Australian smartphone reviews 2016

All of the smartphone reviews authored so far in 2016

Every smartphone that has passed through our testing labs in 2016 has been rounded up on this page.

Readers in the market for a new smartphone: this is a good starting point. Consider the smartphones available, narrow the selection down according to your price range and then begin qualifying either the retailer or carrier best suited to your individual needs.

Google Pixel XL: The new best Android phone

It is as good as or incrementally better than everything else on the market but the A.I-enhanced Google Assistant elevates it to another level of smartphone technology. But innovation comes with a hefty premium.

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Huawei P9: lifting photography to another level... sometimes

The P9 is a decent mid-range phone with best-on-the-market fingerprint reader and potentially the best camera of any phone (including many compact cameras).

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Huawei Mate 8: probably the best all-round Android phone you can buy

A great-value, great all-round Android phone.

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Sony Xperia XZ: A turbo-charged, last-gen, flagship phone

The XZ feels like a turbo-charged version of its last-generation phones. It's not svelte and pretty like other flagships. And a comparable S7 costs $250 less nowadays.

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HTC 10: A great phone, but avoid paying full price for it

A great camera, 24-bit audio, decent interface and Vive VR partnership are all attractive.

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Huawei Nova Plus smartphone

A second-tier phone in every way. There's little it can't do. But that's about the most exciting thing about it.

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Sony Xperia X Performance: Sony’s most disappointing product in years

A mediocre, mid-range phone at a massive price. The Huawei P9 is a better buy than the entire Xperia X range.

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Moto G4 Plus: Is this the best value phone on the market?

It's not much of a looker but its a great performer. Specs and features are high end and the price stays low. Camera performance could be better though.

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Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge

It's priced to ride the coat tails of the iPhone. But while it is a very good Android device, there is much better value to be had elsewhere.

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Alcatel Idol 4S: King of the mid-range?

Alcatel is pushing out of its budget-brand comfort zone with a well-specified mid-range offering. The screen and cameras are attractive, but prices of better rivals are falling fast.

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Moto Z: Motorola proves modular smartphones can be the future of mobility

We're concerned about the overheating issue, but make no mistake, the Moto Z is a very good phone.

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Next: Samsung's exploding Note 7, iPhone 7 plus great value from Oppo, Moto and LG...

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Samsung Galaxy Note 7: Basically an unexploded hand grenade

At $1349 we expect perfection and this isn't it. The lack of bezel means input mistakes are a constant bugbear. But the screen is good and the Iris scanner interesting. There's better value to be had everywhere else. Oh, and there's the issue that they've all been pulled from sale because they kept exploding.

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Oppo F1s: 2016 has another King of the Best Value phones

At under $350 the F1s is a steal. It has features we'd like to see on top-end phones like fast fingerprint unlocking, free case and a three day battery life. Just beware of the camera performance and processing delay with power apps.

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Moto X Force: Leading features from a mid-range phone

If you can put the fact that this phone launched overseas a year ago out of your head, this is still one of the best mid-range phones on the market and one that beats the best on the market in many key areas.

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Apple iPhone 7

It's a decent phone that's very well made but represents poor value in the phone market on its own. However, buyer's relationships with Apple and its ecosystem will dramatically affect value.

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Apple iPhone 7 Plus review: including Portrait Mode

A lightly-flawed flagship. Taptic feedback isn't as useful as a headphone jack, the camera's Portrait Mode is a mess and there are some low light issues. But it's fast and well-appointed and if Apple's ecosystem is important to you, value is less of an issue.
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LG G5

The innovative features are flawed to one degree or another, casting a dark shadow on a phone that otherwise does have a lot of offer.

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Moto G4 Play: it's OK

Perhaps a better way to explain the Moto G4 Play is to call it an overachieving mediocre phone.

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LG X Power smartphone

For a phone that's all about the battery, we expected this to last even longer - like its rivals do. The camera is poor in low light and the components are low powered. There's not much to like here.

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