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Best phones for 2020: The best smartphones ranked

best phones
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

When searching for the best phones, choose the one that delivers great cameras, the performance you need to multitask and the endurance you need to last the whole day. So what do you pick?

We test and review all the major phones, comparing speed, camera quality, displays, battery life and more, to bring you this list of the top Android phones and iPhones.

Based on our testing, the iPhone 11 Pro Max remains the best phone overall, as it captures great photos, boasts a fantastic OLED display and offers long battery life. 

The regular iPhone 11 is a good bet if you’re on a budget, as its cameras are almost as good as the Pro’s.

But the iPhone has gotten some stiff competition on the Android side from Samsung's latest flagship devices. In particular, we're impressed by the Galaxy S20 Ultra and its four rear lens that look to set a new standard for the best camera phones

We still think the iPhone is tops because of the S20 Ultra's high price and some nagging autofocus flaws, but that could change once we test the comparatively less expensive Galaxy S20 Plus and Galaxy S20 and Samsung delivers a promised camera fix. All three phones offer improved cameras with more powerful zooms, along with smoother 120Hz displays.

The best cheaper Android phones including the OnePlus 7T and the Google Pixel 3a. And the Galaxy S10 Plus remains a compelling buy, now that Samsung has cut its price by $150.

Here are the best phones on the market right now. 

The best phones you can buy today

The iPhone 11 Pro rises to the top of our best smartphone list because of its stellar cameras.

The iPhone 11 Pro rises to the top of our best smartphone list because of its stellar cameras. (Image credit: Tom's Guide)

1. iPhone 11 Pro Max

The best phone money can buy

Display Size (Pixels): 6.5-inch OLED (2,688 x 1,242 pixels) | CPU: A13 Bionic | RAM: Unknown | Storage / Expandable: 64GB, 256GB, 512GB / No | Cameras (Back / Front): / Triple 12MP / 12 MP | Weight: 7.97 ounces | Battery Life (Hrs:Mins): 11:44

Gorgeous OLED display 
Fast A13 Bionic CPU 
Stellar triple cameras with Night mode
Longest battery life of any iPhone
Just 64GB of storage on entry model

The ultimate iPhone is also the best phone you can buy period. The iPhone 11 Pro Max has vaulted past the Android competition to become the top camera phone, thanks to a new Night mode for much better photos in low light and a versatile ultra-wide lens. Plus, improved Smart HDR gives you superior portraits. Apple has upped the ante on video quality, too, with extended dynamic range and smooth cinematic stabilization. 

The iPhone 11 Pro Max also offers the fastest processor yet with its A13 Bionic chip, a more durable design and a 6.5-inch OLED display so bright that it makes other phones look dingy. I wish Apple offered more than 64GB of storage, but once you add in nearly 12 hours of battery life, fast charging and more immersive audio you have the nearly perfect smartphone.

Read our full iPhone 11 Pro Max review.

 

If you're on a budget, the iPhone 11 delivers great performance and camera quality for under $700.

If you're on a budget, the iPhone 11 delivers great performance and camera quality for under $700. (Image credit: Tom's Guide)

2. iPhone 11

Great cameras for a great price

Display Size (Pixels): 6.1-inch LCD (1,792 x 828 pixels) | CPU: A13 Bionic | RAM: Unknown | Storage / Expandable: 64GB, 128GB, 256GB / No | Cameras (Back / Front): 2 12MP / 12MP | Weight: 6.84 ounces | Battery Life (Hrs:Mins): 11:20

Great photos, especially with Night Mode
Fast A13 Bionic CPU
Long battery life
Fast charger not included
Just 64GB of storage to start

The best phone for people who don't want to spend a bundle, the iPhone 11 has killer dual cameras and a cheaper price than the iPhone 11 Pro. For a very reasonable $699, the iPhone 11 offers amazingly good low-light photos via its Night Mode, and there’s a new ultra-wide lens that lets you fit in more subjects or scene with its 120-degree field of view. Selfies get a serious upgrade, too, with a 12-MP camera that automatically switches to a wider view when you turn the phone to landscape mode. 

The 6.1-inch LCD on the iPhone 11 isn’t OLED-great, but it’s colorful and bright. A blazing A13 Bionic processor, long battery life and your choice of six colors solidify the iPhone 11 as a winner.

Read our full iPhone 11 Review.

 

The Galaxy S10 Plus is the best smartphone for those who prefer Android, thanks to its awesome display and great battery life.

The Galaxy S10 Plus is the best smartphone for those who prefer Android, thanks to its awesome display and great battery life.

3. Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus

Still a worthwhile phone, with a lower price

Display Size (Pixels): 6.4-inch OLED (3040 x 1440) | CPU: Snapdragon 855 | RAM: 8GB, 12GB | Storage / Expandable: 128GB, 512GB, 1TB / Yes | Cameras (Back / Front): 16-MP (f/2.2), 12-MP dual-pixel (f/1.5, f/2.4), 12-MP telephoto (f/2.4)/ 10-MP, 8-MP depth sensing | Weight: 6.2 ounces | Battery Life (Hrs:Mins): 12:35

Immersive Infinity-O display
Excellent cameras
Superb battery life and can charge other gadgets wirelessly
Punch holes in display can be distracting
Pricey

The Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus is the best phone for those who prefer Android and want a big and immersive screen, but don't want to pay big bucks for the privilege. The 6.4-inch OLED display is gorgeous, and and an ultrasonic fingerprint sensor lets you quickly unlock the device. The Galaxy S10 Plus also delivers an epic 12.5 hours of battery life, topping the Galaxy S20 Ultra, and its wireless PowerShare feature lets you charge other phones by simply placing them on the back.

The Snapdragon 855 chipset powering Samsung's phone delivers fast performance as well. The three rear cameras on the S10 Plus produce stellar photos, especially the ultra-wide-angle lens. 

It's worth noting that Samsung just unveiled the Galaxy S10 Lite, which is even bigger than the S10 Plus with a 6.7-inch display and an even larger-capacity 4,500 mAh battery. Just know you'll be getting a cheaper plastic design and weaker CPUs and cameras, and it's unclear where that phone will ship. We do know that the arrival of the Galaxy S20 lineup has motivated Samsung to cut the price on the Galaxy S10 Plus by $150 to $849.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus review.

 

The Pixel 3a makes our best phone list because of the great camera quality you get for the price.

The Pixel 3a makes our best phone list because of the great camera quality you get for the price. (Image credit: Future)

4. Google Pixel 3a

A budget-friendly camera phone that's shockingly good

Display Size (Pixels): 5.6-inch OLED (2280 x 1080) | CPU: Snapdragon 670 | RAM: 4GB | Storage / Expandable: 64GB / No | Cameras (Back / Front): 12-MP (f/1.8) / 8-MP (f/2.0) | Weight: 5.2 ounces | Battery Life (Hrs:Mins): 11:59

Flagship-caliber camera
OLED display
Low price
Display could be brighter
No wireless charging

The best Android phone for those on a budget is the $399 Google Pixel 3a. You'll enjoy great shots in low light and very impressive portrait effects driven by computational photography. Yes, you get a less powerful processor and less polished materials than pricier flagship phones. But Google's cheaper phone lasts longer on a charge, too, holding out for nearly 12 hours on our battery test. That makes the Pixel 3a a real bargain. The best part? You can often find the Pixel 3 on sale for under $350, so it pays to comparison shop. 

Read our full Google Pixel 3a review.

 

The Galaxy S20 Ultra is Samsung's ultimate phone with 5G connectivity, a 120Hz screen and impressive cameras.

The Galaxy S20 Ultra is Samsung's ultimate phone with 5G connectivity, a 120Hz screen and impressive cameras. (Image credit: Future)

5. Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra

Get this phone if money is no object

Display Size (Pixels): 6.9-inch OLED (3200 x 1400) | CPU: Snapdragon 865 | RAM: 12GB, 16GB | Storage / Expandable: 128GB, 512GB / Yes | Cameras (Back / Front): 108MP wide (ƒ/1.8); 48MP telephoto (ƒ/3.5); 12MP ultrawide (ƒ/2.2); time-of-flight VGA / 40MP | Weight: 7.7 ounces | Battery Life (Hrs:Mins): 11:58 (at 60Hz refresh rate)

Phenomenal cameras
Gorgeous 120Hz display
5G support
Very expensive
120Hz mode is a battery killer

Samsung spared no expense with the Galaxy S20 Ultra, which manages to pack in an impressive array of premium features — from a vast 6.9-inch display capable of a 120Hz refresh rate to 5G compatibility and a massive 5,000 mAh battery.

Still, it’s the cameras that impress with the Galaxy S20 Ultra. Samsung really pushed out the boat here, too, turning to a quadruple camera array highlighted by a 108MP wide angle lens and 48MP telephoto shooter. That latter feature can produce a 10x lossless zoom that really captures detail at a distance. The end result is a camera phone that produces shots that top what the iPhone 11 Pro can do, though some autofocus issues have emerged with the Galaxy S20 Ultra that would be irritating in any phone, let alone one that costs as much as Samsung's latest. (Samsung is promising a fix to the Galaxy S20 Ultra's camera problems.)

That brings up another big issue with the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra: By not sparing any expense, Samsung passes those expenses on to you. The phone starts at $1,399 and that assumes you’re satisfied with the 12GB of RAM and 128GB of storage in the base model. The S20 Ultra is certainly worth every one of the countless pennies Samsung charges, but with 5G-ready, Snapdragon 865-powered S20 models available for $200 to $400 less, the S20 Ultra is out of the reach of most smartphone shoppers. Still, the Galaxy S20 Ultra is a testament to just how much power companies like Samsung can pack into a smartphone these days.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra review.

The OnePlus 7T delivers flagship-level performance and design for hundreds less than the competition. 

The OnePlus 7T delivers flagship-level performance and design for hundreds less than the competition.  (Image credit: Future)

6. OnePlus 7T

A fantastic Android phone for a good price

Display Size (Pixels): 6.55-inch AMOLED (2400x1800) | CPU: Snapdragon 855+ | RAM: 8GB | Storage / Expandable: 128GB / No | Cameras (Back / Front): 48-MP (f/1.6), 16-MP ultrawide (f/2.2), 12MP telephoto (f/2.2) | Weight: 6.7 ounces | Battery Life (Hrs:Mins): 8:47

Great value
Good cameras
Speedy charging
Underwhelming battery life
No wireless charging

The OnePlus 7T is easily one of the best Android phones of the year, especially in terms of sheer value. A very reasonable price of $599 gets you a fast Snapdragon 855 Plus processor, a 6.5-inch AMOLED screen with an ultra-smooth 90Hz refresh rate, and a triple-camera system that can hang with the iPhone 11 and top Android camera phones. We do wish the 7T’s battery life lasted longer, but it charges pretty quickly. Overall, the OnePlus 7T is a steal. There is also a new OnePlus 7T Pro 5G model for those who want to take advantage of T-Mobile's new 5G network.

Read our full OnePlus 7T review.

 

Galaxy Note 10 Plus Display

The Galaxy Note 10 Plus is the best phone for those who want Samsung's S Pen paired with a big and immersive screen. (Image credit: Future)

7. Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus

The big-screen phone with a powerful stylus

Display Size (Pixels): 6.8-inch OLED (3040 x 1440) | CPU: Snapdragon 855 | RAM: 12GB | Storage / Expandable: 256GB, 512GB / Yes | Cameras (Back / Front): 16-MP ultra wide (f/2.2), 12-MP wide (f/1.5, f/2.4), 12-MP telephoto (f/2.1), time-of-flight VGA / 10 MP | Weight: 7.1 ounces | Battery Life (Hrs:Mins): 11:46

Gorgeous 6.8-inch screen
Long battery life
S Pen supports Air Actions gestures
Aura Glow model smudges quickly
Air gestures can be finicky

The Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus is the best phone if you want the biggest display possible. This flagship sports a ginormous 6.8-inch OLED display that’s truly immersive, and you can now do more with the S Pen, including Air gestures and convert your handwriting to text. The phablet lasted nearly 12 hours on our battery test, and it charges fast, reaching 65% in 30 minutes. The Note 10 Plus’ four rear cameras take crisp photos and Samsung added Live Focus effects for video, so you can now get bokeh with your clips. But the still photo quality isn’t quite best in class based on our comparisons; the Pixel 4 has an edge among Android phones.

You'll soon have a cheaper alternative to the Note 10 in the Galaxy Note 10 Lite, which has a massive 6.7-inch Super AMOLED display, a headphone jack, a triple-camera array and a huge 4,500 mAh battery. But if you need some of the best performance and battery in a phablet, the Note 10 Plus is still well worth the premium.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy Note 10 review.

 

Pixel 4 XL

Google's Pixel 4 phones, like the XL, add a second rear camera lens and software smarts. (Image credit: Tom's Guide)

8. Google Pixel 4 XL

The smartest camera you can buy

Display Size (Pixels): 6.3-inch AMOLED (3040 x 1440) | CPU: Snapdragon 855 | RAM: 4GB | Storage / Expandable: 64GB, 128GB / No | Cameras (Back / Front): 12.2-MP main (f/1.7); 16-MP telephoto (f/2.4) / 8-MP (f/2.0) | Weight: 6.8 ounces | Battery Life (Hrs:Mins): 9:42

Excellent camera
Dynamic 90-Hz refresh rate on display
Clever Motion Sense feature
Subpar battery life
Dim display

The Pixel 4 XL is an excellent choice if you want the best Android camera phone. It offers a telephoto lens with 2x optical zoom. Combine that with Google's Super Res Zoom and you can get detailed, clear photos even with an 8x hybrid zoom. There's also dual exposure controls to tweak brightness and shadows, AI-powered white balance for more accurate colors and an improved Night Sight low-light mode that can capture clear images of the night sky. The $899 Pixel 4 XL is the model to get, as its bigger battery lasts longer than the $799 Pixel 4. We just wish that the 6.4-inch display was brighter.

Read our full Pixel 4 XL review.

 

Apple has kept the iPhone XR around and lowered its price to below $600.

Apple has kept the iPhone XR around and lowered its price to below $600. (Image credit: Future)

9. iPhone XR

Affordable big screen

Display Size (Pixels): 6.1-inch LCD (1792 x 828) | CPU: A12 Bionic | RAM: N/A | Storage / Expandable: 64GB, 128GB, 256GB / No | Cameras (Back / Front): 12-MP / 7-MP | Weight: 6.8 ounces | Battery Life (Hrs:Mins): 11:26

Very long battery life
Big, bright and colorful LCD
Superb audio quality
Great flagship value
Single rear camera lacks optical zoom

The iPhone XR is a real bargain now that the price has dropped to $599, and it delivers pretty much everything you’d want from one of the best phones. That includes a bright and colorful 6.1-inch LCD display, a fast processor in the A12 Bionic and great camera quality. No, you don’t get dual rear shooters that are available in the $699 iPhone 11, but otherwise this phone is top-notch in every way. The best part is the battery life, as the iPhone XR lasted 11 hours and 28 minutes on our web surfing battery test. 

Read our full iPhone XR review.

 

LG G8X Dual Screen

You're not seeing double, the LG G8X features a second screen attachment. (Image credit: Tom's Guide)

10. LG G8X ThinQ Dual Screen

Double the screens

Display Size (Pixels): 6.4-inch OLED (2340 x 1080) | CPU: Snapdragon 855 | RAM: 6GB | Storage / Expandable: 128GB / Yes | Cameras (Back / Front): 12-MP primary (ƒ/1.8); 13-MP ultrawide (ƒ/2.4) / 32-MP (f/1.9) | Weight: 6.77 ounces | Battery Life (Hrs:Mins): 11:49

Good price
Long-lasting battery
Detachable second screen
Unremarkable cameras
Display is a bit dim

Foldable phones may be the future, but LG's G8X ThinQ Dual Screen shows that there's more than one way to pack in more screen real estate. LG's 6.4-inch phone lets you plug in an identical 6.4-inch screen that fits neatly into a carrying case: flip the phone open and you've got double the displays. People who value productivity will enjoy the flexibility that a second screen brings, particularly since LG kept the G8X's price tag down to the $699 — very appealing when foldable phones like the Galaxy Fold are commanding nearly $2,000. We're also impressed by the nearly 12 hours of battery life we got from the LG G8X in our testing.

Before you jump at the LG G8X and its second screen, LG just announced a new phone that's coming in March. The LG V60 ThinQ has a more advanced Snapdragon 865 processor and 5G connectivity, along with the optional second screen. And it's expected to cost less than Samsung's $999 Galaxy S20.

Read our full LG G8X ThinQ Dual Screen review.

 

best phones galaxy s10e

If you like compact phones, the Galaxy S10e is the one to get, especially after a price cut.

11. Samsung Galaxy S10e

Our favorite small phone

Display Size (Pixels): 5.8-inch AMOLED (2160 x 1080 pixels) | CPU: Snapdragon 855 | RAM: 6GB, 8GB | Storage / Expandable: 128GB, 256GB / Yes | Cameras (Back / Front): 16-MP ultra-wide (f/2.2), 12-MP dual-pixel wide (ƒ/1.5, ƒ/2.4) / 10-MP (ƒ/1.9) | Weight: 5.29 ounces | Battery Life (Hrs:Mins): 9:41

Delightful, compact design
Wireless PowerShare
Great price
OneUI is polarizing
Average battery life

The Galaxy S10e proves that you don't need a big screen (or a big price tag) to get one of the best phones. This 5.8-inch addition to Samsung's Galaxy S lineup gives up the in-display fingerprint sensor and third rear camera lens found on the other Galaxy S10 models. But it's got the same powerful Snapdragon 855 processor, so you're not having to sacrifice performance if you want a more compact phone. 

Now that the Galaxy S20 is Samsung's new phone on the block, prices have fallen on the older S10 models, including the S10e. You'll now pay $599 for the S10e, meaning you don't have to pony up for the privilege of carrying around the smaller-sized phone you prefer.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy S10e review.

 

best phones iphone 8

It's an older phone, but the iPhone 8 is very affordable these days. (Image credit: Tom's Guide)

12. iPhone 8

A good, cheap iPhone and a smart buy for kids

Display Size (Pixels): 4.7-inch LCD (1334 x 750 pixels) | CPU: A11 Bionic | RAM: 2GB | Storage / Expandable: 64GB, 128GB / No | Cameras (Back / Front): 12MP / 7MP | Weight: 5.2 ounces | Battery Life (Hrs:Mins): 9:54

Solid A11 Bionic performance
Supports wireless charging
Affordable price
Large bezels
Battery life not the best

Whether you’re getting an iPhone for your child, you hate big phones or you just want access to the App Store and iOS 13 on the cheap, the iPhone 8 is a very good value. This 4.7-inch phone costs just $449 and delivers everything you need, including a zippy A11 Bionic processor and a solid 12-MP camera with portrait mode and strong battery life. Wireless charging is a nice plus in this price range. The iPhone 8 Plus gives you a bigger 5.5-inch screen and telephoto zoom for $120 more, but overall the iPhone 8 is quite the bargain.

Before you buy the iPhone 8, be aware that Apple is likely coming out with an iPhone 8 successor that's the same size as this model but with better cameras and a faster processor. The iPhone SE 2 (or iPhone 9, as some people think it will be called) could also cost around the same as the iPhone 8.

Read our full iPhone 8 review.

 

Quick smartphone buying tips

  • Android or iPhone? Android phones give you more choice in terms of price, size and innovative designs. However, iPhones offer speedier software updates, better games and apps and better security and privacy. See our iPhone vs Android face-off.
  • Unlocked or carrier? Most shoppers in the U.S. buy new phones through their wireless carrier. But an unlocked phone gives you the freedom to buy the device without any sort of contract and then bring it to the provider you want to use.
  • Screen size: If you're looking for a big phone, 6 inches and up is a good place to start. The biggest phones are 6.5 to 6.8 inches. If you want something you can easily use with one hand, go with a small phone with a screen under 6 inches.
  • Cameras: Don't pay attention to the megapixel count. Instead, look at camera face-offs between phones to see the photo quality and look for special features like Night Mode to get better quality in low light. Also see our best camera phone roundup.
  • Battery life: We conduct our own web surfing battery test over cellular networks to see how long phones last on a charge. Anything above 10 hours is very good and anything above 11 hours is excellent. Check out our best phone battery life list.