A question we’re asked more regularly than anything else is “what phone should I buy”? Seeing as it’s July, the half-way mark for the year, we should probably answer that.
Finding an answer to this question isn’t as easy as “get that one”, though, because there are so many choices.
Do you want one that matches your clothes? Your sense of style? Your hat? Your need for speed? Or do you want something no one else has?
The competition for the best phone is so fierce, however, that we’re not doing a “best phone” round-up by comparing scores, because that would just result in just as much confusion as there currently is.
Rather, we’re doing this with some statements about what we think the phones are, along with review for each device. And when you’ve gone in store and decided on the final three, you can research and see what we have to say on them to come to that final answer, because picking a phone should always involve how it feels in your hand and your pocket, because they’re among the most pertinent of questions.
When you’re ready to find out how they rate, however, you’ll be good to check out what GadgetGuy believes are the best phones of 2015. So far, anyway.
Best looking phone
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
Without a doubt, Samsung’s take on what a curved screen can do for a mobile phone is probably one of the better ones we’ve seen, providing a different take on design that make the phone have a lovely thin edge and a look like no other.
Technically, it’s the same as what Samsung offers in its Galaxy S6, with all day battery life, an excellent camera, and one of the brightest and most detailed displays you’ll find in any phone.
It’s even a screen that works beautifully in sunlight, which not too many phones can say, and can show information about the day when the screen is off.
We wish Samsung had left upgradeable memory and water resistance, but even without them, the S6 Edge is one sexy, sexy smartphone.
Best phone to go with a jacket
LG’s latest phone isn’t small and isn’t attempting to steal the limelight of design from Apple, but has managed to bring a leather back to the world of smartphones. Is this a good thing?
We’re not so sure, but there’s no escaping the fact that the G4 oozes quality, and feels like it goes with our brown leather jacket more than any other phone on this list.
Add a great screen, versatile camera, upgradeable storage, and some fast insides and you’ll find something that not only works well with your jacket, but with your need to get stuff done quickly.
Best phone with the best bling
HTC One M9
If your life is all about the “money money money”, and it is about the “b-bling b-bling”, not only are you not a Jessie J song, but you also might be interested in a mobile handset HTC pushed out earlier in the year.
The mobile is the 2015 edition of the HTC One, and features a two-tone metal body with a real solid heft, 20 megapixel camera, and a version of the Android operating system that can be tweaked to match your own images, with your colours and design.
We’re told HTC has now fixed some of the problems with its camera that we found in our first review, so that’s handy, and support has been included for the retro-looking DotView cases, which is handy, but really this one is for people who like a metallic look and feel, which HTC has definitely nailed.
Best phone for selfies
You may not know the name Oppo, but this is one of those brands that will likely make a huge dent in the world in the next few years, and the N3 could help it get there.
This phone is a rather curious one, packing in a decent camera that sits on its own hinge and can actually move when you touch the screen.
It’s semi-automated, and yet isn’t, with only one decent quality 16 megapixel camera that can be shifted to a front-facing camera with a simple swipe.
Best value phablet
Huawei Ascend Mate 7
Samsung may have set the benchmark for what a tablet-sized phone should be like in the Galaxy Note range, and Apple may have even gotten close, but Huawei’s Ascend Mate 7 pushed the concept of phablet to value levels.
This metal encased monster packs in a huge 6 inch screen, throwing in some solid performing parts underneath, including a Category 6 modem capable of some super-fast downloads and uploads, while the cameras on the front and back offer 5 and 13 megapixels respectively, with a fingerprint sensor locking this down for security.
With the $699 price, it’s hard not to be impressed by what Huawei offers, but it manages to throw in a phone case for free. Bargain.
Best phone that looks nothing like a phone
Samsung Gear S
Need a phone that looks nothing like a phone? No worries, because one of those actually exists.
It’s called the Samsung Gear S, and it is Samsung’s take on the super-smart smartwatch, packing in a nanoSIM card slot into a smartwatch that features a curved 2 inch display, 4GB storage, and an operating system that won’t let you run any apps.
Truth be told, this one is really supposed to be an accompaniment to one of Samsung’s other phones, and it really needs one to work properly, so if you already have a Samsung phone, you’ll be right.
When you need to make a night out on the town, however, and you don’t want to bring with your big bulky Galaxy Note or Galaxy something-else, you can switch to this phone and make voice calls by speaking into the wrist.
It’s a little weird, but it’s the closest you’ll get to a phone that looks nothing like a conventional phone.
Apple iPhone 6
The one to beat last year, Apple’s iPhone 6 is still one of the most popular handsets you can find, and there are great reasons as to why that’s the case.
For starters, it is very thin, offering a 6.9mm thickness with a 4.7 inch display, metal body, and a feeling that suggests it is a very, very well made device.
There’s also a fair amount of speed underneath, Apple’s typical attention to detail on the camera, and an operating system that offers one of the biggest selection of apps and games out there.
While the battery could do with a bit of a boost, its one day of life is pretty standard across mobiles.
We still like the iPhone 6 a lot, for what it’s worth, and while the 6 Plus is a nice model also, the regular 6 — the smaller of the two — is our favourite of the iPhone 6 duo.
Best iPhone clone
Samsung Galaxy S6
If you show the Samsung Galaxy S6 to anyone who has seen the iPhone 6, the first thing they’ll think of, and the first thing they’ll say is “iPhone”, and that’s because this year, the flat edition of the Galaxy S6 looks so much like an iPhone, you’d think they came from the same factory.
They don’t, and they run on completely different operating systems, but they do look very similar.
As to performance, the S6 is a very well made and exceptionally fast little phone, with a speed 4G connection, top screen, and a camera that rates as one of the best.
And yes, it does happen to look like an iPhone, but if you’re not into Apple and still admit that the design of the iPhone is lovely, this is the phone to check out.
Best iPhone clone when you’re cheap (and willing to admit it)
ZTE Blade S6
Everyone knows the iPhone isn’t cheap, and the flat edition of the Galaxy S6 may look pretty much exactly like an iPhone 6, but it’s a top tier phone, so it’s not going to be easy on the wallet either.
ZTE’s oddly named Blade S6, however, now that’s cheap, and it kind of looks like the iPhone as well.
Unfortunately, this one also feels as cheap as it looks and even occasionally crashes, but it’s worth checking out simply because it performs well most of the time and only carries a $299 price tag for a surprisingly well spec’d 5 inch mobile handset.
Best Windows Phone until Windows 10 arrives
Nokia Lumia 830
Microsoft may own the “Lumia” name, but the best devices to come out in the past six months featuring that branding have still come from Nokia, as Microsoft has only pushed out budget-minded handsets.
They’re not bad, mind you, but if you’re after a Windows Phone that looks good and offers upgradeability, we’d be looking at the Lumia 830, at least until Microsoft gets its act together and shows us how Windows 10 is going to look on a new flagship product.
We haven’t seen a flagship Windows Phone for quite some time, so we’re all just sitting and waiting for Microsoft to reveal all, but if you have to have Windows Phone now, the 830 is the one to consider, especially since you can get the beta of Windows 10 running on this handset quite easily.
Best phone that none of your friends will have
Motorola X (2014)
One of the choices from last year that definitely gets our attention, the Moto X packs in a lovely 5.2 inch screen, metal casing, and the choice of plastic, leather, or wood for a backing material.
Motorola also gets points for some of the nifty bonus features only Moto delivers on, such as a fairly pure edition of Android complete with Google Now launcher, some of the quickest update rollouts you’ll find from any manufacturer, and the super cool animated 360 degree immersive adventures known as “Spotlight Stories”.
We wish Motorola would have included upgradeable memory with this phone, because it so desperately needs it, but if you’re one wish is to have a phone that makes you stand out from your group of friends, the Moto X is one we can’t imagine many Australians will have. Get it in wood or leather, and the available numbers drop even more.
Best phone of last year
Sony Xperia Z3
Sony’s last phone for 2014 might be over six months old, but it’s still a solid entry, boasting a build that makes it durable and resistant to water, which is something few other phones can compete with.
There’s so much to like about this handset, too, from the upgradeable storage to the fantastic 20 megapixel camera, the battery capable of getting two days of life, and even the ability to control a PlayStation 4 with it.
Yeah, we still like this phone, and six months on, it was still working like a treat, upgraded to support the latest version of Android, too.
It might even have dropped its price since the release last year, and that can only be a good thing.