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The best Samsung smartphones are reliable and durable. As popular as the Samsung Galaxy S20 5G at Amazon, Samsung Galaxy Note10+ at Best Buy, and their line-ups are, they are only a part of Samsung’s diverse smartphone portfolio. Being the world’s largest manufacturer of Android smartphones, the South Korean company makes hundreds of mobile devices across all price points. So, if you’re planning to buy a new Samsung phone, there are quite a few options to choose from.
While that’s great, deciding which phone to buy can be a daunting task, especially if all of them seem equally good. To make things easier for you, we’ve rounded up some of the best Samsung smartphones available in the market to help you make a great decision.
Great overall performance
IP68 certification for water/dust resistance
Camera has some focusing issues
Filled to the brim with powerhouse features, the Galaxy S20 5G is easily the best Samsung phone you can buy today. It’s powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 865 SoC, paired with 12GB of RAM and 128GB of onboard storage. Up front, the smartphone features a 6.2-inch Dynamic AMOLED display with a resolution of 1440x3200 pixels and HDR10+ support. The panel sports minimal side bezels and its 120Hz refresh rate (limited to Full-HD resolution) make browsing through UI elements a joy.
The Samsung Galaxy S20 5G comes with all modern connectivity options, including Wi-Fi 802.11ax, Bluetooth 5.0, NFC, and USB Type-C. Then there’s 5G, which allows you to enjoy blazing-fast connectivity on all major cellular networks. The smartphone’s impressive primary camera setup is made up of three lenses – a 12MP wide unit, a 64MP telephoto module, and a 12MP ultra-wide lens – with features like advanced night mode, 3x hybrid optic zoom, and 8K video recording making things even better. There’s also a 10MP front-facing camera included in the mix, complete with auto-HDR and 4K video capture.
Among other noteworthy additions are an under-display fingerprint sensor, stereo speakers, and reverse wireless charging support. Samsung Galaxy S20 5G runs Android 10 out of the box, and is backed by a 4,000mAh battery.
“From a super-smooth large display to next-generation cellular connectivity, Samsung Galaxy S20 5G has everything you’d want in a modern smartphone.” — Rajat Sharma, Tech Writer
Redesigned S-Pen enables many new features
Ultra-fast 5G connectivity
Comes with dated Android Pie out of the box
Samsung’s Note-series devices have always been great for mobile productivity, and the Galaxy Note10+ 5G is no different. Packing Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 SoC and 12GB of RAM, the flagship phablet can handle even the most resource-intensive of usage scenarios (e.g. multi-tasking with content creation apps, graphics-heavy games) without breaking a sweat. There’s also 256GB of internal storage, as well as an expansion slot (with support for microSD cards of up to 1TB) for all your digital files, photos, and movies.
Boasting a resolution of 1440x3040 pixels and HDR10+ compatibility, the smartphone’s 6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED display looks absolutely gorgeous. However, the real star of the show is definitely the next-generation S-Pen, which now comes with its own battery that can be charged in just six minutes. The Bluetooth-enabled stylus also supports “Air Actions” that let you do a whole lot of things (e.g. navigating on-screen elements, switching between cameras) via simple hand gestures. Major Connectivity options include Wi-Fi 802.11ax, Bluetooth 5.0, NFC, and USB Type-C.
The Samsung Galaxy Note10+ 5G features a quad-lens rear camera array, comprised of a 12MP wide module, a 16MP telephoto unit, a 12MP ultrawide lens, and a 0.3MP sensor for capturing depth-related information. The camera system supports 4K video recording, further complemented by features such as live bokeh effects, zoom-in mic (for better audio), and enhanced stabilization. The front-facing camera is a 10MP unit, and it can capture 4K videos too. Other features include an under-display fingerprint sensor, reverse wireless charging, and a 4,300mAh battery.
Average camera performance
Modern-day smartphones may be powerful, but they’re also fragile devices that need to be handled with care. If you’d rather have something that’s a bit more durable, Samsung’s Galaxy XCover Pro is the ideal phone for you. Designed to be used in the toughest of conditions, it complies with the United States Military’s MIL-STD-810G standard and can withstand being dropped multiple times from a height of up to 1.5 meters. The smartphone is also IP68 certified for improved water/dust resistance. Inside its rugged chassis is Samsung’s Exynos 9611 SoC, working alongside 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage.
Up front, you get a 6.3-inch TFT display with a resolution of 1080x2340 pixels. The panel is secured with a layer of Corning Gorilla Glass 5, and comes with enhanced touch capabilities that allow it to be used even with gloves. Samsung Galaxy XCover Pro includes several workplace-specific features like Push-To-Talk (with Microsoft Teams integration), programmable buttons, and mobile Point-Of-Sale (mPOS) functionality.
As far as connectivity is concerned, there’s 4G LTE, Wi-Fi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 5.0, NFC, USB Type-C, and even 3.5mm audio included in the package. The rugged smartphone’s dual-lens rear camera array consists of a 25MP wide sensor and an 8MP ultrawide module, with support for Full-HD video recording. It also features a 13MP front-facing camera that can capture Full-HD videos. Samsung Galaxy XCover Pro runs Android 10 out of the box, and is backed by a 4,050mAh battery.
Side-mounted physical fingerprint sensor
3.5mm audio port
Battery backup isn’t exactly the best
With screen sizes growing by the day, compact smartphones have become a bit of a rarity. That said, exceptions are still there, with Samsung’s Galaxy S10e being a case in point. Under the hood, it features Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 SoC, along with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of on-board storage. Having a resolution of 1080x2280 pixels, the smartphone’s 5.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED display pixels comes with minimal side bezels that help reduce its physical footprint, making for a device that’s perfect for one-handed use.
The panel includes “Always On” functionality and supports HDR10+ as well. In terms of connectivity, you get 4G LTE, Wi-Fi 802.11ax, Bluetooth 5.0, NFC, USB Type-C, and 3.5mm audio. As far as cameras go, the smartphone features a flagship-grade dual-lens primary camera system. It comprises a 12MP wide module and a 16MP ultrawide sensor, with features like “Dual Pixel” Phase Detection Autofocus (PDAF) and 4K video capture making the whole setup even better.
There’s also a 10MP front-facing camera for selfies and video calls, and it can record 4K videos too. Among other notable features are stereo speakers (tuned by AKG), IP68 certification for water/dust resistance, reverse wireless charging, and Samsung Pay support. Samsung Galaxy S10e is backed by a 3,100mAh battery.
“Samsung Galaxy S10e is one of the last remaining flagship smartphones that offer useful features (e.g. 3.5mm audio port) in a pocketable form factor.” — Rajat Sharma, Tech Writer
Under-display fingerprint sensor
Lightweight yet sturdy design
Struggles with some heavy apps/games
Offering a lot of top-tier features at a reasonable price, the Galaxy A51 is arguably the best value Samsung phone available out there. It comes with Samsung’s Exynos 9611 SoC, complemented by 4GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage. There’s also an expansion slot with support for microSD cards of up to 512GB.
Featuring minimal bezels on all sides and a resolution of 1080x2400 pixels, the smartphone’s 6.5-inch Super AMOLED display reproduces vibrant colors and improved contrast levels. Connectivity options include 4G LTE, Wi-Fi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 5.0, NFC, USB Type-C, and even 3.5mm audio. Samsung Galaxy A51 boasts a quad-lens rear camera array that’s made up of a 48MP wide module, a 12MP ultrawide sensor, a 5MP macro lens, and another 5MP unit for capturing depth-related information. It also comes with 4K video recording capabilities. As for the front-facing camera, you get a 32MP sensor that can capture Full-HD videos. Samsung Galaxy A51 runs Android 10 out of the box, and is backed by a 4,000mAh battery with fast charging support.
Comes with all essential connectivity options
No ambient light sensor
As feature-packed as flagships are, not everyone necessarily wants to spend a fortune on a high-end mobile device. There are many users out there who’re just looking for a well-rounded smartphone that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. If that includes you, check out Samsung’s Galaxy A10e. Powered by Samsung’s Exynos 7884 SoC, it comes with 2GB of RAM and 32GB of on-board storage. You also get a dedicated expansion slot with support for microSD cards of up to 512GB.
The smartphone’s 5.83-inch TFT LCD display sports a resolution of 720x1560 pixels, and is good enough for basic tasks like web browsing and playing lightweight games. Despite its budget price tag, Samsung Galaxy A10e doesn’t skimp on basic connectivity options. The smartphone comes with Wi-Fi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 5.0, GPS, USB Type-C, and 3.5mm audio. As for the cameras, there’s a single-lens 8MP rear camera with Full-HD video capture support, as well as a 5MP front-facing camera included in the package. Samsung Galaxy A10e is backed by a 3,000mAh battery.
“Samsung Galaxy A10e offers some great features (e.g. USB Type-C port, discrete expansion slot) that make it among the best entry-level smartphones you can buy.” — Rajat Sharma, Tech Writer
While all of the Samsung smartphones detailed above are great (especially in the context of their respective prices), our overall recommendation is the Galaxy S20 5G. It supports the latest in cellular connectivity standards and comes with an ultra-smooth display that makes for a great user experience. You also get a feature-laden camera system, top-notch performance, and a lot more.
To test Samsung phones (and all smartphones in general), our expert reviewers and testers use a variety of methods. Firstly, we look at design, weight, and portability, to see how easy a phone is to tote around. If it's a foldable phone, we can take that feature into consideration for both portability and productivity. We also evaluate the screen size and resolution with a view to streaming video, looking at images, and multitasking. Audio plays an important part in determining multimedia quality, but we also make phone calls to evaluate call quality and noise cancellation.
To test camera quality, we do a comparison shootout with a similar phone. We take pictures of the same setting and environment with each phone side-by-side, then we compare and contrast the images on a separate monitor.
For objective performance measures, we use common tests like Geekbench, PCMark, and 3DMark, and also try to download some demanding games to see if it can handle it. We use Ookla Speedtest to measure connectivity on both Wi-Fi and mobile data. To test battery life, we stream video at maximum brightness to measure runtime, along with general usage over the course of a day. Finally, we look at the value proposition and competition, to see how the phone stacks up against rivals in a similar price range. Most of the phones we test are purchased by us; sometimes newer releases are provided by a manufacturer, but it has no bearing on the objectivity of our evaluation.
A technology editor/writer with over six years (and counting) of experience, Rajat Sharma has tested and reviewed dozens of smartphones so far. Before joining Lifewire, he worked as a senior technology journalist with two of India’s biggest media houses - The Times Group and Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited.
Alex Williams has been working as a tech journalist for more than five years, specializing in consumer electronics like smartphones as well as video games and gaming hardware and wearables.
Andrew Hayward has been covering the latest tech since back in 2006 for a number of major media publications. His top specialty is smartphone and mobile accessories, meaning he was the perfect choice to review a number of the Samsung handsets on our list.
Display - Smartphones have come a long way since the flip phone days—now, most phones are all screen and no (physical) buttons. Displays are measured diagonally and range from under 5 inches up to 6.5 inches or more. Resolution is also a big factor, but can significantly add to a phone’s cost. The best screens out there are HD+ super AMOLED with a 2960 x 1440 resolution. Size and resolution combined make the viewing experience infinitely better, whether you’re watching a YouTube video, Skyping with family, or reading an article.
Camera - Unless you’re a dedicated photographer, you probably rely on your phone to double as a camera. Lucky for you, Samsung phones have especially impressive hardware that makes them a solid alternative to a point-and-shoot. Typically, the rear-facing camera has a larger sensor—12 megapixels or so—and the front-facing camera primed for selfies and video chatting will have a smaller sensor (around 8 megapixels).
Battery life - Why is it that we can land a rover on Mars but can’t seem to make a phone battery that lasts throughout the day? The newer crop of Samsung phones solve that mystery with impressive batteries up to 4000mAh. For those who are always texting or streaming, that should be ample power to get you through the day and more.