Now that all the major smartphone manufacturers have released their 2015 smartphones, it’s a good time to take a look at what’s out there and attempt to answer the following question: what smartphone should you buy right now?
We’re happy to say that 2015 has been the best year for smartphones ever—a landmark year for both Android and iOS. There are a few clunkers here and there, but for the most part, most of the flagship smartphones that were released this year have most of the bases covered. In particular, you just can’t go wrong with any of the ten smartphones in this ranking.
Putting this list together was difficult, having to cut great devices like the HTC One A9, HTC One M9, Sony Xperia Z4, Z4 Compact, and Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3. It should also be noted that we haven’t had a chance to use the Nexus 5X, the smaller Nexus device that was recently released, which definitely would have been considered the making of our ranking. With that in mind, here is our ranking for the top 10 smartphones that you can buy right now.
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10. OnePlus X: After shaking the market with two budget-conscious but decidedly premium phones, last year's OnePlus One and its successor the OnePlus 2, the Chinese phone maker has once again defied odds with the X. It's latest is smaller and cheaper with an even more premium build than its pricier brothers. The glass and metal build feels phenomenal and its diminutive size (by today's gargantuan standards) make it easy to use with one hand.
Despite outdated internals, the OnePlus X handles its custom Oxygen OS fluidly and the 1080P AMOLED screen makes everything pop. There are tradeoffs, namely weak LTE support and a phone that gets grungy fast, but the $250 price tag is too big a boon to leave it off the list.—Eric Walters
Read our hands on impressions of the OnePlus X.
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9. LG G4: The G4 doesn't have the same jaw-dropping, bezel-less design that the G3 had, but the G4 still has the goods where it really counts in performance, camera, and display. In fact, in the summer, the G4 was one of the best Android devices you could find.
As of now, however, there are a handful of Android phones that have it outranked in specs, camera, and software. It's still a good phone, but it might be smart to wait a couple of months for a G5 announcement at CES 2016.—Luke Larsen
Read our hands on impressions with the LG G4 here.
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8. iPhone 6 Plus: The 6 Plus is over a year old now, but it's still a pretty fantastic device. You'll still get the big display, thin design, newest software updates, and—of course—the best smartphone camera you can find.
The 6s Plus has some cool new features that you won't be able to use on the 6 Plus, but if you want a newer iPhone for $100 cheaper than the 6s Plus, pick up the 6 Plus.—LL
Read our review of the iPhone 6.
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7. Moto X Pure Edition: Motorola was one of the first companies to pioneer the cheap, flagship unlocked smartphone and they really did do it right. Nowadays, it takes a bit more to stand out from the crowd though.
The new Moto X hits all the right marks—great display, performance, and near-stock Android. The design isn't my favorite—and the camera still struggles at points—but the Moto X Pure Edition is still a great purchase.—LL
Read our full review of the Moto X Pure Edition.
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6. iPhone 6s: Although the iPhone 6s Plus is pretty clearly the more high-end phone of the two, the extra size and cost most certainly isn't for everyone.
What's more, while the 6s Plus has a better camera, the 6s still has a fantastic camera, buttery smooth performance, and the same thin display. The new features are great and so is the updated camera sensor. You can't go wrong here.—LL
Read our full review of the iPhone 6s.
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5. Galaxy S6 / S6 Edge: Although we prefer the cleaner software on devices like the Moto X Pure Edition, the S6 still has excellent display and camera The stunning design of the S6 Edge in particular really makes it feel like the display is completely edge-to-edge, resulting in a device unlike anything we've ever held.
Now that we've seen the Note 5, though, we think it is easily the best Galaxy device from this year. If the bigger screen and stylus aren't your cup of tea though, the S6 is still a fantastic phone with a great camera.—LL
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4. OnePlus 2: What this company has done with its inexpensive, flagship devices is nothing short of astounding. The OnePlus 2 has a unique design, a beautiful display, and pretty much everything else you could want in an excellent Android device—and for only $329.
Our only problem with the device is that the camera, while quite great, is still laggy, many months after the device shipped. Secondly, the device is hard to get ahold of as you'll have to be put on the invitation-only waiting list.—LL
Read our full review of the OnePlus 2.
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3. Samsung Galaxy Note 5 / S6 edge+: There's a lot of reasons why longtime Samsung fans have ditched the Note 5, most notably because of its lack of a removable battery, waterproof casing, and expandable storage.
However, if none of those things matter to you, the Note 5 is the best smartphone Samsung has ever made. The design is beautiful, the stylus is more useful than ever, and the camera is the best you'll find on an Android device. —LL
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2. Nexus 6P: Last year's entry in the Nexus line, the Nexus 6 by Motorola, was essentially a disaster. In a world of big phones, it was the biggest. Bulky and pricy, it went against the core tenets the Nexus program were founded on. Google learned from Shamu, and it delivered in 2015. Both Nexus phones are solid Android devices, but the Huawei-built Nexus 6P is an Android lover's dream. The metal construction is exquisite and its one knock, the glass bar housing necessary sensors and the camera module, grows on you over time. The screen is immaculate, only a touch lower than Samsung's efforts this year, and the camera is vastly improved.
As with any Nexus phone, though, the 6P's best asset is the stock Android experience, 6.0 Marshmallow here. It's the best Android phone money can buy, and at $499 it comes in much lower than other phones in the same weight class.—EW
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1. iPhone 6s Plus: This year's 6s is just what we wanted to see in an iPhone update. It's not a huge spec update as we'd expect in an "s" update, but instead adds in some really cool features like 3D Touch and Live Photos. 3D Touch in particular is one of the most notable iPhone software features to be added in quite some time and has huge potential for the future.
On top of that, we also got a surprise camera update, moving the sensor size up 12-megapixels. iOS is not for everyone—and neither is the high price point of the 6s Plus, but right now it's hard for us to recommend anything else as the best smartphone you can buy right now.—LL
Read our full review of the iPhone 6s.