The big spring phone release season is finally over, and with it, we’ve got a bunch of exciting and affordable new handsets including the new Pixel 3a, OnePlus 7 Pro, and Moto G7 to help balance out pricey $1,000 flagships such as Galaxy S10. However, with prices for these new phones ranging from $300 to $670 (or more), there’s no one right answer for everyone.
But don’t worry, we’ve got your back, because we’ve tested and reviewed all the most important phones, so you don’t have to. So here are our top picks for the best phone you should buy right now.
Buying forecast for Spring/Summer 2019: At this point, most of the big new phones are out, though there are a few stragglers like the Sony Xperia 1, Asus Zenfone 6, and whatever bendy thing Motorola is cooking up for its rumored Razr Reboot still to come. There’s also the imminent return of the Galaxy Fold with new fixes durability improvements in tow. However, if you aren’t interested in an expensive phone with a foldable display, or one of Sony or Asus’ upcoming offerings, now is a great time to buy a phone before another wave of handsets arrives this fall.
The best all-around phone
Our Pick: Samsung Galaxy S10 ($900+)
After somewhat lackluster sales of its predecessor, big expectations were hoisted upon the Galaxy S1o. However, by adding a number of new features including a triple rear camera module for both the S10 and S10+, an in-screen fingerprint sensor, nifty punch-hole selfie camera, ridiculously good battery life, and Wireless PowerShare tech, Samsung has really delivered.
The Galaxy S10 is also one of the first phones sporting Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 855 chipset, and for 2019, Samsung even upped the S10's base storage to 128GB across every model. With the new dynamic AMOLED screen on the new S10, Samsung has also once again proved its displays are without a doubt the best in the business.
That said, at $900 and $1,000, the new Galaxy S10 and S10+ aren’t cheap, so try to look for a deal if you can. But if you want one phone that has it all, Samsung’s latest flagship is the easy pick. And if you don’t mind having a smaller screen and one less rear camera, the $750 Galaxy S10e offers a great balance between high-end features and something with a more reasonable price tag.
Also consider: OnePlus 7 Pro ($670+)
Despite being OnePlus’ most expensive phone yet, starting at just $670 (or $700 if you go through T-Mobile) the OnePlus 7 Pro still represents huge savings compared to phones like the Galaxy S10 or iPhone XS. And in terms of specs, you’re barely giving up anything compared to OnePlus’ more expensive rivals.
Featuring a Snapdragon 855 processor, 6GB or 8GB of RAM, and up to 256GB of speed UFS 3.0 storage, the OnePlus 7 Pro has class-leading performance. And with a triple rear camera setup in back comprised of a 48-MP main cam, ultra wide-angle cam, and a 3x telephoto cam, the OP7 Pro’s photo toolkit is solid too.
But the OnePlus 7 Pro’s real gem is its big 6.7-inch all-screen display, that features a super smooth 90Hz refresh rate and no notches, punch holes, or cutouts to distract from what’s on the screen. The phone’s only major downsides are a lack of wireless charging and a love-it-or-hate motorized pop-up selfie cam. But if you just want a high-end phone for a great price, the OnePlus 7 Pro can’t be ignored.
The best mid-range phone
Our pick: Pixel 3a and 3a XL ($400+)
Even though it starts at just $400, the Pixel 3a might be the best phone Google has ever made. It has all the great features we loved on the standard Pixel 3 including a colorful OLED screen, rear-mounted fingerprint reader, and most importantly the same excellent camera experience, but for half the money. The only big thing it’s missing is wireless charging. But in return, the Pixel 3a does come with a built-in headphone jack. If all you want from a phone is a nice screen, excellent performance, excellent battery life, and a top-notch camera, then the Pixel 3a is exactly what you need.
Also consider: OnePlus 6T ($550+)
While the OnePlus 6T’s release back in the fall of 2018 makes it slightly older than most of the other picks on this page, after a recent $30 price reduction, it’s an even better value than before. And you still get a speedy Snapdragon 845 chip, nifty in-screen fingerprint reader, big 6.4-inch AMOLED screen, and over 14 hours of battery life. Top that off with a bloat-free OS that in some ways is even better than stock Android, and you get a phone that delivers premium design and performance, for barely more than half the price of other flagship phones.
The best budget phone
Our pick: Moto G7 ($300+)
For years, Motorola’s G-series phones have been the undisputed kings of the budget phone category, and once again, the Moto G7 lives up to that pedigree. For 2019, Motorola doubled the phone’s base storage to 64GB, while still providing a microSD card slot in case you need even more room. Meanwhile, the G7 features a large 6.2-inch screen, headphone jack, and two rear cameras with support for fancy camera tricks like portrait mode, selective color, an even a special cinemagraph tool. And with support for all the major U.S. cell networks, there’s no need to worry about the Moto G7's carrier compatibility.
Also consider: Nokia 7.1 ($350)
Starting at $350, the Nokia 7.1 costs $50 more than the Moto G7, but it’s totally worth it. Because for the extra money, you get more base storage and RAM, better cameras, a brighter screen, and a much nicer design. And since the Nokia 7.1 is part of Google’s Android One program, you won’t have to put up with any unwanted bloatware either. Nokia is even pledging support to give the 7.1 two full years of software updates, which is a rarity among budget phone makers. The two bad things about the Nokia 7.1 is that unlike the G7, it’s only available as an unlocked device from third-party retailers, and it doesn’t support CDMA networks like Verizon or Sprint.
The best hyper phone
Our Pick: Galaxy Note 9 ($800+)
Like hypercars, hyper phones are handsets that are big, fast, and defined by excess. But if you want a phone that can handle everything home and work can throw at you, the Note 9 is it. It’s got a big, gorgeous 6.4-inch display, ridiculous battery life that lasts upwards of 14 hours on a charge, built-in iris scanners and a secure folder to hide sensitive documents, and of course Samsung’s S-Pen. The phone even comes with 128GB of base storage (and a microSD card slot), which is twice what you get from a similarly priced iPhone XS. And just in case that’s not enough, you can even turn the Note 9 into a mini desktop by hooking up a USB-C to HDMI cable to a nearby monitor.
Also Consider: Huawei P30 Pro ($900+)
Huawei’s previous flagship phones already came with a wealth of features. However, by completely re-engineering the main sensor on the P30 Pro’s 40-MP camera and then adding on a 5x optical zoom, Huawei has packed more tricks and abilities into the P30 Pro’s cameras than any smartphone ever before. Its low-light capabilities are simply incredible.
And with colors ranging from Aurora to Sunrise Orange, the P30 Pro might be the most stylish phone on the market. The sad thing about the P30 Pro is that while you can get it in the U.S. from third-party retailers like B&H, because the phone isn’t officially sold here, customer service and warranty support can be somewhat spotty. But for folks overseas in Europe or Asia, anyone looking for a super high-end phone should at least consider the P30 Pro.
The iPhone most people should buy
With three new iPhones for 2018 along with two older models still on sale, choosing the right phone from Apple is a bit trickier than normal. However, with a somewhat reasonable (for Apple) price of $750, the same A12 processor, Face ID tech, and 64GB of storage you get from its more expensive siblings, the iPhone XR is our top recommendation for people who want a new Apple handset. As an added bonus, the iPhone XR also boasts battery life that’s about an hour longer than the $1,000 iPhone XS, and it comes it a bunch of fun colors.
Also consider: iPhone XS/XS Max ($1,000+)
For people who want a little more, the iPhone XS or XS Max are the clear upgrades to the XR, just know that you’ll need to shell out at least an extra $250 to get one. The main benefits when moving up to the iPhone XS and XS Max is a significantly more vibrant and higher resolution OLED screen that’ll make all sorts of content look better, and a second rear camera with a 2x zoom to help bolster your mobile photo toolkit. Also, thanks to new stronger glass backs and an IP68 rating for water-resistance (versus the XR’s IP67 rating), Apple’s high-end iPhones should also be slightly more durable than the iPhone XR.
How has this list changed? Read back through our update history:
5/17/19: Revamped the list to reflect all the big Spring 2019 phones releases. Replaced the Pixel 3 with the OnePlus 7 Pro as the second best phone overall. Awarded Pixel 3a “Best Mid-Range Phone” and moved the OnePlus 6T to second choice. Replaced the Moto G6 with the Moto G7 as “Best Budget Phone” and also updated the Best Hyper Phone with with the Huawei P30 Pro.
3/11/19: Added the Samsung Galaxy S10 as the best phone overall, moved the Pixel 3 to “Also Consider.”