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Best Samsung Phones 2019: Which Galaxy Model Should You Buy?

Update Aug. 19: Our Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus review is live and we've added the phablet to our Galaxy phone rankings.

Samsung's Galaxy Note 10 rollout features not one, not two, but three new phones. In addition to the standard 6.3-inch Note 10, Samsung also offers a supersized 6.8-inch Note 10 Plus — the first time the phone maker has come out with different versions of its phablet. And for anyone craving the faster networking performance of 5G, Samsung offers the Galaxy Note 10 Plus 5G, initially a Verizon exclusive, to take advantage of the emerging wireless networking technology.

All those Note 10 models give smartphone shoppers more choices. But they also run the risk of ratcheting up the confusion. After all, this spring's Galaxy S10 launch saw Samsung introduce four different versions. Throw in the intriguing midrange and budget options Samsung has started bringing to the U.S. and the older flagship phones that remain on sale, and that's a lot of Galaxy handsets to keep straight.

MORE: Smartphones with the Longest Battery Life

Not to worry: we can help you spot the difference between a Galaxy A50 and a Galaxy S10, along with every model in between. Here's a closer look at all the currently available Samsung phones we've reviewed, ranked first to worst.

Samsung Phones: What's New

The trio of Galaxy Note 10 models unveiled at Samsung's Aug. 7 Unpacked event arrive in stores Aug. 23. In addition to our Note 10 Plus review, you can read our hands-on with the Galaxy Note 10 .

The Galaxy Fold is set to ship in September, after Samsung postponed the original launch to work out problems with the phone's display. You can read our hands-on with the Galaxy Fold to find out what you can expect when that $1,980 device goes on sale.

The best Samsung phone

Galaxy S10 Plus

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

1. Galaxy S10 Plus

The best Samsung phone

Screen Size: 6.4 inches | Android Version: 9 Pie with OneUI | Processor: Snapdragon 855 (US)/Exynos 9820 (WW) | Cameras: 12 MP, 16 MP and 12MP (Rear); 10 MP and 8 MP (Front) | RAM/Storage: 8, 12 GB/128 GB, 512 GB, 1TB

Immersive display
Ultrasonic fingerprint sensor
Excellent cameras
Can wireless charge other devices
Pricey
Confusing gesture controls

The Galaxy S10 Plus sets a high bar for all smartphones, let alone devices just from Samsung. The phone's new Infinity-O display creates an immersive experience with apps and videos filling up the screen, with no obtrusive bezels or notches. (Those two circular cutouts for the S10 Plus' front cameras can be a little distracting, especially on white backgrounds.) And with a Snapdragon 855 processor, the S10 Plus can keep up with any of the best Android phones released this year.

MORE: Note 10 vs. Galaxy S10: How Samsung's Phones Compare

With an ultrawide and telephoto lens joining the S10 Plus' main rear camera, you can expect excellent photos, though other camera phones outshine the S10 Plus when the lights are low. Still, with a Scene Optimizer feature that adjusts camera settings based on what you're photographing, you'll get a great-looking shot more often than not.

If there's a reason to pause before buying the Galaxy S10 Plus, it's the phone's high price, which can be especially off-putting when you consider that lower-cost phones in the S10 lineup offer similar features.

See our full Galaxy S10 Plus review.

 

Best big-screen phone

Galaxy Note 10 Plus S Pen notes

(Image credit: Future)

2. Galaxy Note 10 Plus

Best big-screen phone

Screen Size: 6.8 inches | Android Version: 9 Pie with OneUI | Processor: Snapdragon 855 (US)/Exynos 9825 (WW) | Cameras: 12 MP, 16 MP, 12MP and time-of-flight sensor (Rear); 10 MP (Front) | RAM/Storage: 12 GB/256 GB, 512 GB

Gorgeous 6.8-inch display
Long-lasting battery
Strong performance
S Pen supports Air Actions gestures
DeX mode now easier to use
Air gestures can be finicky
Aura Glow model smudges easily
Cameras don't surpass leading flagships

With the Galaxy S10 Plus now offering a 6.4-inch display, is there still room left for Samsung's line of Galaxy Note phablets? The Galaxy Note 10 Plus makes the case that there is, thanks to its outstanding 6.8-inch AMOLED panel — one of the best displays we've ever seen on a smartphone. The S Pen learns some new tricks, too, with Air Actions that allow you to turn the Note 10's stylus into a magic wand. Gestures don't always work consistently, but the S Pen remains a feature that sets the Galaxy Note apart from other phablets.

We wish the cameras were a little better on the Note 10 Plus. It's the same triple lens setup you'll find on the Galaxy S10 and S10 Plus, along with the addition of a time-of-flight sensor. The Note 10 Plus produces good photos, but nothing that surpasses the best camera phones available right now. Still, with a Snapdragon 855 processor, 12GB of RAM and faster UFS 3.0 storage, this is one of the best-performing Android phones. We also appreciate the Note 10's long battery life and how quickly it charges with the included 25-watt charger.

See our full Galaxy Note 10 Plus review.

A great small-screen phone

Galaxy S10e

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

3. Galaxy S10e

A great small-screen phone

Screen Size: 5.8 inches | Android Version: 9 Pie with OneUI | Processor: Snapdragon 855 (US)/Exynos 9820 (WW) | Cameras: 12 MP and 16 MP (Rear);10 MP (Front) | RAM/Storage: 6, 8 GB/128, 256 GB

Compact design
Same top processor as more expensive models
Supports Wireless PowerShare
Great price
Average battery life
Other S10 models have more cameras

With a price that's $150 less than the Galaxy S10, the more compact Galaxy S10e requires some trade-offs, though not as many as you might expect. You still get the standout features of Samsung's latest Galaxy S phones — a top-of-the-line Snapdragon 855 chipset, an AMOLED screen and the ability to wirelessly charge other devices through Samsung's cool Wireless PowerShare feature. The biggest sacrifices you have to make are settling for two rear cameras instead of three and giving up the ultrasonic fingerprint sensor underneath the display of the pricier Galaxy S10 models. (On the the S10e, the fingerprint reader is on the phone's power button.)

In addition to its high value, the Galaxy S10e will also appeal to people who've felt left out as phone-screen sizes surge beyond 6 inches. With a 5.8-inch display, the Galaxy S10e fits comfortably in your hand. And thanks to the Infinity-O display, which places the front camera cutout within the display, you still enjoy plenty of screen real estate.

See our full Galaxy S10e review.

 

Not to be overlooked

Galaxy S10

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

4. Galaxy S10

Not to be overlooked

Screen Size: 6.1 inches | Android Version: 9 Pie with OneUI | Processor: Snapdragon 855 (US)/Exynos 9820 (WW) | Cameras: 12 MP, 16 MP and 12MP (Rear); 10 MP (Front) | RAM/Storage: 8 GB/128 GB, 512 GB

Gorgeous display
Fast performance
Excellent cameras
Wireless PowerShare support
Front camera isn’t as good as the two on the S10 Plus
Pricier than the S10e

The Galaxy S10 finds itself wedged between the S10 Plus and S10e in size, features and price. As a result, you might be tempted to gloss over this 6.1-inch phone, but that would be a mistake. Most of the features you'll find in the Galaxy S10 Plus are in the S10, including the powerful Snapdragon 855 processor, high-performing triple-lens rear cameras and the ability to charge other devices wirelessly. The S10 even offers decent battery life — 10 hours and 19 minutes on our test — despite having a smaller battery than the S10 Plus.

The biggest difference between the S10 and S10 Plus comes down to the front cameras. Our testing found that the double lenses on the S10 Plus performed a little better than the S10's lone selfie cam. If you can swing the extra $100, the extra screen space on the Galaxy S10 Plus is worth it. But if you don't need a supersized phone and still want high-end features, the Galaxy S10 fits the bill.

See our full Galaxy S10 review.

 

Samsung's best budget buy

Galaxy A50

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

5. Galaxy A50

Samsung's best budget buy

Screen Size: 6.4 inches | Android Version: 9 Pie with OneUI | Processor: Exynos 9610 | Cameras: 25 MP, 8 MP and 5 MP (Rear); 25 MP (Front) | RAM/Storage: 4 GB/64 GB

Good display for the price
Solid performance
Compelling price tag
Other budget phones have better cameras
Tied to Verizon and Sprint

After years of putting most of its U.S. focus on flagship phones, Samsung has turned more of its attention to midrange models. And if the results are anything like the $349 Galaxy A50, Samsung's efforts deserve praise. The 6.4-inch AMOLED display is one of the best you'll find in this price range, and the Galaxy A50's Exynos 9610 chipset keeps pace with comparable midrange phones.

The three rear cameras on the Galaxy A50 perform admirably, though you'll get better photos from Google's Pixel 3a, which costs around the same as the A50. But if you prefer Samsung's phones and have balked at the escalating prices of the Galaxy S and Note lines, the Galaxy A50 is the answer to your prayers.

Read our full Galaxy A50 review.

 

Last year's phone for less

Galaxy S9 Plus

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

6. Galaxy S9 Plus

Last year's phone for less

Screen Size: 6.2 inches | Android Version: 9 Pie with OneUI | Processor: Snapdragon 845 (US)/Exynos 9810 (WW) | Cameras: Dual 12 MP (Rear); 8 MP (Front) | RAM/Storage: 6 GB/64, 128, 256 GB

Good camera performance in low light
Long battery life
Lower price than more recent Samsung phones
Not as powerful as the Galaxy S10
Features like AR Emoji and Bixby underwhelm

Samsung's older phones remain available from multiple carriers and retailers, and they're still an option even if they lack the latest hardware found in the Galaxy S10. Samsung has upgraded the phones to Android 9 with the phone maker's own OneUI interface, so the software experience is the same as what you'd get with a newer flagship.

You won't benefit from the Snapdragon 855 processor that powers the S10 lineup (including the entry-level S10e), and the Galaxy S9 Plus has only two rear cameras instead of the three found on the S10 and S10 Plus. But the S9 Plus lasted nearly 11 hours on our battery test, and its cameras compared well to other flagships'. More important, the S10's arrival has meant a drop in price for the S9 Plus, which now costs less than $700.

Read our full Galaxy S9 Plus review.

 

Samsung's last single-camera phone

Galaxy S9

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

7. Galaxy S9

Samsung's last single-camera phone

Screen Size: 5.8 inches | Android Version: 9 Pie with OneUI | Processor: Snapdragon 845 (US)/Exynos 9810 (WW) | Cameras: 12 MP (Rear); 8 MP (Front) | RAM/Storage: 4 GB/64, 128, 256 GB

Price has dropped
Long battery life
Just one rear camera
Less RAM than the S9+
Galaxy S10 has fresher specs

The Galaxy S9 is even cheaper than the S9 Plus now that the Galaxy S10 is available, with a price less than $600. But there's a reason, this smaller 5.8-inch phone doesn't command as much as the 6.2-inch S9 Plus — the S9 has only one rear camera. The dual-pixel 12-MP shooter on the Galaxy S9 is certainly capable, but even the budget-priced Galaxy A50 features multiple lenses.

For that reason, unless you really dislike phones with screens larger than 6 inches or you're trying to keep a lid on costs, we'd recommend the Galaxy S9 Plus over the S9. The S9 Plus ships with more RAM, too, which gives it a performance boost over the S9.

Read our full Galaxy S9 review.

 

Wait for a price drop

Galaxy Note 9

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

8. Galaxy Note 9

Wait for a price drop

Screen Size: 6.4 inches | Android Version: 9 Pie with OneUI | Processor: Snapdragon 845 (US)/Exynos 9810 (WW) | Cameras: Dual 12 MP (Rear); 8 MP (Front) | RAM/Storage: 6 GB/128, 512 GB

Gorgeous display
S Pen has Bluetooth connectivity
Long battery life
Still expensive
Galaxy Note 10's processor and cameras are upgrades

Just as the Galaxy S9 has been supplanted by the Galaxy S10, last year's Galaxy Note 10 is making way for the new Note 10. However, the Note 9 hasn't seen the corresponding drop in price that the Galaxy S9 has enjoyed now that its successor is widely available. That's likely to change after the Note 10 arrives in stores Aug. 23, but for now, we'd suggest holding off on a Note 9 purchase until last year's model becomes a better bargain. And if price isn't a consideration, you should turn to Samsung's newer Note models instead of the older Note 9.

The Note 10 delivers faster performance, thanks to the Snapdragon 855, but at least the Snapdragon 845 inside the Note 9 remains a powerful processor. You forgo the three rear cameras on the Galaxy Note 10 as well, and the gesture-based controls for the S Pen are exclusive to Samsung's newer phablet. That said, the cameras on the Note 9 are still very good and benefit from Samsung's Scene Optimizer. The Note 9's version of the S Pen also features Bluetooth connectivity, an addition that made the already capable S Pen an even better tool for power users. The Note 9 boasts good battery life, too, lasting nearly 11.5 hours on our battery test (though, again, the Note 10 Plus tops that result).

Read our full Galaxy Note 9 review.

 

Not ready for most users yet

Galaxy S10 5G

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

9. Galaxy S10 5G

Not ready for most users yet

Screen Size: 6.7 inches | Android Version: 9 Pie with OneUI | Processor: Snapdragon 855 (US)/Exynos 9280 (WW) | Cameras: 12 MP, 16 MP, 12MP and time-of-flight sensor (Rear); 10 MP, time-of-flight sensor (Front) | RAM/Storage: 8 GB/256 GB, 512 GB

Big, expansive screen
Best-in-class cameras aided by time-of-flight sensor
Solid battery life
Excellent performance
Expensive
5G networks are too limited at this point

It's hard to recommend the Galaxy S10 5G at this point, though it's hardly the fault of Samsung's phone. Rather, because 5G networks are still being built out at this point and limited to select cities, it's likely you won't enjoy the benefit of faster data speeds — certainly not enough to justify the phone's steep $1,299 asking price.

That's a shame, because the Galaxy S10 5G sports the great features of the other S10 models and improves upon them with additions like a time-of-flight sensor for better portrait shots. Until the Galaxy Note 10 Plus came along, this 6.7-inch phone offered the largest screen you could buy on a Samsung handset, and it's very immersive and colorful. The phone's large size makes it hard to use with just one hand, though — an S Pen stylus like the one included with the Note 10 would really come in handy here.

Read our full Galaxy S10 5G review.

 

How we test Samsung phones

We approach Samsung phones the same way we test other smartphones. We evaluate the phone over several days of real-world use. We also put the phones through a battery of benchmarks to measure performance. We use a light meter to ascertain display quality data, like brightness and color accuracy, and our proprietary battery test determines longevity on a charge by endlessly streaming web pages over an LTE network.

When assigning a rating, we look at a phone's design and display, its camera output, battery life and how quickly it charges, overall performance and software. We also consider how the phone compares with similarly priced handsets. Even after we post a rating, we'll update our review whenever software updates deliver new features.