The 12 Best T-Mobile Smartphones of 2019

Pick out which T-Mobile phone is best for you and your budget

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 Camera: LG V40 ThinQ at T-Mobile, "Puts the camera capabilities front and center with a whopping five lenses and sensors right onboard."
  • Best Android: Google Pixel 3 (Unlocked) at Google, "The Pixel 3’s front-facing camera features an 8-megapixel lens, as well as two rear cameras."
  • Best Samsung: Galaxy Note9 at T-Mobile, "The new-and-improved S Pen, giving you 4096 levels of pressure sensitivity (perfect for sketching), and more range with Bluetooth functionality."
  • Best iOS: iPhone Xs at T-Mobile, "The new image stabilization and software updates make it a great tool for selfies and video calls."
  • Best Large Screen: iPhone Xs Max at T-Mobile, "You’ll get the benefits of a large phone without the massive bezels of the competition."
  • Best Design: Samsung Galaxy S10e at Amazon, "A fitting flagship from one of the best in the business."
  • Best Mid-Range Price: OnePlus 7 Pro at Amazon, "For those looking for something outside the realm of Apple or Samsung, the OnePlus 7 Pro is a worthy replacement."
  • Runner-Up, Best iOS: iPhone XR at T-Mobile, "A cheaper alternative to Apple's most high-end smartphone models."
  • Best Budget: Alcatel 1X Evolve at Metro PCS, "A budget-friendly option that prioritizes performance above all else."
  • Best LG: LG G8 ThinQ at T-Mobile, "If selfies are more your jam, the front-facing 8MP camera will be more than sufficient."
  • Best Small Screen: iPhone SE at T-Mobile, "Uses the same powerful A9 processor and 2 GB RAM that is housed in the iPhone 6s."
  • Most Unique Features: Nokia 9 PureView (Unlocked) at Amazon, "Pretty close to the stock Android experience you’d find on something like a Pixel phone."

Our Top Picks

Best Camera: LG V40 ThinQ

LG V40 ThinQ

 Courtesy of T-Mobile

3.5

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.

Best Android: Google Pixel 3 (Unlocked)

Google Pixel 3

 Courtesy of Google

4.5

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.

Best Samsung: Samsung Galaxy Note9

Samsung Galaxy Note9
 Courtesy of T-Mobile
4.3

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.

Best iOS: iPhone Xs

iPhone Xs
 Courtesy of Best Buy
4.7

The iPhone Xs represents an incremental but solid step up from the iPhone X. Its 5.8-inch OLED display offers Super Retina resolution of 2436 x 1125, a pixel density of 458 ppi, plus Apple’s new True Tone technology that helps to adjust your screen’s brightness and color temperature to optimize it for the ambient lighting around you. Apple has also made this phone IP68 water and dust resistant, so if you drop your phone into water (up to two meters for as long as 30 minutes), it will still work just fine. There’s a new A12 Bionic chip powering everything, giving you a boost in neural engine capabilities to improve the Xs AI performance.

The cameras are the real centerpiece here, with two 12MP sensors on the back (one for a telephoto lens, the other for a wide-angle lens) to give you some truly professional-looking snaps. The front-facing camera isn’t really a step up at 7MP, but the new image stabilization and software updates make it a great tool for selfies and video calls. Apple has made the software a real focus of the Xs, updating the HDR functionality to give you composite light response, stepping up the AI picture tailoring, and even giving you the ability to adjust the background bokeh blur on your portrait pictures after you’ve already taken them. It’s all powered by iOS12 and you can pick up the phone with 64GB, 256GB, or 512GB of storage. The Xs is available in silver, space gray, or gold.

Best Large Screen: iPhone Xs Max

iPhone Xs Max
 Courtesy of Best Buy
4.7

If you like large-screen smartphones, the Xs Max combines all the great upgrades of the Xs with the gigantic display of your dreams. In terms of the camera system, the Xs Max is very similar to the smaller iPhone Xs. There’s a 12MP sensor for both a telephoto and a wide-angle lens (the same as the Xs), and the front-facing selfie cam is still 7MP. The IP68 water resistance is also the same, offering protection for up to two meters of submersion for as long as 30 minutes. Even the chipset — Apple’s A12 Bionic with its impressive AI-focused neural engine — is the same between the two latest Apple phones.

But what’s different, and what makes this phone a real focal point as a new release, is that 6.5-inch display. It’s larger than the Galaxy Note 9 while maintaining a footprint that's roughly the same size as the iPhone 8 Plus. The device accomplishes this by employing Apple’s signature notch design, giving you a nearly edge-to-edge display. That’s 2688 x 1242 of Super Retina OLED resolution to play with (a whopping 458 ppi), meaning it’s arguably the largest, most brilliant phone out there.

The Xs Max is available in silver, space gray or the brand-new gold color, with 64GB, 256GB or 512GB of storage. Pick up this amazing new release and you’ll get the benefits of a large phone without the massive bezels of the competition. (Just be prepared to pay a pretty penny for it.)

Best Design: Samsung Galaxy S10e

4.7

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.

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

Best Mid-Range Price: OnePlus 7 Pro

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.

Runner-Up, Best iOS: iPhone XR

Apple iPhone XR

 Best Buy

If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative to Apple's most high-end smartphone models, then the XR is a great option. This new release features the same iOS 12 software as the X, along with Apple’s most recent upgrades, such as Group Facetime, Siri Shortcuts, Face ID, and more. The XR also comes equipped with the Apple-designed A12 Bionic chip, which is their fastest, most energy-efficient mobile processor. For everyday use, this translates into a long-lasting battery life and lag-free performance, especially when running demanding apps or games.

Design-wise, the XR’s specs are just slightly different from its predecessors. It features a 6.1-inch Liquid Retina display with 1792 x 828 resolution and 625 cd/m2 brightness. The XR’s resolution is HD but a decent amount lower than many of today's smartphones. Frankly, this is the only major flaw we could find (and ultimately translates into lower pricing). The XR also boasts an IP67 rating, meaning it is almost completely waterproof, and it is Qi-compatible for wireless charging.

Want to take a look at some other options? Check out our guide to figure out which iPhone you should buy

Best Budget: Alcatel 1X Evolve

Alcatel 1X Evolve

 Metro PCS

If you’re looking for a budget-friendly option that prioritizes performance above all else, then the Alcatel 1X Evolve is the phone for you. This device has a 1.1GHz quad-core processor with 2GB RAM and 16GB internal memory (it also offers space for an additional microSD card). Considering the size of the device, these specs are quite remarkable, especially in regards to the storage space. The 5.34-inch display has an 18:9 aspect ratio, taking full advantage of its available real estate. However, the visual quality falls short due to its low resolution (an underwhelming 480 x 960 pixels), but that's more or less to be expected from such a budget device.

Best LG: LG G8 ThinQ

Meet the latest of LG’s flagship phones: the LG G8 ThinQ, which aims to make users rethink what they expect from their smartphones. Running on 6 GB of RAM, 128 GB of internal memory (which can be upped to 2 TB with a microSD card), and an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor, the phone is built for whatever your needs, from long phone calls to even longer streaming sessions.

Like previous members of the G-series family, the G8 refuses to compromise on screen quality. The 6.1-inch OLED screen has a sharp Quad HD+ (3,120 x 1,440) resolution and support for HDR10, meaning your contrasts are sharper, your colors are more dynamic, and your picture is cinematic. Audio quality matches it thanks to a Hi-Fi Quad DAC that can produce room-filling, screen-rattling volume.

One of the phone’s standout new features is its Z Camera multisensory system, which is used both in its new unlocking technology, Hand ID scans the veins in your palm to unlock your phone, and Air Motion, which lets everything from songs to calls to apps be controlled by a gesture. 

Best Small Screen: iPhone SE

iPhone SE
Courtesy of T-Mobile

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.

Most Unique Features: Nokia 9 PureView (Unlocked)

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.

Tested by

How We Tested

We bought eight top-rated T-Mobile smartphones that our reviewers tested by using 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 a T-Mobile Smartphone

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.

Test Results: LG V40 ThinQ (Best Camera)

LG V40 ThinQ
 Courtesy of T-Mobile
3.5

What We Like

  • Amazing camera

  • Lightweight

  • Big display

What We Don't Like

  • Can’t customize SMS messaging

  • Not a lot of color options

LG V40 ThinQ
LG V40
ThinQ
LG ThinQ
LG

“It's very lightweight, the screen clarity and pictures are amazing, and multitasking is very easy,” one of our testers raved about this phone. Calling the photo quality “crisp and clear,” one of our reviewers was particularly impressed by the camera’s three-shot feature, portrait mode, and the ability to take photos while taking a video. While one of our reviewers wished for “the ability to customize themes in the SMS messaging without using a separate app” and more color options, she concluded, “This phone overall is definitely much better than previous [LG] versions I have tried.”

Test Results: Google Pixel 3 (Best Android)

Google Pixel 3
 Courtesy of Google
4.5

What We Like

  • Easy setup

  • Good size

  • Great camera

  • Amazing sound

What We Don't Like

  • Some glitches

Google Pixel 3
Pixel 3
google pixel
google
google pixel 3 phone

“What I like most about the phone is the simplicity — easy setup, easy to use, and no major issues thus far,” one of our testers reported. Our reviewers also liked the display, camera, size of the phone, and “super loud and crisp” sound. In terms of negatives, one of our testers said, “What I like least are the glitches, including one that causes the screen to flash white when I receive a text (probably happens one out of every 10 texts I get).” Still, if you’re looking for a straightforward phone that gets the job done, this might be the option for you: “I've had past issues with setup on iPhones, and the simplicity and speed of this phone's setup was a breath of fresh air,” raved one of our reviewers.

Test Results: Samsung Galaxy Note 9 (Best Samsung)

Samsung Galaxy Note9
 Courtesy of T-Mobile
4.3

What We Like

  • Long battery life

  • Amazing features

  • Incredible display

  • Easy to use

What We Don't Like

  • Not super durable

Samsung Galaxy Note 9
Samsung Galaxy
Samsung Note 9
Samsung Galaxy 9
Samsung Galaxy Note 9 phone

Our testers loved this phone for its high-quality display and overall ease of use. Specifically, one of our reviewers found the S pen super functional: “When used as a remote, the S pen works directly with the phone as a remote control to change music, pictures, and display presentations,” she explained. There weren’t many negatives, according to our testers, however one wished the phone were “a little bit more sturdy.” Bottom line: “It has all of the features of a classic Android, with a lot of added functionality (incredible camera, S pen, beautifully vibrant display) to make it compete with the latest iPhone products,” one of our reviewers declared.

Test Results: iPhone Xs (Best iOS)

 Courtesy of T-Mobile
4.7

What We Like

  • Great camera

  • Runs super fast

  • Gorgeous display


What We Don't Like

  • Very pricey


  • Glass back can shatter easily

iPhone Xs
iPhone Xs
iPhone Xs
iPhone Xs

Calling it “absolutely one of the fastest smartphones on the market right now,” one of our testers raved that the iPhone Xs’s “Apple A12 Bionic chip is absolutely insane.” Other highlights, according to our reviewers, include a high-quality display, great gaming experience, professional apps, an incredible camera, and photo editing. The negatives? “Because the iPhone XS has a glass back, it's susceptible to shattering from even a single drop,” cautioned one of our testers. The main complaint from our reviewers, though, was the high price tag. Still, “if you're looking for a flagship device, this is the one to buy,” according to one of our testers.

Test Results: iPhone Xs Max (Best Large Screen)

 Courtesy of T-Mobile
4.7

What We Like

  • Large, beautiful screen

  • Great dual camera

  • Incredibly powerful

What We Don't Like

  • Expensive

  • Battery could last longer


“It's the most powerful smartphone on the market today and can run high-end games and graphics-rich apps with ease,” raved one of our testers about the iPhone Xs Max. Our reviewers also loved the “gorgeously minimal design,” “big, beautiful screen,” and “impressive” dual-camera setup. On the flip side, one of our testers noted, “It's an incredibly expensive phone and more than the average buyer needs.” One of our reviewers also wished for a “much larger battery to ensure that a day of heavy usage doesn't demand a late-afternoon or early-evening top-up.” Still, our testers recommended this phone for anyone “willing to spend a lot of money on a phone that you will use day in and day out for a couple of years.”

Test Results: Samsung Galaxy S10e (Best Design)

4.7

What We Like

  • Distinctive hole-punch design

  • Beautiful AMOLED display

  • Top-tier processor

  • Dual-camera setup

  • Cheaper 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
Samsung Galaxy S10e
Lifewire 

“This is one of the best high-end phones on the market right now,” raved our tester. “It has plenty of power, allure, and a great display—plus, it comes in at a lower price than the standard Galaxy S10 without cutting too much of the core experience.” He did, however, feel it was slightly lacking in a few places: “Although the screen is very strong for one at 1080p resolution,” he said, “it’s a step down from the higher-resolution QHD+ panels seen in previous Galaxy S phones at lower prices.” He also thought that its camera could have been better: “Its dual-camera setup doesn't have a 2x zoom camera, which is a frustrating omission.”

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