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Best phones for 2020: The best smartphones you can buy

iphone 11 pro vs galaxy note 10
(Image credit: Future)

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. That includes the brand new Galaxy Note 10 Lite and Galaxy S10 Lite that just debuted at CES 2020, each with powerful CPUs and huge batteries for what should be an attainable price. 

One of the bigger phone trends for 2020 is 5G phones. 5G networks are starting to become more robust —  with Verizon and T-Mobile being the most aggressive thus far — but current 5G phones don't yet support all the bands needed for a future-proof experience. 

Another big trend? That would be foldable phones, even though the Galaxy Fold didn't turn out to be the watershed moment Samsung was hoping for. But more foldable phones are on the way, including the Motorola Razr (which has been slightly delayed) with a pocket-friendly clamshell design and the rumored Galaxy Z Flip.

The biggest phone on the immediate horizon is the Galaxy S20 (formerly called Galaxy S11), which promises big upgrades in terms of its 108-MP camera, Snapdragon 865 processor and 5G capability. That should be announced February 11. The iPhone 12 likely won't be announced until September, but it's already making some buzz because of its rumored A14 processor and larger screen sizes, in addition to 5G capabilities.

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.

Check out the best phones running iOS and Android below.

The best phones for 2020

1. iPhone 11 Pro Max
2. Galaxy S10 Plus
3. iPhone 11
4. Galaxy Note 10 Plus
5. OnePlus 7T
6. Google Pixel 3a
7. Google Pixel 4 XL
8. iPhone XR
9. Moto G7 Power
10. LG G8X ThinQ Dual Screen
11. Galaxy S10e
12. iPhone 8

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 is now brighter
A13 Bionic CPU fastest around
Stellar triple cameras with Night mode
Longest battery life of any iPhone
Fast charging in box
Just 64GB of storage on entry model
A bit heavier than predecessor

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.

 

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.

2. 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

Immersive Infinity-O display
Ultrasonic fingerprint sensor works well
Excellent cameras
Very fast performance
Superb battery life and can charge other gadgets wirelessly
Headphone jack
Punch holes in display can be distracting
Pricey
Confusing gesture controls

The 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 Galaxy S10 Plus 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)

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

Great photos, especially with Night Mode
Fast A13 Bionic CPU
Long battery life
Colorful and durable design
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 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.

 

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)

4. 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

Gorgeous 6.8-inch screen
Long battery life
Strong performance
S Pen supports Air Actions gestures
DeX mode easier to use
Aura Glow model smudges quickly
Air gestures can be finicky
Other flagships boast better cameras

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.

 

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)

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

Great value
Blistering performance
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.

 

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)

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

Flagship-caliber camera
Google software and support
Solid build
OLED display
Low price
Excellent battery life
Supports all carriers
No water resistance
Performance is good, not great
Display could be brighter
No wireless charging

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.

 

Pixel 4 XL

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

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

Excellent camera
Dynamic 90-Hz refresh rate on display
Clever Motion Sense feature
Available from every carrier
Subpar battery life
Dim display
No more unlimited photo storage at original quality

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.

 

(Image credit: Future)

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

Fastest processor in a phone
Very long battery life
Excellent camera performance
Big, bright and colorful LCD
Superb audio quality
Great flagship value
Single rear camera lacks 2x optical zoom
Portrait mode works only with people

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

Incredible battery life
Solid performance
Quality software
Low price
Works on all networks
Bland design
Not great for gaming
Low-res display

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.

Read our full Moto G7 Power review.

 

LG G8X Dual Screen

(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
Excellent performance
Long-lasting battery
Detachable second screen
Unremarkable cameras
Dual-screen software has limitations
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.

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

Incredible display
Delightful, compact design
Super powerful
Wireless PowerShare
Headphone jack
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. 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 Galaxy S10e review.

 

(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
Bright display
Compact design
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.

Read our full iPhone 8 review.