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These are the best smartphones you can buy this year

If you’re looking for the absolute best, you’ve come to the right place.

WHILE THE GAP between high-end smartphones and mid-range has diminished somewhat in recent years, premium devices still have that little bit extra to them that make them appealing.

It is a commitment to settle for one of these devices, but you will be safe in the knowledge that even two or three years down the line, they’ll still be able to keep up with whatever is thrown at them.

Here are our pick of the best out there.

Note: The prices listed below are for unlocked versions when possible, or close to the full price when not.

Read first: If you’re waiting for a list of smartphones that won’t burn a hole in your pocket, you can find them here.

iPhone 6s and 6s Plus
Full cost: Starts at €759 for 6s, €869 for 6s Plus
Where can I find it: Apple, Vodafone, Meteor, Three, Carphone Warehouse, Harvey Norman,

We may as well get the obvious one out of the way. There are many reasons why Apple’s smartphone range continues to be one of the best out there and for the foreseeable future.

That is a consistent OS, a vast range of apps to use, and a welcome improvement to its hardware means it’s worth buying if you’re upgrading from anything older than a 5s.

Photo 1

Samsung Galaxy S6
Full cost:
€579 for 32GB
Where can I find it:
Vodafone, Three, Meteor, iD, Carphone Warehouse, Tesco Mobile, Argos

While the S6 Edge saw the most attention, it’s easy to forget how much of an improvement the S6 was over its predecessor. A new aluminium design, a lightning fast yet sharp camera, and premium hardware meant it was a great upgrade, even if the high price point was a drawback.

You could wait until next March/April for what will likely be the S7 (recent rumours suggest Samsung is announcing the next version in January), but with the price reduction in recent months, it becomes a very tempting proposition.

Although if you have a little bit more cash to spare, it would be better to go for the S6 Edge or S6 Edge plus.

IMG_4830

Nexus 5X & Nexus 6P
Full cost: €479 for 16GB 5X, €649 for 32GB 6P
Where can I find it: Google Store

A unique inclusion on this list since you can only buy them unlocked, both of Google’s own flagship devices might be more expensive to buy because of it, but if you’re looking for a pure Android experience, it’s hard to beat either one.

Which one you decide to get will really depend on your priorities, but with Marshmallow bringing with it a whole host of nice improvements – like Doze which will conserve battery power when your phone is on standby – and both devices having the specs to back it up, both devices are perfect for the Android faithful.

The 6P is the better of the two – the 5X feels more mid-range than high end – and unlike the larger than life Nexus 6, is a more manageable size to hold (rather similar to the iPhone 6s Plus), but either way, you can’t go wrong.

Nexus 5x front

HTC One M9
Full cost: €749
Where can I find it:
HTC Store, Vodafone, Three, Meteor, iDCarphone Warehouse,

Many people weren’t impressed by the lack of changes made to the series, especially when it looked so similar to the M7 and M8, but those who fail to look beyond that are missing out.

A powerful phone, a decent camera and some of the best speakers you’ll find in a smartphone makes the M9 worth your time and consideration.

Front home page

Sony Xperia Z5
Full cost: €659
Where can I find it:
Vodafone, Three, Meteor, iD, Carphone Warehouse

If there’s one thing that Sony has become a master at, it’s photography. Its lenses are included in most major phones and it’s easy to see why. Its 23MP camera is easily one of the sharpest out there and the range and breadth of camera options available, it’s a great choice for those who prioritise photography and video above everything else.

Combine that with its Playstation 4 capabilities, allowing you to play games on a 4K screen remotely while another person watches TV, and it becomes a fantastic device for those already committed to Sony products.

Source: Sony Xperia/YouTube

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge & Edge+
Full cost: €699 for S6 Edge,  €899 for Edge+
Where can I find it:
 Vodafone, Three, Meteor, iD, Carphone Warehouse, Tesco Mobile (Edge+ – ThreeMeteor, Carphone Warehouse)

Of the two phones Samsung released earlier this year, the S6 Edge saw the most attention thanks to its curved design and unique screen features.

There’s very little difference between either phone – the latter is a 5.7-inch screen with 4GB of RAM and a bigger battery – but arguably the Edge+ should get your vote simply because it’s easier to use one-handed than you would initially think.

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Read: What should you keep in mind when buying a smartphone or tablet? >

Read: What should you consider before signing up to a mobile plan? >

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About the author:

Quinton O'Reilly

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