The overall BEST smartphone of 2019 that you can buy now
1. 70. There are lots and lots of phones out there. Why are we choosing from these four? These represent the top of their line. So, of course, you have other really great phones that people may want to buy like the regular iPhone 11 fantastic device, but that is not the top of the line that Apple makes and that’s. Why these devices aren’t here they’re all really good phones, though there are some other phone, so that also aren’t represented in this round up like budget devices like the really excellent Moto G 7 and 5g phones they’re, not on here, because 5g isn’t really ready yet they’re It’S not as widely as available and these phones are. You also don’t see foldables, because that’s still pretty much experimentation, so these are all devices that are for the mass market, they’re widely available and they’re all truly excellent. You can’t go wrong with any of these. Our first round is designed as smartphones have become kind of similar over time, they’re all kind of slabs when we’re looking at design Jess. What exactly are you looking for yeah? Well, the first thing I’m going to look at is: is it pleasing to the eye? Does it look nice, do I want to reach for it and use it every day? How does it feel when I hold it? Is it uncomfortable? Is it gon na slip and fumble on the ground and do I have to stretch really far you to use it, or can I use it one handed really easily and also does it does it make sense where everything is are all the buttons in a place Where you expect them to be, as the camera all the way off to one side and gets in the way when you’re looking at the screen, so all of those are factors.
Can we talk a little bit about some facing cameras, we’ve seen a lot of different designs out there, and these are no different. Yeah you’ve got the knotch you’ve just got really thick puzzles. Why not a little hole cut out where the camera is inside of the screen and to me personally it doesn’t really matter. I know that there are a lot of people who are up in arms about what the design is as long as it’s, not getting in the way of the display and what you’re looking at. So, for example, I was not a really big fan of Samsung putting the galaxy s10 camera in the screen all the way off to one side, I thought that that did get in the way, a little bit so I’m happy to see that Samsung has fixed that, In this note, 10 plus, when you’re watching videos on this that doesn’t get distracting, when you have this little dot cut out or you have this little notch – yeah well, usually there’s some sort of screen bezels, so the screens will black out enough on the side so That you don’t have this floating camera in the middle of the video that you’re looking at, or the game that you’re playing what about colors, because some people really like personality with their phones. I love the color of this one Plus 17th it’s, really pretty blue the iPhone, on the other hand, for the 11pro models you pretty much are limited to a very muted palette, so there’s this green color.
This one is an it, but that’s definitely an option, and then I love what Samsung is doing with color or a glow there’s. Also, this pretty or a blue shade, and I think that really helps the phone pop. I also recommend that people get cases for phones, so there is another opportunity to customize before you tell us, which one you think has the best design let’s hear what some people had to say about the looks of these phones. I’M. Not a fan to this coming out their colors, I don’t. If this came in like a different color, I would like it more. I just don’t like blue is okay, but not this color you’ll. Definitely not the oneplus, because I just don’t understand what they’re doing with this circular camera design. I don’t like phones that are very heavy. Maybe one is pretty, but I wouldn’t prefer it. I will say off the bat I kind of hate this one I don’t know. I don’t like the circle camera right in the middle, and I don’t like this one Plus thing. I definitely dislike these two and this just there. Okay, so Apple Kingo, cuz that’s, how Galia the iPhone. I actually don’t like that. Much even though I do have this phone, I don’t like the design of the cameras. I think that looks weird the three little dots I do like the iPhone it’s. Just mostly I like the round curved edges, so I will go with the iPhone.
I think the Samsung overall I like the front the screen with the little camera dot and I like the the rainbow shiny coloring on the back. I would have to say the iPhone is definitely the one. I would go with it’s just classic its timeless, and it looks good. This gives me like professional, like young, adult professional, all of these other ones, aside from the iPhone the childish. My choice today is definitely gon na, be the Samsung, because I’ve never seen a phone like this cool, the iPhones are classic. I like the matte with the shiny, but I think I would go with the pixel. This is my choice. The pixel thank you. Okay, Jess. In your expert opinion, how do our competitors fare? Well personally, I’ve got to give this one to the note 10 plus that’s, because I just think that it’s, this beautiful design it’s the phone that I want to pick up and use most out of all of these. I really love the way that the screen curves it’s very immersive, however, because you have this edge to edge display. The one drawback is that I find that my palm touches the screen a little bit more than in previous models, so that can sometimes interrupt what I’m doing, which is annoying. But I still really like the phone and I think Samsung’s just done a really beautiful job. Creating it my second favorite would be the oneplus 17 really yeah its slim it’s nice to hold it feels very welcoming and inviting in a way that I think, makes it feel premium for such an inexpensive device for its class and my least favorite sorry Apple it’s.
Going to be the iPhone, and not just because of the murky green color, I just think it’s really heavy, especially at this model, which is the biggest justwhen, weighs around half a pound, literally yeah its hefty, and I also think that Apple could have done a better Job with the camera mount, it sticks out a little bit more. So if you’re not using a case, then I think that makes it more prone to breakage if you drop it yeah when it comes to eye catching, I think the oneplus and the note 10 plus they look great, but then you’ve got the polarizing figure of Apple And the mmm that’s exactly a good way to describe to pixels styling. You know I actually don’t mind using the pixel, for I like the feeling on the back it’s a little bit slippery, but I never feel like I’m gon na drop it. It feels really solid in my hand, and even though this is the Excel version, it’s, not overly big. For me, I also like that you’re, never gon na get fingerprint buildup on the back of the phone. So, even though it’s not as eye catching and it doesn’t look and feel as premium to me, I actually don’t mind using it. The winner of this round is the Galaxy Note tempest with the oneplus 70 right behind let’s talk a little bit about Jess here’s. Why she’s our expert on phones, Jessica, dual court, managing editor, has been with scene at 13 and a half years when she started the modern smartphone did not exist.
Jessica had a front row seat to the smartphone revolution, as the entire industry continues to evolve in her spare time. Jessica is fascinated with medical tech and space exploration in another world. Jess is a food critic or a sociology professor. You know. I think professor dull Court has a good ring to it. Maybe in another life let’s go on to round 2 and that is features and performance. How do we begin with this, because three of these devices are running Android and one? Obviously the iPhone is running. Ios. Look you can’t it can’t get away from that. You’Ve got iOS and you’ve got Android and those are the top dominating actually they’re. The only operating systems that you can have on a phone you’re, always gon na – have the iPhone camp and you’re always going to have the Android camp. But you do have people who are a little bit more device agnostic and they’ll still slide in between using the two. So I do think it’s important to point out that, although iOS and Android come with certain things baked in certain differences, for example, I think that you know assistant is much better on Android and there are certain benefits that you get using iOS, especially if you have Other Apple devices still that’s only one feature out of a boatload of other features that we consider, including, for example, waterproofing and wireless charging, the ability to charge other devices wirelessly with this device fast charging and, of course, very importantly, storage speaking of storage.
Why should that matter? When you can put everything in the cloud yeah you could, but you know, camera photography is so advanced on these phones. Now that you know you’ve got people shooting in RAW you’ve got a lot of computational photography that creates these larger files, and the same goes for videos too. Also, you know, if you’re you know, these phones are capable of putting a lot of really great graphics at games. So that gives you the ability to have more advanced games and guess what those file sizes are large as well. So you just when you’re buying a premium phone, you want to give yourself every advantage as you can. You don’t want to be the person who’s going back in there and deleting photos from years ago because you need to create more space and also you want to make sure you have space. So you have to do an update to the phone. You can actually download that update and apply it, because, if you don’t have that space you’re kind of messing around with your apps and games and things right exactly so only one of these phones actually gives you the ability to build on the storage. That already comes with the device, and that is the Galaxy Note 10. That is the only one that has a microSD card slot so that you can expand it. Actually, the note 10 funnily enough, does not have that only the plus version.
It is also one of the two phones here that starts you out with 128 gigabytes. The oneplus 70 is the other phone that does that too, and for some strange reason, Apple and Google have made the decision to start you out with 64 gigabytes and that’s okay, but in 2019 you really expect more from a premium phone that you are paying. You know 1000 for or almost 1000 for yeah and the pixel for tops out at 128 gigabytes the iPhone 11 pro max that’s, a mouthful that tops out at half a terabyte correct right. So you only have 64 gigabytes, 256 or 512 that you’re paying a lot more. Each tier of storage that you go. Let’S talk a little bit about biometrics. You got fingerprint scanners. You’Ve got face scanners what’s on what phone, okay, so the pixel for excel and the iPhone 11 Pro max both have a secure version of face, unlocking, and that means that it’s secure enough for mobile payments, so that’s, really great Android, has a method that is used For convenience, so it’ll scan your face and unlock the phone, but it’s not secure enough for mobile payments. So, to be honest, I don’t really think that’s much of a benefit. I only care about security with the other two phones that note 10, the 1 70 you’ve got in screen. Fingerprint reading and I’ll be honest with you when that first came out, I was so excited about it.
I thought it would be the coolest thing and I don’t love it. I don’t think it’s as fast. I don’t think it’s as accurate. I get more miss presses and then my thumb gets tired because I’m sitting there just like pressing to unlock a hundred times and then I get mad, and then I just put in my code anyway. So I find that it works really well on the pixel and on the iPhone so turn out. The in screen, fingerprint sensors are cooling concept, not so much in actual practice. Yeah I mean I still think that they’re just as secure I use mobile payments all the time, but if your phone is locking as it should after a shorter duration, then that means you’re, unlocking the phone more times per day. So I would like to see more premium phones using secure face unlock in the future. Are there any other features that you want to hit on, or maybe about performance yeah? I think that the performance on all of these is going to be good. You know we can run the benchmarking tests and one might be Slayer slightly higher on this test result and one might be slightly higher on the other, but what matters most is day to day, so I wouldn’t say that in particular, one of these phones stands out. Not the way that, like a gaming phone would, if you were playing games on it, so performance is really good.
I think that there are a few extras that the note 10 plus has specifically the s pen, even if you never use it. The note 10 plus is still a great phone. If you do use it, then it just gives you one more way to be a power user. All right Jessa, who do you got, is a winner where comes to features and performance. I’Ve got to go with the note 10 plus on this. I think that it just checks all of the boxes when it comes to the feature set and when it comes to performance. I definitely found myself using wireless power share more often than I thought that I would so. I thought that was pretty cool and handy to have and it charges up so quickly. Thanks to the 25 watt charger in the box – and I also just can’t – get over the fact that it gives you the most storage option, and I think that when I recommend a phone to people, you know I want to give them the best value. In that sense, that’s why it comes in top okay, the note 10 plus is awesome, which ones are runner up yeah. Well, I have to give that one to the iPhone just because what Apple does with the ecosystem is so good. So, even though I don’t think that the serious istant is as excellent, I think that Apple has done a great job, making a really cohesive device with a very satisfying feature set, especially if you have a Mac or other Apple devices at home.
If you use them, then that’s going to be a complete and total no brainer. I also want to shout out the oneplus 70 here, because it does have a lot of features for the price, and that makes it a pretty compelling package. So the winner of this round is the Samsung Galaxy Note templates with the iPhone right behind it. Yeah and the loser, unfortunately, is the pixel here, because I think Google just could have done a little bit more to make it more premium. Let’S go to our third round, and that is camera quality. Now every one of these phones has multiple cameras. Is it as simple as more cameras means better pictures? I wouldn’t blame you for thinking that, but Google did prove to us last year with the pixel 3 that you can do a lot with even one camera lens on the back. However, that being said, I think that there is a benefit to having more. If it translates into actual usefulness, so all of these phones here have at least two cameras in main camera, which would be just a regular, wide angle lens and then also a telephoto. So that means that you can zoom in at a higher quality with the second lens than you could just by using software features alone. That said, three of these devices, not the pixel, also have another camera on the back. So a third one and that’s for ultra wide angle and that just lets you fit more of the scene into it.
So it could be more people. It could be a landscape like if you’re out in the mountains or you’re in the middle of a city and you’re walking down this beautiful Street. You can just fit more into that shot. It’S really dramatic, and I find that I use those additional lenses more than I thought that I ever would. I initially thought when I heard of them like oh yeah, to get make all you really need is the main camera. How much are you really gon na use it, but it’s like portrait mode, where you do actually find ways in your daily life to incorporate these? Otherwise, if you want to capture all the stuff in the ultra wide, you’d have to run back, take the photo and maybe you’d get the same kind of other other than just standing there. That works, but you probably missed your moment. I did miss my moment that makes me very sad, so there’s one other camera lens, that we have to talk about it’s, a sensor it’s a time of flight sensor and that’s on the back of the note, 10 plus and that’s, something that can be used to Aid in the quality and detail of low light shots, it can also be used for AR, and appala actually has one on the front of the phone that assists with face unlock, but on its own you’re, not really gon na use it to take pictures. So in some senses I don’t really think that it.
It makes much of a difference unless you’re using it for some sort of face scanning let’s talk a little bit about low light. Photography cameras are really great when there’s lots and lots of light, almost like even the worst camera, could take a decent picture with the right lighting when you have a low light kind of situation which one of these phones comes out on top yeah. So one thing I want to say is that they all have a dedicated low light mode, except for Apple, which has its trigger automatically so that’s, just part of taking pictures, and that can be really nice because you don’t have to do anything if you’re trying to Capture something on demand and you and your phone are fighting whether you know you think that it should be low light or not. You don’t have that control. That said, I think that the pixel for excel and the iPhone 11 Pro max really is a mouthful. Those do the best with low light, so the standalone features on the Samsung phone and the oneplus are both really good. But when you’re getting to this level of quality on a phone you’re. Looking at those little micro details and Google and Apple just win, and the same goes actually for portrait photography as well. So if portrait photography the backgrounds all blurry, what about like a furry subject like my dog? Well, it’d mess up the lines around the dog or my hair, if it’s all frizzy that’s what you want to look for.
You want to look for things that should be sharpen it in the foreground. Melting into the background, especially at the edges – and I think that Google and Apple once again do a better job delineating those. So I think that portrait on the other two phones – it’s good it’s, fine it’s usable, but when you’re really getting granular you’re gon na find that these two phones here just do a little bit of better job. All right. Just pick your winner. Okay, so it’s got it, be the pixel in the iPhone. So we have winners, yes, okay! So if we had a second place – or maybe even third place on this – so not these two what’s next it’s gon na, be the note, because the photography is still really good, it’s, just not quite as good as our the winners of this round to tie. We they don’t like ties but it’s a tie pixel for Excel and the iPhone 11 Pro max still a great name. Let’S look at battery life in particular let’s discuss real world testing. Well, these phones get you through the day. Yes, all four of them will take. You from morning till night, but it sort of depends what you’re doing and how early you wake up and how late you go to bed. So Apple has done. A lot of work on the iPhone Apple never tells us what the battery capacity is or how many hours of battery life you should expect to get out of it.
What Apple will say is four to five hours more battery life than last year’s model, and we have found that to be true, so it will last you all day and it’s good to see Apple moving in this direction, what’s not as exciting to see is what Google has done with the battery the regular pixel, for this is the Excel version, but the regular pixel for battery life is pretty bad, so the battery is larger on this phone and I found that it does take me you know for morning tonight, but not maybe Till late night, whereas the Samsung phone here, the note 10 plus, has a large battery and I’ve complete 100 confidence that I can go from 6 a.m. to 2 a.m. using this phone, no matter what I do and yes for all of them, you will see your Battery reserves shrink, if you are navigating all day or streaming, video things that take up a lot of battery life if you’re streaming any games that and over time. Of course, battery life will degrade. So does that mean that the battery life will be different between day 1 and day 365? Unfortunately, this is just part of the process with batteries and they become less efficient as time goes on. So you are gon na find that it won’t hold a charge for as many hours a day so that’s true, pretty much any device. That’S got a battery locked into it.
You can’t remove any of the batteries on these. Obviously that’s been a that’s, an old remnant from the old days yeah. These are lithium ion batteries same thing goes for your laptop too, all right, so who do we have as a winner Galaxy Note. 10.1 stir on that I’m also, really impressed with what Apple has done with the iPhone here. So the note 10 wins, even though it’s got that huge screen and the battery is charging that s pen yeah. You know I keep waiting to freak out. You know get down to like 5, but truth be told even at 12. I just know that that’s gon na last me four more hours, then I’m going to be awake, so Samsung wins for its outstanding battery life. Now remember, all of these phones are great, but only one is the best of the best let’s go to the final round value Jess. How are you judging value? Well, value is really the mash up of all the features compared against the price and then, which one gives you the best bang for the buck so best value phone of all of these is the oneplus 70 hands down absolute best value. This phone is only 600 and although it’s not really winning for any category, when you put it all together, it’s pretty much the Goldilocks of all the premium phones, you can do almost everything that you can with all those other devices, and I think that the phone Does it really well so if you’re looking for the most, you know, features the most premium features of any device for the lowest amount that you can possibly spend on it on a new phone it’s going to be that one.
I know it sounds complicated, but what I mean is that you could also buy one of last year’s top models for a lower price, maybe the same price as that. However, I always think it’s a good idea to buy the newest phone that you can the most expensive and best phone that you can in the price bracket that you can afford, because I think that those features will be future proofed during the lifetime of you owning This device, those phones, will get updates and theory longer than an older phone from the previous years, even though they’re similar in price. What about all the other phones, because oneplus is obviously the lowest cost out of any of the phones out here yeah? So actually, I think, when you put all of the specs together on paper and you see all the things that you get the Galaxy Note 10.1 by any means. But when think about all of the storage that you get and all of those nice little extras, then I think that it works out. You know the iPhone is not a deal. Apples never trying to make it a deal if you want to deal, buy the iPhone 11 it’s, a really good phone it’s, just not the top of Apple’s line. So Apple knows that this is a luxury device and it expects that you are willing to pay for it. We haven’t talked a lot about the pixel for the 4xl is on the table.
I have a lot of thoughts and feelings about the 4 and 4 XL. I think they’re a complete disappointment when it comes to value. The storage is way too low, 64 and 128 gigabytes in 2019 is ridiculous. They used to have this fantastic little feature where you would get unlimited cloud storage at full quality for your videos and your photos. That’S changed a bit because Google wants you to pay a subscription fee, so that kind of stinks lets the older pixels. It was a better value because the storage didn’t matter as much, but I am so disappointed in the pixel, the for the for Excel and basically the whole line. At this point, I have to agree with you. I like this phone. I would definitely recommend it for a certain kind of buyer, but when it comes to the absolute most premium of all premium phones, Google is definitely not playing at the height of its game, hopefully that’s something that Google can prove to us next year. Maybe a pixel 5 yeah next year next year will be the year. It must be what a cups man used to feel like in the old days excuse the year the phone. The best value is the oneplus 70. So, after all five rounds of competition, the best premium phone is the Samsung Galaxy Notes. Ten plus let’s recap here’s. What makes the note 10 plus the best every Bell and whistle and a pen lots of storage for the money battery life is insane and cameras that get you the shots that you want so Jess should people throw out their iPhones? No, absolutely not.
I think that you know for the right kind of person. The iPhone is going to be the right kind of device, especially if you already use everything Apple. You can switch to Android and there are plenty of people who do, but you’re gon na lose some of that benefit of being in the Apple ecosystem and for some people that’s just not worth it look. The thing is, I think that the note 10 plus on paper is the best machine out of all of them, but these are all great phones and I would recommend them all to a certain kind of buyer and, to be honest, I love that there is all Of this variety, because it means that everybody can get the best phone for themselves. Well, thank you to Jess and you great viewers. Let us know what you think of the results we love hearing from you. We have something to tell you. We’Ve got to give away to announce you can win a 65 inch TCL six series, television, the giveaway – will be open to the US Puerto Rico and Canada to enter. You have to be over 18 years old head on over to cnet.com for your chance at the TCL from all of us here.