There are tons of great phones to choose from coming out of the 2018-2019 line-up, so which one is the best? While there’s no clear-cut winner, there are some that simply stand out far above the rest, and those are the phones that people are lined up to buy on launch day.
Flagship phones represent the current pinnacle of a manufacturer’s phone-making capabilities, and as such, they will cost you anywhere from $600 up to $1,000 or more. Of course, when you’re getting ready to spend the price of a used vehicle on a single phone, you’ll want to be selective and do your research thoroughly.
Without further ado, here are the top 10 smartphones of 2018-2019 revealed:
1. Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus
As you’d expect, the S10 Plus is the best phone Samsung has ever made – that is, until the S11 comes out, we assume. The phone has too many features to fit into a brief description, but user reviews have it rated as a nearly perfect mobile device with an impressive 8 GB of RAM, 2.73Ghz processor, and a 6.4-inch screen. That means you’re essentially walking around with the computing power of a decent laptop in your pocket.
With the price sitting at the top of the spectrum ($899-$999), many buyers are investing in Custom Envy phone cases to protect their investment. You may want to go for the standard S10 to save $100 if you’re on a budget. As far as the differences between the S10 and S10 plus, Forbes has written an entire article on that topic.
2. Google Pixel 3
While the Galaxy S10 is perhaps the most popular phone (other than the iPhone XS), it’s hard for any phone in the world to compete with Google’s latest flagship phones – the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL. With a surprisingly affordable price tag of only $799, the phone still manages to pack the best camera ever seen on any smartphone. The two models are exactly the same with the exception of the screen size, battery capacity, and notch design.
The Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL can both be charged wirelessly and are fully waterproof. Google has brought the Pixel line a long way in the past few years, and while many consumers are still overlooking it, some think it will seriously rival Samsung and Apple in upcoming releases as the public becomes aware of just how great the Pixel 3 is.
3. OnePlus 6T
You won’t be getting a waterproof phone with wireless charging like the Pixel, but there is one distinct advantage this phone has – the McLaren edition comes with a whopping 10 GB Ram, outdoing many laptops in speed and performance. The display is also phenomenal, and the price is right in the sweet spot of what you might be looking to spend if you’re on a restrictive budget – $549, which is an absolute steal for the value. OnePlus has always been the best value brand out there, but they’ve really stepped it up with the 6T.
4. iPhone XS
Apple’s flagship line has sort of lost steam in recent years, but it’s definitely still a top-five contender, and it’s still obviously the number one (and only) choice for anyone who prefers iOS. With a bright and stunning OLED display and an integrated Face ID unlock system, it’s easily the most advanced smartphone Apple has ever released. The price starts at $999 and goes up from there.
It can charge wirelessly and is waterproof, but the only complaint is that it comes with a slow charger by default – although, there are faster chargers available. The dual cameras are another feature worth mentioning and the battery life is not a joke either. If you’re looking for an even bigger screen, go for the iPhone XS Max, which has an industry-topping display size of 6.5 inches.
5. Huawei Mate 20 Pro
While it’s tough to buy this one in the U.S., it can be found online and there are ways to get it if you’re a Huawei fan. Be aware that this is not one of their low-cost options, with a price tag of $899. The extra expense is justified by the addition of improvements to Huawei’s EMUI hardware, as well as 3D facial unlocking abilities and wireless charging.
It’s also nice that the phone comes with 128 GB of internal storage and some pretty amazing stereo speakers. Overall, the Mate 20 Pro’s specs do a good job of rivaling the top flagship phones from Apple, Google, and Samsung, so it’s worthy of the number five spot on this list.
6. Huawei P30 Pro
The operating system for this phone isn’t the greatest, but the specs more than makes up for that because the P30 Pro is quite similar to the aforementioned Mate 20 Pro. This phone’s camera has great low-light performance and an optical zoom feature that goes up to 10x for superb macros and long-distance photos.
The battery life is also impressive, but the main highlight of Huawei’s alternate flagship is its cameras. The P30 Pro can take remarkable pictures, which is a feature that many would say justifies its S10-matching price tag of $999. That may be more than you expected to pay with Huawei, but the advanced features are certainly there.
7. Honor View 20
The Honor View 20 is an interesting alternative to the OnePlus 6T, as it was the first phone to debut with a punch hole selfie camera – one that is positioned in a small cutout in the corner of the phone instead of at the usual bezel-top location. In addition, the View 20 from Honor is the first ever phone to have an astonishing 48 MP rear camera. There’s also an Ultra Clarity picture-taking mode that is said to be assisted by some form of AI.
The 4,000mAh battery lasts a very long time and the rear casing has a memorable holographic surface. Plus, you get an actual headphone jack in a 2019 flagship phone, so you’re not restricted to only using wireless headphones.
8. iPhone XR
The iPhone XR is a nice budget-friendly alternative to the iPhone XS. Feature-wise it’s almost the same phone with the exception that it has an LCD screen instead of an OLED and it only has one camera. However, it packs the same powerhouse A12 processor, Face ID unlocking, and wireless charging.
On the upside, it also has a larger screen than the XS, but some would say the OLED has a nicer shine and HD crispness to it in certain lighting conditions. Either way, at $749 it’s one of the best deals for a current Apple flagship phone and it can even compete with many flagship Androids in that price range.
9. Samsung Galaxy Note 9
Just when you thought the Note 8 was huge, the Note 9 comes out and is just a little bit bigger. Samsung has outdone themselves with highly durable build quality and a wisely placed fingerprint sensor. The amended version of Android that the Note 9 runs on will impress even the most advanced users with plenty of productivity-enabling features.
Just in case you’re not yet aware of the Note series, the primary benefit of the Samsung Note is that it comes with a fancy S-pen, so you can use it as a digital notepad. The price tag is up there, starting at $999, but the phone’s unique functionality may be enough to justify it.
10. Xiaomi Mi8 Pro
At only $499, the Xiaomi Mi8 Pro is perhaps the best deal on this list. That’s the same price as the OnePlus 6T yet it comes with 8 GB of RAM instead of only 6. So, you’re getting a very similar package with two more gigabytes of RAM. Of course, for a little bit more you could get the McLaren edition of the 6T to upgrade to 10 gigabytes of RAM, so that’s an alternative worth considering if you’re already up towards the $500-$600 range.
This phone is officially available in the UK, so you may have to jump through some hoops to order it in the U.S. The in-screen fingerprint sensor and top-notch cameras are the Mi8 Pro’s strongest features.
Android vs. iOS, or Both?
The operating system is always a primary consideration when comparing smartphones. Many Android users shy away from getting the latest iPhone because they’ve gotten so used to the Android interface that they don’t want to make the adjustment. Likewise, the thought of an iPhone user “downgrading” to the lowly ranks of Android is downright insulting, nay blasphemous.
Yet, there are those power users who insist on being skilled in the use of both Android and iOS. Shouldn’t we all aspire to be better techies anyway? Here’s an idea: this year, instead of spending your entire phone budget on the latest flagship phone, why not get two older flagships – one Android and one iOS. That way, when you tell someone which mobile operating system you like more, it’ll be based on your actual experience in using both extensively.