The 10 Best AT&T Smartphones of 2019

Buy the best smartphones on AT&T's reliable network

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

The Rundown

  • Best Samsung: Samsung Galaxy Note9 at AT&T, "The cameras are top-notch too, with an 8MP AF sensor on the front for selfies and video calls."
  • Runner-Up, Best Samsung: Samsung Galaxy S10e at Amazon, "Features an immersive display and a pro-grade camera."
  • Best Unlocked: Google Pixel 3 at Google.com, "If you want to bring an unlocked phone to AT&T, then this is one of the best all-around Android phones on the market."
  • Best Camera: LG V40 ThinQ at AT&T, "An insanely substantial multi-camera system — not two, not three, but five cameras are loaded onboard."
  • Best Apple: iPhone Xs at AT&T, "Available in 64GB, 256GB or 512GB configurations and...a new gold option."
  • Best Design: Samsung Galaxy S10 at AT&T, "The 'hole punch' design includes a front-facing camera while maintaining a largely bezel-free display."
  • Runner-Up, Best Camera: OnePlus 7 Pro at Amazon, "Includes several smart filters that automatically and effortlessly create professional-level photos."
  • Runner-Up, Best Apple: iPhone XR at AT&T, "Offering almost all the perks of our top Apple pick, the Xs, but at a lower cost."
  • Most Unique Features: Nokia 9 PureView at Amazon, "Includes five separate sensors on the back (three RGB and two monochromes), plus a depth sensor and a flash."
  • Best Value: iPhone SE at AT&T, "If you’re looking for the best bang for your buck, look straight at the iPhone SE."

Our Top Picks

Best Samsung: Samsung Galaxy Note9

Samsung Galaxy Note 9
 Courtesy of AT&T
4.3

Whether you’re in the market for a huge, beautiful screen, a killer camera, or you’re just a Samsung fan, the just-released Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is a powerhouse with no shortage of modern features. First, there’s that display: At 6.4 inches and a 2960 x 1440 resolution, supported by Super AMOLED technology, this is the centerpiece of the phone. Combine that with the brand-new Bluetooth functionality of the S Pen, and you have an amazing machine. The cameras are top-notch too, with an 8MP AF sensor on the front for selfies and video calls, and a wide-angle/telephoto pair on the back sporting 12MP sensors. It even has dual aperture on the wide-angle.

With a 64-bit Octa-Core Processor offering speeds up to 2.8 GHz, you won’t be short on performance here. You can pick up the phone with 6 or 8GB of RAM, which comes with 128 or 512GB of storage, respectively. If that isn't enough space for you, you can bump it up to a whopping terabyte of storage with a microSD card. The battery has a capacity of 4,000 mAh, and AKG-tuned, Dolby Atmos-supported speakers give you a great music system, too. Pick this up in Ocean Blue or Lavender Purple colorways.

Runner-Up, Best Samsung: Samsung Galaxy S10e

4.7

You have to look for a very specific feature set and price point to get good value in the modern smartphone landscape. Either you’re paying flagship prices north of $1,000 or you’re seriously sacrificing on features for a lower price. There are a few phones that attempt to give you a happy medium, and that’s where Samsung’s Galaxy S10e comes in.

It’s a good few hundred cheaper than the largest S10, and it offers a lot of similar features. There’s a beautiful 5.8-inch Infinity O Display that gives you a super-crisp resolution of 2280 x 1080 and amazing OLED performance. That “O” part refers to the tiny cutout to accommodate the front-facing 10MP selfie camera. This is the most standout feature on the whole S10 line because it offers a really clever way for Samsung to give you a virtually bezel-less screen.

On the back, there’s a 16MP ultra-wide camera and a 12MP standard lens that, paired with Samsung’s image-processing software, gives you amazing video performance. It’s all powered by a top-notch Snapdragon 855 process, but you’ll sacrifice a bit with 6GB of RAM at the entry level. You can select between 128GB or 256GB of storage, and that can be bolstered with up to 512GB of additional storage on a MicroSD. Plus, if you opt for the S10e instead of the standard S10, you’ll get to choose the flashier Canary Yellow color.

See more reviews of our favorite Samsung phones available for purchase.

Best Unlocked: Google Pixel 3

Google Pixel 3

 Google.com

4.5

AT&T has an extensive selection of phones to choose from on its nationwide service, whether its iPhone or Android. But if you want to bring an unlocked phone to AT&T, then the Google Pixel 3 is a great choice and one of the best all-around Android phones on the market.

This phone runs the latest Android Pie software and comes in white, black, and pink color options. It measures 5.7 x 2.7 x 0.3 inches and has a stunning-looking 5.5-inch OLED screen. Under the hood, you’ll find a powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor and 4GB of RAM, which means you’ll never get slowed down by multitasking. While all of these features are great, what really stands out on the Pixel 3 is its top-of-the-line 12.2-megapixel back camera and 8-megapixel front camera.

One other fun feature is that the Pixel 3 is built for VR and is compatible with the Google Daydream View headset.

Best Camera: LG V40 ThinQ

LG V40 ThinQ

 Courtesy of AT&T

5

The LG V40 ThinQ can compete with just about any other big-brand smartphone on the market today. It has a lot going for it: a 6.4-inch QHD display with a resolution of 1440 x 3120 pixels, 6GB of RAM, a Snapdragon 845 processor, and a perfectly reasonable 3300 mAh battery. But what LG is touting as the focal point of the phone is that it has an insanely substantial multi-camera system — not two, not three, but five cameras are loaded onboard. If high-quality pictures and video are a priority for you, then the V40 ThinQ is definitely worth checking out. The main cameras on the back are made up of three lenses and sensors: a 12MP standard, a 12MP telephoto, and a 16MP ultrawide. These amount to a super versatile trio that let you capture whatever subject you need. You can even turn on the aptly named Triple Photo mode to snap three pictures from all three focal lengths at once and choose from them later. The selfie camera is made up of an 8MP standard lens and a 5MP wide-angle lens. What’s cool here is that the standard lens will look every bit as crisp as what you’d expect, but the wide-angle lens means you can get group photos (or wider background selfies) with no problem. It all comes in a sleek, light package that holds up well within the flagship class.

Check out our guide to the best LG phones.

Best Apple: iPhone Xs

iPhone Xs
 Courtesy of Best Buy
4.7

As the ostensible replacement to the iPhone X, the newest Xs boasts Apple’s most cutting-edge tech to date. First, the beautiful OLED Super Retina display gives you 2436 x 1125 pixels to play with, amounting to a 458 ppi. Combine that with software features like the True Tone color-adjusting AI function and you have a truly brilliant-looking device. The whole thing is powered by the brand-new A12 Bionic chip, Apple’s fastest chipset to date with the most connections in the neural engine, delivering faster and smarter FaceID and performance. The construction has Apple’s signature sleekness with a glass front and back, premium stainless-steel sides and an IP68 water resistance allowing up to two meters and 30 minutes of submersion protection.

We can’t talk about a flagship Apple release without mentioning the camera. A 12MP telephoto and wide-angle systems on the back offer pro-level sharpness while the 7MP system on the front offers decent-quality selfies and video calling. But the raw hardware, per usual, isn’t the whole story. Apple’s new photo software offers features that range from smart HDR layering, AI content prediction, and amazing portrait bokeh that can be adjusted independently after the picture is taken. At the end of the day, if you’re looking for a premium iPhone, this is the one to consider. It’s available in 64GB, 256GB or 512GB configurations and in color choices of silver, space gray, and a new gold option.

Best Design: Samsung Galaxy S10

Samsung Galaxy S10

 AT&T

4.8

The first thing you notice about the S10 is the amazing display, a 6.1-inch Quad HD+ AMOLED display with a super-crisp resolution of 3040 x 1440. Another distinguishing factor is the “hole punch” that allows Samsung to include a front-facing camera while maintaining a largely bezel-free display. It’s a really beautiful design and might be enough to convince many buyers, before even looking under the hood.

Powering the device is the latest Snapdragon—a 2.73GHz octa-core processor plus 8GB of RAM for amazing speeds. There are three separate cameras on the back, the most interesting of which is the 12MP wide-angle lens that has a mechanical variable aperture. This gives you amazing control, akin to what you’d get with a full DSLR camera. There are also some really interesting software features on-board, including the long-overdue ability to map the Bixby button to whatever function you want, and Google Assistant. You can choose from storage capacity up to 1TB and a host of amazing colors ranging from Flamingo Pink to the eye-catching Prism White.

Runner-Up, Best Camera: OnePlus 7 Pro

OnePlus 6T

OnePlus.com

OnePlus has put itself in the game in a serious way with its latest flagship model for a couple of reasons. But it’s pretty obvious that the camera setup is paramount to their design. The first thing you’ll notice is its most unique feature—a motorized popup 16MP front-facing camera. This allows the phone to maintain a virtually bezel-less design with a massive, notchless 6.67-inch display sporting a super-crisp resolution of 3120x1440. The rest of the cameras are huge focal points of the phone too, offering three separate systems on the back. There’s a 16MP ultra-wide angle camera, an 8MP telephoto camera, and the main camera gives you a truly remarkable 48MP to play with.

This whole thing is powered by a lightning-fast Snapdragon 855 processor, with 6GB or 12GB of RAM. The 4,000 mAh battery offers a ton of capacity, but the real notable battery feature here is OnePlus’ impressive Warp Charge that lets you juice up your phone in under 30 minutes (the fastest charging time we’ve seen on a phone of this caliber). Choose between 128GB and 256GB of storage, and pick a unique color from Mirror Black, Almond, or a matte Nebula Blue.

Runner-Up, Best Apple: iPhone XR

iPhone XR

 AT&T.com

Want to enjoy the perks of a new iPhone but can’t stomach the flagship price tag? The XR offers almost all the perks of our top Apple pick, the Xs, but at a lower cost. You’re still getting the same special features, like Group Facetime, Siri Shortcuts, and Face ID, plus the device comes equipped with the same high-performing hardware as the Xs. And the A12 Bionic chip’s processing power is quite a feat of engineering. It’s 15% faster and 50% more energy efficient than its predecessor, promising lag-free performance even with VR gaming. The XR also boasts a 25-hour battery and compatibility with Qi-wireless charging.

So why is the XR cheaper than the other new iPhones? It comes down to a few minor differences. First, the XR is a bit larger than the Xs, with a 6.1-inch screen instead of a 5.8" screen, but the resolution is significantly lower at 1792 x 828.It's worth noting that this still technically qualifies as HD. Aside from the resolution, the XR’s specs are almost identical to the Xs, so you can still enjoy its beautiful Liquid Retina display and 625 cd/m2 brightness.

Want to take a look at some other options? See our guide to choosing the right iPhone.

Most Unique Features: Nokia 9 PureView

The Nokia 9 PureView is one of the most interesting entries in the smartphone field in recent months. With brands like Huawei, LG, and now Samsung including three cameras on their phones, a brand has to do a lot to set itself apart. The Nokia 9 includes five separate sensors on the back (three RGB and two monochrome), plus a depth sensor and a flash. The phone has a “Pro Mode” software that compiles photos via focus and HDR stacking to give you amazing photos. You can also alter the bokeh and depth of field both during and after taking the shot.

Beyond this, the Nokia 9 keeps up with other flagships with a 5.9-inch QHD+ pOLED display with HDR10 support and a unique “sunlight reading” mode. It has a durable 6000-series aluminum chassis, there’s a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor, and they’ve included the ability to charge it up with Qi-enabled wireless charging accessories. It’s definitely a proper flagship, from a design and a power perspective.

Best Value: iPhone SE

iPhone SE
Courtesy of Amazon.com

If you’re looking for the best bang for your buck, look straight at the iPhone SE. It has the same specifications and internal hardware as our Best Apple pick, the iPhone 6s. There’s a 12-megapixel camera capable of recording video in 4K. If you were a fan of the iPhone 5 or 5s, you’ll feel right at home as the phone is almost identical in size and shape. Apple’s Touch ID, the fingerprint-based method to access your smartphone without a password, is present, as is Apple Pay. In fact, if you have any cases lying around for the iPhone 5/5s, you’ll be able to slip it right in and feel nostalgic.

The 4” display might not please some of today’s “bigger is better” smartphone crowd, but finding a device that rivals the performance of the best smartphones on the market in a pocket-friendly package hasn’t been easy. In this area, Apple has succeeded and done so with spades. That the price is almost half of its larger sibling makes it an easy recommendation for the best value phone. The A9 processor, the very same as inside the iPhone 6s, is 3x more powerful than that of the iPhone 5s, which means console-class graphics and solid performance for Pokémon Go.

Tested by

How We Tested

We bought seven top-rated AT&T smartphones and our reviewers tested them by using them daily for weeks on end. We asked our testers to consider the most important features when using these smartphones, from their operating systems to their size. We’ve outlined the key takeaways here so that you, too, know what to look for when shopping.

What to Look for in an AT&T Smartphone

iOS vs. Android - Do you want an Apple iPhone or an Android phone? It may seem like a simple question, but it can be a difficult decision. If you’ve stuck with one or the other for years and have been happy with your choice, then the answer is probably simple. But there are plenty of people who switch back and forth. Apple enjoys broader compatibility and better security, but Android allows for much more customization and the phones often have more advanced technology.

Battery life - Having a phone packed with features is a good thing, right? Well, it depends. It’s always fun to be able to do more with your phone, but there’s often a tradeoff when it comes to battery life. If you’re a heavy phone user, then you’ll want to take a close look at how long your phone battery will realistically last.

Durability - If you’re hard on your phone, you may want to look into buying a device that has extra durability built in. Some phones can’t handle water at all, while others are water resistant and some even promise to be waterproof. Additionally, it’s important to look at the phone’s case and how durable the glass is. Will it shatter at the smallest drop? Paying attention to how well a phone will withstand a little wear and tear — especially if you’re a chronic phone dropper — will help protect your investment for years to come.

Test Results: Samsung Galaxy Note 9 (Best Samsung)

Samsung Galaxy Note9
 Courtesy of T-Mobile
4.3

What We Like

  • Easy setup

  • Superb battery life

  • Excellent camera

What We Don't Like

  • Delicate

Samsung Galaxy Note 9
Samsung Galaxy Note 9 back
Samsung Galaxy Note 9 bottom
Samsung Galaxy Note 9 stylus
Samsung Galaxy Note 9 stylus

“The Note 9’s camera really competes with the iPhone X,” raved one of our testers. “The automatic mode focuses on the picture’s surroundings to ensure that you’re capturing the scene in the best way possible.” Our reviewers also loved this phone’s vivid screen display, easy setup process, and long battery life. They were slightly more nervous about its durability. “I’d make the phone itself a little bit more sturdy to match functionalities,” said one tester. “It feels a little too delicate to be able to comfortably utilize it to its full capacity.”

Test Results: Samsung Galaxy S10e (Runner-Up, Best Samsung)

4.7

What We Like

  • Distinctive hole-punch design

  • Excellent display

  • Top-tier processor

  • Dual-camera setup

  • Less expensive than the S10

What We Don't Like

  • No QHD+ display

  • Awkward fingerprint sensor location

  • No 2x zoom camera

Samsung Galaxy S10e
 Lifewire
Samsung Galaxy S10e
Lifewire 
Samsung Galaxy S10e
Lifewire 
Samsung Galaxy S10e
 Lifewire

Our tester, who used this phone every day for more than a week, felt it was one of the best high-end phones on the market right now: “It has plenty of power, allure, and a great screen,” he said. “It also comes in at a lower price than the standard Galaxy S10 without cutting too much of the core experience.” In terms of negatives, he thought its camera was slightly lacking: “It doesn’t have a 2x zoom camera, which is a frustrating omission.” He also observed that its fingerprint sensor was in a slightly awkward place: “The fingerprint sensor is in the power button on the right side,” he explained, “and it feels just out of reach for left-hand use.”

Test Results: Google Pixel 3 (Best Unlocked)

Google Pixel 3
 Google.com
4.5

What We Like

  • Easy to use

  • Comfortable to hold

  • Excellent camera

What We Don't Like

  • Glitchy

Google Pixel 3
Google Pixel
Google 3
Google
Google Pixel 3 smartphone

“What I like most about the phone is the simplicity,” declared one of our testers. “It was easy to set up and use, and I’ve had no major issues thus far.” Another plus was its size; one reviewer said it “fit nicely” in her hand. One of our testers was also extremely impressed with this phone’s camera: “It has got to be one of its best features,” she raved. “The picture you get from the camera app itself is really stunning.” On the other hand, one reviewer’s primary complaint about this phone was that it could be glitchy: “One glitch caused the screen to flash white when I received a text — it probably happened once out of every 10 times.”

Test Results: LG V40 ThinQ (Best Camera)

LG V40 ThinQ
 Courtesy of AT&T
5

What We Like

  • Amazing camera

  • Long battery life

  • Lightweight

What We Don't Like

  • SMS messaging could be more customizable

  • Doesn’t come in enough colors

LG V40 ThinQ
LG V40
LG V40 ThinQ smartphone
LG V40 smartphone
ThinQ

This phone’s camera quality stood out to one of our testers: “It very crisp and clear,” she noted. “I especially love the ‘triple shot’ feature, which allows you to take three shots at one time.” Another highlight was its lightweight build and battery life: “I was able to go an entire day — including watching Netflix — without having to charge it,” reported one reviewer. One of our testers, however, wanted the phone to be more customizable: “What I would change about this phone is the ability to customize themes in the SMS messaging without using a separate app,” she explained, “which is a feature I had with my previous LG phone.” She also wished that the phone itself came in more colors.

Test Results: iPhone Xs (Best Apple)

iPhone Xs
 Courtesy of Best Buy
4.7

What We Like

  • High-quality display

  • Extremely fast

  • Substantial build


What We Don't Like

  • Pricey

  • Glass back susceptible to shattering

iPhone Xs
iPhone Xs
iPhone Xs
iPhone Xs

“The iPhone Xs is built fantastically well,” raved one of our testers. Major pluses, according to our reviewers, include the “gorgeous” display and incredible operating speed. One of our testers declared, “The iPhone XS is absolutely one of the fastest smartphones on the market right now.” One of our reviewers did note that it’s extremely pricey and cautioned that it could shatter with a single drop because of the glass back. Still, our testers highly recommended this phone for its overall quality: “Gaming, professional apps, photo editing—it all runs extremely smoothly, not to mention the fantastic camera,” explained one of our reviewers.

Test Results: Samsung Galaxy S10 (Best Design)

Samsung Galaxy S10
4.8

What We Like

  • Beautiful AMOLED display

  • Great speed

  • Triple-camera setup

  • Good battery life

What We Don't Like

  • In-screen fingerprint sensor is spotty

  • No more iris sensor

  • Much more expensive than the Galaxy S9

Samsung Galaxy S10
Lifewire 
Samsung Galaxy S10
Lifewire 
Samsung Galaxy S10
Lifewire 
Samsung Galaxy S10
 Lifewire
Samsung Galaxy S10
Lifewire 

“With a new hole-punch design that allows Samsung to cover nearly the whole face of the phone with a gorgeous Dynamic OLED screen, the Galaxy S10 wows in a way that few other phones can match,” raved our tester. Other highlights were its triple-camera setup and its “serious” speed. In terms of negatives, he reported that its in-screen fingerprint sensor didn’t work as well as the standard sensor in previous models. Also, he pointed out that since it doesn’t have an iris sensor, “it’s easier to fool the camera’s security.” Overall, though, he loved the phone, even at its high price point: “It’s one of the best all-around flagship phones on the market right now,” he said, “with dazzling looks and impressive tech all around.”