The best smartphones

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The best iPhone
11 11
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The best Google phone
Pixel 4 Pixel 4
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The best flagship phone for less
7T 7T
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The best budget phone
Pixel 3a Pixel 3a
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The best high-end flagship phone
Galaxy S20 Galaxy S20
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  • Smartphones have never been more powerful or more attractive looking.
  • We've researched and tested dozens of smartphones to bring you the best ones you can buy.
  • Among the current iPhone models, the iPhone 11 is our top pick, while the Pixel 4, OnePlus 7T, Pixel 3a, and Samsung Galaxy S20 are great Android options in their respective price ranges.

We've come a long way since the made its Hollywood debut in a little film called "The Matrix," in 1999. It's hard to believe that less than a decade later, Apple would start a revolution with what is considered to be the first modern smartphone, the iPhone. Today, smartphones are everywhere and they have never been more powerful or better looking. 

2020欧洲杯小组赛You can't go wrong with any of the major flagship smartphones that have been released in 2019 and 2020 — although it's early days yet for the new year. You can even get excellent phones for $500 or less these days.

In this guide, we've selected the absolute best smartphones at every price point, including top-tier phones, flagship killers, and affordable phones that work as well as many mid-range phones. We also highlight things you should look for in your next smartphone.

Here are the best smartphones in 2020:

  • Best iPhone:
  • Best Google phone:
  • Best flagship phone for less:  
  • Best budget phone:
  • Best high-end flagship phone:

Updated on 03/12/2020 by Malarie Gokey: Added the Samsung Galaxy S20 as our top pick for the best high-end flagship smartphone after testing. Although it is expensive, its 5G capabilities, excellent cameras, and modern design make it worth the cost for shoppers who want the latest and greatest Android phone.

The best iPhone

Apple iPhone 11
Hollis Johnson/Business Insider

The is the best phone for anyone who wants an iPhone with its relatively affordable price tag, excellent cameras, and powerful processor.

If you don't want to spend $1,000 or more for the top-tier iPhone 11 Pro or Pro Max, but you still want a great smartphone, the is the one for you. It offers the exact same processing power as the flagship iPhone 11 Pro, but it costs several hundreds of dollars less. You can also get lots of great carrier deals on the iPhone 11 right now to drop the price even further.

To hit its sweet price points, the iPhone 11 sacrifices a third camera lens for zooming and it has an LCD screen instead of an OLED. It's also available in only one size (the iPhone 11 Pro comes in two) and uses an aluminum frame with glass front and back that has a less-polished finish (iPhone 11 Pro is made out of stainless steel). But for most people, this is the iPhone to get

The iPhone 11 is powered by the same Apple A13 Bionic processor as the Pro model and it offers more than enough processing power to compete with any other flagship smartphone in 2020. It has wireless charging and better battery life than previous iPhones. In terms of durability, the aluminum frame is plenty strong and it's water and dust resistant like the Pro version, but, like all smartphones, by no means is it indestructible.

On the back of the phone, you get a 12-megapixel camera with dual lenses: an ultra-wide and regular wide. In our tests2020欧洲杯小组赛, the cameras took excellent photos and we found that the new night mode makes pictures taken in low-light look much better than they have on previous iPhones.

The front-facing camera is also 12-megapixels and it can create the blurred bokeh effect on your selfies so you're the focus instead of the background. For security, you can unlock the iPhone 11 with Face ID, Apple's facial-recognition feature.

The entry-level 64GB of storage should be more than enough for most people, but if you want more, you can get 128 or 256GB of storage instead. It will cost you more money, though.

2020欧洲杯小组赛The iPhone 11 comes in lots of fun colors, including yellow, green, purple, black, white, and red. It's also water-resistant for 30 minutes in depths of up to 2 meters.

Pros:2020欧洲杯小组赛 Affordable price for an iPhone, fast A13 processor, sharp 6.1-inch LCD screen, long battery life, dual-camera setup, wireless charging

Cons: It's missing the OLED screen and the telephoto camera lens of the iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max

$699.99 from Apple $699.99 from Best Buy $699.99 from Verizon $699.99 from AT&T $699.99 from Sprint $699.99 from T-Mobile

The best Google phone

Pixel 4
Eduardo Munoz/Reuters

The is the best phone made by Google with its excellent cameras, powerful processor, and clean Android experience.

The is the latest flagship phone that's made by Google. It may not be as modern, sleek, and flashy as some of the other high-end phones, but it is just as capable, costs less, and has clean Android software that gets regular updates. If this matters to you, the Pixel 4 is a good choice.

It has a 5.7-inch Full HD OLED screen that looks crisp, bright, and colorful. it's powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor and 6GB of RAM, which should be more than enough for most people's needs.

2020欧洲杯小组赛You can get it with either 64 or 128GB of storage, though the extra storage will cost you more. It offers fast charging and wireless charging to make juicing up easier, and its battery life is respectable.

On the back, you'll find two camera lenses: a 12-megapixel Dual Pixel lens and a 16-megapixel telephoto lens. Thanks to these two cameras and Google's computational photography tech, the Pixel 4 takes superb photographs. Just like the budget Pixel 3a we mention in this guide, the Pixel 4's Night Mode allows for impressive photos in low light. Similar to the iPhone 11, you can use your face to unlock the Pixel 4, although it isn't as advanced as Apple's technology.

2020欧洲杯小组赛Google also promises to give three years of Android OS updates and security patches, which is more than you'll get with just about any other Android phone. That means your phone will be more secure, run better, and get new features for longer. And, Google's devices tend to get the company's latest and best software, like real-time transcription.

2020欧洲杯小组赛We think this makes the Pixel 4 worthwhile even if it's not as glamorous or flashy as the new Samsung Galaxy S20 or iPhone 11 Pro. It's also more affordable than other flagship phones. If you want a bigger 6.3-inch OLED screen, you can pick up the Pixel 4 XL instead, for an extra cost.

Pros: Fast processor, three years of Android updates from Google, great cameras

Cons: Not as modern looking as other flagships

$799.99 from Best Buy

The best flagship phone for less

OnePlus 7T
Crystal Cox/Business Insider

The is perfect for anyone who doesn't want to spend more than $600 on a phone but wants a high-end device.

Although it costs significantly less than other high-end flagship phones, the boasts nearly all the same features and specs. In our testing, the OnePlus 7T easily held its own against other big-name flagship phones.

The OnePlus 7T has a beautiful, 90Hz, 6.55-inch, AMOLED screen with almost no bezel (the space surrounding the screen that is part of the frame) and no notch (where the front camera is positioned) at the top. It looks quite a bit like the new Samsung Galaxy S20 from the front because it has a similarly small pinhole for the 16-megapixel selfie camera. Inside, an older but still very capable Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 chip and 8 GB of RAM power the phone.

The phone's battery life is impressive, and OnePlus' Dash charging technology will give you a full charge in just 30 minutes. Alas, there's no wireless charging, which is unheard of in flagship devices. Still, that's definitely not a deal-breaker because this phone has every other high-end feature you could ask for in a phone that costs half the price.

2020欧洲杯小组赛The camera on the back has three sensors — one 48-megapixel, one 16-megapixel, and one 12-megapixel lens — which take excellent pictures and produce the coveted blurred background effect in photos. The camera is on par with other great flagships in most settings, although the Galaxy S20 and the Pixel 4 XL still best it in low-light conditions.

The back of the phone is made from glass and a slick metal band runs around the phone's edges. It feels great in the hand — especially if you get the matte texture.

2020欧洲杯小组赛You can get the OnePlus 7T in blue or silver.

2020欧洲杯小组赛Keep in mind that glass phones are fragile, though, so you're likely to end up using one of the gorgeous cases OnePlus sells for added protection. Luckily, those are great looking, too, so it's not much of a sacrifice. 

Pros: AMOLED screen with a 90Hz refresh rate, Face Unlock, three cameras, affordable, quick charge

Cons:2020欧洲杯小组赛 No wireless charging

$499.00 from OnePlus

The best budget phone

Pixel 3a
Google

The  is the best budget smartphone because it has many of the same great features as flagship phones for a much lower price.

2020欧洲杯小组赛The is the best budget phone I've ever tested. While most budget phones fall short in processing power and frustrate users, the Pixel 3a does the opposite. It also takes impressive photos that are on-par with the ones you'd take with many flagships phones.

2020欧洲杯小组赛Because it's made by Google, the Pixel 3a gets timely software updates and it offers a clean Android experience without the annoying user interface overlays many other companies use. It also has most of the same specs you'd find on Google's Pixel 3 phone, which is a flagship phone from 2018. 

The Pixel 3a has a 5.6-inch OLED screen with a 2,220 x 1,080-pixel resolution and a pixel density of 441 pixels-per-inch. It doesn't have the fancy, modern edge-to-edge screen that you'll see on most of the other phones in our guide, but it is still sharp, bright, and colorful.

The black edges along the sides of the screen may be a little thicker, but they aren't very noticeable unless you're looking for them. Like many budget phones, the 3a is plastic rather than metal or glass, but it is a sturdy plastic that feels good in the hand. It also makes the phone more durable than those shiny glass phones that are prone to shatter.

It's powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 670 processor and 4GB of RAM, plus it has 64GB of storage, which is more than enough for most people. It won't blow you away with its processing speed, but the 3a is more than capable of handling all the tasks most users would want a phone to do.

2020欧洲杯小组赛Best of all, you get Google's superb camera tech. Just like the standard Pixel 4, the 3a takes photos that are often just as good as — if not better than — the iPhone 11's photos. The 12.2-megapixel dual-pixel camera on the back of the phone has a fast f/1.8 aperture for capturing more light, optical image stabilization, and a Night Mode that makes dimly lit shots look great. There's an 8-megapixel selfie cam on the front of the phone.

If you prefer big phones and don't mind paying a bit more, the . For even more options, check out our guide to the best budget phones.

Pros: Low price, excellent cameras, clean Android, made by Google, frequent security updates, fast processing power

Cons: 2020欧洲杯小组赛Not as fast as flagship phones

$394.98 from Amazon $349.99 from Best Buy

The best high-end flagship phone

galaxy s20 ***FEB 11 EMBARGO***
Antonio Villas-Boas/Business Insider

phones are powerful 5G-capable smartphones with impressive cameras — if you can afford the high price tag.

includes three phones: the standard S20, the S20 Plus, and the S20 Ultra. Most people will want to choose between the standard S20 and the S20 Plus, and the main difference between the two is the screen size.

The are the best top-of-the-line Android phones you can buy right now. You can't go wrong with either model, though the $1,000 to $1,200 price tags are high.

We only recommend that two kinds of shoppers get these phones: people who upgrade every year and want the top-tier specs, and people who hold onto their phones for three to five years and plan to make their new phone last. If you can get a good trade-in deal by upgrading a 2019 flagship phone, the price can decrease by up to $700. Older phones will get you smaller discounts.

2020欧洲杯小组赛Now that we've addressed the elephant in the room, here's more info to help you choose between the S20 and the S20 Plus.

The Plus has a bigger 6.7-inch Super AMOLED screen, while the regular S20 has a 6.2-inch screen. Otherwise, the two phones have the same powerful processor, 5G capabilities, 10-megapixel selfie camera, storage options, and similar battery life.

The rear cameras are also identical, though the Plus has an extra DepthVision camera on the back. On both, you'll find a 12-megapixel wide-angle lens, a 12-megapixel extra-wide-angle lens, and a 64-megapixel telephoto lens that can zoom in 30x. In our testing2020欧洲杯小组赛, we were impressed by the S20 Plus' camera and the beautiful pictures it took.

For those of you who are willing to contemplate spending $1,400 on a phone for the sake of better camera tech, there's also the S20 Ultra. The Ultra's 6.9-inch screen is even larger, and it comes with even better cameras than the others, but it is much more expensive and not worth the cost for most people. It can zoom in 100x, but it produces grainy results after 10x and 30x, so it's likely that the Ultra's extra zooming abilities are more or less irrelevant. As such, we don't recommend it.

Pros: 5G capable, great cameras, long battery life, sharp screen, speedy processor

Cons: Expensive compared to Pixel phones and competitors like the OnePlus 7T

$999.99 from Samsung

What else we considered

note 10 hand written note
Antonio Villas-Boas/Business Insider

We have tested dozens of new phones over the past year to come up with our top picks. There are many other great options that we haven't included in our top four for a variety of reasons. Here's what else we considered:

2020欧洲杯小组赛The iPhone 11 Pro is the best iPhone for people who want the top-tier flagship model or those who want to have the three cameras: wide, ultra-wide, and telephoto. The Pro Max is the one for people who prefer a big-screen iPhone. We didn't include either model in our top picks because of their high price tags and the fact that most people will be happy with the regular iPhone 11. However, that is absolutely not to say that these two top-level iPhones are not entirely worth buying if you have the money and the inclination.

We chose not to highlight the S10 lineup in this guide because it has been outpaced by the new S20 lineup. The S10 is still worth buying if you don't care for the increased zoom the S20 provides and if you aren't interested in 5G. Now that the S20 is out, the S10 is a good deal.

The Galaxy Note 10 is another great smartphone that is well-worth your money — if you can get a good deal on it or just happen to have the cash to spend nearly $1,000 on a phone. If you do have that much money, though, you are better off with the S20 unless you want a stylus. After all, the Note's S-Pen stylus is the best in the business, so if you like using a stylus to take notes or draw or navigate your screen, this is the phone for you. The Note 10 Plus has an even larger screen if that's of interest to you.

If you want a budget phone that's even cheaper than the Pixel 3a, the Moto G7 is a decent buy. It's included in our guide to the best budget phones. We didn't include it here because the Pixel 3a is the better budget phone pick.

 

We look forward to testing the 2020 flagship phones as they launch

***EMBARGO FEB 11*** galaxy s20 vs s20 plus
Antonio Villas-Boas/Business Insider

2020 has barely begun, but there are plenty of great flagship phones we look forward to testing over the coming months. A number of new phones were set to launch at Mobile World Congress this year, but the show was canceled and most of the launches are delayed.

Google's next Pixel phone likely won't launch until October, but we're nevertheless looking forward to testing it. Google's phones are typically well made and showcase the most intriguing new Android software features.

Apple's new iPhones usually come in September, but there are a bunch of rumors swirling about a late March launch event where a new smaller "iPhone SE" could launch. We obviously don't know if it's true or not, but making a smaller iPhone again would make sense. After all, the iPhone SE was a very popular device2020欧洲杯小组赛. Either way, we look forward to testing every new iPhone Apple puts out in 2020.

A number of new phones were set to launch at Mobile World Congress this year, but the show was canceled and most of the launches are delayed. Among them are LG's new phones, the LG G9 ThinQ and LG V60 ThinQ. Like all prior LG phones, these are likely to be solid performers.

Don't buy a folding phone — yet

Galaxy Z Flip Open
Lisa Eadicicco/Business Insider

Folding phones may be all the rage and they may well be the future of smartphones, but we strongly recommend that you do not buy them2020欧洲杯小组赛. The first generation of any new buzzworthy tech product is bound to be chock full of problems, and folding phones are no different.

2020欧洲杯小组赛Are they awesome? Are they fascinating? Are they so weird that they're cool? Yes, but they're just not worth the $1,000+ Samsung and Motorola are charging for them.

There have been numerous reports of the folding screens breaking, creasing, and ceasing to function after just days, weeks, or months of use. The Galaxy Fold famously had to be recalled and re-released with new hardware features to protect the fragile screen.

2020欧洲杯小组赛My advice? Wait for the third or fourth generation of foldable phones. Wait for the tech to be ready, and be prepared to be amazed the first time you fold out a tiny phone and it becomes a tablet. It is a truly marvelous feeling.

How to choose a smartphone

***EMBARGO FEB 11***samsung galaxy s20 phone lineup
Antonio Villas-Boas/Business Insider

Buying a smartphone can be confusing, here are all the things you need to look for when you're shopping for your next phone.

Your smartphone is the one piece of tech that you carry on your person nearly every hour of every day, so you should really love the phone you're carrying. To ensure that you get the best smartphone for your needs and budget, we've broken it down by the specifications that you'll see listed on carrier and company websites. You'll also find 

Processor and RAM

2020欧洲杯小组赛The processor and RAM (memory) are the two most important parts of any phone. They determine how smoothly it runs and works through intense tasks like gaming or multitasking. 

Storage space

Storage is also incredibly important because the amount of storage you have determines how many photos, songs, videos, and apps you can have downloaded on your phone; a chunk of storage is also taken up by the operating system to handle behind-the-scenes processes, so keep in mind that you don't have access to the full amount. Never buy a 16GB phone — you will run out of space and regret it. 32GB is okay for most people, but it's rare to find in 2020. Most phones now offer 64GB of storage, which is typically enough for most people's needs. If you take a lot of photos, have tons of songs or videos downloaded, or you're an app junkie, you will want 128GB or 256GB of storage. Unfortunately, adding storage costs money.

Screen size

Phones come in several sizes now, though most are growing ever bigger. Your average smartphone has at least a 5-inch screen, and many have nearly 6-inch screens. Luckily, bezels are slimming down, so now, having a phone with a 5.8-inch screen like the iPhone 11 Pro means you're holding a small-sized phone that's easy to grasp and operate one-handed.

Battery life

Most smartphones can last through a busy day and a half, but some can endure two days of heavy use. Others, like the smaller iPhone 8, may only last heavy users a day before they need a charge.

Ports (or lack thereof)

Ever since Apple axed the 3.5mm headphone jack on the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, most phone makers have been getting rid of the jack, too. That means you can't plug your wired headphones in unless you use an adapter. If you end up with a phone that lacks the jack, we recommend you get a nice pair of wireless headphones.

Software

Apple provides updates to its iPhones for about four years after their release, if not longer, so theoretically, you can have your iPhone up to date for years before you should buy a new one. My colleague still uses an iPhone SE from 2016 and has had no issues with everyday usage. Always update your software to get important security patches and new features. You may experience slowdown on older devices, but iPhones typically hold up well.

Android phones are something else entirely. Unless you have a Google Pixel phone, you won't get software updates all that quickly — if at all. Google also ceases updates after a time, but security patches continue longer.

Price

2020欧洲杯小组赛Consider your purchase as an investment. Your smartphone is more than a communication device — it is your camera, your computer, your photo album, your music player, and your gaming console, too. A good smartphone can last for years, but a cheap one with poor specs will be outdated more quickly, and you'll end up spending more in the long run. That $1,000 price tag on the iPhone 11 Pro looks less scary unless you consider that it could last you for four years or more. 

How to buy

2020欧洲杯小组赛You can get a smartphone from your carrier by paying full price or paying in monthly installments. You can also buy one at stores like Target, Best Buy, Amazon, or directly from the phone maker. We recommend you buy it unlocked so you can switch carriers any time you choose, but we understand that carrier deals are often too good to give up.

2020欧洲杯小组赛For iPhone owners, the lets you get a new iPhone every year so long as you've made 12 monthly payments on your current phone. It's basically like renting your smartphone so you can upgrade all the time. Some carriers, like T-Mobile, offer a similar program.

Check out our other smartphone buying guides

iPhone 11 iPhone 11 Pro
Crystal Cox/Business Insider

The best cheap phones

Budget phones have never been this good or this affordable.

The best iPhone for every type of person and budget

2020欧洲杯小组赛The iPhone lineup is full of great devices — but which one should you buy? We break it down.

 





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SEE ALSO: The best cheap phones you can buy unlocked on Amazon

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