The Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus is still the best smartphone available right now.
It’s a big phone that’s designed for big hands – and it takes the very best of what’s on the smartphone market and puts it together in a compelling package that we’ve loved testing.
Screen: The Super AMOLED 6.4-inch display has been measured as the very best around, with super colours, great dynamic range and, essentially, the very best viewing experience you can have on a mobile phone.
Plus, there’s a fingerprint scanner embedded in the display.
Battery life: The battery life on the Galaxy S10 Plus is and improvement over the S9 Plus, thanks to the larger 4,100mAh battery inside. It’ll easily reach bedtime with double digits still left in the tank.
The S10 Plus also offers Samsung’s new Wireless PowerShare, allowing you to wirelessly charge other devices on the rear of the handset.
Camera: The trio of cameras on the Galaxy S10 Plus are among the best on the market, building on the excellent setup on the S9 series by offering more features, shooting modes and overall clarity.
Mini verdict: The Galaxy S10 Plus is packed full of the best Samsung has to offer, and it comes together to give you the best smartphone experience around right now.
2. Samsung Galaxy Note 9
One of the highest-spec phones on the market
Release date: August 2018 | Weight: 205g | Dimensions: 162 x 76.4 x 9mm | OS: Android 8.1 | Screen size: 6.4-inch | Resolution: 2960×1440 | CPU: Exynos 9810 | RAM: 6/8GB | Storage: 128/512GB (up to 1TB with card) | Battery: 4,000mAh | Rear camera: 12MP + 12MP | Front camera: 8MP
Battery life: With 4,000mAh under the hood, the Note 9 has one of the biggest batteries Samsung has ever thrust into a device, meaning it can easily last through the day (plus it has new cooling tech to help it last longer in gaming sessions, although we’ve not seen much proof of that). You can also charge over wireless easily, and fast charging boots in 17% battery in 15 mins.
Camera: The cameras on Samsung phones are part of the reason they rank so highly in our list – the sheer capability and low light performance is impressive. Photos are definitely more on the colourful side, but there are more AI smarts in the mix to help you get the right shot at the right time.
Mini verdict: It’s hard to wrap the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 into a mini verdict – it does so much and we’ve not even touched on the new, camera-remote-enabled Bluetooth S Pen. The expansive, quality screen, the battery life and the camera all combine to make this a stunning smartphone… if you can afford it.
3. Huawei Mate 20 Pro
The best Huawei phone to date
Release date: November 2018 | Weight: 189g | Dimensions: 157.8 x 72.3 x 8.6mm | OS: Android 9 | Screen size: 6.39-inch | Resolution: 1440 x 3120 | CPU: Kirin 980 | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 256GB | Battery: 4200mAh | Rear camera: 40MP + 20MP + 8MP | Front camera: 24MP
Battery life: You’ll get great battery life from the Mate 20 Pro, and we regularly achieved a day and a half of usage from a single charge during our review time with the handset.
Camera: The Mate 20 Pro comes with three cameras on the rear, nabbing the excellent 40MP wide-angle and 8MP telephoto lenses from the P20 Pro – but the third sensor is new. It’s an ultra-wide 16MP snapper allowing you to cram even more of your surroundings into each shot.
Mini verdict: The Mate 20 Pro is a full-featured phone for a full-featured price – it even has a few tricks you won’t see elsewhere, and more powerful specs than most of its competitors.
4. Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
Still a top Android flagship, now at a lower price
Battery life: The battery life on the S9 Plus is better than that seen on the smaller S9, thanks to the 3,500mAh battery in the Plus model – although it’s probably the weakest part of the phone, not offering as much life as we’d have liked.
Camera: The camera on the Galaxy S9 Plus is among the best on the market, and the dual-aperture capability offers some startlingly good snaps when things get a little darker.
Colours can look a tad washed out when the exposure is higher, but the power of the sensor, with memory built into it to make it smarter than most rivals, offers very low-noise shots.
Mini verdict: If you’re after a bigger phone with all the features that matter on board, the Galaxy S9 Plus is that and more.
5. Huawei P20 Pro
An excellent flagship smartphone with top-notch triple cameras
Release date: April 2018 | Weight: 180g | Dimensions: 155 x 73.9 x 7.8 mm | OS: Android 8.1 | Screen size: 6.1-inch | Resolution: 1080 x 2240 | CPU: Kirin 970 | RAM: 6GB | Storage: 128GB | Battery: 4,000mAh | Rear camera: 40MP + 20MP + 8MP | Front camera: 24MP
The Huawei P20 Pro is one of the best phones the brand has ever produced, and it’s still troubling the top of our charts. Even if you’ve never heard of this brand before, the P20 Pro is a phone that deserves its place among the very best brands out there.
Screen: The 6.1-inch display is only Full HD, but that does help with battery life. This is actually probably one of the weakest parts of the phone, as it lacks the colour reproduction of its rivals, but it does come with a screen protector pre-fitted, which is a nice touch.
Battery life: The Huawei P20 Pro will get you a day and half of light to moderate use – it goes down after a full month’s effort, filling it with apps, but even still we’re getting a good day’s hard use, which is great.
Camera: The camera is the standout feature on the Huawei P20 Pro, offering three lenses… and they’re actually useful. The resolution is pin sharp thanks to brilliant image stabilisation, the software photo optimisation is excellent and having that 40MP sensor has been boosted well by Leica for good low light performance.
Mini verdict: The main issue you have to overcome with the P20 Pro is the fact you might not be familiar with the brand, but not only is Huawei a worthy competitor to Apple and Samsung, but it’s the most likely to get the bigger price drops first (which is worth checking out using our price finder below).
Pronounced ten S (like tennis), the iPhone XS and XS Max are the incremental upgrades to Apple’s game-changing iPhone X from 2017.
They build on the all-screen, notch-laden, almost bezel-free design with more power under the hood, improved cameras, a new storage option and, in the case of the XS Max, a huge screen and even huger price tag.
Screen: The 5.8-inch OLED screen on the iPhone XS is the same as the one you’ll find on the iPhone X, so it’s the 6.5-inch offering on the XS Max which has really grabbed our attention – fantastic for video streaming and gaming.
Battery life: It’s has improved a little on both handsets over the iPhone X, but you’ll still find yourself plugging both of these phones in each night to ensure you’ll get through a whole day in the morning.
Camera: The dual camera setup on both the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max is fantastic. The Smart HDR mode makes images even clearer, brighter and more detailed, and Apple’s famously intuitive interface makes snapping great shots a breeze.
Mini verdict: If you’re after the latest and greatest iPhone, look no further. And if your hands are as big as your bank balance, the iPhone XS Max takes Apple’s smartphone to a whole new level with plenty of additional screen space.
The Samsung Galaxy S9 isn’t quite the phone that the S9 Plus is – it’s only got a single camera sensor, for one – but it’s a more palm-friendly model that still packs the power and top screen quality of its sibling.
Screen: A QHD 5.8-inch screen takes up most of the front of the phone – and it’s still a stunning design. Brighter, more colourful and capable of showing the best of movies, the Super AMOLED tech is once again showing itself to be best thing to look at on a smartphone.
Battery life: Battery life is a little disappointing for a top-end smartphone, meaning you’ll need to think about a top-up during the day if you’re a harder user. Wireless and fast charging capabilities help with this though.
Camera: It’s only a single sensor on the rear of the Galaxy S9, unlike the Galaxy S9 Plus – meaning it’s not as good at photography. But don’t think the S9 takes poor photos, as they’re still stunning, and in low light it’s a sterling performer, with very little noise.
Mini verdict: The Galaxy S9 is a smartphone with all the top-end features you’d want, and more on top. It’s not quite at the level of the S9 Plus – but once again the price of this phone is starting to get a little more competitive, making it more of a lure than at launch.
8. Google Pixel 3 XL
The best camera phone we’ve tested
Release date: November 2018 | Weight: 184g | Dimensions: 158 x 76.7 x 7.9mm | OS: Android 9 | Screen size: 6.3-inch | Resolution: 1440 x 2960 | CPU: Snapdragon 845 | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 64GB/128GB | Battery: 3,430mAh | Rear camera: 12.2MP | Front camera: 8MP + 8MP
If you’re looking for a the best camera phone on the market, look no further. The single rear snapper on the Google Pixel 3 XL (and the smaller Pixel 3) is the best we’ve come across.
You also get a big screen, decent battery life and plenty of power under the hood, making the Google Pixel 3 XL a great all-round flagship smartphone.
Screen: It’s hard to ignore the 6.3-inch display which dominates the front the of the Google Pixel 3 XL, but it still offers a chin bezel providing space for one of the two stereo front facing speakers. The QHD resolution and HDR support ensure everything looks great, but the notch is a little ugly.
Battery life: The battery life on the Google Pixel 3 XL exceeds many of its rivals, comfortably lasting a day on a single charge, and sometimes getting halfway through the next too, depending on your usage.
Camera: You may only be getting a single camera on the rear of the Pixel 3 XL, but do not under-estimate it. The camera here is capable of producing some simply staggering results, making shooting great photos easy and fun.
Mini verdict: The Google Pixel 3 XL marries the best camera phone we’ve ever tested with a sizable OLED screen. It’s the right fit for people who don’t mind the notch cut out at the top and have already adjusted their grip for bigger smartphones in the past.
The iPhone X (although it’s pronounced ‘ten’) was the redesigned Apple phone that iFans had been crying out for – and even though it’s now been superseded by the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max it’s still a great buy.
Screen: The 5.8-inch OLED screen is the best display Apple has ever crammed into an iPhone. It’s far ahead of the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus for so many reasons: the sharpness, the quality, the fact that it fills the whole front of the phone, and the color reproduction.
Battery life: The iPhone X’s battery life is pretty good but it’s by no means best in class. If you’re a very heavy user you might struggle to last more than 12 hours but for most users it’ll comfortably last a whole day.
Camera: Cameras on iPhones have always been superb, and the iPhone X is no different. The camera on the X is often stunning, delivering still shots that are rich with detail. Perhaps not quite as brilliant as the Pixel 2 XL, but still right up there with the best.
Mini verdict: This is the phone to buy if you want to treat yourself to a high-end handset – a little extra per month for something you really enjoy taking out of your bag or pocket is worth it.
10. OnePlus 6T
A genuine flagship phone for less
Release date: November 2018 | Weight: 185g | Dimensions: 157.5 x 74.8 x 8.2mm | OS: Android 9 | Screen size: 6.41-inch | Resolution: 1080 x 2340 | CPU: Snapdragon 845 | RAM: 6/8GB | Storage: 128/256GB | Battery: 3,700mAh | Rear camera: 20MP + 16MP | Front camera: 16MP
The price of flagship phones are rising every year, but you don’t need to pay top dollar for a top-notch experience.
OnePlus offers flagship phones at a lower price point and while its first few handsets didn’t trouble the established names, its more recent efforts have really pushed the likes of Samsung, Apple and co.
The OnePlus 6T is the firm’s best flagship offering yet, with a host of high-end features and a price tag which is comfortably lower than the competition.
Screen: This may be a “cheap” flagship phone, but you still get a huge 6.41-inch AMOLED display providing colorful, bright and punchy images. It may ‘only’ have a fill HD resolution – and there’s a notch at the top – but for the price it’s difficult to knock.
Battery life: OnePlus has increased the size of the battery in the 6T over the 6 it replaces, and that’s resulted in improved battery life with the handset easily lasting a full day on a single charge.
Camera: There’s a dual camera setup on the rear of the OnePlus 6T, and while it doesn’t reach the same heights as the Google Pixel 3, Huawei P20 Pro or Samsung Galaxy S9, when you consider the price it’s still an accomplished offering.
Mini verdict: The OnePlus 6T is a good-looking and powerful smartphone that can compete with handsets from the larger and more established brands on the market while undercutting them in price.
11. Honor View 20
The best Honor phone to date offers up a real punch(hole)
Release date: January 2019 | Weight: 180g | Dimensions: 156.9 x 75.4 x 8.1mm | OS: Android 9 | Screen size: 6.4-inch | Resolution: 1080 x 2310 | CPU: Kirin 980 | RAM: 6GB/8GB | Storage: 128GB/256GB | Battery: 4,000mAh | Rear camera: 48MP + 3D cam | Front camera: 25MP
The Honor View 20 is the best phone to come out of the Chinese brand, with a striking rear design (which may divide opinion), plenty of power under the hood, an impressive 48MP camera and a ‘punch-hole’ display which ushers in the post-notch revolution.
Screen: There’s a huge 6.4-inch display on the View 20, giving you plenty of space to play with. It’s the location of the front-facing, 25MP camera within the screen which is the real talking point though, as rather than appearing in a bezel or a notch which juts into the screen, it’s surround by screen. It’s different, but will it catch on?
Battery life: The Honor View 20 has a big 4,000mAh and the result is a battery which will comfortably last through an entire day and into the next on a single charge.
Camera: The View 20 is the world’s first smartphone to boast a 48MP rear camera, as the firm has used Sony’s new sensor to provide a camera which really packs a punch.
Mini verdict: An ultra-high-resolution camera and punch hole screen are the highlights on the Honor View 20, and they set a standard this year’s more expensive phones will need to match.
12. LG G7 ThinQ
A featured packed flagship smartphone
Release date: May 2018 | Weight: 167 | Dimensions: 153.2 x 71.9 x 7.9 mm | OS: Android 8.1 | Screen size: 6.1-inch | Resolution: 1440 x 3120 | CPU: Snapdragon 845 | RAM: 4/6GB | Storage: 64GB/128GB | Battery: 3,000mAh | Rear camera: Dual 16MP | Front camera: 8MP
The LG G7 ThinQ is an impressive little phone from the brand (irritating name aside), bringing with it a strong package and a decent price in many regions. There’s an attempt to right the wrongs of the LG G6 – and it’s resulted in a good alternative to the traditional big hitters.
Screen: LG’s Super Bright screen might not be OLED – LCD is preferred here – but it’s capable of delivering good peak brightness, can handle HDR10 and Dolby Vision playback and has a large, expansive look with a smaller notch. It’s a little large to hold, but it’s one of the most capable screens around.
Battery life: At 3,000 mAh, the LG G7 ThinQ isn’t the largest on the market… and it shows in the performance. It’s not terrible, with some clever background processing keeping things going, but it’ll only last you around a day when others are starting to eke into two.