Australia's Top 5 phones available now

01 July 2016

Now is a great time to be hunting about for a smartphone, with many of this year's best models already in phone shops around the country.

We take a look at our five favourite phones, highlighting the pros and cons of each. Where applicable, we're grouped two phones together as one. After all, there's not too much difference between the two current iPhones, or the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge.

Or, if you want to jump straight into a price comparison for any of these models, head over to our Mobile Phone Finder tool.

Samsung Galaxy S7

Samsung Galaxy S7

  • Hands down the best camera in a phone
  • Great new design
  • Smooth performance with 4GB RAM
  • Expensive, but not more so than other phones of this calibre
  • Curved back gives grip to slippery design
  • Glass design may crack if dropped

Samsung has released a duo of phones this year: the S7 and S7 Edge. Aside from the obvious fact that the S7 Edge has a curved-edge screen and the standard S7 does not, the two phones are all but identical in all other respects.

This year Samsung repeats the glass front and rear panel design we saw in last year's model, but curves the back of the phone to make it more ergonomic. The end result is something between a familiar Samsung design and the direction Apple has taken the iPhone 6.

Aside from general speed, smoothness and power, the stand-out feature is the camera. The S7 phones may just have what it takes to topple Apple's throne and claim it for themselves. This camera is fast and easy to use and the photos it takes are superb.

iPhone 6s & 6s Plus

iPhone 6

  • Best in class camera
  • Millions of apps
  • User experience is easy to learn
  • Design focuses on looks over ergonomics
  • Expensive when compared to similarly-sized smartphones

While the new iPhone 6s may not look different to last year's iPhone 6, it would be a mistake to assume nothing much has changed. Under the hood, the new 6s and 6s Plus feature the powerful new Apple A9 chipset and Apple's unique M9 motion sensor.

As the name suggests, the 6s Plus sports a plus-size 5.5 inch screen. Unlike its smaller sibling, its resolution sits at Full HD 1080p, giving it around 400ppi. That means a clearer image over a wider area.

The most notable addition to these phones is the new 12-megapixel camera. Apple is famous for amazing cameras in previous iPhones, but the new camera blows them all away. This is as close to a true camera experience as you are likely to find in a phone.

See the full range of iPhone 6s, iPhone 6 and iPhone SE plans here.

Google Nexus 5X

  • Latest Android Marshmallow OS
  • Great fingerprint scanner
  • Decent camera for the price
  • 5.2-inch 1080p resolution display
  • New USB-C reversible charging port
  • Cheap to buy outright than many similar phones

The Google Nexus 5X stands out as one of our favourite phones of 2015. Running the latest Google Android operating system, known as Marshmallow, the 5X has a silky smooth user experience and a clean, simple layout.

There are a few neat extras included in the Nexus 5X that are worth pointing out. It has a fingerprint scanner located on the back of the phone, which we found extremely easy to locate quickly and which performs really well. It has has a new USB-C charging port which, among other benefits, allows you to plug in the charging cable in either direction. No more fumbling around in the dark trying to figure which way is up and which way is down.

We were also reasonably impressed with the performance of the camera. It struggles in low-light, as many smartphone cameras do, but manages great photos when lighting is better. The iPhone and Samsung cameras are still better, but the Nexus 5X definitely holds its own.

HTC 10


  • Awesome Quad HD screen
  • Critically acclaimed 12 MP camera
  • Huge battery
  • Quad core Snapdragon processor and 4GB RAM
  • 32GB internal storage and a Micro SD card slot

HTC has been out of favour with Android fans for the past couple of years, but the HTC 10 looks to have overcome these doubts. Especially in regards to its camera. HTC opts for a smaller 12 megapixel image sensor, but include a fast f/1.8 aperture, making it one of the best cameras in market for low-light photos. In fact, many feel it belongs alongside Samsung's Samsung Galaxy S7 as having the best camera of the year.

No other major element of a top-tier smartphone is left out either. The HTC 10 has a super-sharp QHD super LCD screen, a fast Snapdragon processor, and the latest Google Android OS.

Samsung Galaxy Note 5

Samsung Galaxy Note 5

  • Big, beautiful screen
  • S-Pen Stylus is super useful
  • Another great Samsung camera
  • Touchwiz software is a little bulky
  • Expensive

The Note 5 is your go-to phone if you want a big-screened Android. It rocks a huge 5.7 inch screen with quad-HD resolution of 2560 x 1440. Compare that to the similarly-sized 5.5 inch 1080p iPhone 6s Plus and you get 28% more pixels per inch (ppi) on the Samsung.

Korea's favourite phone maker has ditched its plastic phone frames and opted for a gorgeous mix of glass and stainless steel. Subsequently, the Note 5 is not only beautiful to look at; it feels like a premium phone the moment you pick it up.

Smartphone collection image via Shutterstock

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