- It’s 2019, and there are simply too many great smartphones to choose from.
- Smartphone makers have really upped their game lately. The difference in quality between the most expensive phones, and the most affordable ones, is shrinking all the time.
- If you’re looking to buy a brand-new smartphone that was made in the last year, here are your best options:
1. The OnePlus 6T
OnePlus released the $US530 OnePlus 6 back in May 2018, but at this point, you should really be considering the company’s latest smartphone, the OnePlus 6T, which debuted in New York City on October 29.
With a base price of just $US550, the OnePlus 6T is one of the best smartphones you can get for its relatively affordable price. You’re getting a superfast phone with 6GB or 8GB of RAM, which makes multitasking easier, a large display, and a stunning camera system. It doesn’t have wireless charging or an official water-resistance rating, but if you’re ok without those extras, the OnePlus 6T is one of the very best smartphones you can buy, and certainly one of the top Android phones from all of 2018.
2. 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!). Samsung also includes a fast-charger with the phone, which is a nice touch.
These premium features are costly, though: The Galaxy Note 9 starts at $US1,000, the same as an iPhone XS. Still, you’re getting a whole lot of phone for that price.
3. Samsung Galaxy S9
Samsung’s flagship phone of 2018, the Galaxy S9, has it all.
The phone features a large OLED display, a great camera, a built-in heart rate monitor, a fingerprint scanner and facial recognition, fast charging and wireless charging, and yes, even a headphone jack.
The phone’s design is very similar to its predecessor, the Galaxy S8, but that’s not a bad thing. The Galaxy S9 is one of the best-looking smartphones you can buy, and it starts at just $US720.
4. LG V40 Thinq
The LG V40 ThinQ kind of looks like the iPhone XS, and it’s roughly that expensive as well, with a starting price of around $US950 (depending on your carrier). If you’re looking for a similar phone that’s a little cheaper, try the LG G7 Thinq, which starts at $US750.
The LG V40 Thinq, though, stands out for its high-quality audio and fantastic camera system, which features not two, not three, but five lenses. My colleague Tony Villas-Boas calls it the most versatile smartphone camera you can buy.
It also features a gorgeous lightweight glass enclosure, the speedy Snapdragon 845 processor from Qualcomm, wireless charging, and solid battery life.
5. Moto G6
The Moto G6 is the cheapest smartphone on this list. It starts at just $US250.
But I’m not including this phone just because it’s so cheap; you’re actually getting a really good deal for that price.
The Moto G6 features a nice big 5.7-inch display, great battery life, fast charging, and a surprisingly decent camera, especially in well-lit conditions. And despite running on a Snapdragon 450 chip, which isn’t as snappy as the chips powering the Galaxy S9 and LG V40 Thinq, it still gets the job done.
6, 7, and 8. Apple iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR
Apple launched three new iPhones last year: the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XS. They’re all excellent.
The iPhone XS and XS Max are the true successor’s to last year’s iPhone X, the “tenth-anniversary” iPhone model that debuted an edge-to-edge display and the so-called “notch” that houses the camera system needed for Face ID, which is main way you unlock the phone.
The iPhone XR has a similar design to the iPhone XS and XS Max, but is sized between those two phones – it has a 6.1-inch LCD display, compared to the 5.8-inch and 6.5-inch OLED displays in the iPhone XS and XS Max, respectively. The iPhone XR is also $US150 less than the iPhone XS to start.
9 and 10. Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL
After months of leaks, Google unveiled its newest smartphones, the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, at an event in October.
In general, Google has once again produced one of the very best Android phones you can buy. It comes with the latest software built-in – Android 9.0 Pie – the Snapdragon 845 processor from Qualcomm, and of course, a top-of-the-line camera system. Both phones did ship with a fair number of bugs, but those are routinely getting fixed, and Google’s unique Pixel 3 features – like Night Sight, and Photobooth – are really impressive and fun.
WAIT FOR IT: Samsung’s Galaxy S10 line.
Samsung is planning to announce its next-generation flagship phones this month: The Galaxy S10 is said to have three variants, and will be announced at Samsung’s Unpacked event on February 20.
We know a lot about the Galaxy S10, based on leaks: We’re expecting a 5.8-inch Galaxy S10 “Lite,” a 6.1-inch Galaxy S10, and a 6.4-inch Galaxy S10+. The “Lite” model will feature two rear cameras on the back, while the Galaxy S10 and S10+ will feature three rear shooters. And the largest phone, the Galaxy S10+, will feature two selfie cameras instead of just one.
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