Best smartphone 2019: Apple, Samsung and OnePlus duke it out

Looking for an upgrade? We've got you covered

Looking for a new smartphone? Whether it’s for business or personal use, there’s a huge range of handsets out there, each with its own strengths and weaknesses – and that means it can be tricky to make the right choice.

Fear not, though. Here’s our shortlist of the best phones on the market today, along with explanations of what makes each one special. Read on and we’ll tell you everything you need to know to pick the phone that’s best suited to your needs and your budget.

Apple iPhone 11

The latest iPhone retains the gorgeous good looks of the previous generation, as well as the controversial “notch” at the top. Praise be, though: the battery life has been improved, so you can now be confident of getting a full day of heavy use between charges. 

Advertisement - Article continues below

Performance gets a boost too: Apple’s A13 Bionic chip makes this phone faster than almost any Android rival, whether you’re running demanding productivity apps or enjoying high-end 3D games. The cherry on top is an updated camera, with an ultra-wide-angle lens, an updated interface and a new Night mode that kicks in automatically in low light.

CPU

Apple A13 Bionic

RAM

4GB

Display

6.1in 828p IPS

Battery

3,110mAh

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

Price when reviewed: £608 exc VAT

Read our full Apple iPhone 11 review for more information.

Asus ZenFone 6

If you’re not a fan of notches, the ZenFone 6 has an original solution: instead of a dedicated front-facing camera, it features a clever hinge system that flips the main camera around to point forwards. Image quality is impressive, although the top 48MP resolution isn’t as detailed as you’d hope thanks to overenthusiastic noise reduction. It’s great for video too, supporting stabilised video at 60fps all the way up to 4K resolutions.

Advertisement - Article continues below

The camera isn’t all the ZenFone 6 has going for it, either. It performs as well as any Android handset out there, its large, HDR-ready display is a treat to behold – and, thanks to a huge internal battery, it delivers more than 22 hours of video playback on a single charge.

CPU

Qualcomm Snapdragon 855

RAM

6GB

Display

6.4in 1080p IPS

Battery

5,000mAh

Price when reviewed: £416 exc VAT

Read our full Asus ZenFone 6 review for more information.

Google Pixel 3a

Google’s own-brand Pixel phones are desirable things, and the 3a brings the price down to a very tempting level. It doesn’t feel like a budget phone, though: it still features all the clever software features that made us love the Pixel 3 in the first place, plus a sumptuous OLED screen and an excellent camera. 

The main compromise is that it’s not quite as fast as the original Pixel 3, but in our view it more than makes up for that with improved battery life. If you’re a fan of the Google way of doing things, the Pixel 3a deserves serious consideration.

CPUQualcomm Snapdragon 845
RAM4GB
Display5.5in 1080p AMOLED
Battery2,915mAh

Price when reviewed: £332 exc VAT

Advertisement - Article continues below

Read our full Google Pixel 3a review for more information.

Huawei P30

Like the Pixel 3a, the Huawei P30 is a variant of the company’s flagship model – in this case the P30 Pro. Don’t think of it as a lesser cousin though: the P30 offers a full set of bells and whistles in a more affordable and conveniently sized package.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

We’re particular fans of the rear camera, whose massive 40MP sensor and ultra-wide angle lens produce some head-turning results. The octa-core Kirin 980 chip meanwhile ensures top-tier performance in apps and games alike – and while the Huawei name might not be as trendy as Apple, the design is a real head-turner, especially in the two-tone black finish.

CPU

Huawei Kirin 980

RAM

6GB

Display

6.1in 1080p AMOLED

Battery

3,650mAh

Price when reviewed: £699 exc VAT

Read our full Huawei P30 review for more information.

OnePlus 7T

The OnePlus 7 was a fine phone, and the 7T builds on the formula with a new display that’s just as bright and colourful but noticeably larger, with a taller 20:9 aspect ratio. Even better, it now supports HDR10+, and the maximum refresh rate has been lifted to 90Hz. This adds a real sense of smoothness throughout the interface, and has a transformative effect on games that can take advantage of it.

Advertisement - Article continues below

The processor has also been upgraded from the previous model, from the Snapdragon 855 to the gamer-oriented 855+. Even the battery is a little larger, meaning there’s more than enough juice to get you through the day.

CPU

Qualcomm Snapdragon 855+

RAM

8GB

Display

6.5in 1080p AMOLED

Battery

3,800mAh

Price when reviewed: £549 exc VAT

Read our full OnePlus 7T review for more information.

Oppo Reno2

The Reno2 is one of the most striking smartphones out there, with a brilliantly bright and vibrant screen wrapped in a sleek, glossy case with almost nonexistent bezels (made possible by the inclusion of a quirky pop-up front camera).

The rear camera meanwhile produces superb results in almost any conditions, thanks to its four-sensor design. The ultra-wide mode is particularly good fun, and there’s support for shooting stabilised 60fps video at resolutions up to 1080p as well. The trade-off is performance: the Reno2 certainly isn’t the fastest phone around, but if you can live with that, it has plenty else going for it.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below
Advertisement - Article continues below

CPU

Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G

RAM

8GB

Display

6.5in 1080p AMOLED

Battery

4,000mAh

Price when reviewed: £375 exc VAT

Read our full Oppo Reno2 review for more information.

Samsung Galaxy A90 5G

If you’re eager to take a ride on the 5G train, the Galaxy A90 is a great way to get on board. Though it sits at the top of Samsung’s A-Series family of phones, it’s still cheaper than most 5G alternatives, and combines top-quality hardware with some distinctly high-end features.

For example, the Snapdragon 855 processor wouldn’t be out of place on a much pricier smartphone, while battery life is excellent, lasting nearly a full day in our video playback test. Other premium touches, such as facial recognition and an in-display fingerprint reader, contribute to a luxury feel that goes far beyond next-gen internet.

CPU

Qualcomm Snapdragon 855

RAM

8GB

Display

6.7in 1080p Super AMOLED

Battery

4,500mAh

Price when reviewed: £557 exc VAT

Advertisement - Article continues below

Read our full Samsung Galaxy A90 5G review for more information.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10+

If you like your smartphones big and bold then the Note 10+ is for you. It packs a gargantuan 6.8in display, and with AMOLED technology and HDR10+ support we hardly need say that it looks fantastic.

If you’re the note-taking type then you’ll find the Note 10+ practical too. The latest S-Pen stylus supports “air actions”, which trigger when you wave the stylus like a magic wand, and an impressive note transcription function, which can decipher your handwriting and automatically convert it into regular text, for easy archiving or sharing with colleagues. Factor in a meaty Exynos CPU plus excellent battery life and it adds up to a seriously capable portable companion.

CPU

Samsung Exynos 9825

RAM

12GB

Display

6.8in 1440p Dynamic AMOLED

Battery

4,500mAh

Price when reviewed: £833 exc VAT

Read our full Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ review for more information.

Samsung Galaxy S10 5G

Galaxy S10 5G

The 5G variant of Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S10 is the most expensive smartphone on our list, but if you want the best of everything it’s the obvious choice, matching the sleek styling and immense power of the standard Galaxy S10 while adding the potential for superfast downloads and uploads.

Advertisement - Article continues below

There are a few differences between this and the regular 4G edition (notably, this model has no microSD card slot) but the screen, battery life and camera are all just as impressive. You’re thus guaranteed a first-rate experience even where 5G coverage is limited – which is just as well, as right now that’s most of the UK.

CPU

Samsung Exynos 9820

RAM

8GB

Display

6.4in 1440p Dynamic AMOLED

Battery

4,500mAh

Price when reviewed: £915 exc VAT

Read our full Samsung Galaxy S10 5G review for more information.

Sony Xperia 1

With its unusual 21:9 aspect ratio, the Xperia 1 looks oddly stretched – but the distinctive shape means it’s easy to hold the big 6.5in screen in your hand, and it’s ideal for watching videos in ultra-widescreen format.

Don’t think of the Xperia 1 as just a Netflix phone, though: the format also lends itself very nicely to browsing the web, reading emails and so forth. Performance is impeccable for everyday apps, and the triple-lens rear camera captures excellent stills – as it should, having been created in collaboration with Sony’s Alpha camera team.

CPU

Qualcomm Snapdragon 855

RAM

6GB

Display

6.5in 1644p OLED

Battery

3,330mAh

Price when reviewed: £708 exc VAT

Read our full Sony Xperia 1 review for more information.

Featured Resources

Preparing for long-term remote working after COVID-19

Learn how to safely and securely enable your remote workforce

Download now

Cloud vs on-premise storage: What’s right for you?

Key considerations driving document storage decisions for businesses

Download now

Staying ahead of the game in the world of data

Create successful marketing campaigns by understanding your customers better

Download now

Transforming productivity

Solutions that facilitate work at full speed

Download now
Advertisement

Recommended

Visit/mobile/30369/how-to-delete-apps-on-android-and-ios
Mobile

How to delete apps on Android and iOS

6 Jul 2020
Visit/software/356308/the-new-york-times-ends-partnership-with-apple-news
Software

The New York Times ends partnership with Apple News

1 Jul 2020
Visit/mobile/mobile-phones/356274/analysts-predict-iphone-12-models-wont-include-earpods-or-power-adapter
Mobile Phones

iPhone 12 models won't include EarPods or power adapter in the box

29 Jun 2020
Visit/software/development/356273/8-developers-take-home-apple-design-awards
Development

8 developers take home Apple Design Awards

29 Jun 2020

Most Popular

Visit/mobile/google-android/356373/over-2-dozen-additional-android-apps-found-stealing-user-data
Google Android

Over two dozen Android apps found stealing user data

7 Jul 2020
Visit/laptops/29190/how-to-find-ram-speed-size-and-type
Laptops

How to find RAM speed, size and type

24 Jun 2020
Visit/cloud/356260/the-road-to-recovery
Sponsored

The road to recovery

30 Jun 2020