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We spend hundreds of hours testing the latest Android smartphones every year, and we believe that Google Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL are the best Android phones for most people. They have the best software and cameras that you can get in an Android model, but they cost much less than high-end phones. You also get guaranteed software updates for a longer period of time than any other phone.
Google's Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL are cheaper versions of the flagship Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL respectively, but they almost retain all that makes these phones so good. Get Google's clean, fast version of Android 10 with a three-year warranty for updates. The camera performance is identical to that of the more expensive Pixel phones and surpasses all other Android phones in this regard. However, the Pixel 3a and 3a XL are not quite as fast as the more expensive versions, offer no wireless charging and their plastic bodies are not waterproof. However, they have headphone connections.
The Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL run faster than the 3a and 3a XL and have better displays, and their camera performance is equally impressive. The workmanship is also an improvement over the cheaper pixels, since the back is made of frosted glass, the device can be charged wirelessly and the water resistance is guaranteed (but no headphone jack is available). Like the models 3a and 3a XL, these phones will receive guaranteed monthly updates – in this case until October 2021. These are better overall phones, but more than Google's budget pixels.
Why you should trust us
I've tested Android phones for wirecutter over the last three years. I've also written over a million words about Android phones, tablets, and software on websites like Android Police ExtremeTech and Tested over the last decade. I've lived with dozens of Android phones at this time. I've used and tested more phones over the past year than most people will own in their lives.
How We Selected and Tested It
We've tested dozens of Android phones in recent years, and most have done it bad software, poor performance, terrible design decisions, or a combination of all three. According to the following criteria, we decide which phones are worth buying:
- Performance: A great Android phone should feel snappy, whether you're playing a game or just wiping across the UI. Most flagship Android phones use similar processors, so performance differences are largely software-related.
- Software: A clunky version of Android can ruin the experience, and even the most powerful hardware does not matter if the manufacturer did not. & # 39; t Optimize the software well. Phones with fewer vendor modifications work better and are easier to use. Your smartphone will also contain a lot of personal data, so security is important – a phone that comes with outdated software, receives no security patches or documented security flaws, is not a good buy regardless of the price.
- Display: Most people watch daily for several hours on their smartphone screen. It is important that the screen remains sharp and easy to read even outdoors.
- Camera: The best camera is the one you have with you. With a good smartphone camera you can always take fantastic photos. The difference between a first-class and an average telephone camera, however, can be very large. To get our recommendation, a smartphone needs to take better photos than other devices in its price range.
- Battery Life: If a phone does not have a full day of heavy use, it's not worth buying. Some phones offer battery life of several days, but this is not necessary for most people. If the phone lasts until bedtime, the battery life is sufficient.
- Build quality: Android smartphones can cost a lot. A poorly-built phone or a phone that's made of substandard materials can break down before you even pay for it through a wireless service provider. For phones, high quality materials such as aluminum, ceramic and gorilla glass should be used, and the device should not bend or crack under load.
Should you upgrade?
The Wirecutter Philosophy reads further If you upgrade something (as in The New York Times now our parent company), you should spend money on the things you do all the time use and that are important to you, and you should not spend a lot on the rest.
If you are satisfied with your current phone, do not get another one. The phones, which will be available later, are better than the models available today. On the other hand, if you use your phone all day and your old phone is not working well, you should buy a new one.
Another reason to consider upgrading is that your current phone no longer receives software updates. Without updates, your phone will become less secure over time – all software will have errors leading to security vulnerabilities and no corrections will be made if your phone receives no updates. Without updates, the phone can not use apps that require features that are only available in the latest operating system.
If your phone is older than a year or two and your biggest complaint is battery life Remember to replace the battery before replacing the phone. Most newer phones use sealed batteries. However, you can usually pay the manufacturer or a third party to replace the battery. This is tedious, but not as troublesome as replacing the phone, and it costs much less. If such an option is not feasible for you, our tips should help you get through a day without any problems.
When it's time to buy a new phone, we recommend that you afford the highest rated, most recently published phone. Cheap cell phones often have a combination of inferior specifications, poor build quality, a poor user interface, and an outdated, rundown Android version that will never be updated. You will probably feel the difference in quality and ease of use every day. It's almost always better to pay a bit more to get a newer and better phone that will give you pleasure for at least two years.
The Best Android Phones: Google Pixel 3a and 3a XL
The Google Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL have much in common with the flagship Pixel 3 and 3 XL. They are available in two sizes (5.6 and 6 inches respectively), have a clean, fast Android version with three years of guaranteed monthly updates (until May 2022 on the two 3a models) and offer a camera performance that exceeds the Go beyond what they offer We've seen every other phone we tested. The models 3a and 3a XL are not as fast as the more expensive pixels or competing phones like the Samsung Galaxy S10e. They can not be charged via Wi-Fi, and the plastic case is not waterproof. However, they cost less than the Pixel 3 and 3 XL, and most people would not notice the handful of missing features.
The Models 3a and 3a XL ship with Google's version of Android 10, which is optimized and free of duplicate apps or clunky UI additions. It also includes some of the more expensive Pixel 3 features, such as Call Screen and Active Edge, that let you launch Google Assistant by pressing the phone. Google promises monthly security and Android version updates for the 3a through May 2022; This means that at least Android 11 and 12 are available. Other phones are fortunate enough to get two years of update support, and launching is often delayed.
Google equipped the Pixel 3a with the same 12.2 megapixel rearview camera as the more expensive Pixel 3 and so on. Camera produces the best photos you can get from an Android phone. Google's HDR + captures impressive detail while balancing poor lighting conditions. The AI-controlled digital zoom is almost as good as the optical zoom on telephones with special telephoto lenses. There is also Night Sight, which uses longer shutter speeds to capture stunning photos with very little light. The Pixel 3 and 3a XL do not have the flagship pixel models' wide-angle, front-facing camera, making it difficult for large groups to take selfies. Instead, the selfie cameras have a smaller sensor with 8 megapixels.
Both versions of the 3a use 1080p OLED displays and are much nicer than the LCD screens that you normally see on other phones in this price range. You should choose the size that is more comfortable for you – the 3a XL is quite large, but thanks to the plastic housing lighter than many large phones. The 5.6-inch model 3a is also comfortable for people with small hands, as it is narrower and easier to hold thanks to its large screen.
Google has also given these phones larger batteries than the flagship Pixel Equivalent – 3,000 and 3,700 mAh for the Model 3a and 3a XL versus 2,915 and 3,430 mAh for the 3 and 3 XL, respectively. The pixels 3a and 3a XL need to be recharged at night, but more charge is available for plugging. The USB Type-C connector supports 18W fast charging like the Pixel 3 and is faster than the Galaxy S10e.
On the back of the low-priced pixel models is a fingerprint sensor, which aligns perfectly with your finger when picking up the phone just like the Pixel 3 does. Also, there is a headphone jack on top that is not present on the Pixel 3 and many other flagship phones.
Bugs, but not Dealbreakers
The Pixel 3a and 3a XL use Qualcomm Snapdragon 670 processors, which are not as powerful as the Snapdragon 845 of the Pixel 3 or the Snapdragon 855 of the Galaxy S10e The optimized software from Google and the Careful optimization ensures that the pixel 3a does not react as fast as the Pixel 3 or the Galaxy S10e. You'll probably notice it most when you play 3D games and install apps. The memory, which is limited to 64 GB, is not as fast as the memory on more expensive phones. And like other pixel phones, these models also lack a microSD expansion slot.
The colors and brightness of the OLED screen are good, but not top-of-the-line, as with the screens for Pixel 3 and Galaxy S10e are easier to use outdoors on a bright day. If it rains, the Pixel 3a and 3a XL are at a disadvantage as their plastic housings, like most modern flagship phones, are not waterproof. And unlike Google's older plastic phones, such as the Nexus 5 and 6, wireless charging is not supported.
With such a good camera it is sad that Google does not offer unlimited original quality backups via the Photos app for the 3a as for more expensive pixel models. You get an unlimited number of high-quality compression backups on Google Photos, just like any other nonpixel phone. Original quality backups will not consume your cloud space on other pixel phones, but with the 3a.
Upgrade Choices: Google Pixel 3 and 3 XL
The Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL – two sizes of the same 5.5-inch or 5.5-inch phone 6.3-inch screen – feature the latest, fastest version of Android, the best camera performance regardless of the lighting conditions and excellent displays. Google guarantees monthly updates for these phones by October 2021, which is far better than what you would expect from Samsung, LG, OnePlus or even Android One phones. The hardware and build quality are better than the Pixel 3a and 3a XL, but these phones offer almost all the same features at a cheaper price. The Pixel 3 is still the right choice if you need features like water resistance or wireless charging, or prefer the look and feel of metal and glass.
Android 10 will run on pixels 3 and 3 XL, and Google's 2018 pixels will see monthly security updates (as well as full system updates for new Android versions) by fall 2021. In contrast, Samsung only releases security updates every two or three months, even on flagship phones like the S10e. This means that pixels 3 and 3 XL will receive Android Q, R and S. Other flagship phones will get one or two important updates at best, and cheap cell phones will usually get zero to one.
Google's version of Android is also continuing to be the best on the market. Apps open quickly and the user interface is impressively smooth. Google does not download its phones with apps and features you do not use, and Pixel Software's custom features are excellent: Call View, for example, lets you use the Google Assistant platform to answer calls and make sure they are not Spamming Before you get on the line, you can start with Active Edge Google Assistant by pressing the phone.
The 2018 Pixel phones offer the best camera performance on all tested Android phones (except the Pixel 3a and 3a XL) using the same camera), and in many cases is at least as good as the Apple iPhone XS. Both Pixel models feature a single 12-megapixel camera on the back and two 8-megapixel (one regular and one wide-angle) sensors on the front. The front and rear cameras take impressively sharp and accurate shots in all lighting conditions. Google's HDR + image processing reveals details and ensures even exposure throughout the frame while reducing noise. The Pixel 3 and 3 XL also support the motion sensor of the main sensor so that you can tap on a person, a pet or something else to save the focus as the subject moves in the frame. The feature works very well compared to similar features on other phones like the Samsung Galaxy S10e. The phones from Google also have a digital AI zoom that is almost as good as the optical zoom of the phones with multiple rear view cameras like the Galaxy S10 +.
The Pixel 3 is available in two versions: The standard Pixel 3 has a 5.5-inch OLED display with a resolution of 2160 × 1080; The Pixel 3 XL has a 6.3-inch screen at 2960 × 1440. The 3 XL's display also has a large recess at the top of the screen for the front-facing cameras. DisplayMate tested the 3 XL and found that its colors are "optically indistinguishable from perfect," though Samsung's latest OLED displays on the Galaxy S10e and Note 10 are slightly brighter and more uniform and visually in low light conditions are more consistent.
Google is one of the few companies to make a (relatively) compact flagship: the 5.5-inch Pixel 3 is just as powerful as the larger Pixel 3 XL. (Samsung with the S10e is another.) Both pixels have a Snapdragon 845 processor, 4GB of RAM and 64GB or 128GB of storage. Both have at least as long battery life as other high-end phones. They can easily withstand a heavy duty day or almost two days of low stress. Since the larger Pixel 3 XL can accommodate a larger battery, the model lasts a bit longer when charging, but the difference is small. You should get the size that you think is more comfortable.
Unlike previous Pixel models, the 2018 versions have glass backs instead of aluminum. This design enables the wireless charging that was no longer available on Google phones since the Nexus 6 in 2014. The bottom three quarters of the gorilla glass top are etched for a matte finish. It feels more grip than smooth glass and hides fingerprints well, but it's easier to scratch. The Pixel 3 and 3 XL are equipped with aluminum frames that increase the strength of the glass. Both have IP68 protection for dust and water resistance, which means that they will continue working after 1.5 meters of full immersion) water for half an hour. The pixels 3a and 3a XL are not.
The Pixel 3 lacks a headphone jack, which often disappears from flagship phones, although the Pixel 3a phones and the Samsung Galaxy S10e still have it. Instead of a 3.5mm jack, the Pixel 3 comes with a USB C-to-headphone adapter and a set of USB Type-C headphones that sounded much better in our tests than we would for a supplied one Accessories had expected. The Pixel 3 also does not offer a microSD card slot like Samsung's Galaxy S10 series. So you should buy the 128GB version (which adds to the already high cost of the phone) if you're worried that this will not be the case for 64GB.
And while the Pixel 3's 18W USB-C charger is slightly better than the 15W charger shipped with the Galaxy S10e, you'll need to buy Google's expensive Pixel Stand if you have 10W wireless. Chargers need. The Pixel 3 will charge at just 5W for standard Qi chargers, although Google indicates that it will certify 10W third-party chargers for "Made for Google." So far, only two of them have come out, and both cost too much and do not have many Pixel Stand functions.
The Pixel 3 XL offers more visible space than the Pixel 3, but the screen of the 3 XL has a huge notch above to make room for the two front-facing cameras of the phone. This design peculiarity is controversial – some people do not mind it and others hate it. Functionally, the score limits the number of status and notification icons in the status bar, which is annoying.
Second Place: Samsung Galaxy S10e
The Samsung Galaxy S10 family includes three phones: the S10, the S10 + and the S10e. They're all good, but most people should first think about the Samsung Galaxy S10e, since it offers almost all the features of the larger phones at a lower price. It's the iPhone XR of the Samsung world: The S10 and the S10 + are too expensive, considering how good the cheaper model is. The S10e offers a brighter, more vivid display than the Pixel 3 or 3a and has the features that are lacking in pixels, such as a microSD card slot, the ability to wirelessly charge other devices, and a headphone jack (which the Pixel 3a has ) not the pixel 3). Although Samsung's main camera sensor is good and there is a secondary ultra-wide angle camera, pixels 3 and 3a still have the best camera by far, especially in difficult lighting conditions. The S10e ships with Android Pie and Samsung's One UI software overlay, which performs well but is cluttered with redundant apps. And the configuration of all functions takes time. Samsung is also much slower than Google in releasing new Android updates for its phones.
The Galaxy S10 is available in three screen sizes: 5.8 inches (S10e), 6.1 inches (S10), and 6.4 inches (S10 +). Most people considering the S10 series will be satisfied with the S10e. The S10e has neither a curved display nor a fingerprint sensor on the screen. However, this facilitates the use. It has almost no aperture around the screen, so a 5.8-inch screen fits in a smaller case than the Pixel and its 5.5-inch display. A small round recess at the top takes the selfie camera. The display uses the best OLED screen technology in its class, brighter and more vibrant than the Pixel 3 and 3 XL. According to the GSM Arena, the screen of the S10e is just as impressive as that of the more expensive S10 models.
The Galaxy S10e has a 12-megapixel main camera sensor with adjustable aperture, so the camera lens can be physically adjusted in more or less light. It can take impressively bright shots in low light and crisp, outdoor images, and therefore has a wider range than other phone cameras. However, Samsung's high-dynamic-range processing still does not effectively handle dark and light areas in the same photo as the pixel's HDR, and shutter speeds are typically too long. This will cause blurring as your subject moves, even with the help of above-average optical stabilization. The 16-megapixel secondary ultrawide camera is useful for capturing large groups of people, landscapes and other sprawling scenes, but for the S10e, photographing is not enough for the Pixel family. Although the Galaxy S10e is one of the best phones for photography, the Pixel models can take better pictures overall.
The metal and glass case of the Galaxy 10e is solid and bends in the right places to fit comfortably in the hand. The phone looks beautiful, but it will take fingerprints as soon as you handle it. With all the glass it is also slippery and fragile. The Galaxy S10e has IP68 protection for dust and water resistance, which means it will work even when immersed in 1.5 meters of water for half an hour. Samsung pushed the fingerprint sensor on the on / off switch on the right edge of the S10e. It's not as modern as the Samsung's ultrasonic fingerprint sensor used on the S10 and S10 +, but it's faster and more accurate than the sensor on the back of the pixel.
The Galaxy S10e is one of the first phones to come with the Snapdragon 855 processor. The performance improvements are noticeable compared to last year's Samsung flagship. Thus, the Galaxy S10e is almost the same pixel. However, Pixel 3 and 3 XL feel smoother and more consistent in multitasking or installing apps. Google's Android version is still better optimized than the versions delivered by most phone manufacturers.
The battery life of the Galaxy S10e is similar to that of the Pixel 3 and 3a – the phone can easily last a day, but it has to charge it every night. The Pixel 3 XL and 3a XL provide a few hours of screen time. Samsung has included a wired 15W quick charger included with the phone. However, the cabled loading speed is slower than at Google, LG, OnePlus and other phone manufacturers. You can also buy a 9 W wireless quick charger. Unlike the Pixel, you do not need a quick charger specifically designed for the S10e to get the highest wireless charging speed. The S10e also wirelessly charges other devices such as phones and earphones through a feature called Wireless Power Share.
Samsung is shipping the Galaxy S10e with Android 9 Pie, a version older than the Android 10 version that Google's Pixel phones are now using. However, it has Samsung's One UI design, which is better than older Samsung software, but still not as attractive or user-friendly as the Pixel version. Some of Samsung's added features are useful, such as system-wide night-time design and gesture-based navigation that you can more easily adapt to than Google's. However, Samsung also bundles unneeded apps like Calendar, Browser, and Keyboard, although Google's apps are better. Also Samsung's home screen is clunky compared to Google's Pixel Launcher, and Samsung's Bixby Voice Assistant is mediocre at best. You should disable Bixby better and contact Google Assistant.
And although Samsung is striving for monthly security updates, like Google does after Pixel, Samsung rarely does so. You get more updates than on most Android phones, but it takes significantly longer to see important feature updates than on Pixel 3. While the Pixel phones are already on Android 10, last year's Galaxy S9 saw the Update not received Until early 2019, about four months after the pixels, and we expect the S10 to get Android 10 in the same timeframe.
Great too: OnePlus 7 Pro
OnePlus 7 Pro is more expensive than previous OnePlus devices, but the best choice if you want to have a huge phone. The massive 6.4-inch edge-to-edge OLED screen is updated to 90 instead of the typical 60 frames per second, making scrolling and animating much smoother. The display does not break because the OnePlus 7 Pro has a hinged front camera. The trio of reversing cameras is capable but not as good as the single camera at the pixel or the main sensor on the Galaxy S10e. This phone also lacks typical features such as water resistance, wireless charging and a headphone jack. Obwohl sich der Support von OnePlus im letzten Jahr verbessert hat, werden Sie länger auf Support-Antworten und -Versand warten als bei Google, Samsung (oder Apple). Dies kann ein Problem sein, wenn sich die motorisierte Frontkamera nach einigen Monaten als unzuverlässig herausstellt.
Wir empfehlen die OnePlus 7 Pro-Version, die 6 GB RAM und 128 GB Speicher für ihren Preis hat. Bei teureren Versionen sind 12 GB RAM völlig überflüssig. Möglicherweise möchten Sie jedoch ein Upgrade für den erweiterten Speicher von 256 GB durchführen – OnePlus 7 Pro verfügt nicht über einen microSD-Kartensteckplatz.
Alle Versionen des OnePlus 7 Pro sind mit dem Snapdragon 855-Prozessor ausgestattet, und dieses Telefon ist sogar noch schneller als das Galaxy S10e und Pixel 3. Apps werden sofort geöffnet, das Scrollen ist reibungslos und das Multitasking verzögert sich. kostenlos. Der 1440 × 3120, 90 Hz-Bildschirm lässt alle Animationen im Vergleich zum 60 Hz-Bildschirm anderer Telefone sehr flüssig aussehen. Der Bildschirm ist nicht ganz so hell oder farbgetreu wie das Galaxy S10e OLED, aber für den Einsatz im Freien bei direkter Sonneneinstrahlung ausreichend. Der Fingerabdruckleser unter dem Display ist ungefähr so schnell wie die Fingerabdruckleser bei Pixel und Galaxy S10e. Dieses Modell verfügt außerdem über den OnePlus-Markenalarm-Schieberegler an der Seite des Telefons, mit dem Sie den Klingelmodus sofort ändern können – eine Standardfunktion für iPhones, die für Android aus irgendeinem Grund praktisch unbekannt ist.
Im Gegensatz zu Samsung Galaxy Note 10 und Galaxy S10 + Das OnePlus 7 Pro, das andere große Flaggschiff, ist nicht mit redundanten Apps oder fehlerhaften Funktionen ausgestattet, die Sie niemals nutzen werden. Die Benutzeroberfläche ist dank des 90-Hz-Bildschirms noch flüssiger als die von Pixel 3, es fehlen jedoch einige nützliche Funktionen wie der Anrufbildschirm von Google und der sichere Ordner von Samsung. Oxygen OS ist immer noch eine der besten Android-Versionen, und OnePlus 'Update-Unterstützung gehört zu den besten aller Android-Gerätehersteller außerhalb von Google. OnePlus-Telefone erhalten mindestens zwei Jahre lang Android-Versions-Updates und ein drittes Jahr Sicherheits-Updates, die alle veröffentlicht werden zwei Monate.
Der 7 Pro verfügt über einen 4.000-mAh-Akku, der größer ist als der Akku des Galaxy S10e oder einer beliebigen Version des Pixels. Der 90-Hz-Bildschirm verbraucht jedoch mehr Strom, sodass die Akkulaufzeit in etwa gleich ist. Das OnePlus 7 Pro hält einen Tag lang bequem, aber Sie haben Mühe, einen zweiten Tag ohne Aufladen zu bewältigen. Glücklicherweise arbeitet das proprietäre Warp-Ladekabel mit 30 W, viel schneller als das Aufladen für das Pixel oder das Galaxy S10. Das Telefon lädt sich auch über USB-PD-Ladegeräte mit 15 W schnell auf.
Auf der Rückseite des OnePlus 7 Pro befinden sich drei Kameras: ein 48-Megapixel-Hauptsensor, ein 8-Megapixel-3-fach-Teleobjektiv und ein 16-Megapixel-Weitwinkel. Dies sind die besten Kameras, die OnePlus jemals in ein Telefon eingebaut hat, aber sie sind nicht ganz so gut wie die Kameras von Samsung und sie liegen weit unter dem Standard von Google. Das Problem ist bei schlechten Lichtverhältnissen am offensichtlichsten, aber es ist schön, sowohl Tele- als auch Weitwinkelobjektive zu haben (weder das Pixel noch das Galaxy S10e haben beide). Die nach vorne gerichtete Pop-up-Kamera funktioniert gut, aber wir haben Vorbehalte gegen den Mechanismus. Durch die Möglichkeit, die Kamera auszublenden, wird verhindert, dass dieses Telefon eine Kerbe am oberen Rand des Displays aufweist. Der Motor des Popup-Elements ist jedoch ein kleines bewegliches Teil, das brechen kann, bevor Sie für ein Telefon-Upgrade bereit sind.
OnePlus 7 Pro fühlt sich solide an, aber es besteht aus rutschigem Glas, und Sie profitieren nicht vom kabellosen Laden wie beim Pixel 3 oder Galaxy S10e. OnePlus bietet eine Handvoll offizieller Schutzhüllen, mit denen sich das Telefon leichter greifen lässt, und sie gehören zu den besten Schutzhüllen, die wir bisher verwendet haben. Sie passen perfekt und sehen gut aus. Durch Hinzufügen einer Schutzhülle ist dieses ohnehin riesige Telefon jedoch schwieriger zu halten .
OnePlus does not offer a water-resistance certification (more expensive phones are usually IP67-rated at least) or a microSD card slot with this model. The company says the 7 Pro should survive a splash (no promises), but you should not put that to the test. The phone also has no headphone jack, which is typical for high-end phones but disappointing nonetheless. What is surprising is that OnePlus didn’t even bother including a USB-to-headphone adapter in the box.
In general, we don’t recommend that you get an Android phone that is more than a year old or has already been replaced by newer models. An older phone might be cheaper, but the lower price usually isn’t enough to justify the shorter window of remaining software support. Most Android phones receive about two years of reliable software support; after that you’re lucky to have even one or two security updates per year.
As mentioned above, the Samsung Galaxy S10 and S10+ are fine phones that share nearly all of the features of the S10e, but they are taller and equipped with curved edge-to-edge screens measuring 6.1 inches and 6.4 inches diagonal, respectively. They also have in-screen fingerprint readers like that of the OnePlus 7 Pro rather than a fingerprint reader integrated into the power button like the S10e’s. They’re both great, but you have little reason to spend the extra money over the S10e and Galaxy Note 10, respectively.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 10 and 10+ are feature-packed phones with the best OLED screens available right now, but the starting price is too high when most people will be just as happy with a Pixel or the Galaxy S10e. The Note 10+ is the better of the two Note phones, with a higher-resolution OLED and a microSD card slot, but it measures 6.8 inches diagonal – it’s an enormous, almost tablet-sized phone that might not even fit in your pocket. These are also the first Samsung phones to drop the headphone jack. The only reason to buy a Note 10 over a Pixel or the Galaxy S10e is if you cannot live without the S Pen stylus, and that describes very few people.
In a similar vein, Sony’s Xperia 1 is the best phone that company has made in years, with a vibrant 4K OLED screen and smooth performance. The super-tall 21:9 screen ratio makes split-screen multitasking easier, and you can watch movies without black bars. However, the device is so tall that apps can feel cramped, and all the buttons and the fingerprint sensor are awkwardly clustered on the right edge. Sony’s camera performance also falls short of what we’ve seen from Google, Samsung, and even OnePlus.
The Moto Z4 is the only phone in the past year to support the Moto Mod accessory system. Unlike past Z-series phones, this one is a midrange device (with a Snapdragon 675 processor and 4 GB of RAM) instead of a flagship phone. It’s not as fast as the OnePlus 7 Pro, the Galaxy S10, or even the Pixel 3a, and the in-display fingerprint sensor is sluggish. The Moto Z4 comes with a 360-degree camera Mod that you’ll probably never use.
The LG V40 ThinQ is not as good as the Pixel 3 XL or OnePlus 7 Pro for several reasons. The V40’s performance is not up to the Pixel’s, and its screen isn’t as nice or as smooth as the OnePlus 7 Pro’s. And despite the fact that LG put three camera sensors on the back of the V40, we’d take the Pixel’s fantastic single sensor any day.
The LG G8 ThinQ is the best phone LG has ever made, but it’s still far behind the Pixel 3 and Galaxy S10e. The 6.1-inch OLED is bright and vibrant, and we appreciate the true 3D face unlock on this phone. However, LG’s gimmicky hand unlock and touchless gestures barely work, and the rest of the software experience lags behind even Samsung’s at this point.
The Nokia 9 PureView is the most powerful phone HMD has released under the Nokia brand, but it’s ultimately disappointing. It looks good on paper with an AI-powered five-camera array, an in-display fingerprint sensor, and a Snapdragon 845 processor. Plus, the haptic feedback is almost as good as on the Pixel 3. The Nokia Android One version of Android is also fast and gets regular updates. The camera can take impressive photos, but processing a single photo can take as long as 20 seconds, and the rest of the phone slows to a crawl. On top of that, the in-screen fingerprint reader is abysmally slow and inaccurate.
The BlackBerry KEY2 is the only current-generation Android phone with a physical keyboard, but you pay for that with a smaller screen and a chunky overall design. The KEY2 also has a midrange Snapdragon 660 processor and middle-of-the-road camera performance, but the price is almost enough for you to buy a Pixel 3a XL. This phone isn’t worth the price unless having a physical keyboard is all you care about.
The HTC U12+ has high-end specs and camera performance that almost rivals Samsung’s, but everything else about this phone is a mess. The LCD screen suffers from extreme backlight bleed, and HTC’s Sense version of Android Oreo is dated and clunky. This phone doesn’t even have physical buttons – it has pressure-sensitive “nubs” where the power and volume buttons should be, and they work poorly. Simply turning on your phone should not be so frustrating.