The best smartphones in 2019 are hard to pick from. Here are the Top 10 phones you can buy today and our guide to picking the best one for you
What is the best smartphone
- OnePlus 7 Pro
- Oppo Reno 10x Zoom
- Xiaomi Mi 9
- Huawei P30 Pro
- Google Pixel 3
- iPhone XS
- Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus
- Xiaomi Mi Mix 3
- iPhone XR
- Sony Xperia 1
There are so many good phones to choose from in 2019 but which one is the king of the castle? Is there even a winner? There’s no one perfect choice for everyone, so bear in mind the best phone for you might not be number one in our chart.
Phones come in all shapes, sizes and prices. Here, we have ranked and reviewed the ten best phones money can buy.
Check out where the best of 2018 like the iPhone XR, Huawei Mate 20 Pro and OnePlus 7 Pro have ended up below – and keep coming back as we add the best phones from 2019 as they are released. The Galaxy S10, Sony Xperia 1 and Mi 9 are already in there!
Your buying guide for the best phones in 2019
When choosing a phone you should consider these things: build quality and design, ease of use, features, performance and value.
Generally speaking a flagship phone will cost between £600 and £800 but can be over £1,000 in some cases. On contract you’re looking at between £30 and £50 per month on average but you can spend a lot more if you want an expensive phone and lots of mobile internet data.
We think buying a phone outright is the best value, but we appreciate you may not be able to afford to do that. If you can, you’ll obviously need a SIM card and plan as well as the phone. If you don’t already have one, check out our best SIM-only deals.
Should you buy an iPhone or an Android phone?
There’s more than one mobile phone operating system, but really only two worth talking about: Android and iOS. Windows phones are still around, but only account for around one percent of all phones sold, so go with Android or an iPhone.
The vast majority of phones today run Android; Pie is the latest version. While Apple’s iOS platform has a much lower market share, developers almost always release their apps on iOS so it has one of the best app stores you’ll find.
If you have an Android phone or an iPhone and want to move to the other type of phone, it’s fairly easy move your contacts and other data from one to the other. What you can’t move is paid-for apps, so keep this in mind if you’re considering a change of platform.
Why you should buy an unlocked phone
The most important point is that an unlocked phone is almost always a better deal than buying a phone on contract – if you can afford it.
The only real exception to this are Apple’s iPhones – because of their traditional popularity, operators do often subsidise the cost of buying an iPhone in order to lock you into a lucrative long-term deal.
But generally speaking if you can afford the upfront cost of the handset, you will pay less over the life of your phone by buying unlocked.
More importantly, you are not locked in to a lengthy contract. If you want a new handset at any time, you can buy one without having to up-purchase your way out of a contract, or commit to another two years.
Just be sure to make certain the phone you’re getting is not locked to a certain network.
The right SIM
One other thing to consider is the size and shape of the SIM required for your phone. Make sure you get a nano-SIM if a nano-SIM is what your phone requires.
For the record, every phone in our Top 10 takes a nano-SIM.
If you get that wrong it is easily solvable – every network will gladly send over a different-sized SIM. SIM cards tend to come in all three sizes – you simply pop out the one you need.
But that’s assuming you are getting a new SIM, and if you’re looking for a SIM-free phone or unlocked phone you probably already have one.
More important is to make sure that if you want 4G you get a 4G-enabled phone and SIM.PromotioniPhone XR
Best smartphone 2019
1. OnePlus 7 Pro
- RRP: From $669
There’s really very little to fault in the OnePlus 7 Pro. The display, camera, and core specs are essentially all best-in-class – or close enough to count – while the few shortcuts (wireless charging, an IP rating) are easily explained away by a price point – starting from £649/$669 – that still undercuts the closest comparable rivals by some way.
Yes, this costs a bit more than you’re probably used to from OnePlus, but it delivers on enough of its promises to justify that price hike – and if you’re not convinced, the regular OnePlus 7 is always there (outside the US at least), at the same ol’ £499 price OnePlus has been hitting for the last year or two.
In a year that’s already seen both Samsung and Huawei drop pretty phenomenal flagships, OnePlus has still managed to drop a device that might just be the phone to beat in 2019.
Read our full OnePlus 7 Pro review
2. Xiaomi Mi 9
- RRP: Price TBC
Devilishly fast, insanely beautiful and offering the best value for money you’ll find in any smartphone, anywhere. Mi 9 is a cracking deal at £499, and well worth the upgrade from even Mi 8.
New is an in-display fingerprint sensor as standard, Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 855 processor, 20W wireless charging, a larger screen and a triple-lens camera that includes a massive 48Mp lens.
It’s available direct from Xiaomi at £499, or on contract from Vodafone. If you’re happy to ship from China, GearBest offers an incredible deal at £300.07, and at this price no other phone comes even remotely close.
Read our full Xiaomi Mi 9 review
3. Google Pixel 3
- RRP: From $799
The Pixel 3 phones give the cleanest Android experience. The only differences between both models are the larger screen (and notch) and battery on the XL.
They have the best point and shoot camera, outperforming all rivals in most situations. Both have the most premium Google phone hardware to date, good battery life, can charge wirelessly and are waterproof.
Read our full Google Pixel 3 review
4. Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus
- RRP: From $999
The Galaxy S10 Plus is the best Galaxy phone ever with outstanding cameras, build, display and performance. The Exynos version is let down by its merely acceptable battery life.
If you want to spend £100 / $100 less there’s the regular Galaxy S10 which has most of the same features including the triple rear cameras and outstanding screen. You could even go for the S10e, but it’s a different phone with a smaller screen, less battery and fewer cameras.
Read our full Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus review
5. iPhone XR
- RRP: 64GB $599 | 128GB $649
Apart from an LCD screen and only one camera it’s practically as capable as the XS with the same A12 processor, wireless charging and Face ID. It’s got a bigger screen than the regular XS, too.
Six colours at launch gives great choice and battery life is outstanding.
Read our full Apple iPhone XR review
6. Oppo Reno 10x Zoom
- RRP: To be confirmed
The Reno 10x Zoom feels a lot like the OnePlus 7 Pro, but trades that phone’s phenomenal screen for a better camera instead – a trade-off that’s likely to make sense for a lot of people. It’s got top specs, decent battery, and a slick design – as long as you don’t mind the shark fin.
Getting a Snapdragon 855 and a full-screen, notchless display for £699 is a good deal no matter which way you look at it, but the real sell is the triple camera array. With a 48Mp main lens and a 5x optical zoom that can simulate 10x thanks to software tricks, this is one of the few cameras on the market that can rival the Huawei P30 Pro.
The few downsides are that the AMOLED panel is only 1080p, the speakers are a bit wimpy, and ColorOS still feels like a bit of a work in progress – but for most people these will hardly matter at all.
Read our full Oppo Reno 10x Zoom review
7. Huawei P30 Pro
- RRP: £899 (128GB), £1099 (512GB)
The Huawei P30 Pro bears many similarities to the older P20 Pro but also to the Mate 20 Pro that sits below it in this chart. Huawei’s software leaves a lot to be desired, but this phone excels with extraordinary cameras.
With an amazing 10x optical zoom and outstanding low light performance the P30 Pro pushes Huawei firmly into the conversation. Battery life is also outstanding.
It’s the same price as the Galaxy S10 Plus at £899 and isn’t available in the US but this is the best phone Huawei has ever made.
Read our full Huawei P30 Pro review
8. iPhone XS
- RRP: From $999
The OLED display is outstanding and features like the totally secure Face ID unlock system make it the most futuristic phone Apple has ever made. Performance is flawless, much like the build quality. It’s probably still the most desirable phone in the world.
It is fast and wireless charging compatible, but only comes with a slow charger in the box. But improved battery life and amazing dual cameras still make the iPhone XS a no-brainer if you already love iPhone and iOS.
If you want a larger screen there’s the iPhone XS Max.
Read our full Apple iPhone XS review
9. Xiaomi Mi Mix 3
- RRP: $559.99
Swapping out the awkwardly placed selfie camera with a new dual-lens model that is tucked away behind the screen, the Mi Mix 3 is one of several new slider phones that shows how the concept should work. Not only allowing a proper full-screen display, but adding new quick-access functionality to the phone.
In other respects Mi Mix 3 is not a huge upgrade over the 2S, and actually loses some of its bling over its predecessor with the absence of its 18K gold camera surround. But it’s still a great phone, available at an incredible price, and it’s astonishing to see just how far the original full-display phone has come.
We recommend purchasing the UK model, unless you’re on an extremely tight budget. But you can’t argue with the pricing: at £499 Mi Mix 3 offers phenomenal value. There’s also a 5G version, exclusive to Vodafone, which is the first – and cheapest – 5G phone to go on sale in the UK.
Read our full Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review
10. Sony Xperia 1
- RRP: $949
The Xperia 1 looks wacky at first with its very tall 21:9 aspect ratio, but aping the dimensions of a cinema screen means many Netflix films looks absolutely stunning with no letterboxing or cut-off. It costs £849 or $949.
The tallness is also handy in portrait though, letting you split screen apps – you can watch a video in the top third while using, say, maps or messaging in the bottom two thirds with enough screen space for neither to be cramped.
With an industry-first notchless 4K HDR OLED display and much-improved cameras, Sony has made a phone that isn’t for the mainstream but ties together the best the company has to offer in smartphone displays, video capture and video playback.
Read our full Sony Xperia 1 review
11. OnePlus 6T
- RRP: 6/128GB $549 | 8/128GB $579 | 8/256GB $629
It has been superseded by the OnePlus 7 phones but if you can find the 6T on Amazon or contract it’s still a great choice. It is fairly priced, has the best specs you could hope for, looks great and has cameras that can compete with its rivals.
The glass construction, outstanding display and lightning quick performance starts from £499 or $549 – an incredible price, but you can find the Galaxy S9 for about the same now. The dual cameras are a shade below the quality of the Pixel 3, but most people won’t care or notice.
While its phones have always been excellent, the OnePlus 6T is its best ever, and the phone with which its small compromises finally don’t matter.
Read our full OnePlus 6T review
12. Huawei Mate 20 Pro
- RRP: Approx $750
It’s a mark of how good Huawei phones have become that there are two in our Top 10. The Mate 20 Pro has a large vibrant OLED screen, particularly great battery life and awesome triple cameras with a slender notch.
At £899 it’s Huawei’s most expensive phone yet (though you’ll struggle to buy it in the US) and benefits from improvements made to Huawei’s EMUI software. AI features also improve the camera experience over the P20 Pro, and it adds 3D face unlock and reverse wireless charging so it can charge other phones.
Stereo speakers, waterproofing and 128GB storage to ensure this is a phone that will last you into at least two or three years of use.
Read our full Huawei Mate 20 Pro review
13. Honor View 20
- RRP: Unavailable
With prices starting from £499, the Honor View 20’s closest comparison is the OnePlus 6T, but there’s a lot more on offer here than a 6T imitation.
For one, the View 20 was the first phone to release in the west with a punch hole selfie camera – a small circular cutout in the corner of the display, rather than a notch dropping down into the middle of the screen.
There’s also the first 48MP rear camera – a stat we worried was all marketing hype, but actually delivers in one of the crispest cameras we’ve used so far, especially when using the AI-enhanced Ultra Clarity mode.
Throw in the stunning holographic rear, flagship processor, and long-lasting 4,000mAh battery – not to mention an honest-to-god headphone jack in a flagship – and you’ve got one of 2019’s best phones already.