The 8 Best Samsung Phones of 2019

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The Rundown

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Samsung Galaxy S10

The new Galaxy S10 packs Samsung’s most powerful hardware to date: its Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor boasts record-breaking speeds among Android phones, reaching up to 2.0 Gbps for streaming and web-browsing. It also comes with 8GB of RAM (double that of the S9), a 3400mAH battery, and either 128GB or 512GB of storage.

The phone itself is quite durable, inside and out. It has an IP68 dust-and-water resistance rating, the highest possible ranking, which means it can survive being submerged in water. The hardware is also well-suited for high-demand apps and games with an intelligent cooling system that effectively protects your battery’s longevity. Additionally, the S10 is compatible with wireless charging. It even comes with a new PowerShare feature, which allows you to share your phone’s charge with other Galaxy devices.

Moving on to exceptional picture quality, the Galaxy holds four lenses: a 10MP selfie-cam, and a triple-threat set of wide-angle lenses on the back. Among its rear-facing cameras, the Galaxy has a 16MP ultra-wide lens that captures a 123-degree panoramic scope. The other two cameras hold 12MP lenses and are well-suited for close-up and mid-range shots. All cameras offer dual-aperture settings for day and night shoots, which deliver sharp, brilliant colors for all lighting scenarios.

Runner-Up, Best Overall: Samsung Galaxy S9

Released in the spring of 2018, the Samsung Galaxy S9 is still considered a landmark release for Samsung’s smartphone lineup that's now available at a more wallet-friendly price. It has a 5.8-inch screen and quad HD+ resolution (2960 x 1440) display, 3000 mAh battery, 4GB of RAM, eight-core processor and expandable memory.

Under the hood, the Samsung Galaxy S9 uses Qualcomm’s latest processor combing a quad 2.8GHz and 1.7GHz speed with 4GB (S9) or 6GB (S9 Plus) of RAM and a new LTE modem for faster gigabit downloads, setting a standard for the market. Its speakers use surround sound with Dolby Atmos technology for high-quality audio feedback. The S9’s cameras have a 12MP AF sensor rear camera with dual aperture mode and a front 8MP AF sensor camera, giving it a slightly better improvement from its previous S8 model. Colors come in midnight black, lilac purple, and coral blue, as well as an upgraded S9 Plus model.

 

Best Budget: Samsung Galaxy J3

Galaxy J3

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Samsung may be best known for its flagship models, but the company also makes some great budget devices like the Galaxy J3. Primarily for use on AT&T, this is a solid performer with all the basics and more. It isn’t a flashy device, but for the price, you don’t expect it to be. What you can expect is a convenient device that’s comfortable to hold, with enough power to get you through your day.  

The five-inch AMOLED display has 720p resolution, perfectly suitable for gaming, watching YouTube videos, streaming TV shows, and reading text. Ultimately, it’s the lower resolution display that actually helps the J3 achieve up to 12 hours of talk time on a single charge. Beneath the display is Samsung’s traditional physical home button and the capacitive buttons are on either side.

Entry-level performance is to be expected and that’s what you get. The device handles multitasking without any stuttering, and its five-megapixel camera is about what you’d expect from a budget device. The photo quality definitely leaves something to be desired, but that’s par for the course in this price range.

Check out our guide to the best budget smartphones you can buy today. 

Best Value: Samsung Galaxy S7

When it was first released, Samsung’s Galaxy S7 was a flagship device full of bells and whistles. The newer models are even more advanced, but the S7 shows no signs of aging even at two years old. At 5.1 inches, its 2560 x 1440 resolution display is small compared to today’s smartphones, but the intersection of Super AMOLED and QHD resolution gives you sharp images with vibrant colors. 

Inside the device is a Snapdragon 820 processor that’s tied to 4GB of RAM. That was once Qualcomm’s premier processor and its performance backed it up. Apps open almost instantly while even the most demanding mobile games don’t skip a beat. The rear of the device has a 12-megapixel DualPixel camera that captures outstanding shots. And when you consider the fast wireless charging, 32GB of built-in storage, and water-resistant frame, this device still holds its own. All totaled, it’s a great value. 

Best Display: Samsung Galaxy S10+

Following the trend of ever-bigger screens, the Galaxy S10+ boasts a stunning 6.4-inch QHD+ Super AMOLED display. Samsung has eliminated the home button in favor of a new “in-screen” fingerprint ID sensor and has a stunning a 93.1% screen-to-body ratio. In fact, the screen takes up so much space that the front-facing camera has been moved to the top right corner to give it a nearly bezel-less feel. The starting specs include the high-speed Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor, 8GB of RAM (expandable up to 12GB), and 128GB internal memory that can be expanded up to a whopping 1TB. Like the Galaxy S10, the S10+ is compatible with wireless charging and offers the new PowerShare feature, allowing you to charge other Galaxy devices from the phone.

The phone’s big and beautiful display may be its best feature, but its camera setup is a close second. The device has five cameras: a dual-lens (10MP + 8MP) front snapper and three wide-angle lenses on the back. Need a larger frame to capture a large group photo or awe-inspiring landscape? The ultra-wide 16MP lens has a 123-degree field of vision so you can fit more into the picture. The cameras also offer a 2x optical zoom and an auto-adjusting aperture for day and night shoots. Each camera lens delivers on brilliant resolution and color, so professional-looking shots are just a touch away.

Runner-Up, Best Display: Samsung Galaxy Note 9

 

If you’re looking for a great display at a slightly more affordable price, then look to the Galaxy Note 9. To be clear, this device is far more than its display — it’s actually one of the best devices Samsung has ever produced. The highlight is its 6.4-inch Super AMOLED screen that produces 2960 x 1440 resolution with some of the most accurate colors for any flagship device. Plus, that extra space gives you more than enough room to run two applications at once. The Note 9 also comes with the S Pen, Samsung’s integrated stylus, and it has never been more useful. Capable of acting as a shutter button for the 12-megapixel rear camera, the S Pen can be used to write and draw on the screen. 

Keeping all of this activity powered is a massive 4000mAh battery which is likely to last all day for most users. Stereo speakers make watching video on the large display absolutely awesome. Last but not least is an IP68 rating for water and dust resistance. 

Best for Durability: Samsung Galaxy S8 Active

What happens when you combine the flagship Galaxy S8 with a more durable design? You get the Galaxy S8 Active, a device that can stand up to rigorous use. This phone features a top-of-the-line Snapdragon 835 processor and 4GB of RAM, plus 64GB of internal storage and a microSD slot for expandable memory.

The Active also has a shatter-resistant screen that can handle drops up to five feet and a high-strength aluminum frame that’s military-grade rated. An IP68 rating adds water resistance up to five feet of water for up to 30 minutes. Dust and sand don’t stand a chance either. On top of its durability, this phone also has a 4000mAh battery for all-day use and wireless charging capabilities. Throw in the same gorgeous display and cameras as the traditional Galaxy S8 and this is an easy winner for durability.

Best Basic: Samsung Galaxy J2 Pro

If all you need is the bare minimum in a smartphone, look to the Samsung Galaxy J2 Pro. This budget-friendly smartphone has a five-inch Super AMOLED display. For the price, the 960 x 540 resolution display still offers accurate and sharp colors, well within expectations for this price bracket. The Snapdragon 425 quad-core processor has plenty of power for day-to-day app use, but will probably struggle to keep up with any kind of complex gaming or multitasking.

The eight-megapixel rear camera is another budget feature — none of Samsung’s vaunted AI from its flagship models is included, meaning you’ll have to deal with lower-quality photos and limited editing options on the phone itself. A five-megapixel camera sits above the display for selfie shots and video calling. Luckily, you do get a sizable 2660 mAh battery for all-day use. Samsung even boasts that the battery is good enough for up to 60 straight hours of music playback. 

Want to take a look at some other options? See our guide to the best basic cell phones.

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