With so many smartphones vying for your attention, it's not easy to pick the best phone. Tom's Guide reviews dozens of new handsets each year, and we evaluate them in our labs and in the real world based on design, features, performance, camera quality and battery life.
We also perform in-depth face-offs between flagship phones to decide on our best smartphone rankings. But not everyone has the budget for a flagship, which is why we also provide recommendations for cheaper phones.
If you're looking to buy now, our best phone list has something for everyone, whether you prefer Android or iOS, a big-screen phone or small phone or you want to save some money by going with an older phone.
The best phone overall right now is the iPhone 11 Pro Max, which offers a spectacular camera system and a superb 6.5-inch OLED display. The regular iPhone 11 is a good deal if you don't want to go above $700.
If you prefer Android, the Galaxy S20, Galaxy S20 Plus and Galaxy S20 Ultra are all worth considering, but we have not yet performed our full reviews as those phones won't be available until March 6. Check out our hands-on impressions in the meantime. The Galaxy S20 Ultra is the most impressive because of its 10x lossless zoom and ginormous 6.9-inch screen. (One new Samsung phone we are looking at is the foldable Galaxy Z Flip, which hit stores Feb. 14. You can read our Galaxy Z Flip review in progress.)
Meanwhile, Samsung has lowered the prices on its Galaxy S10 lineup, so the Galaxy S10 Plus is still a good choice.
Those on a budget should check out the regular OnePlus 7T or — if you want something under $400 — the Pixel 3a. Apple is also expected to release a low-cost iPhone 9 (aka iPhone SE 2) as soon as March under $400.
Check out all the best phones running iOS and Android below.
The best phones you can buy now
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
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.
2. Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus
Our favorite Android with stellar battery life
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
The Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus is the best phone for those who prefer Android and want a big and immersive screen. 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, 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 4,500mAh battery. Just know you'll be getting a cheaper plastic design and weaker CPUs and cameras. Some may want to wait for the Galaxy S20 and its rumored 108MP camera, but the Galaxy S10 Plus is the best smartphone for Android fans right now.
Read our full Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus review.
3. 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
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 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.
4. Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus
The big-screen phone to beat
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
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.
5. 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
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.
6. 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
The best Android phone for those on a budget is the $399 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 Pixel 3a review.
7. 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
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.
8. 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
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.
9. Moto G7 Power
Crazy battery life
Display Size (Pixels): 6.2-inch LCD (1512 x 720 pixels) | CPU: Snapdragon 632 | RAM: 3GB | Storage / Expandable: 32GB / Yes | Cameras (Back / Front): 12-MP / 8-MP | Weight: 6.9 ounces | Battery Life (Hrs:Mins): 15:35
The $249 Moto G7 Power is the best phone for those who demand long battery life. Armed with a 5,000-mAh battery, the G7 Power lasted an astonishing 15 hours and 35 minutes in Tom's Guide's battery test, where we have phones cycle through webpages endlessly over LTE. That's nearly twice as long as what the $299 Moto G7 managed. And even though you do give up some RAM, storage and a second rear camera with the less-expensive G7 Power, you still get a pure Android software experience, a vibrant (if slightly low-res) 6.2-inch display and support for all U.S. networks. There's simply no better deal for a smartphone under $300 today.
If you want one under $250, the Galaxy A20 is a competitive option. It's not quite as good as Moto G7, but its battery life and depth-of-field photography make it worth consideration.
Read our full Moto G7 Power review.
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
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.
Read our full LG G8X ThinQ Dual Screen review.
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
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. And with a starting price of $749, you don't have to pay for the privilege of carrying around the smaller-sized phone you prefer.
Read our full Samsung Galaxy S10e review.
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
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.
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.