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.
Best Samsung: Samsung Galaxy Note 9 at Sprint
"Interacting with apps and functions on such an oversized screen is pretty satisfying."
Best Unlocked: Google Pixel 3 at Google Store
"Its 12.2-megapixel camera is one of the best (if not the best) on the market."
Best Design: Samsung Galaxy S10e at Amazon
"One of the most anticipated phones of 2019, on any network."
Best Apple: iPhone 11 Pro at Sprint
"Improves in every way over last year’s iPhone XS."
Best Large Screen: iPhone 11 Pro Max at Sprint
"Brings an improved 6.5-inch "Super Retina XDR" display — and even longer battery life."
Best Value: iPhone 11 at Sprint
"You don't have to spend more money to benefit from a Pro-level performance gain."
Best for Audio: LG V30+ at Sprint
"LG builds in a "quad-DAC" (digital-to-analog converter) to make music sound richer and warmer."
Best Budget Apple: iPhone 8 at Sprint
"Featuring top-notch hardware that can almost rival Apple’s latest products."
Best Android: LG G8 ThinQ at Sprint
"The memory has the ability to expand up to a whopping 2TB, so you’ll never run out of storage space."
Best Budget Android: Samsung Galaxy A6 at Sprint
"At half the cost of a Galaxy Note9, the lower specs seem like a decent tradeoff."
The Note was one of the first phones to enter the “phablet” market, and even though you don’t hear that terminology anymore, the Note 9 still behaves a lot like a phone/tablet hybrid. A lot of that is owed to its ability to run a ton of apps and accomplish a ton of tasks right on the device. That is made possible in large part because of the huge 6.4-inch Super AMOLED display, with its 2960 x 1440 resolution. Interacting with apps and functions on such an oversized screen is pretty satisfying with the improved S Pen. The Pen still sports 4096 levels of pressure sensitivity, but it now has added external Bluetooth functionality.
In terms of camera specs, this model sports an 8MP front-facing cam (important for those business video calls) and two systems on the back: a 12MP wide-angle with variable aperture and a 12MP telephoto. It can also take 4K video at up to 60fps, ensuring truly pro quality. Of course, with a 64-bit Octa-Core Processor (speeds up to 2.8GHz) and an ultra-powerful 4,000 mAh battery, the phone can support all kinds of multitasking needs. Pick it up in either Midnight Blue or Lavender Purple, in a 6GB/128GB or 8GB/512GB configuration.
Courtesy of Google
If you’re looking for an unlocked phone that can work on Sprint (as well as other networks), the Google Pixel 3 will surely be up your alley. The Pixel 3 is one of the finest Android phones on the market and it runs the latest and greatest Android Pie software. It has a pleasant form factor with a 5.5-inch OLED screen with durable Gorilla Glass, while its aluminum frame measures a comfortable 5.7 x 2.7 x .3 inches. For battery life, the Pixel 3 should last you a full day with its 2,915 mAh battery. For charging, you’ll have two options — a USB-C port or Qi wireless charging.
If you’re into listening to music or watching movies on your phone, you’ll appreciate the Pixel 3’s dual front speakers. When it comes to photos, the Pixel 3 is simply stunning, and its 12.2-megapixel camera is one of the best (if not the best) on the market. The device comes in three colors (white, black, and pink) as well so it can better suit your personality. All in all, this device will keep just about any Sprint user happy who wants an unlocked phone.
In 2019, it’s difficult to find true value in a smartphone while maintaining flagship features. There are exceptions: you can get solid features from Huawei and Oppo, for example.
First off, the Infinity O display is 5.8 inches measured diagonally and offers 2280 x 1080 in resolution. Because it’s an OLED, the colors and contrast both perform very richly. That display is nearly bezel-less, which can’t be said for the giant notch in the XR, and there’s a cutout on the display for the front-facing 10MP camera. It’s a really clever design by Samsung, and that fact had a lot to do with why we’re choosing it for the best design category.
There’s a 3100 mAh battery, which is smaller than the rest of the S10 line, but should actually perform pretty well considering it’s driving a smaller display. It’s all powered by a Snapdragon 855 processor, but only supports that with 6GB of RAM at the entry level (though you can upgrade it to 8GB). You can choose between 128GB or 256GB of storage, and the S10e gives you the option for the much flashier Canary Yellow.
The iPhone 11 Pro is Apple’s new top-of-the-line iPhone model, as evidenced by the new "Pro" moniker. It improves in every way over last year’s iPhone XS and expands on the features of the standard iPhone 11 for those who demand a better display and advanced camera functionality from their iPhones.
Featuring a triple-lens rear camera system, the iPhone 11 Pro lets you capture photos with optical zoom levels ranging from 13mm to 52mm, with a main wide-angle lens joined by a second ultra-wide lens, making for much easier group shots. The front TrueDepth camera has also been bumped up to the same 12-megapixel resolution as the rear cameras and can take 4K/60fps video as well as slo-mo selfies.
It also wields Apple’s A13 Bionic CPU which, thanks to its machine learning "Neural Engine," can pull off sick photography stunts. Night Mode lets you shoot great natural-looking photos in very low light conditions while Deep Fusion combines all the best pixels out of several rapid-fire photos into a single composite.
Apple has also taken its OLED display to the next level. The "Super Retina XDR" screen now boasts a 2,000,000:1 contrast ratio, and 1200 nits of brightness and supports both Dolby Vision and HDR10. Despite the amped up screen, its battery life is longer than last year’s iPhone XS, and an 18-watt ultra-fast charger is included in the box.
The iPhone 11 Pro Max is Apple’s newest ultra-premium smartphone. Building on its predecessor with a new triple-lens camera system, it brings an improved 6.5-inch "Super Retina XDR" display — and even longer battery life — while retaining the same design and features that iPhone fans have come to love.
The three cameras now include an ultra-wide-angle "0.5x" 13mm lens, joining together the standard 26mm wide-angle lens and the 2X telephoto shooter, which itself offers three optical zoom levels. But that’s not all: Thanks to Apple’s high-performance A13 Bionic CPU and the advanced photo processing features that come with it, you can now capture even more amazing pictures, including well-lit Night Mode shots. You can also look forward to 4K/60fps video recording with extended dynamic range and a front TrueDepth camera you can use to take "slofies," Apple’s term for 120fps slow-motion video selfies.
With Apple’s new 6.5-inch OLED display offering a 2,000,000:1 contrast ratio, the same crisp 458 PPI pixel density, and a wide color gamut with True Tone ambient light matching, all of your photos and videos will turn out nicely. And combined with the Dolby Vision, HDR10, and Dolby Atmos support, the larger screen makes this the defacto iPhone for watching feature films. Plus, the promised five hours of extra battery life means you can do so for up to 17 hours at a time.
Like its predecessor, the iPhone XR, Apple’s iPhone 11 provides all of the same performance specs as its costlier siblings. Inside, it's powered by the blazingly fast A13 Bionic CPU, along with 4GB of RAM, which means you’re not going to have any trouble running all of the latest apps and games. In fact, you don't have to spend more money to benefit from a Pro-level performance gain.
The A13 Bionic’s machine learning "Neural Engine" yields to a whole suite of advanced photography features across all 2019 iPhone models, such as the all-new Night Mode, which takes natural-looking shots in low-light conditions. Dual wide- and ultra-wide-angle cameras let you take large group shots in smaller spaces and capture stunning landscapes while the front TrueDepth camera now offers 12-megapixel selfies plus slo-mo video recording.
Sure, you get one less camera than the higher-end models, but the ones that are there are identical to both. The other understandable price-busting compromise is the screen, a 6.1-inch LCD. It's no OLED, but it is one of the best LCDs ever seen in a smartphone, as it features a 326 PPI pixel density and superior color accuracy, thanks to its P3 gamut and Apple True Tone tech.
The iPhone 11 also continues last year’s move of offering the best battery life Apple has ever offered in an iPhone and, in fact, beats the iPhone XR by about an hour.
The LG V30+ does it all and does it all well. LG’s flagship phone is slim but solid, with a fast Snapdragon 835 processor, fantastic battery life and support for wireless charging. The six-incher is made of glass and aluminum, as are most premium phones these days, and sports a 2,880 x 1,440-pixel OLED screen that pops with color. Did we mention it also has a headphone jack? While many phones are ditching this feature, LG builds in a "quad-DAC" (digital-to-analog converter) to make music sound richer and warmer, assuming you have a quality pair of headphones plugged in. It’s a phone audiophiles will appreciate for sure.
If photography is more your forte, the V30+’s cameras won’t disappoint either. It ups the megapixels from 12 to 16 and increases the lens aperture from f/1.7 to f/1.6 to take crisper photos. It also has a second 13-megapixel wide-angle lens that lets you capture more of every moment.
How times have changed — just last year, we were lined up outside Apple stores for the iPhone 8, and now it’s listed as our budget pick. If you don’t mind being “behind” on the latest Apple trends, then we suggest capitalizing on the lower price. The iPhone 8 holds a 4.7-inch HD Retina display, going against the recent “phablet” trend that promotes a “bigger is better” mentality. But there is a distinct disadvantage to buying one of these slightly older models: the iPhone 8’s visual quality has fallen behind the newer models. The resolution is quite low by today’s standards (only 1334 x 750 pixels) so you may notice a slight blurriness.
The iPhone 8 features top-notch hardware that can almost rival Apple’s latest products. It contains a custom-designed A11 Bionic processor, which is just one model behind the current version. Additionally, it includes special features like Group FaceTime, Touch ID, Apple Pay, and Qi-compatibility for wireless charging. The camera holds a 7MP front camera, and a 12MP rear lens that features Optical Image Stabilization and 4K video shooting.
The iPhone 8 boasts an IP67 water-resistant rating, meaning it can last up to 30 minutes submerged under one meter of water. The device measures 5.45 x 2.65 x 0.29 inches and weighs 5.22 ounces.
Joining the LG G-series flagship family, the LG G8 ThinQ pairs sophistication with power for a noteworthy new phone. Its display and performance are where the phone really shines. Boasting Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 chipset, the LG G8 is rapid and reliable and has a battery life of about 16 hours, meaning stopping to find a place to charge won’t interrupt your long days or longer nights.
Entertainment is elevated thanks to the combination of a 6.1-inch OLED screen, which has a Quad HD+ (3,120 x 1,440) resolution and support for HDR10, and the audio. The Crystal Sound OLED pipes crisp, dynamic sound through the screen and a Hi-Fi Quad DAC with support for DTS X 3D means the audio can be further elevated with the right headphones.
Though its price has inched higher than that of the G7, its features are designed to meet the expectations set by the increased cost. Along with unlocking your phone with your face or fingerprint, the G8’s Hand ID feature scans the vein patterns in your palm to unlock the device.
The Galaxy A6 is a budget-friendly favorite among Samsung fans. Its specs aren’t as impressive as the more high-end phones under the Samsung brand, but at half the cost of a Galaxy Note9, it seems like a decent tradeoff. The A6 features a modest 5.6-inch screen with 1480 x 720 resolution, which isn’t exactly flagship quality. But what the display lacks in sharpness it makes up for in rich colors and a decent amount of brightness.
Inside, the A6 contains a respectable 1.6 GHz Octa-Core processor with 3GB RAM, in addition to 32GB of memory with space to expand to 400GB. The battery life is fairly strong as well, boasting up to 21 hours per charge.
Design-wise, the A6 is made with an aluminum casing and plastic buttons — a less expensive alternative to Samsung’s preferred glass material. This makes the device quite durable and lightweight, coming in at only 5.7 ounces and 7.7 millimeters thick.
We bought five top-rated Sprint phones that our reviewers tested by using daily for several weeks. We asked our testers to consider the most important features when using these phones, from their special features to their price. We’ve outlined the key takeaways here so that you, too, know what to look for when shopping.
Platform - One of the essential factors when selecting a smartphone is deciding which platform you prefer. Apple’s lineup of iPhone devices come with iOS, while other popular smartphones such as the Samsung Galaxy lineup, LG G series, and Motorola Moto Z family, include Android. We recommend selecting the platform you are most comfortable using on a daily basis.
Camera - Are photographs important in your daily life? If you can’t pick up your phone without checking Instagram or Snapchat, then you're going to want to ensure your device’s camera can handle the job. View photos on the manufacturer's website and community sites, such as Flickr, to get an idea of the photo quality you can expect.
Budget - You don’t need to turn your purse or wallet inside out to afford a great smartphone. Set a budget and stick to it. While the top phones can sell for well over $1,000, manufacturers like Motorola, Sony, and Nokia are putting out great phones for much less.