In the decade or so since the original iPhone hit the scene, smartphones have fundamentally changed our world. But just because they've been around for awhile doesn't mean they're any less complicated. On the contrary, picking the best smartphone means wending your way through a sea of specs and features that are hard to understand unless you've lived with them for a while.
We're here to help. We've tested all the top models in 2017 for things like screen quality, battery life, and to find which ones have the best camera. All that testing has led to this: our collection of the best smartphones of 2017. Whether you prefer Android, iOS, or are on a tight budget, we've got a phone for you.
Best Smartphone (iOS): Apple iPhone 8 Plus
If you prefer iOS over Android, we think the best phone for you is the Apple iPhone 8 Plus. It's one of the fastest smartphones we have ever tested, it has a superb dual camera, and the battery life lasts over a full day with ease. Though it hasn't changed dramatically over the iPhone 7 Plus, the addition of wireless charging makes a huge difference, making it easy to top up throughout the day.
While the $999 iPhone X is a tantalizing upgrade–and one that Apple fans should strongly consider if they want the latest and greatest—we think the $799 iPhone 8 Plus is a better value for most people. Read our review.
Best Smartphone (Android): Samsung Galaxy Note 8
The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 was an unqualified disaster for Samsung. But just a year on, Samsung has completed a stunning comeback. How? By continuing to make some of the best smartphones around. The Note 8 is fast, has an amazing camera, has one of the longest-lasting batteries we tested this year, and it still includes the Note series' signature stylus.
Simply put: if you're not on Team iPhone, the Note 8 is our favorite smartphone we tested this year. Read our review.
Best Smartphone Camera: Apple iPhone X
Without question, the iPhone X is Apple's premiere smartphone. And one feature truly rises above the rest: its camera. For everyday snapshots, the dual rear cameras are among the best we've ever tested. Both have optical image stabilization, both perform very well in low light, and both let you shoot video in crisp 4K. By any metric, it's one of the best smartphone camera setups we've ever tested.
And of course, the iPhone X doubles up on that with one of the most fun additions we've seen of late: Animoji. Hate them, love them, you won't be able to escape them. Read our review.
Best Smartphone for the Money: Apple iPhone 7
If you're strapped for cash, the Apple iPhone 7 is the best way to stretch your dollar as far as it'll go. Though it's not the newest, it's still plenty fast and has everything you could want in a flagship-quality phone. Even though we tested it over a year ago, it's still among the fastest phones we've recorded, and it's camera is still good enough for most people.
Best of all, the arrival of newer phones means that the price has dropped considerably. You can now get the iPhone 7 for just $549 brand-new, saving you hundreds of dollars compared to newer iPhone models.
Best Smartphone Under $500: Huawei Mate 9
While so-called "flagship" smartphones get all the attention, there are a ton of high-quality, low-cost phones that can do nearly as good of a job. Our favorite under $500 is the Huawei Mate 9. It's fast, looks great, and has nearly all the features we look for in a smartphone.
Though we weren't in love with the camera quality, the dual lens setup does provide a unique twist that you won't usually find on a phone this affordable. Read our review.