The best phone 2024: top smartphones in the US right now

The best phone you can buy might be an Apple iPhone or an Android phone from Samsung, Google, or OnePlus, but you can't go wrong with any phone on this list. We've spent quality time reviewing each one of these phone, putting it through the paces in our Future Labs testing, and we've come up with the best phone you can buy for any situation. 

Most people want a phone that is capable, packed with features, and also affordable, but if you want to splurge on a premium phone that goes a bit further, we have premium selections from the iPhone and Android camps as well. 

We also offer the phone with the best battery life, the best cameras, the best gaming performance, and the best value for the money. No matter what you need, we've seen every phone around, and we've ranked the best. 

If you want to dive deeper among the many options below, check out our brand-specific rankings instead. We’ve reviewed all the latest handsets, and detailed the best iPhones, best Samsung phones, and best Google Pixel phones elsewhere on TechRadar.

Quick List

The best phone in 2024 

Why you can trust TechRadar We spend hours testing every product or service we review, so you can be sure you’re buying the best. Find out more about how we test.

Below, you'll find full write-ups for each of the best phones in our list. We've tested each model extensively, so you can be sure that our recommendations can be trusted.

The best iPhone for most people

iPhone 15 review images

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

Specifications

Weight: 171g
Dimensions: 147.6 x 71.6 x 7.80mm
OS: iOS 17
Screen size: 6.1-inch
Resolution: 2556 x 1179
CPU: A16 Bionic
RAM: 6GB
Storage: 128GB/256GB/512GB
Battery: 3,349mAh (unofficial)
Rear camera: 48MP (wide) +12MP (ultra-wide)
Front camera: 12MP

Reasons to buy

+
Dynamic Island retires the notch
+
Smooth design and soft-feel, color-infused rear glass

Reasons to avoid

-
No zoom lens
-
No macro capabilities
Buy it if

You want an affordable iPhone: The iPhone 15 strikes a nice balance between price and cutting-edge features, so you don't feel like you're missing out.

You want a camera upgrade: Between the new 48MP main camera and some excellent portrait photography capabilities, the iPhone 15 offers strong camera specs for the price.

Don't buy it if:

You want a bigger phone: The iPhone 15's 6.1-inch screen might feel cramped if you currently own a Pro Max or Plus.

You want bigger zoom: The 2x optical zoom on offer here doesn't quite compare to 3x optical zoom on the iPhone 14 Pro, iPhone 15 Pro or Samsung Galaxy S23.

The bottom line

📱 If you're not bothered by titanium sides, 120Hz scrolling or high-spec zoom photography, then the standard iPhone 15 offers pretty much everything you could want from a flagship phone, but for significantly less money. ★★★★½

Apple's iPhone 15 marks the most significant step up for a base iPhone in several years, earning its place as the best value phone money can buy today.

Design: The iPhone 15 does what the iPhone 14 did not: it moves the base model forward with a refreshed chassis design, a brand-new (and eye-catching) rear glass panel, and a compatibility-improving USB-C port.

Display: The iPhone 15's 6.1-inch Super XDR OLED display is bright and responsive, however, as on the iPhone 14, its refresh rate is locked to 60Hz. You do get Apple's Dynamic Island this time around, though.

Camera: There are still just two lenses on the back of the iPhone 15, but one of them is vastly improved over the iPhone 14. The 12MP ultrawide is basically the same, but the main camera is now the same 48MP lens that you'll find on the excellent iPhone 14 Pro (and indeed the iPhone 15 Pro).

Performance: The iPhone 15 uses the iPhone 14 Pro's superfast A16 Bionic chipset, which should provide more than enough power for most iPhone owners (for context, the latter was the most powerful handset of 2022).

Battery life: The iPhone 15 is rated for 20 hours of video playback, 80 hours of audio-only, and a 50% recharge in 30 minutes with the optional 20W charger. In our testing, we were able to use the phone casually for a full day. 

Value for money: In recent years, Apple's standard models have felt like minor upgrades that pale in comparison to their respective Pro-level counterparts, but the iPhone 15 bucks that trend by being a genuinely great value product.

Read our full iPhone 15 review

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iPhone 15 scorecard
AttributesNotesRating
PriceApple is finally giving you more for you money.★★★★☆
DesignThe curved edges and smooth, color-infused glass make this a most modern iPhone.★★★★☆
DisplayLosing the notch and gaining the dynamic Island is a net poisitive, as is the lovely and now brighter screen.★★★★☆
CameraA big main camera leap is paired with some truly impressive computational photography.★★★★☆
PerformanceIt's hard to ask for more than the A16 Bionic, unless you need the very best of the best.★★★★☆
Battery lifeDecidedly battery life.★★★★☆

The best premium iPhone

iPhone 15 Pro Max

(Image credit: Future / Lance Ulanoff)
The best premium 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 welcome, but the 5x camera on the Galaxy S24 Ultra is arguably 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 bottom line

📱 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 S24 Ultra has slightly better cameras. ★★★★½

The iPhone 15 Pro Max is indisputably the best iPhone money can buy right now, 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.

Design: As with its smaller sibling, the iPhone 15 Pro boasts a gorgeous titanium design that can withstand unwelcome drops more effectively than its predecessor. The addition of a USB-C port and configurable Action button makes this a more versatile device, too.

Display: The iPhone 15 Pro Max packs an excellent 6.7-inch Super XDR OLED screen (with ProMotion), which is unchanged from the iPhone 14 Pro Max.

Camera: In addition to that aforementioned 5x 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.

Performance: Apple's all-new A17 Pro chipset delivers mobile gaming performance that's comparable to some high-end PCs (yes, really). Along with the iPhone 15 Pro, the iPhone 15 Pro Max is the most powerful phone on the market.

Battery life: The iPhone 15 Pro Max managed 28 hours of mixed-use in our testing, with the phone recharging to 50% in just over 30 minutes. That's pretty good going for a phone of this size and power, but others charge faster.

Value for money: As with the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra, the iPhone 15 Pro Max is an exceptionally expensive handset that can never truly be considered good value for money. That said, you're still getting a whole lot of phone for the price.

Read our full iPhone 15 Pro Max review

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iPhone 15 Pro Max scorecard
AttributesNotesRating
PriceMore expensive, but you do get more storage for your money.★★★☆☆
DesignThe combination of a titanium body and new smoother curves is an aesthetic and ergonomic win.★★★★☆
DisplayThe screen in bigger (though not higher resolution) and looks better than ever.★★★★★
CameraThis is the best collection of cameras we've ever used on an iPhone.★★★★★
PerformanceThe A17 Pro makes console gaming a reality in an iPhone.★★★★★
Battery lifeAll-day battery life but still waiting for fast charging.★★★★☆

The best Android for most people

Google Pixel 8 review back angled

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

3. Google Pixel 8

The best Android for most people

Specifications

Release date: October 2023
Weight: 187g
Dimensions: 150.5 x 70.8 x 8.9mm
OS: Android 14
Screen size: 6.2-inches
Resolution: 1080 x 2400 pixels
CPU: Google Tensor G3
RAM: 8GB
Storage: 128GB / 256GB
Battery: 4,575 mAh
Rear camera: 50MP (wide) + 12MP (ultra-wide)
Front camera: 10.5MP

Reasons to buy

+
Cool AI photo features
+
Seven years of Android support

Reasons to avoid

-
Design changes are minor
-
No temperature sensor
Buy it if

You want Google's version of Android: The Google Pixel 8 will get Pixel Feature drops, and hopefully the latest Android, before other phones.

You want a compact camera phone: The Pixel 8 is a great size for pockets, and it also has fantastic cameras for a phone this size, making it a pocketable companion.

You'll have this phone a while: The Pixel 8 gets seven years of Android OS updates, and that's huge, so if you plan on holding onto your phone a while, this one will last longer.

Don't buy it if:

❌ You need the best battery: We only got about six hours of constant screen time with the Pixel 8, so if you need longevity look elsewhere.

Telephoto zoom is important: We liked the basic cameras on the Pixel 8, but if you're shooting photos of kids on a far away field or national monuments, get a phone with zoom.

The bottom line

📱 With solid cameras and AI features that keep getting better, the Google Pixel 8 is an all-around winner for Android fans looking for a Google phone that will last. ★★★★

The Pixel 8 is a great phone for Android fans who want the best of what Google's mobile OS has to offer today and into the future. With a Tensor G3 inside, same as the Pixel 8 Pro, the Pixel 8 has the same promise of seven years of Android updates, and so far all of Google's best new AI features have come to Pixel 8 owners right on time. 

Design: The Pixel 8 design may be getting long in the tooth, but I still think it stands out as one of the coolest-looking Android phones, and Google has really nailed the color options this year. 

Display: The display is the standout feature on all the Pixel 8 family phones this year, and the Pixel 8 delivers Google's new 'Actua' screen with excellent brightness and great color, as well as a healthy 120Hz refresh rate. 

Camera: Google doesn't just rely on AI for its photo features, it also packs great cameras into the Pixel 8, including a 50MP main camera with a wide aperture, great for low-light pics. After you're done shooting, Google Photos on the Pixel offers some of the easiest AI editing tools you'll find on a smarphone. 

Performance: While Google Tensor chips don't have the raw power of Apple silicon or Qualcomm Snapdragon processors, Google has enough confidence in the Tensor G3 and its AI capabilities that it's promised seven years of software updates, and so far it's delivered the best features to the Pixel 8 first. 

Battery life: Battery life could certainly be better, especially if you're using the AI features continually. If you need a lot more battery life, your best bet is to buy a bigger phone. 

Value for money: The Pixel 8 starts at a nice price for the advanced AI features and sharp photography skills. The seven years of updates could prove great for resale value in the long-run. Watch for Amazon to put this phone on sale often. 

Read our full Google Pixel 8 review

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Google Pixel 8 score card
AttributesNotesRating
ValueWhile pricier than its predecessor, the long-term software support makes this a great-value buy.4 / 5
DesignMore rounding across the range and smaller screen than the 7 make this a pocketable delight.4 / 5
DisplayFinally reaching a 120Hz refresh rate, this is a nice, bright all-round Full HD+ OLED.4 / 5
SoftwareAndroid 14 adds a customizable lock screen, and the Pixel boasts an impressive seven years of OS and security updates.5 / 5
CameraThere's no telephoto sensor, but the cameras that are present are powerful and impressive.4.5 / 5
PerformanceThe new Tensor G3 chip enables a lot of great AI-enhanced experiences.4 / 5
BatteryPerfectly adequate all-day battery life and charging but room for improvement.4 / 5

The best premium Android phone

Samsung Galaxy S24 Plus

(Image credit: Future / Axel Metz)

4. Samsung Galaxy S24 Plus

The best premium Android phone

Specifications

Release date: January 2024
Weight: 196g
Dimensions: 158.5 x 75.9 x 7.7mm
OS: Android 14, OneUI 6.1
Screen size: 6.7-inches
Resolution: 1440 x 3120 pixels
CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3
RAM: 12GB
Storage: 256GB/512GB
Battery: 4,900 mAh
Rear camera: 50MP (wide) + 12MP (ultra-wide) + 10MP (telephoto 3x)
Front camera: 12MP

Reasons to buy

+
Display is bright enough for sunlight
+
Best battery life in its class

Reasons to avoid

-
Better cameras would have been nice
-
Maybe a little titanium next time?
Buy it if

You want superior performance: The Galaxy S24 Plus gives you the same performance as the Ultra, with all the Galaxy AI features, for less.

You want a bigger, better screen: The Galaxy S24 Plus is a nice upgrade over the Galaxy S24, with a better display that gives you more space, and more battery beneath.

You want the best battery life: On a premium smartphone, you won't find better battery life than we got on the Galaxy S24 Plus.

Don't buy it if:

❌ You want the superior cameras: The camera is the biggest difference between the Galaxy S24 Plus and its more expensive S24 Ultra sibling.

You like simple software: Samsung's OneUI software is a convoluted mess, and it's much more difficult to use than the iPhone's iOS and Google's Pixel 8 Android. 

The bottom line

📱 The Galaxy S24 Plus is super-fast with extra-long battery life and a huge, bright display. You don't need more in a premium Android phone. ★★★★½

The Galaxy S24 Plus is the Samsung Galaxy phone that gives you everything without giving you too much. It has all the power and Galaxy AI features of Samsung's most expensive Ultra model, but it won't break the bank or give you options you'll never use, like a hidden pen. 

Design: With a bigger display, the Galaxy S24 Plus sits in the middle of the Galaxy S24 family, borrowing from each side of price divide. The Galaxy S24 Plus looks more like the Galaxy S24 than the Ultra, and that's too bad because the Ultra has a slick titanium frame that we enjoyed in our review. 

Display: Instead of just giving the Galaxy S24 Plus a bigger screen with the same resoution as the Galaxy S24, this year's Plus model has a much sharper display with more pixels, closer to the Ultra, making it a better choice than ever before. 

Camera: Samsung offers plenty of shooting options with three lenses on the back of the Galaxy S24 Plus, including a real 3X optical zoom lens. If you need a lot more, the Ultra gives you astronomically more zoom, but the Galaxy S24 Plus has great shooting modes, plus new AI editing features in the Gallery app. 

Performance: The Galaxy S24 Plus delivers stunning performance with its Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chipset. In some benchmarks, the Snapdragon even beat the latest iPhone 15 Pro Max, so this Galaxy will handle all of your gaming, productivity, and multi-tasking needs with no trouble at all. 

Battery life: A big reason we love the Galaxy S24 Plus is its superlative battery life, some of the best longevity we've seen from any premium smartphone we've tested.  With a bigger display and a bigger battery beneath, the Galaxy S24 Plus proves once again why it's the right premium Android pick. 

Value for money: The Galaxy S24 Plus starts around the same price as the iPhone 15 Pro, but here's a secret: Samsung phones often go on sale. We've already seen price cuts on this phone up to 20% off in the US, and we expect more sales as the next Unpacked event approaches. 

Read our full Samsung Galaxy S24 Plus review

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Samsung Galaxy S24 Plus scorecard
AttributesNotesRating
ValueThe Galaxy S24 Plus is significantly cheaper than the Galaxy S24 Ultra, but it's still a mightily expensive phone.