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The Best Smartphones Heading Into 2020

The Best Smartphones Heading Into 2020

The smartphone has become the most utilized computing device in the world. As a result, consumers are looking for the very best of them to get the functionality they demand. The current set of flagship smartphones that are available provide all types of benefits for business, for commerce, and for networking. Today, we’re going to take a look at the best phones you can buy heading into 2020. 

The first thing that you should know that is any of these phones (and dozens of others) will likely meet your needs. If you aren’t a gamer or an Instagram influencer, a smartphone manufactured in 2015 will do everything you’ll need it to do, just maybe not as fast. It is, however, important to understand what OS version your smartphone supports, and what specifications you need for use. The power user will want to consider these phones, simply because they will give them the best chance to meet their needs.

Samsung Galaxy s10 Plus

The debate has been raging for years: Which flagship smartphone is better? Some people swear by iPhone, while others stick to their Galaxy S-model. Whatever your thoughts on the matter, the consensus is that the Samsung Galaxy s10 Plus is currently the best Android phone on the market. The 6.17 oz Galaxy s10 Plus features a new clean design that features sharper edges that makes the phone less likely to slip out of your hand. Overall, the build quality is just as you would expect out of a Samsung flagship phone. 

The Galaxy s10 Plus comes with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor with between 128 gigabytes and one terabyte of storage, and between 8 gigabytes and 12 gigabytes of RAM. That’s a lot of storage and power for any device, let alone a smartphone. The device comes with five total cameras, including a wide angle, ultra-wide angle, and telephoto lens. The fingerprint reader has been moved under the display. It comes with stereo speakers and it may be the last Samsung flagship to feature a 3.5mm headphone jack (time will tell). 

With the Galaxy s11 Plus due to be launched in a few months, the Galaxy s10 Plus remains the standard in which Android-run smartphones are judged by. Available in Prism White, Prism Black, Prism Green, Prism Blue, Canary Yellow, Flamingo Pink, Ceramic Black, Ceramic White, Cardinal Red, and Smoke Blue, the Samsung Galaxy s10 can be purchased from most major carriers. Depending on the device’s specs you can get one anywhere from $599 to $1,200. 

Samsung Galaxy s10 Plus
Body: Aluminum frame with Gorilla Glass 6 front, Gorilla Glass/Ceramic back
Display: 6.4-inch Dynamic AMOLED (~522 ppi)
OS: Android 9.0 with Samsung One UI skin
Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 855
Memory: 128 GB/8 GB RAM; 512 GB/8GB RAM; 1 TB/12GB RAM
Expandable Memory: microSD up to 1 TB
Cameras: Three back-facing (12 MP, 26mm wide angle; 12 MP, 52mm telephoto; 16 MP, 12mm ultra-wide); Two front-facing (10 MP, 26mm; 8 MP, 22mm)
Sounds: Stereo speakers, 3.5mm headphone jack
Battery (battery endurance rating): 4,100 mAh battery (91 hours)
Security: Ultrasonic, under display fingerprint reader; IP 68 resistant
Miscellaneous: Nano-SIM, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0, 15W fast charging, wireless charging, reverse wireless charging, NFC, FM Radio
Other versions: Samsung Galaxy s10, Samsung Galaxy s10e

Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max

In the United States and Great Britain, there is no better selling smartphone year-in and year-out than the iPhone. This year’s flagship iPhone, the iPhone 11 Pro Max doesn’t disappoint. It takes a lot of the elements of the past two cycles and incorporates them into one phone, and then adds superior camera functionality.

iPhone 11 Pro Max, like the iPhone X and iPhone XS features a Super Retina OLED display. It runs on Apple’s A13 Bionic chip and comes with options from 64 gigabytes to 512 gigabytes of onboard storage, and all models come with four gigabytes of RAM. The newest iPhone’s biggest improvements come in their camera set. There are three 12-megapixel cameras, one ultra-wide angle, one wide angle, and one telephoto.

The thing that always sets Apple device out from the competition, the build quality and the powerful iOS software shine in this iteration of Apple’s flagship smartphone. The device is available in Space Gray, Silver, Gold, and Midnight Green, and can be had from $1,100 at most major carriers. 

Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max
Body: Stainless steel frame with glass front/back
Display: 6.5-inch Super Retina XDR OLED; 1,242 x 2,688 (~458 ppi)
OS: iOS 13
Chipset: Apple A13 Bionic
Memory: 64 GB/4 GB RAM; 256 GB/4 GB RAM; 512 GB/4GB RAM
Expandable Memory: None
Cameras: Three back-facing (12 MP, 26mm wide angle; 12 MP, 52mm telephoto; 12 MP, 13mm ultra-wide); Two front-facing (12 MP, 23mm; SL 3D camera)
Sounds: Stereo speakers
Battery (battery life): 3,969 mAh (102 hours)
Security: Face ID, IP 68 resistant 
Miscellaneous: Nano-SIM, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0, 18W fast charging, wireless charging, NFC
Other versions: Apple iPhone 11, Apple iPhone 11 Pro

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus

The best phone for productivity over the past half decade has been the Galaxy Note (The Note 7 snafu notwithstanding). This year’s productivity device doesn’t disappoint either. The Galaxy Note 10 Plus offers options that none of the other top smartphones have including the state-of-the-art Gorilla Glass both front and back for more durability, the s-pen technology that has a slew of interesting features, and breathtaking 6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED display.

The internals of the Note 10 Plus are top of industry as well. With a Snapdragon 855 processor, up to 12 gigabytes of RAM and 45 watt fast-charging that replenishes the devices battery from 0-to-100 percent in about an hour. A trio of 12-megapixel cameras with a time-of-flight 3D depth-sensor provides users with solid media capture options. The Note 10 Plus also features a 4,300 mAh battery with reverse wireless charging capabilities that allow other phones with wireless charging capabilities to charge their phone in a pinch. 

The Note 10 Plus is available in the new Aura Glow, Aura White, Aura Black, and Aura Blue. It can be had from most major carriers for $849-to- $1,200 depending on the model and features. 

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus
Body: Aluminum frame with Gorilla Glass 6 front and back
Display: 6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED, 1,440 x 3,040 (~498 ppi)
OS: Android 9.0 with One UI skin
Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 
Memory: 256 GB/12 GB RAM; 512 GB/12 GB RAM
Expandable Memory: microSD up to 1 TB
Cameras: Four Back-Facing (12 MP, 27mm wide angle; 12 MP, 52mm telephoto; 16 MP, 12mm ultra-wide angle; TOF 3D VGA camera); Front-Facing 10 MP, 26mm wide angle
Sounds: Stereo speakers
Battery (battery life): 4,300 mAh (~107 hours)
Security: Ultrasonic in-display fingerprint, IP68 resistant 
Miscellaneous: Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0, 45W fast charging, wireless charging, reverse wireless charging, NFC, S-Pen functionality
Other versions: Samsung Galaxy Note 10

Google Pixel 4 XL

Google’s newest flagship device, the Google Pixel 4 XL was launched in October and that means Christmas came early for Android purists. Not only does the Pixel 4 XL feature the cleanest Android experience on any smartphone--because it runs stock Android 10--it features some very impressive specs to go along with it.

The Pixel 4 XL runs on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor and features a 6.3-inch P-OLED display that sets the industry standard with approximately 537 pixels per inch. It still has the squeeze to launch Google Assistant feature that previous Pixel models have featured. It also still doesn’t come with a fingerprint reader, but sports the face-to-unlock feature for improved security. The main benefit of any Pixel phone has been its cameras, and the Pixel 4 XL doesn’t disappoint, with a 12.2 MP wide angle lens and a 16 MP telephoto lens on board. 

The Pixel 4 XL comes in Clearly White, Just Black, and Oh So Orange and for the first time is available on all major carriers. The new Google flagship can be had from $899-to-$999 depending on the model. 

Google Pixel 4 XL
Body: Aluminum Frame with Gorilla Glass 5 front/back
Display: 6.3-inch P-OLED, 1,440 x 3,040 (~537 ppi) 
OS: Android 10
Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 855
Memory: 64 GB/6 GB RAM; 128 GB/6 GB RAM
Expandable Memory: No
Cameras: Two back-facing (12.2 MP, 28mm wide angle; 16 MP, 45mm telephoto) Two front-facing (8 MP; 22mm
Sounds: Stereo speakers
Battery (battery life): 3,700 mAh (~73 hours)
Security: Face ID
Miscellaneous: Bluetooth 5.0, 18W fast charging, wireless charging, NFC, Squeeze for Google Assistant
Other versions: Google Pixel 4

OnePlus 7T Pro

It took us some time to figure out what other flagship phone to put in our annual review, but the one that stood out was the OnePlus 7T Pro, which we believe is a device that gives us a glimpse at the immediate future of smartphone technology. It is a big, sleek device that unlike many of the current smartphones always runs at a 90 hz refresh rate, making it one of the fastest phones on the current market.

The OnePlus 7T Pro is built with a 6.67-inch fluid AMOLED display with an in-display fingerprint sensor. It is running Qualcomm’s best processor, the Snapdragon 855+. It features both a large 4,080 mAh battery and three rear-facing cameras including a 48-megapixel wide angle lens. The selfie camera is motorized and pops up from the top of the device, removing the “notch” many people have maligned. 

Compared to the other top flagships that came out in 2019 the OnePlus 7T PR0 is the most modestly priced. In the U.S. you may only be able to get the OnePlus 7T through your carriers, but you can get the 8 GB RAM version online for $699.

OnePlus 7T Pro
Body: Aluminum frame with Gorilla Glass 5 front/back
Display: 6.67-inch Fluid AMOLED, 1,440 x 3,120 (~516 ppi)
OS: Android 10 with OxygenOS 10.0.4 skin
Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 855+
Memory: 256 GB/8 GB RAM; 256 GB/12 GB RAM
Expandable Memory: No
Cameras: Three back-facing (48 MP wide angle; 8 MP, 78mm telephoto; 16 MP, 13mm ultra-wide angle); Motorized pop-up 16 MP, 25mm wide angle
Sounds: Stereo speakers
Battery (battery life): 4,085 mAh (~100 hours)
Security: Optical in-display fingerprint reader, pop-up facial recognition
Miscellaneous: Bluetooth 5.0, 30W “Warp” charge, NFC
Other versions: OnePlus 7T

Other phones to consider: Huawei Mate 30 Pro, Huawei P30 Pro, Sony Xperia 1, LG v50 ThinQ, Samsung Galaxy Fold

There is a laundry list of other powerful smartphones on the market. In fact, two of the very best phones currently available are not on this list for political reasons. The Huawei Mate 30 Pro and the Huawei P30 Pro were both omitted because of the United States ban on Huawei. They may be the two best phones on the market, but for customers in the west, Huawei’s flagships don’t ship with Google Play functionality, which makes a huge difference in the usability and security of the smartphone. We’ll see how this plays out as the calendar moves to 2020. 

Nowadays, with OLED technology improving substantially, you will begin to see devices that fold. As of this writing we are still waiting on the first wave of foldable devices that include: Samsung’s Galaxy Fold, Huawei’s Mate X, and the new Motorola Razr that looks a lot like the Razr phones many people had earlier in the century, but now when you flip it open, it is essentially a smartphone. 

Another consideration going forward is the integration of 5G technology. 5G has been launched in select cities, and manufacturers have created a few 5G-capable phones, but as of this writing, we are really a few years from 5G phones becoming standard. That doesn’t mean they won’t be made available in larger numbers in the coming market cycles.

The smartphone is changing the world; and, with the best hardware, people are able to do more from more places. What smartphone do you use? What new features are you looking forward to? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

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