Throughout the years we’ve reviewed dozens of smartphones and got hands on time with plenty others. The good news is that for the most part smartphones have become so good in terms of hardware and design that it’s getting harder to pick something you will truly regret. Or if you’re the glass half empty kinda person, they’ve become so good that picking the one that’s right for you can be a challenging task.

You've likely read the reviews and have your own opinions based on the devices you owned and currently own, but with our vast access to devices, the best smartphones feature intends to highlight the stuff that matters and make it easier for you to buy the right device.

Best Overall

Google Pixel XL

The Pixel is Google’s first phone, and it ended up as not just the best Android device ever made, but the best smartphone currently on the market (and that includes the iPhone). It’s not a perfect device – the design is not a head-turner, and it lacks water resistance – however most key areas impress and outperform the competition.

The camera is the Pixel’s best feature. It’s extremely fast to focus and capture, it produces outstanding images in all conditions, and it packs unique features like jaw-dropping 4K video stabilization. When you buy the Pixel, you can boast to your mates how you have the best smartphone camera you can currently get.

Other aspects of the Pixel are equally impressive. The Snapdragon 821 SoC doesn’t crush benchmarks, but when combined with optimized software you’re left with a snappy experience that’s noticeably faster than its Android competitors. The display is vibrant in its standard mode and accurate in its sRGB mode, plus you get crisp 1440p on the Pixel XL. And battery life is very good overall, with fast charging an added bonus.

The Pixel includes the latest version of Android, unmodified, with Google’s promise to provide quick updates and security patches. It includes Google Assistant, which is surprisingly good and not available on other Android phones (for now), plus support for Google’s excellent Daydream VR platform.

We recommend the Pixel XL, the 5.5-inch variant, purely because of the extra screen real estate and slightly better battery life. Its smaller brother, the 5.0-inch Pixel, includes basically the same set of hardware and is also worth considering. The main downside? You’ll have to fork out a lot of money to get the best phone on the market, as Google has priced the Pixel to match the iPhone.

Also a Fantastic Option

Rated the best smartphone of the first half of 2016, the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge remains a fantastic piece of hardware. It’s a bit cheaper than the Pixel phones ($600), and the design is waterproof and far more attractive. You’re still getting excellent performance, battery life, and camera, but Samsung’s TouchWiz skin lacks the quality of stock Android. It also doesn’t explode, unlike the arguably better but now discontinued Galaxy Note 7.

Best from Apple

Apple iPhone 7 Plus

Prefer iOS over Android? The Apple iPhone 7 Plus could be the phone for you, and since it’s a little over two months old, now is the perfect time in Apple’s release cycle to upgrade.

The iPhone 7 Plus includes several handy updates over its predecessor, including a faster A10 Fusion SoC, an updated display with support for wider color gamuts, and more internal storage across the board. The design is largely unchanged from its predecessor, and Apple has removed the headphone jack, however they’ve compensated for this by making the entire phone water resistant.

From what we’ve seen, the camera on the 7 Plus is not quite as good as the Pixel, and there’s no virtual reality support to speak of. With that said, Apple’s software ecosystem is strong and iOS arguably has a better selection of apps and games to enjoy. On top of that, all iPhones are guaranteed to receive fast software updates for many years.

We prefer the iPhone 7 Plus as it packs better hardware than its smaller equivalent, the iPhone 7, although both handsets are great choices. The iPhone 7 Plus does cost more, but it packs a second camera with 2x optical zoom, and typically you can achieve better battery life on the larger model as well.

Best Flagship for Less

OnePlus 3

Update: Shortly after we published our update to The Best Smartphones, OnePlus did something unexpected by making the OnePlus 3, its most popular phone release so far, obsolete after just five months.

Don't fret however, the new OnePlus 3T is a drop-in replacement set to arrive as soon as late November. For an extra $40 ($439), the OnePlus 3T is the exact same phone with a few updates: a faster Snapdragon 821 SoC, a slightly better front camera, and slightly larger battery. There's also a new color option and for $479 you can opt for 128GB of internal storage.

What follows below pertains to the OnePlus 3, most of which will apply to the newer 3T:

If you don’t want to spend more than $500 on a smartphone like the Google Pixel or iPhone 7, look no further than the OnePlus 3. Available for $399, the OnePlus 3 includes the same array of hardware as its more expensive competitors, and this makes it the best value smartphone currently on the market.

We were amazed at the beauty of the OnePlus 3’s slender metal chassis, and it doesn’t skimp on battery life either, matching most other high-end phones in this department. The Snapdragon 820 SoC inside, combined with a massive 6 GB of RAM and 64 GB of high-speed storage, delivers outstanding performance across the board.

Other features you’d expect from a flagship are all here. There’s USB Type-C for fast charging and data transfers, a capable 16-megapixel camera with optical image stabilization, and a front fingerprint scanner. You don’t get the waterproof body of the Galaxy S7, or its expandable storage, but these are largely irrelevant trade-offs at such an attractive price.

It’s also worth talking about the software on the OnePlus 3. Like with many of the phones we recommend, the OnePlus 3 runs near-stock Android, and OnePlus has promised to upgrade the handset to Android 7 before the end of the year.

Best Budget Device

Motorola Moto G4 Play

This isn’t the first time we’ve recommended a budget smartphone from Motorola; the company consistently produces some of the most compelling devices in the sub-$200 category. While the Moto G4 is a decent piece of hardware for $199, the real value lays in the Moto G4 Play at just $149, which is our current recommendation for best budget smartphone.

You’re not getting top-end hardware in the Moto G4 Play, but you will get everything that made last year’s Moto G great at a $70 lower price point. This includes the decent (though not spectacular) Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 SoC, a capable 5.0-inch 720p display that’s now slightly brighter and more vibrant, and a near-stock version of Android that runs smoothly.

Motorola has made some handy changes as well. 16 GB of storage and 2 GB of RAM is standard, plus you’re still getting microSD expansion. Battery life has been improved, and despite the larger, now-removable battery, the Moto G4 Play is slimmer than its predecessor. The camera has been changed from a 13-megapixel shooter to just 8-megapixels, but it’s just as good from an image quality perspective.

The Moto G4 Play is categorically better than anything we’ve tested at $149, and it’s an absolute steal for $99 if you’re willing to put up with annoying Amazon ads.

And before you ask, we know many of you will be wondering why we haven’t recommended a Chinese smartphone with better specifications. OEMs like Xiaomi and Meizu do produce compelling products at $150 and most beat the G4 Play on the spec sheet. However, we’ve tried several of these devices, and they just don’t provide as good an experience. In most cases, the Moto G4 Play is faster to use, packs a much better camera, and runs software that doesn’t constantly frustrate.

More Expensive, But Excellent Value

If you have a bit more money to spend, it’s worth considering the Google Nexus 5X. Currently available for $280 – but we have seen it on sale for less – the Nexus 5X provides the best value of last-generation flagships. It packs stock Android with fast updates from Google, decent performance, and a great camera.