pro Max is a serious upgrade, nothing beats the Galaxy S23 Ultra for camera capabilities and quality.

You are a journalist or reporter: The camera editing tools on the Google Pixel 8 Pro may create questions about credibility from the shots it makes, and the summary tool is factually inaccurate.

The Pixel 8 Pro is Google’s most ambitious – and best – Pixel yet. Some of the biggest changes compared to its 7 Pro predecessor lie in the camera department and sure enough, even pro photographers will find much to love here. The Tensor G3 chipset, custom built to run Google’s machine learning features, is also a headline grabbing feature. Google is so confident in this phone’s performance that it's promising an unprecedented seven years of major updates, which is longer than any other phone maker is currently supporting with its phones.

On the design front, the Pixel 8 Pro is more rounded on the corners than its predecessor, and more flat on the display, too. The result is a phone that is much, much easier to hold while simultaneously giving you a better view of your content. It is without doubt the nicest Pixel phone Google has made so far.

Aside from its internal power, the Pixel 8 Pro's display is its standout feature, and Google has even endowed it with its own branding: Super Actua. The Pixel 8 Pro can reach 2,400 nits at peak brightness, and still pumps out 1,600 nits when you aren’t in direct sunlight. In almost every way, the Pixel 8 Pro display beats that of the iPhone 15 Pro Max, which is no easy feat. 

Compared to the iPhone 15 Pro Max, some photos look better when shot with the Pixel 8 Pro, but others, especially night pics and low-light images, look better taken with the iPhone. That’s surprising, but there are still some reasons for Google to brag. Only the Pixel 8 Pro has Magic Editor, which combines generative AI with Google's Magic Eraser to fix and change images with a little too much ease. 

Read our full Google Pixel 8 Pro review