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S21 Phone of the Year Award 2015

By S21, 15 Nov 2015

It's the moment you've all been waiting for. In the run-up to Black Friday, we've selected the best 3 smartphones of 2015. Let the drum roll begin ...

Today's best buy: Samsung Galaxy S6 32GB from Laptops Direct (£199.97)

1. Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge

In 2015, Samsung set out to wow us with the design of its flagship S6 smartphone range, and the model that most captured our imagination was of course the Galaxy S6 Edge. Much has been written about the stunning futuristic looks of the Edge, and in the 6 months since its launch, we've come to like it more and more.

The price of the S6 Edge has fallen slightly since launch, making it a truly affordable option now as Christmas draws near.

And it's a treat, with its stunning super high definition AMOLED screen, and ultraslim lightweight metal design. It's equipped with a super-fast 8-core processor, a massive 3GB of RAM, and a fingerprint sensor with an integrated heart-rate sensor.

The camera is arguably the best on any smartphone, stacking up 16 megapixels with HDR mode, optical image stabilisation and 4k video recording.

If there's one thing we're less keen about, it's the fixed onboard storage. But since this starts at 32GB and goes right up to an enormous 128GB, it's not so much of a problem.

If you can't quite stretch to the S6 Edge, the Galaxy S6 is a more affordable option.

2. LG G4

The LG G4 is another phone with unique distinctive looks that captured our attention during 2015.

More affordable than the Samsung, yet just as impressive in its way, the G4 is available in a choice of colours and finishes, including our favourite - the luxury of leather.

The G4 features a massive 5.5 inch Quad HD screen that extends almost to the very edges of the phone.

The phone is ultraslim and tapered, with no physical buttons along its edge. Instead, the buttons have been moved to the rear of the phone.

LG has chosen to kit out the G4 with a 6-core Snapdragon 808 processor and 3GB of RAM. It's not quite as fast as the S6 Edge, but it's fast enough.

The 16 megapixel BSI camera with optical image stabilisation and 4k video is also a close match for the Samsung.

The LG certainly beats its Korean rival when it comes to battery life. With a 3,000mAh battery, it will provide power for up to 2 full days of use.

3. Sony Xperia Z5

Last year, our readers voted the Sony Xperia Z3 as Phone of the Year. In 2015, we've picked its successor, the Z5 as our third choice.

The Z5 is the most grown-up version of Sony's Z-series phones, with a matte finish on the back instead of the previous shiny finishes. It retains the iconic rectangular Z-series design, and is still ultraslim and waterproof.

The screen measures 5.2 inches and is of Full HD resolution. Inside, it uses the flagship 8-core Snapdragon 810 processor. In combination with 3GB of RAM, this makes the Z5 one of the very fastest smartphones available in 2015.

Its camera is very impressive, with a 23 megapixel Exmor RS sensor and Sony's new hybrid autofocus, enabling it to focus faster than probably any other camera phone. Naturally, it can capture video at 4k resolution.

This is the newest of the 3 phones, but already the price has fallen from its initial high level, making it a sensible option. The Z5 Compact is a cheaper, smaller version that we rate just as highly, and if your budget can stretch to it, then we really recommend the incredible Z5 Premium.

Runner-up: Apple iPhone 6

If we don't include an iPhone, we'll be in trouble, so here it is - the iPhone 6. Yes, we know, this is last year's model, but the newer iPhone 6s just doesn't offer value for money in our opinion.

Choose the iPhone if you prefer iOS to Android, but be aware that it costs more and gives you less. For about the same price as the Galaxy S6 Edge, you'll get a more compact phone with a lower screen resolution, a less capable camera and half as much memory. On the other hand, the iPhone 6 is fast, and incredibly easy to use.

The iPhone 6 has iconic looks, is superbly built and incredibly lightweight and thin, and is such a popular phone that you really can't go wrong.

Best buys
Samsung Galaxy S6 32GB
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Samsung GALAXY S6 Edge - SM- ...
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User questions

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I am going to the USA, South America and Far East. Is there a phone to suit international sim cards?

Asked by LIM from UK on 9th Jun 2016
Max price 100
No contract

Reply by S21 from UK on 9th Jun 2016
Any phone with quadband GSM should work globally, except in Japan. Phones with 2100 MHz 3G compatibility should work in Japan. South Korea uses WCDMA-based networks. So ideally a phone that supports quadband GSM and 2100MHz 3G networks would be a good choice.

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Comment by lee from NW England on 15th Nov 2015
Are you serious ! any phone from the last two years could be added here...

Comment by Greg from Uk on 15th Nov 2015
Sorry to say that android phones get full and slow, a lot quicker than iPhones. I was dead against them until I was given one at work. Now I just wait a year or so until the prices come down. I've now got a 5C and its way better than an android, and works as good as it did the day I bought it. It just works, always. Can't say that for the androids.

Reply by andy p from uk on 8th Feb 2016
You're dreaming Greg. I have a work iphone 6 and it is a paperweight only compared to my samsung android device. Hardly does anything, not amazing screen (apart from cool slow mo camera mode), it's a pile of junk compared to the android flagships. Everything about it is inferior except the app store has better games. Other than that, i'm sorry to say it is a dumb phone at best.

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