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The Galaxy S10e isn’t exactly a budget phone, but at this price point, it’s clearly poised to compete directly with the iPhone XR, and as far as we're concerned, you get a lot more than what Apple’s offering. There’s a 5.8-inch Infinity O display that is nearly bezel-less with a hole punch camera. That display gives you a resolution of 2280 x 1080 pixels, which is really crisp for a screen of this size. This also means it’s one of the smaller phones available at this level, making it a perfect choice if small size is your priority.
It’s also only 5.29 ounces so it won’t weigh your pocket down either. It’s powered by a Snapdragon 855 processor—the latest from Qualcomm—and starts with 6GB of RAM (though you can upgrade it to 8GB for a higher price). Choose between 128GB or 256GB of storage, but you can expand that storage up to an additional 512GB with a micro SD. There are a ton of colors to choose from here ranging from Prism Black to Flamingo Pink or the S10e exclusive Canary Yellow.
The unlocked versions of the Google Pixel 3 and XL have recently hit the market, and are compatible with all four major carriers. This latest model features a 5.5-inch screen with the same sharp HD resolution as the Pixel 2. It also features Google Assistant, which turns your phone into a portable digital assistant. Just say, “Hey Google,” then give a command: you can play music, set reminders, ask a question, or take a group selfie without touching the device.
The Pixel 3’s front-facing camera features an 8-megapixel lens, as well as two rear cameras: a wide-angle lens with f/2.2 aperture, and a second with just f/1.8. Both these cameras boast 12.2-megapixels, capturing professional-grade landscape photos and 4K video at 30 frames-per-second. The Pixel 3 also offers unlimited storage with Google Photos.
In addition to these special apps and features, the Pixel 3 is, overall, a reliable device. It’s powered by a Snapdragon 845 processor (an upgrade from the previous model) and contains an 18-watt, Qi-compatible battery for wireless charging.
Apple’s latest flagship, the iPhone 11 Pro, is the smartphone to buy for Apple fans who want a crisp screen and advanced photography in their pockets. After only two years of OLED iPhones, Apple has taken its "Super Retina" screen to a whole new level, now offering a 2:000,000:1 contrast ratio and a super-bright 1,200 nits, along with Dolby Vision and HDR10 support, a 458 PPI pixel density, P3 wide colour gamut, and True Tone tech. Dolby Atmos and spatial audio complete the audiovisual package.
Then there’s the camera system. While a triple-lens camera may seem like yesterday’s news, Apple’s three shooters — wide, ultra-wide, and telephoto — are combined and paired with the blazingly fast A13 Bionic CPU to pull some pretty cool photography tricks, including an impressive Night Mode that offers great low-light shots, and Deep Fusion which will do pixel-by-pixel blending of multiple shots to produce great photos.
The front TrueDepth camera also gets bumped to 12 megapixels and lets you capture slo-mo selfies (or slofies as Apple calls them) too. Despite these enhancements, Apple has managed to eke out four hours more battery life than its predecessor, and not for the first time is packing a fast 18-watt charger in the box, and it’s also available in a cool Boba Fett-style "Midnight Green" if you’ve grown tired of Apple’s more traditional colors.
Contrary to its naming convention, the iPhone 11 is the successor to last year’s acclaimed iPhone XR, which broke new ground in design and performance at a more affordable price. Evidently, it’s the iPhone most people should buy. Though some might try to convince you otherwise, you don't miss much by not shelling out for one of the more expensive Pro models.
The iPhone 11 and its professional siblings have more in common than not. They wield the same super-fast A13 Bionic CPU, the same 4GB of memory, the same wide-angle and ultra-wide angle rear cameras, and the same TrueDepth front camera. This means that you can expect the same performance and intelligent photo processing features regardless of which model you buy.
You could argue Apple cut corners with the screen and telephoto lenses. However, we prefer to think of these as upgrades found in the more expensive models, rather than omissions from the standard model. The dual-lens camera system remains competitive, and the 6.1-inch "Liquid Retina" LCD display offers 1792 x 828 resolution and 326 PPI pixel density, along with a wide and extremely accurate color gamut. You still get the best battery life Apple has ever offered in a smartphone, too, with up to 17 hours of video or 65 hours of audio playback.
The iPhone 11 Pro Max may not be for the faint of heart or the light of wallet, but you definitely get what you pay for in Apple’s latest top flagship iPhone, which combines a stunning new display, even more advanced photography features, and unbelievable battery life.
The "Pro" moniker comes from the triple-lens camera system. Made possible by the new A13 Bionic CPU, it lets you take photos like you've never seen before on a smartphone. The three cameras — ultra-wide, wide, and telephoto — work together to provide an optical zoom range of 0.5x to 2x. Thanks to the power of Apple’s A13 chip, all three lenses keep in perfect sync when recording video, for buttery smooth optical zooming transitions — even when shooting at 4K/60fps.
Night Mode, on the other hand, uses computational photography to capture amazingly well-lit photos in near-darkness, while the front TrueDepth camera can now do "slofies" — a word Apple has coined for slow-motion 120fps artistic selfie videos. The 6.5-inch "Super Retina XDR" OLED screen also showcases an impressive 2,000,000:1 contrast ratio, crisp 458 PPI pixel density, and unsurpassed color accuracy.
Yet despite the increased power and higher caliber display, Apple has managed to pack in an extra five hours of battery life over the previous model and even includes a fast charger in the box.
These days, we expect our smartphones to be tiny computers in our pockets, and we want the multitasking capabilities to match — the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 actually manages to fit the bill. The massive 6.4-inch screen is perfect for multitasking, and with a resolution of 2960 x 1440 (516 ppi), you’ll have plenty of crispness across all of the screen’s real estate. Another key multi-tasking tool is the new-and-improved S Pen, giving you 4096 levels of pressure sensitivity (perfect for sketching), and more range with Bluetooth functionality (great for switching slides in a presentation).
The cameras are also great for multimedia multitasking. The front-facing selfie cam features an 8MP AF sensor with f/1.7 aperture. On the back, there are two different camera setups: a 12MP wide-angle system (with dual f/1.5 and f/2.4 aperture) and a 12MP Telephoto system (with f.2.4 aperture). With all the productivity on this phone, you’ll need power and juice to support it. There’s a 64-bit Octa-Core Processor running at speeds up to 2.8GHz and a massive 4,000 mAh battery making sure you have as much power as you need.
You can pick up this phone in 6GB/128GB or 8GB/512GB configurations, and with the ability to expand that memory up to 512GB with microSD, you shouldn't ever encounter any problems with storage limitations.
Smartphone cameras nowadays are only getting more advanced — when you get a closer look at specs, you’ll see apertures and megapixels that would have blown our mind even a few years ago. The LG V40 ThinQ puts the camera capabilities front and center with a whopping five lenses and sensors right onboard. There are three setups on the back: a 12MP standard, a 12MP telephoto, and a 16MP super-wide. This means that you can snap pictures of virtually any subject with a lot more versatility, and LG has loaded up some interesting software features that take advantage of these three lenses in interesting ways. You can activate the triple shot function and take three pictures from all three systems at once and choose later. The selfie cameras are pretty impressive too, employing both a super-crisp 8MP standard selfie cam and a 5MP wide-angle camera for taking group shots and wider-background selfies. And the display LG has included to view all of these amazing photos on? It’s a 6.4-inch QHD with a resolution of 1440 x 3120 pixels. It’s all powered by 6GB of RAM and a Snapdragon 845 processor so the feel of the device is quick too. Round that out with a pretty decent 3300 mAh battery, Gorilla Glass back/sides, an aluminum frame, and pretty loud front-firing speakers, and you’ve got a great phone that happens to also be an extremely capable camera system.
Alongside Huawei, OnePlus is probably the brand best known for offering flagship features for a non-flagship price. The first thing you’ll probably notice is just how much of the 7 Pro is occupied by the display. The 6.67-inch screen covers basically the entire device, leaving mostly no bezels. They accomplish this by hiding the 16MP front-facing camera inside a mechanical housing that pops out or slides into the phone on command. This is something you really don’t see in any other smartphone, and it’s a big risk that OnePlus is taking. That display is really solid too, offering 3120 x 1440 in resolution, and featuring a quick-feeling 90Hz refresh rate. This will make it great for gaming, but you’ll also notice just how responsive it is in daily browsing.
That speed is further bolstered by the Snapdragon 855 processor running the show, and the option to upgrade up to 12GB of RAM. The rear-facing cameras are also fully in flagship territory, comprised of a 16MP ultra-wide angle camera, an 8MP telephoto zoom, and a more all-purpose lens that is run by a shocking 48MP sensor. You can choose between 128GB or 256GB of storage, and the color options consist of three shades: Mirror Back, Almond, and Nebula Blue.
The iPhone SE is the perfect phone for everyone tired of the phablet fad. It harkens back to a bygone era (2011) when phones could fit in pockets and be operated easily one hand. Although Apple went all-in on the large screen for its flagship product, they have also cornered the market on the four-inch screen with the iPhone SE.
Design-wise, the SE looks similar to the 5S, with flat sides and a matte finish. The phone uses the same powerful A9 processor and 2 GB RAM that is housed in the iPhone 6s, which means you get the exact same powerful speed for hundreds of dollars less. You also get a bright and colorful 1136 x 640 resolution. The 12 megapixel camera is barely a downgrade from the premium, and it captures gorgeous 4K video. The 1.2 megapixel FaceTime HD Camera is a pretty serious downgrade from other phones in the category, but it is adequate.
The Nokia 9 PureView is a real surprise in the smartphone range this year. When so many phones are going for display-only builds and multi-focal-point camera systems, Nokia 9 is doubling down with a super-unique five-camera array on the back. There are three RGB sensors, two monochrome sensors, a depth sensor, and a flash on the back. This allows you to activate a "Pro Mode" that stacks multiple photos to create incredibly dynamic and beautiful smartphone pictures. The Nokia 9 is also one of the few phones that opts to hide the physical fingerprint sensor under the front display rather than placing it on the back.
The PureView has a 5.9-inch QHD+ 2K pOLED display that supports HDR10 and allows you to see the screen even in direct sunlight. There’s a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor, 6GB of LPPDDR4X RAM, and a 3320mAh battery that supports wireless charging. And because it runs on Android 9 Pie and is really slim on bloatware, it’s actually pretty close to the stock Android experience you’d find on something like a Pixel phone. This all amounts to a really unique entry in the current smartphone market.
Platform - Your device’s platform is going to dictate your entire experience with it. Two significant choices are Apple’ iOS and Google’s Android operating systems. The best advice is to pick the platform you are most familiar and comfortable with utilizing; they both offer pros and cons, which you can learn a bit more about by visiting the manufacturer's website.
Camera - Looking to snap photographs of the kids or perhaps of your next bar-hopping adventure? One of our devices’ most used pieces of hardware is the camera, so be sure to select one that can capture the images you want. In general, the majority of Apple iPhone and Samsung Galaxy smartphone cameras should make people quite happy.
Budget - Despite what marketing says, you don’t need to drop $1,000 on a phone to have something that is great. Options from companies such as LG, OnePlus, ASUS, and Nokia can come in at low prices with features to impress.