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The best smartphones offer great cameras, the necessary multitasking performance, and autonomy to last a day. There is no perfect phone, each one of us has different needs and desires. Thankfully, this year there are many options for those looking for a new phone.
The biggest trend in 2020 is 5G connectivity. We don’t think you should choose a smartphone based on 5G support – not yet at least. And we’re still not convinced that folding phones are that good.
Another trend is that premium smartphone prices now start at €1,000. Luckily there are also plenty of affordable smartphones, including the new iPhone SE (2020).
We constantly update this list of best smartphones. Those who already have a specific budget in mind should also read our lists of the best cheap phones. And if you’re particularly interested in photography, check out our list of best camera phones.
Google Pixel 4a: best budget photography
The Google Pixel 4A offers almost everything you could ever want in a smartphone. It’s the successor to the Pixel 3a (Check on Amazon) and retains many of the great features that made us fall in love with it: it has a stunning 5.8-inch OLED screen, an amazing 12.2-megapixel camera that takes brilliant photos and includes smart functions such as Night Sight and Super Res Zoom, the power of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G chipset, 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, a headphone jack, stock Android with smart features like Call Screen and the Recorder app (which can convert speech to text in real-time) and Google’s three-year promise of updates, which is crazy for a phone that costs (Check on Amazon).
Where the Pixel 4a fails to improve is in duration. Although it sports a bigger battery (3,140mAh) than the Pixel 4, it still fails to last an entire day. Also, there’s no XL version, which is a disappointment to people who like bigger screens. Last but not least, the 5G version will arrive later this year.
But pretty much every other way, Google’s latest Pixel device is an incredibly well-rounded cell phone, boasting the best photography for the money, and everyone who is looking for a cheap smartphone should consider buying it.
OnePlus 8 Pro: the first OnePlus flagship
OnePlus points to the “ultra-premium” range of the smartphone market with the arrival of the OnePlus 8 Pro (Check on Amazon), a truly stunning device. The OnePlus 8 Pro offers unparalleled value because it manages to pack all the latest and greatest features we find on other flagships, into a phone that costs less.
We can think of so many reasons why the OnePlus 8 Pro is such a special phone, but first and foremost we have to talk about its striking Quad HD+ display, with a 120Hz refresh rate, and support for HDR10+, the best one ever seen on a smartphone. Other flagships tick a couple of those three important features (120Hz, QHD+, HDR10+), but none managed to include all three in one device… till now that is.
Opting for the 120Hz refresh rate can reduce battery life, but the phone will still be able to last for an entire day of work.
The 8 Pro is also the first OnePlus phone to support wireless charging; even better, it’s the fastest wireless charging we’ve ever seen.
The OnePlus 8 Pro also features high-end hardware, the best implementation of Android 10, in the form of OxygenOS, 5G connectivity, and a selection of advanced features such as reverse wireless charging and IP68 certification. Of course, since this is an OnePlus phone, the design and ergonomics are also great.
Most flagships sport better cameras, but the OnePlus 8 Pro can – under the right conditions – match them in photo quality. This is a great Android phone, that doesn’t cost four figures.
OnePlus 7 Pro: a budget alternative
Few buts can behave with the OnePlus 7 Pro (Check on Amazon). The screen, camera, and spec sheet, in general, is top-notch, maybe the best you can find today in the market, although you must do without wireless charging and IP certification.
These shortcomings are justified with the somewhat lower price tag than other premium smartphones that do offer these features. On the other hand, it is also true that this OnePlus costs way more than what we have come to expect from the budget flagship killer franchise.
Those who do not want to pay as much can always opt for the standard OnePlus 7 (Check on Amazon), with a rich spec sheet and a price more in line with the brand. But, only the 7 Pro has managed to beat Samsung and Huawei and for some even Apple.
Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra: best phablet
The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is expensive (Check on Amazon), but no other smartphone can match this phablet’s capabilities. You get a brilliant design, an even faster chipset (at least in the US), a gorgeous 6.9-inch OLED display with a 120Hz dynamic refresh rate, as well as plenty of new S Pen updates, ranging from new gestures and a smoother response time of 9ms to the ability to record voice notes and sync them with handwritten ones.
Plus, the Note 20 Ultra packs the best camera of any other Android phone out there, ripe with goodies like the 108MP main sensor, the crazy 50x space zoom, and a dedicated laser autofocus sensor to reduce blur.
It also boasts a big 4,500mAh battery, which will easily last more than a day with normal use. Samsung also includes a wired 25W fast charger in the box while the device also supports fast 15W wireless charging.
Furthermore, the Note 20 Ultra is also a mini PC and a gaming console. With enhanced DeX functionality, you can stream photos, apps, and more on a TV nearby, and with Xbox Game Pass you can play more than 100 Xbox titles streaming them directly from the Cloud. The Note 20 Ultra also works well with the PC; using “Link to Windows” you can run Android apps directly on your laptop, receive notifications, make calls, and more.
Not everyone needs a “business” smartphone like this, but if you want the very best, then buy the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.
Apple iPhone 11: best bang for your buck
The iPhone 11 (Check on Amazon) currently offers the best mix of features and price among Apple devices. Of course, it doesn’t have some of the most advanced features of the iPhone 11 Pro (Check on Amazon) or iPhone 11 Pro Max (Check on Amazon), but it is the iPhone with the best value.
The display for example, is brilliant and up to Apple’s standards without being OLED. The camera is also similar to the one on the iPhone XR (Check on Amazon). If you want the best of the best, you will have to splurge for the Pro, otherwise, the iPhone 11 does a solid job. It also offers a good autonomy, although not exceptional like the one on the iPhone 11 Pro Max, that will still last you a full working day.
The iPhone 11 offers the best from Apple, at an acceptable price. And if you want more, you will have to be prepared to spend a whole lot more!
Apple iPhone SE (2020): the cheapest iPhone
The Apple iPhone SE (2020) offers exceptional power for just (Check on Amazon). The A13 Bionic chipset inside the new iPhone SE is the same one we find on the iPhone 11 series. It’s a rare thing to see a premium SoC inside a device that costs so little, and it grants the new iPhone SE the best performance/price ratio of the entire segment.
But not everything revolves exclusively around that powerful processor. The iPhone SE also comes with a good 12-megapixel camera, wireless charging, IP67 certification, and premium build quality. The compromise is the dated design, based on the iPhone 8 (Check on Amazon).
Of course, you will not get all the bells and whistles you get with a true Apple flagship: the camera, battery, and display aren’t as good as those on the iPhone 11, but they all work great and provide a solid user experience.
If you are an Android user and are looking for a new cheap phone, then, sure, there are even cheaper Android smartphones out there, but if you are an Apple fan and want a new iPhone without spending an arm and a leg, then the iPhone SE (2020) is a best buy.
I’m a person who mainly uses Android smartphones, but the iPhone SE is also a great option to have as a secondary phone for those times I want/need to use an iOS device.
Apple iPhone 11 Pro: The best phone you can buy
Apple’s iPhone 11 Pro (Check on Amazon) is a top-of-the-line phone that leaves nothing to be desired. Visually, not much has changed compared to its predecessor, but the inner workings convince way more: it sets new performance standards and finally, the battery life is so good that it will last for more than a day.
The fantastic OLED display measures 5.8 inches diagonally and looks great. The notch for the front camera and Face ID sensors is still here… a necessary evil. On the back, we find a triple camera for the first time, for ultra-wide pictures. The photos have natural colors and very good detail. However, some noise is also visible, especially in weaker light. The automatic Night mode does a good job, but can not keep up with the Huawei P30 Pro (Check on Amazon).
Performance is where the iPhone 11 Pro is better than any Android device out there. Apple’s A13 Bionic processor is by far the best System on a chip on the market. Apple also provides software updates for up to 5 years, which is still more than any Android phone can boast. Finally, iOS 13 now comes with a Dark mode, which also helps with battery life.
Samsung Galaxy S20+: the best Android phone
Samsung offers three phones in its Galaxy S20 range, but the Galaxy S20+ (Check on Amazon) has the best mix of features for the money. You get a stunning 6.7-inch display with a 120Hz refresh rate, future proof 5G connectivity, and a fast Snapdragon 865 (Samsung Exynos 990 in the rest of the world), plus a decent battery life (even in 120Hz mode).
Speaking of performance, only the iPhone 11 Pro (Check on Amazon) and the iPhone 11 Pro Max (Check on Amazon) can beat it in benchmarks. Nevertheless the Galaxy S20+ can handle all apps and games with ease.
The two features you will lose by not opting for the pricier Galaxy S20 Ultra (Check on Amazon) are the 108MP camera and the more powerful Space Zoom – both compromises most people are willing to make.
This is especially true since the Galaxy S20+ boasts some pretty impressive cameras in its own right. The new sensors capture bright, colorful photos, and the 3x lossless zoom is more powerful than the one we find in the iPhone 11 Pro Max.
The only thing we don’t like is Samsung’s skin. Samsung wants to “overwrite” Google’s stock Android experience with its own and may require some time to get used to it.
For the rest, this is the best Android phone you can get.
Oppo Find X2 Pro: a valid alternative
Its high-end Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 processor is very fast, while its 6.7-inch, 10-bit, and 120Hz QHD+ OLED panel is a real joy to behold. The autonomy of its battery is also excellent while its ridiculously fast 65W charger makes up for the lack of Qi wireless charging. Last but not least it also boasts 5G connectivity.
Its main camera uses Sony’s new 48MP, 12-bit 1/1.4-inch IMX689 sensor that produces 1.12-micron pixels. In addition, the 13MP periscope camera offers a 10x hybrid zoom and a 60x digital zoom.
It’s a bit expensive, considering that both the OnePlus 8 Pro (Check on Amazon) and Samsung Galaxy S20+ have very similar specs while cheaper and that the ColorOS software experience isn’t on the same level as OnePlus’s OxygenOS or Samsung’s One UI.
Samsung Galaxy S20: more compact and less expensive
The Samsung Galaxy S20+ (Check on Amazon) is for many the best smartphone you can buy today, period! It features a water-resistant design (IP68), lots of power (Qualcomm Snapdragon 865/Samsung Exynos 990 with minimum 8GB of RAM), a large display (6.2”) with a refresh rate of 120Hz, three rear cameras, reverse wireless charging and a more than decent autonomy. In addition, there is a 4G version that is sold at a much lower price than the current 5G flagships.
It’s the quality to price ratio that allows Samsung to win over Apple. The Galaxy S20 starts at (Check on Amazon). Yes, it costs more than last year’s S10 but offers a bigger screen, more internal storage (128GB minimum), a microSD card slot, and 5G connectivity (be careful though, the S20 does not support faster high-band 5G (MMWave) networks).
The 6.2-inch AMOLED Infinity-O display is stunning. The notch is in the center as on the Note 10 and much smaller. The result: more screen. What’s new this year is a refresh rate of 120Hz, although you’ll have to lower your screen resolution to FHD+.
The Galaxy S20 is also equipped with three truly spectacular cameras. The main and the ultra-wide one (both 12MP) are very good, but it’s the 64MP telephoto lens that really shines. It offers a 3x optical zoom and a 30x (!) digital zoom. The cherry on top? This camera can shoot 8K video at 24fps!
Battery life is also impressive. The Samsung Galaxy S20 will last you comfortably for a full day unless you make heavy use of the 120Hz refresh rate.
One of the few things we didn’t like was Samsung’s UI, which is quite a departure from standard Android and may take some time to get used to.
The Samsung Galaxy S20 is a fantastic compact and “cheap” Android flagship phone that does not compromise on functions.
Samsung Galaxy S10+: a valid alternative
Worthy of being proclaimed the best smartphone of 2019, the Samsung Galaxy S10+ (Check on Amazon) is a device that has revolutionized mobile technologies, featuring unique solutions that deliver the best possible user experience.
The Dynamic AMOLED display measures 6.4 inches and has a whopping resolution of 2960×1440 pixels, featuring technologies like Dynamic Tone Mapping for colors and contrasts that are incredibly real and immersive.
This device can also learn from your habits, optimizing the way you interact with it.
Its premium spec sheet includes an Octa-Core processor, 6GB of RAM, a 3rd generation Triple Camera (16MP + 12MP + 12MP), Corning Gorilla Glass 6, a 4,100mAh battery and much more!
Samsung Galaxy S10: more compact and less expensive
Don’t be so surprised to see the Samsung S10 (Check on Amazon) on this list. It is still part of Samsung’s Galaxy S family of smartphones and it features Qualcomm’s powerful Snapdragon 855 processor, which quickly pushes it to the top of the list just for its performance alone.
Of course, the processor is not the only thing that makes this phone excellent. It also features Samsung’s crisp Super AMOLED display, compatible with high dynamic range, so you’ll get excellent graphics in both movies and games. The screen is also bigger, now offering much more real estate. With the S10, you get both an excellent phone and a powerful gaming device in one. And do not forget that VR fans can use it with existing VR Gear helmets and enjoy immersive VR games.
Of course, the Galaxy S10+ (Check on Amazon) is the better device. Therefore most consumers almost overlook the standard Galaxy S10. That’s a shame because the Samsung Galaxy S10 isn’t inferior to the Plus variant. It is a bit smaller and the wide-angle lens is missing, but the price is much more interesting, especially now (Check on Amazon). That is a huge difference from the suggested retail price of $899 during the launch in March.
Samsung Galaxy S20 FE: best flagship killer
You no longer need to pay $1,000 to get a top-of-the-line Samsung phone. The Samsung Galaxy S20 FE (Fan Edition) (Check on Amazon) offers everything most people want from a flagship phone at a price most of them can afford.
Its notable features include a 6.5-inch 1080p Infinity-O display with a 120Hz dynamic refresh rate and without those annoying curved sides. There’s also 5G support, a 4,500mAh battery, expandable memory, and three cameras on the back that make it truly versatile. Samsung even equipped it with Qi charging and an IP68 rating.
We also really like the triple camera module on the back which includes a powerful 3x optical zoom and an impressive 30x digital zoom but avoids unnecessary gimmicks, as well as the high-resolution selfie cam (32MP).
It comes in two versions: the first, 4G, uses the Samsung Exynos 990 chipset, while the second, 5G, boasts the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 chipset which is faster and consumes less battery.
Although it sports a plastic back, rather than glass, the S20 FE still looks elegant and feels like a premium device. You’ll also have to settle for a slower charger than the regular Galaxy S20 series, but these trade-offs are worth it.
Ultimately, the Galaxy S20 FE retains the best characteristics of the other Samsung flagships, making only small compromises and thus being hailed as the modern flagship killer.
OnePlus 8: the iPhone 11 alternative for Android fans
Although it costs less than flagship devices, the OnePlus 8 boasts almost all the same specs and features, and in benchmarks easily beats almost all of them.
The OnePlus 8 features a beautiful 6.5-inch AMOLED display, with a 90Hz refresh rate, with almost no visible frames, and a punch-hole notch (that houses the 16-megapixel selfie camera). Inside, we find a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 and up to 12GB of RAM – typical specifications for a flagship Android device in 2020.
The phone’s battery life is quite impressive and OnePlus’s 30W Warp charging technology is the fastest. Alas, there is no wireless charging – which OnePlus has reserved for its premium model [OnePlus 8 Pro (Check on Amazon)]. It’s a pity but doesn’t matter all that much since this phone has every other high-end feature you could ask for in a device that costs “just” (Check on Amazon).
If we have one complaint about the OnePlus 8, it has to do with the disappointing triple-lens camera module, which can’t capture equally crisp and colorful photos as the company’s premium device. That said, if you don’t mind taking pictures that look good but not great, you’ll find a lot of value in the OnePlus 8.
OnePlus Nord: best mid-range smartphone
The Nord is OnePlus’s attempt to return to producing the best “flagship killers”. Despite its price of (Check on Amazon) this smartphone is full of premium features, beginning with the screen that has a refresh rate of 90Hz and finishing with the six cameras (in total), things you typically don’t find on smartphones that cost less than $500.
The screen in particular is absolutely spectacular. Not only because of the 90Hz refresh rate – a feature usually reserved for phones that cost hundreds of dollars more — but also for the 6.44 inch AMOLED panel that can become particularly bright to use outside and can make blacks and shadows stand out when watching videos or playing games.
But let’s talk now about the compromises. The Snapdragon 765G processor — assisted by 8GB of RAM — cannot match the performance of the high-end SoCs that we find on the various flagship phones, even though this Qualcomm chipset means that the Nord can connect to faster 5G networks. And despite all those cameras OnePlus’s image processing software still makes the colors appear too cold. Last but not least, there is no wireless charging and no official IP rating, while the battery life is only “OK” rather than exceptional.
But, for this price, the OnePlus Nord is one of the best Android phones you can buy right now, period!
Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra: ultra flagship, ultra price
Samsung spared no expenses when it created the Galaxy S20 Ultra. It’s a stunning phone to look at, something you’d expect from Samsung at this stage. Inside it has some of the best components you can find in a smartphone in 2020.
The Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra manages to pack an impressive list of premium features – from the 100x digital zoom to the huge 6.9-inch AMOLED display, capable of a refresh rate of 120Hz. Still, it’s the four cameras on the back that impressed us the most.
The two that stand out are the 108MP wide-angle lens and the 48MP telephoto lens. The former is an extremely capable and versatile camera that captures rich and colorful images and it can even shoot 8K video! The latter has a 10x lossless zoom that really captures detail from a distance, plus a digital zoom of up to 30x which produces very good results. This is a camera phone that can compete (and sometimes beat) the iPhone 11 Pro (Check on Amazon) and iPhone 11 Pro Max (Check on Amazon).
To power the Galaxy S20 Ultra we find a Snapdragon 865 (Samsung Exynos 990 in the rest of the world) with up to 16GB of RAM. In practice the S20 Ultra can run any app and any game.
Don’t forget the huge 5,000mAh battery, which ensures an autonomy of at least one day. It’s hard to find flaws in the S20 Ultra, and it’s even harder to find a phone that can beat it.
The Galaxy S20 Ultra starts at (Check on Amazon) and is a testament to how many goodies can companies like Samsung pack into a smartphone.
Google Pixel 4: a great phone
The Google Pixel 4 (Check on Amazon) is all you can hope from a premium smartphone. Google has chosen wisely, and struck a great balance between design and hardware, even if the upper bezel is a bit too wide. However, it houses a lot of technology, including a radar for gestures.
With its 5.7 inches, the Pixel 4 is very compact (considering today’s standards) and clearly occupies a niche. The resolution is Full HD+, but the screen has nothing to envy from the competition. The display’s 90Hz refresh rate makes the interface feel buttery smooth and the same goes for games.
The performance is also top-notch with the use of a Snapdragon 855 and 6GB of RAM.
The camera is as impressive as always and the guarantee of 3 years of updates takes it to another level!
Samsung Galaxy S10e: small flagship
The Samsung Galaxy S10e (Check on Amazon) is the little brother of the Galaxy S10 (Check on Amazon) and S10+ (Check on Amazon). But it doesn’t envy much from its bigger siblings. This is, in fact, one of the best Android models of the year. Its biggest advantage is that it is a compact flagship model with a 5.8-inch OLED display offered at a bargain price.
You won’t have a QHD resolution, instead, you’ll have to settle for Full HD, but the Super AMOLED display has vibrant colors and an excellent range.
It also features the ultra-fast Snapdragon 855 processor and is equipped with a dual-camera module. In addition, it has wireless charging and wireless reverse charging.
Like its other siblings, the price of the Samsung Galaxy S10e has fallen considerably. Since its launch, the price has fallen from $750 to just (Check on Amazon).
It is hard not to recommend this phone to anyone who prefers a smaller device, especially to those who want a compact phone to use with one hand, but without giving up flagship performance.
Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max: the best iPhone
The iPhone 11 Pro Max is the largest smartphone ever created by Apple and at the same time the most advanced one. It costs a lot, even for Apple standards, but size and performance are unmatched in the industry. Compared to the iPhone XS Max (Check on Amazon) it is more powerful and has improved cameras.
What Apple is trying to accomplish with the iPhone 11 Pro is regaining the title of the best camera phone. In fact, the three camera lenses on the back have ensured that Apple finally made a comeback and surpassed both Samsung and Huawei when it comes to smartphone photography. Apple has added a wide-angle and a telephoto lens to the rear in addition to the improved main sensor. A special Night mode has also been added and ensures that you can take beautiful photos in environments where you don’t quite see anything. (Anywho, Huawei can still capture better photos in low-light conditions).
The A13 Bionic processor runs in circles around the fastest Snapdragon one. The OLED screen offers the best brightness in the business. The glass housing is more water-resistant and now also available in an attractive green color.
The iPhone 11 Pro Max is available for (Check on Amazon) but the basic model only has 64GB of storage memory. Nevertheless, if you can afford it there is nothing better than the iPhone 11 Pro Max.
Huawei P30 Pro: jaw-dropping camera
The Huawei P30 Pro (Check on Amazon) has many similarities with the P20 Pro (Check on Amazon) and the Mate 20 Pro (Check on Amazon). Although the software leaves much to be desired, this smartphone has the best cameras in the world!
The P30 Pro has both an incredible 10x hybrid zoom and can shoot brilliant stills in low light conditions. That makes it your default option if you want a camera phone above all.
But Huawei’s flagship model also stands out for its overall performance, its long autonomy and you may also like the iridescent design on the back.