There are so many good phones to choose from in 2019 but which one is the king of the castle? Is there even a winner? There’s no one choice for everyone, so bear in mind the best phone for you might not be number one in our chart.
Phones come in all shapes, sizes and prices. Here, we have ranked and reviewed the ten best phones money can buy.
When we have reviews of the iPhone XS and XS Max, Google Pixel 3, OnePlus 6T and Huawei Mate 20 Pro, you can be sure this chart will look different – just in time for Christmas! So check back soon if you’re going to make a festive purchase.
Apple iPhone XS
The second generation of Apple’s notched flagship iPhone is one of the most expensive phone in our list at £999 or $999, but that’s the same as 2017’s now discontinued iPhone X.
The OLED display is outstanding and features like the totally secure Face ID unlock system make it the most futuristic phone Apple has ever made. Performance is flawless, much like the build quality. It’s probably still the most desirable phone in the world.
It is fast and wireless charging compatible, but only comes with a slow charger in the box. But improved battery life and amazing dual cameras still make the iPhone XS a no-brainer if you already love iPhone and iOS.
HUAWEI P30 PRO
We really, really like what Huawei has managed to do with the Huawei P30 Pro, and it easily slides into our best Android phones of 2019 list. It makes an appearance at the expense of the P20 Pro, and builds on everything that made that 2018 handset great as well.
We’re talking internal components that are enough to give it lightning-fast performance (note the Kirin 980 processor and up to 8GB of RAM), as well as a quad-lens camera capable of performing some really impressive tricks – not least a whopping 5x of optical zoom!
This being a Huawei phone, the software experience is a long way from being the best in the business. However, the excellent hardware and build quality means that the P30 Pro ends up a long way in credit when everything is considered.
The OnePlus 6 is one of the best smartphones you can buy — and there’s no better Android phone at its price tag: $530.
The OnePlus 6 doesn’t have some of the features you’d find on more premium smartphones, like wireless charging, an OLED screen, or a killer camera, but it doesn’t need those things. The OnePlus 6 features a very good camera, but more importantly it offers plenty of power, with a fast Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor and a whopping 6 GB of RAM, which is ideal for multitasking. It also features a great fast-charging system. It also runs a clean, near-stock version of Android, called Oxygen OS.
Samsung Galaxy Note 9
The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is the latest smartphone from Samsung. It has a gorgeous 6.4-inch OLED display, a massive battery, a great camera, tons of storage (128 GB to start!), a fingerprint scanner and facial recognition, and the S Pen, which lets you take notes or control the Note 9’s camera remotely, among other things.
The Galaxy Note 9 also has some high-end features, like wireless charging, water resistance, and even a headphone jack — whoa! — and Samsung includes a fast-charger with the phone, which is a nice touch.
Of course, all of these premium features demand a premium cost: The Galaxy Note 9 starts at $1,000. Still, you’re getting a whole lot of phone for that price.
We’ve excluded one phone from this list, the Pixel 2 XL, purely because it’s about to be replaced by the Pixel 3 in October. This doesn’t mean the Pixel 2 XL is a bad choice – Google’s phones are generally excellent and have the advantage of always getting the latest software and security updates when they’re available – but it’s a good idea to wait if you want a Pixel.
Numerous leaks suggest the new Pixel phones aren’t a radical departure. They won’t, for example, have two rear cameras like most top-end phones this year. But it seems the Pixel 3 XL may come with mysterious dual front-facing cameras. Google’s widely tipped to launch a Pixel Watch, too. We’ll find out in this October.
Phones to Avoid: Don’t try to save money by buying 2-year-old phones. It’s also wise to avoid devices from brands you’re not familiar with or that are not mentioned in our guide. There are plenty of good ones, but it’s easy to get burned or buy a phone that won’t work on your carrier.
Features You Want: Make sure your potential phone purchase has the features most important to you. Try to buy one with at least 64 GB of internal storage (minimum 32 GB), optimally with a MicroSD slot so you can add more storage later. IP67 waterproofing should be standard on most devices and will be handy that one time you drop your phone in the tub. Many phones don’t have 3.5 mm headphone jacks, so make sure yours does. You’ll also at least want a Snapdragon 630 processor and 4 GB of RAM in any Android phone you buy. It should also run Android 8.0 Oreo (2017) at this point.
Buy Smart, Do the Math: Wireless carriers and retailers often offer 24-month installments to pay off phones. Try to buy your device all at once to avoid paying extra or paying more than you need to for your device. Carriers sometimes hide higher prices in seemingly cheap monthly installments.
Buy Unlocked Because … You Never Know: If you buy phones that are unlocked, you can easily switch wireless providers if you see a better deal, move to a location where your carrier has poor coverage, or get tired of shenanigans. Read our full guide to the Best Unlimited Wireless Plans to see our current favorites, Every phone we recommend in this guide is available unlocked.