Smart Phone – Which smartphone is best for you? Check out this guide to the best phones including iPhone, Samsung, Huawei, OnePlus and Google. Photo: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian
An updated list of the best iOS and Android phones – at the best prices right now
Need a new smartphone but don’t know which one is the best? Here’s a guide to comparing the current high-end smartphones from Apple, Samsung, Huawei, OnePlus, and more to help you choose the best phone for you.
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There has never been a better time to buy a new flagship phone, there are more quality phones in more price ranges than ever before. Whether your priority is two days of battery life, great camera performance, or a gorgeous screen, there’s plenty to choose from.
This Guardian buyer’s guide to premium smartphones was last updated on 17 December 2019 and represents the best models available at the time. As new models are released and tested, this guide will be updated to help you choose the best phone for you.
Welcome to one of the Guardian’s new buyers’ guides. This article represents hundreds of hours of testing by the author to put together a short list of recommended products or services so you can choose the best and ignore the rest without doing hours of your own research.
Although Guardian may earn a small commission on products purchased through affiliate links, the products featured in this buyer’s guide have been tested and included without any advertising or commercial influence.
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The OnePlus 7T Pro has a large, beautiful display, a phone that feels fast by miles and an in-display fingerprint scanner that beats the competition. Photo: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian
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The sequel to the best smartphone of the first half of 2019 is, not surprisingly, the best phone of the end of 2019. The OnePlus 7T Pro is a small update to the OnePlus 7 Pro, keeping all the good features, improving the camera. and increase the speed of the fingerprint scanner.
The stunning 6.67-inch QHD+ AMOLED screen operates at 90Hz compared to 60Hz for most competitors – arguably the best in the industry. It’s bright, clear and very smooth, with no holes or camera notches. A selfie camera pops up from the top on command – a solid crowd pleaser.
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The 7T Pro is the phone that feels the fastest – things go fast. Qualcomm’s highest-end chip, the Snapdragon 855+ has 8GB of RAM and 256GB of fast UFS3.0 storage — plenty for almost anything. The in-display fingerprint scanner is faster than ever, without ever putting the competition to shame.
The company’s latest OxygenOS 10, a slick version of Android 10, is probably the best in the business, and you get instant updates for three years.
The triple camera system on the back is also good, combining a 48MP main camera, a 16MP ultra-wide-angle and an 8MP telephoto camera. New to the 7T Pro is a super mode that delivers stunningly beautiful, sharp images up to 2.5cm from the lens – a real treat. The 7T Pro can’t quite beat the iPhone 11 Pro or Pixel 4XL, but it matches or beats the others in detail and usability.
The 7T Pro lasts around 32 hours between charges, making it one of the best performers. With the company’s WarpCharge system, it charges super fast and reaches 70% in just 34 minutes with a cable. No wireless charging though.
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Dual sim support is essential for work or travel. It is water resistant to some degree, but there is no IP rating. There is a limited edition McLaren with a 5G version in the US, but not in the UK where the OnePlus 7 Pro 5G is still the current model.
Unparalleled display, high speed and in-display fingerprint scanner along with the beautiful OxygenOS 10 make ordinary tasks a pleasure. The big OnePlus 7T Pro deserves to be made.
Apple’s smallest iPhone 11 Pro is also an excellent combination of size, screen, performance, battery life, size and camera. Photo: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian
Good things come in small packages. The iPhone 11 Pro isn’t the biggest or most expensive of Apple’s 2019 smartphones, but it’s the best and almost the best phone of the year.
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The iPhone 11 Pro combines a beautiful, large enough 5.8-inch screen, a slim, luxurious body, superior performance and battery life to match most of the competition.
Truth be told, the design has basically not been charged since the iPhone X in 2017 that broke the mold. The back now looks great in frosted glass, mostly silver, and there’s a triple camera notch on the top left. Others remain almost unchanged.
Apple’s Face ID remains the best, most supported facial recognition system in the industry. The new A13 Bionic chip continues to lead the pack. Its navigation system remains one of the best, and it’s been in line for nearly five years of iOS software updates since its release — at least two more than any other manufacturer would offer.
This year, the iPhone 11 Pro offers a vastly improved triple camera with wider, wider lenses and phones that match the best rivals in photography and beat them in video. There is even a good night mode now.
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It’s not all gravy – with only 64GB of storage it’s weak to begin with. The old Lightning connector is still being replaced by the new USB-C standard. There’s no 5G option and it’s very expensive – you’re not going to buy an iPhone 11 Pro to get your money’s worth. With iOS 13 since its release it has been a mixed bag with many bugs that need to be fixed.
But overall, no other phone can match the iPhone 11 Pro in terms of power, capacity and size. The iPhone 11 Pro is the smallest phone to buy with the best running iOS.
If you want the best small phone or the best Apple phone, the iPhone 11 Pro is great, but it comes at a price.
A big and beautiful screen in a small phone, the Galaxy S10 is the sweetest part of Samsung’s smartphone lineup. Photo: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian
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If you want Android to be easy to handle and fit between a large impressive screen and a small phone size, this is the Galaxy S10.
The 6.1-inch QHD+ AMOLED display with a small notch on the top right is one of the best on the market and large enough to make most apps and movies look great.
The small bezel makes the phone very compact compared to its rivals and it is also lightweight. It’s still a glass and metal sandwich, so you might need a case to protect it from drops.
The Galaxy S10 has recently been updated with Samsung’s new One UI 2 software based on the latest Android 10, including improved navigation gestures. You should get about three years of software support from a Samsung launch, though the company is often slower than Google and OnePlus to release major Android version updates.
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The triple rear camera allows you to zoom from 0.5 to 2x and 10x hybrid zoom. It can’t beat the Pixel 4 XL or the iPhone 11 Pro, but it gets the job done. The selfie camera features a flat screen and is one of the best on the market.
The performance is good but the battery life is a bit weak, it takes a day of use but nothing more. The intuitive fingerprint sensor placed under the screen has proven to be slow and flickering over time, which can be annoying.
Android’s big screen on a small phone is the main selling point, but the good camera, performance and looks help too.
The Huawei P30 Pro has a big, bright display, long battery life and a game-changing camera with excellent low-light performance, 5x optical zoom and up to 50x digital zoom. Photo: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian
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The best camera in the phone is the Huawei P30 Pro by some margin. Even at the end of 2019, no other phone offers as detailed a combination as Huawei’s new Leica quad camera.
The 20MP 0.6x ultra-wide-angle camera is fun, the 40MP main camera is fantastic, and it’s paired with a new periscopic 5x optical zoom camera that brings you closer than any smartphone. If a five-fold zoom isn’t enough, there’s an excellent hybrid zoom of 10x up, followed by a digital zoom of up to 50x. A 3D sensor that detects running time completes the rear modules.
Notable zoom levels aside, the P30 Pro also boasts low-light performance that instantly turns night into day without waiting a few seconds to shoot. The P30 Pro may not have the best Night Sight rival, but it often doesn’t need it.
The rest of the phone is also excellent with attractive color options. Large 6.47 inch FHD+ OLED
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