New smartphones are constantly being announced, making it difficult to keep up with new releases, and hard to know which one to try out, let alone actually buy. It doesn’t matter whether you want to spend $100 or $700 either, store shelves are packed with choice.
While some will instantly go for their preferred brand, it may be worth taking a step back and seeing what the rest have to offer, because there are some fantastic phones on sale right now. Here are the phones we like, based on our recent reviews and hands-on tests. You should put these phones on the top of your list. We’ve broken our favorites down based on different types of users, but we’ve chosen one winner: the iPhone 6S Plus.
Editor’s Note: Although these phones are all awesome, we recommend holding off on your purchase until the fall. The iPhone 7 is due in September and there will be new Nexus phones in the fall, too, which may muddle your decision.
Why the iPhone 6S Plus is still the best
Apple iPhone 6S Plus ($750+)
After sticking to the 3.5-to-4-inch phone size for years, Apple finally entered into the world of the phablet with the iPhone 6 Plus. Now, it’s updated the phablet with the iPhone 6S Plus. The Plus dwarfs every iPhone ever made — even the 4.7-inch iPhone 6S — with its 5.5-inch display. It has the same gorgeous aluminum body, but now it comes in rose gold, too. There are a number of reasons why the iPhone 6S Plus is our favorite smartphone, but its understated elegance is a big draw. Other phones try to pull off aluminum unibodies, but no one does it like Apple. The subtle curves, slim profile and iconic Apple logo are instantly recognizable. You’ll never mistake the iPhone for another device, even though there are a lot of copycats out there.
The iPhone 6S Plus isn’t just beautiful, though. It’s got the brains to match. The speedy A9 processor and 2GB RAM keep things moving, and you’ll rarely experience drag or lag — even after a full year of use. Apple’s iOS 9 looks as bright and colorful as ever and 3D Touch takes iOS to another level. It’s a truly incredible device for iOS users who’ve always wanted a phablet. The fingerprint sensor adds extra security and convenience for unlocking your phone, and Apple Pay is the best mobile payment platform you can use, whether it’s in an app or in stores.
Apple also upgraded the rear camera to 12 megapixels and the front-facing shooter to 5 megapixels. Both cameras take excellent photos and the camera experience is effortless. Other phones have complicated camera apps, various modes, and other things you have to take into account; but the iPhone camera just works. You open the app, point, and shoot. That’s it. The camera focuses quickly, it produces natural photos and handles most lighting well. Its low-light performance is only bested by the Galaxy S7 series from Samsung, but even then, the difference isn’t too great. The improved selfie camera is also a huge boon in our social media age. The skin-tone matching flash from the screen even makes night-time selfies look good.
Sure, the 2,750mAh battery may be small and it certainly leaves a lot to be desired, but it does last through a full day of use, which is typical for most Android phones these days, too. Unfortunately, it doesn’t offer quick or wireless charging like Android phones do. That is one of the few complaints we have with the iPhone 6S Plus, but accessory makers do offer battery cases to prolong battery life and allow wireless charging. The case aren’t ideal, of course, because they add a lot of bulk to the device. Read our full review here.
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