The 20 best smartphones in the world

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Hollis Johnson/Business Insider

  • What’s the best smartphone? This list focuses primarily on high-end flagship devices, but the best flagship smartphones don’t have to be the most expensive.
  • Value plays a huge role in this list, and there’s a couple mid-range device here that are well worth considering for more budget-minded buyers.
  • In fact, the top three phones in this list aren’t the top flagship models everyone expects from Apple or Samsung.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

It would be easiest to rank smartphones based purely on specs and the number of features each offers, but that would mean the most expensive smartphones would always rank in the top three – and they’re not the first phones I’d usually recommend.

One of the biggest factors for me when ranking and recommending a phone is its value in relation to its specs and features. That typically leads me to recommend phones that may have fewer features or a less-sleek design than the ultra-premium models that command four-figure price tags.

Indeed, just because a phone has everything and the kitchen sink doesn’t mean you have to buy it – it’s just an option for those who might have a larger budget. The same logic applies to pretty much anything you can buy: Do you pick the most expensive model of everything you buy? If you don’t, the top three will suit you well. If you always go with the top-of-the-line, then you probably already know the phone you want.

Check out our list of the top 20 smartphones in 2019 that you can buy:


20. Apple iPhone X

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Hollis Johnson

What we like:

  • Still-powerful A11 chip.
  • iOS operating system is simple and intuitive.
  • Great features and connectivity with Apple ecosystem (Mac computers, Apple Watch, AirPods).
  • Some apps tend to be of higher quality in Apple App Store.
  • 5.8-inch Super Retina OLED display.
  • Great dual-lens camera system (one regular, one zoomed).
  • Face ID facial recognition.
  • Great battery life.
  • IP68 water resistance.

What you might not like:

  • Still expensive. Most carriers are still selling the iPhone X for only $100 off from its original price tag, which isn’t much of a discount. The iPhone X starts at $900, and if you’re going to spend that kind of money, you might as well cough up the extra $100 for the iPhone 11 Pro.
  • Face ID instead of fingerprint sensor.
  • No headphone jack.
  • Notch.
  • You can’t buy it directly by Apple (it’s been discontinued), and some carriers are out of stock.

Price: $900 at most carriers

Check out the iPhone X review »


19. LG V40

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Hollis Johnson/Business Insider

What we like:

  • Great performance.
  • Triple-lens-camera system.
  • Headphone jack with HiFi DAC.
  • IP68 water resistance.
  • 6.4-inch OLED screen with 1440p resolution.
  • Rear fingerprint sensor.

What you might not like:

  • Priced too high for a 2018 smartphone.
  • Bland design.
  • Notch.

Price: $950

Check out the LG V40 review »


18. LG G8

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Antonio Villas-Boas/Business Insider

What we like:

  • One of the lightest smartphones on this list.
  • IP68 water resistance.
  • 6.1-inch OLED screen with 1440p resolution.
  • Great performance.
  • Good dual-lens-camera system (one regular, one ultrawide).
  • Headphone jack with HiFi DAC.
  • Rear fingerprint sensor.

What you might not like:

  • Dull design.
  • Notch.
  • Hand gesture features are gimmicky and don’t work well.
  • Carriers sell the LG G8 for around $820, which doesn’t offer great value for this phone.
  • LG phones have shown to be very slow to receive new versions of Android, if they get them at all.

Price: Above $800 from most carriers.

Read the LG G8 review »


17. Moto G7

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Motorola

What we like:

  • Among the best value smartphones in this list.
  • Premium design and materials.
  • Good performance.
  • Runs a clean and simple version of Android.

What you might not like:

  • Secondary camera is purely for depth sensing.
  • For $100 more, the Pixel 3a is a better phone.

Price: $300


16. Razer Phone 2

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Razer

What we like:

  • Great $400 starting price.
  • Incredibly smooth and fast 5.7-inch 120Hz display with 1440p resolution.
  • Gigantic speakers.
  • Unique design.
  • IP67 water resistance.
  • Wireless charging.

What you might not like:

  • Giant speakers means giant bezels.
  • Camera doesn’t compete with other phones in this list.
  • Boxy design isn’t for everyone.

Price: $400


15. Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus

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Antonio Villas-Boas/Business Insider

What we like:

  • Still one of the best-looking smartphones out there.
  • Great value starting at $500.
  • Narrow bezels and no notch.
  • Great battery life.
  • Good camera.
  • IP68 water resistance.
  • MicroSD card slot for expandable storage.
  • 5.8 and 6.2-inch AMOLED screens at a sharp 1440p resolution.
  • Good performance.
  • Rear fingerprint sensor.

What you might not like:

  • Camera can overly process photos.
  • Samsung phones have proven to be slow to receive new Android versions.

Galaxy S9 Price: $600

Galaxy S9 Plus Price: $700

Check out the Galaxy S9 review »


14. Apple iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus

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Hollis Johnson/Business Insider

What we like:

  • $450 starting price tag makes the iPhone 8 among the best value iPhones.
  • Still-powerful A11 chip.
  • iOS operating system is simple and intuitive.
  • Great features and connectivity with Apple ecosystem (Mac computers, Apple Watch, AirPods).
  • Some apps tend to be of higher quality in Apple App Store.
  • 4.7 and 5.5-inch Retina displays.
  • Great camera. iPhone 8 Plus has dual-lens camera system (one regular, one zoomed).
  • Touch ID fingerprint sensor.
  • Great battery life.
  • IP67 water resistance.
  • Wireless charging.

What you might not like:

  • Old iPhone 6-era design with large bezels.
  • Comes with slow 5W charger.
  • No headphone jack.

iPhone 8 Price: $450

iPhone 8 Plus Price: $550

Check out the iPhone 8 review »


13. Apple iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max

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The iPhone XS, left, and the iPhone XS Max.
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Getty

What we like:

  • Still-powerful A12 chip.
  • iOS operating system is simple and intuitive.
  • Great features and connectivity with Apple ecosystem (Mac computers, Apple Watch, AirPods).
  • Some apps tend to be of higher quality in Apple App Store.
  • Face ID facial recognition.
  • 5.8 and 6.5-inch Super Retina OLED displays.
  • Great dual-lens camera system (one regular, one zoomed).
  • Great battery life.
  • IP68 water resistance.
  • Wireless charging.

What you might not like:

  • Still expensive. Most carriers are still selling the iPhone XS for only $100 off from its original price tag, which isn’t much of a discount. The iPhone XS starts at $900, and if you’re going to spend that kind of money, you might as well cough up the extra $100 for the iPhone 11 Pro.
  • Face ID instead of fingerprint sensor.
  • No headphone jack.
  • Notch.
  • Comes with slow 5W charger.
  • Can’t buy it directly from Apple (it’s been discontinued).

iPhone XS Price: $900 at most carriers

iPhone XS Max Price: $1,000 at most carriers


12. Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL

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Antonio Villas-Boas/Business Insider

What we like:

  • Price starts at $500.
  • The best cameras on smartphones.
  • The pure Google and Android experience is better than customized versions of Android.
  • Gets updates the moment Google releases them.
  • IP68 water resistance.
  • Dual-lens selfie camera, one of which is an ultrawide lens.
  • Rear fingerprint sensor.

What you might not like:

  • Unimpressive battery life.
  • Unimpressive design. Pixel 3 XL has a massive notch.
  • Single rear camera lens.

Pixel 3 Price: $500

Pixel 3 XL Price: $600

Check out the Pixel 3 review »

Check out the Pixel 3 XL review »


11. Samsung Galaxy Note 10

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Antonio Villas-Boas/Business Insider

What we like:

  • The Galaxy Note 10 with the S Pen stylus is the ultimate productivity smartphone.
  • Smaller 6.3-inch AMOLED screen.
  • Great battery life.
  • IP68 water resistance.
  • One of the best-looking smartphones out there.
  • All-screen front with narrow bezels and no notch.
  • Reverse wireless charging.
  • Good triple-lens-camera system.
  • Comes with fast 25W charger.

What you might not like:

  • In-display fingerprint sensor is slow and too-often inaccurate.
  • Camera can overly process photos.
  • Samsung phones have proven to be slow to receive new Android versions.
  • No microSD card slot for expandable storage.
  • 1080p screen resolution.
  • 8 GB of RAM compared to the 12 GB as standard in Note 10 Plus.
  • No support for Samsung’s super-fast (optional) 45W charger.

Price: $950

Check out the Galaxy Note 10 review »


10. iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max

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Apple

What we like:

  • New matte textured glass back.
  • Great triple-lens-camera system.
  • iOS operating system is simple and intuitive.
  • Great features and connectivity with Apple ecosystem (Mac computers, Apple Watch, AirPods).
  • Some apps tend to be of higher quality in Apple App Store.
  • Powerful A13 chip.
  • Face ID facial recognition.
  • 5.8 or 6.5-inch Super Retina XDR OLED screens that are extra bright.
  • IP68 water resistance.
  • Great battery life.
  • Triple-lens-camera system with great performance.
  • Wireless charging.

What you might not like about it:

  • Expensive.
  • 64GB base storage capacity is relatively low.
  • Face ID instead of fingerprint sensor.
  • No headphone jack.
  • Notch.
  • Not everyone loves the look of the triple-camera system.
  • iPhone 11 Pro Max weighs half-a-pound.
  • No 90Hz display in 2019.

iPhone 11 Pro Price: $1,000

iPhone 11 Pro Max Price: $1,100

Check out the iPhone 11 Pro review »


9. Samsung Galaxy S10 and Galaxy S10 Plus

source
Antonio Villas-Boas/Business Insider

What we like:

  • One of the best-looking smartphones out there.
  • All-screen front with narrow bezels and no notch.
  • Great battery life.
  • Reverse wireless charging.
  • Good triple-lens-camera system.
  • IP68 water resistance.
  • MicroSD card slot for expandable storage.
  • 6.1 and 6.4-inch AMOLED screens at a sharp 1440p resolution.
  • Great performance.

What you might not like:

  • In-display fingerprint sensor is slow and too-often inaccurate.
  • Camera can overly process photos.
  • Samsung phones have proven to be slow to receive new Android versions.

Galaxy S10 Price: $800

Galaxy S10 Plus Price: $900

Check out the Samsung Galaxy S10 review »


8. Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus

source
Hollis Johnson/Business Insider

What we like:

  • The Galaxy Note 10 with the S Pen stylus is the ultimate productivity smartphone.
  • Large 6.8-inch 1440p AMOLED screen.
  • Great battery life.
  • IP68 water resistance.
  • One of the best-looking smartphones out there.
  • All-screen front with narrow bezels and no notch.
  • Reverse wireless charging.
  • Good triple-lens-camera system.
  • MicroSD card slot for expandable storage.
  • Comes with fast 25W charger and supports Samsung’s new 45W charger.

What you might not like:

  • Too large (in which case check out the regular Note 10).
  • In-display fingerprint sensor is slow and too-often inaccurate.
  • Camera can overly process photos.
  • Samsung phones have proven to be slow to receive new Android versions.

Price: $1,100

Check out the Note 10 Plus review »


7. Apple iPhone XR

What we like:

  • New $600 price tag is great value for an iPhone.
  • Still-powerful A12 chip, same as iPhone XS phones.
  • iOS operating system is simple and intuitive.
  • Great features and connectivity with Apple ecosystem (Mac computers, Apple Watch, AirPods).
  • Some apps tend to be of higher quality in Apple App Store.
  • Face ID facial recognition.
  • Available in more colors.
  • Same rear camera and selfie camera as iPhone XS.
  • 6.1-inch “Liquid Retina Display” makes iOS and apps look great.
  • Wireless charging.

What you might not like:

  • Single-lens camera system that can’t take portrait mode photos of pets or objects.
  • Relatively low 828p resolution.
  • No headphone jack.
  • Notch.
  • Face ID instead of a fingerprint sensor.
  • Comes with slow 5W charger.

Price: $600

Check out 9 reasons to buy the iPhone XR over the iPhone XS or XS Max »


6. Samsung Galaxy S10e

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Antonio Villas-Boas/Business Insider

What we like:

  • Among the best value in Android or Apple smartphones at $650.
  • Runs Snapdragon 855, same as Galaxy S10.
  • Smaller 5.8-inch AMOLED screen.
  • Reverse wireless charging.
  • IP68 water resistance.
  • Dual-lens camera system (one normal, one ultra-wide).
  • Standard capacitive fingerprint sensor on edge of device.
  • MicroSD card expansion slot.
  • Great battery life.
  • All-screen front design with small hole for selfie camera.
  • Has a headphone jack.

Why you might not like:

  • Somewhat plain design.
  • 1080p resolution screen.
  • Camera can overly process photos.
  • Samsung phones have proven to be slow to receive new Android versions.

Price: $650

Check out why you should buy the Galaxy S10e over the regular Galaxy S10 »


5. OnePlus 6T

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Antonio VIllas-Boas/Business Insider

What we like:

  • Superb performance even with 2018 specs.
  • Simple, clean Android operating system appearance.
  • Highly customizable.
  • Great battery life.
  • Super-fast “Warp Charge 30” charger included.
  • Notification/ringing silence switch.
  • Incredibly fast in-display fingerprint sensor.
  • Incredibly fast facial recognition.
  • 6.41-inch AMOLED display.
  • OnePlus has shown it’s rolling out Android updates faster.
  • Super-fast charger included.

What you might not like:

  • No wireless charging.
  • No official water-resistance rating.
  • 6.41-inch display may be too big for some.
  • No headphone jack.
  • 1080p resolution.

Price: $500

Price at T-Mobile: $550 for 8 GB RAM 128 GB model

Check out the OnePlus 6T review »


4. Google Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL

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Hollis Johnson/Business Insider

What we like:

  • Gets the same camera performance and features, including Night Sight, as Pixel 3 phones.
  • Lightweight plastic build means you don’t have to worry so much about cracking glass backs.
  • $400 starting price tag.
  • Good performance with mid-range Snapdragon 670 chip and 4GB of RAM.
  • Good battery life.
  • 5.6 or 6-inch screen options.
  • OLED screens.
  • Gets the latest updates and versions of Android as Google releases them.
  • Has a headphone jack.

What you might not like:

  • Mid-range specs.
  • Plastic build might not be for everyone.
  • Single camera lens.
  • Large bezels.
  • No water resistance.

Pixel 3a price: $400

Pixel 3a XL price: $470

Check out the Pixel 3a review »


3. OnePlus 7 Pro

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Antonio Villas-Boas/Business Insider

What we like:

  • Best performance on an Android phone in 2019 so far with Snapdragon 855, 8GB or RAM, and UFS 3.0 storage.
  • Simple, clean Android operating system appearance.
  • Highly customizable.
  • Beautiful design with curved screen edges.
  • Great triple-lens-camera system.
  • Great battery life.
  • Super-fast “Warp Charge 30” charger included.
  • Super smooth 90Hz AMOLED screen with sharp 1440p resolution.
  • Notification/ringing silence switch.
  • No notch.
  • Selfie camera pops out from enclosure inside the phone’s body when needed.
  • Incredibly fast in-display fingerprint sensor.
  • Incredibly fast facial recognition.
  • OnePlus has shown it’s rolling out Android updates faster.
  • $670 starting price when most phones with similar specs cost $900 or more.

What you might not like:

  • No wireless charging.
  • No official water-resistance rating, yet OnePlus claims it can withstand a dunk in a bucket of water.
  • 6.67-inch display may be too big for some.
  • No headphone jack.
  • Curved screen edges might not be for everyone.

Price: $670

Check out the OnePlus 7 Pro review »


2. iPhone 11

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Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

What we like:

  • $700 starting price tag makes iPhone 11 one of the best values in iPhones.
  • iOS operating system is simple and intuitive.
  • Great features and connectivity with Apple ecosystem (Mac computers, Apple Watch, AirPods).
  • Some apps tend to be of higher quality in Apple App Store.
  • Same powerful A13 chip as iPhone 11 Pro phones.
  • Dual-lens camera system (one regular, one ultrawide) with great camera performance and features.
  • Face ID facial recognition.
  • 6.1-inch “Liquid Retina Display” makes iOS and apps look great.
  • Wireless charging.

What you might not like:

  • One size only for Apple’s best value phone.
  • Relatively low 828p resolution.
  • No headphone jack.
  • Notch.
  • Face ID instead of fingerprint sensor.
  • Comes with slow 5W charger.
  • No 90Hz display in 2019.

Price: $700

Check out the iPhone 11 review »


1. OnePlus 7T

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OnePlus

What we like:

  • Best performance on an Android phone in 2019 so far with Snapdragon 855 Plus, 8GB or RAM, and UFS 3.0 storage.
  • Simple, clean Android operating system appearance.
  • Highly customizable operating system.
  • Beautiful design.
  • Great triple-lens-camera system.
  • Great battery life.
  • Super-fast “Warp Charge 30T” charger included.
  • Super smooth 90Hz AMOLED screen with sharp 1440p resolution.
  • Notification/ringing silence switch.
  • Minuscule notch.
  • Incredibly fast and accurate in-display fingerprint sensor.
  • Incredibly fast facial recognition.
  • OnePlus has shown it’s rolling out Android updates faster.
  • $600 starting price when most phones with similar specs cost $900 or more.

What you might not like:

  • No wireless charging.
  • No official water-resistance rating.
  • 6.55-inch display may be too big for some.
  • No headphone jack.

Price: $600


WAIT FOR IT: Pixel 4

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AnhEm TV/YouTube

The Pixel 4 is expected to be announced on October 15, and it’s been leaked to high heaven.

If you’re looking for Google’s latest and greatest, I’d wait until Google announces its new phone before buying the Pixel 3 phones. With that said, Google’s new phones are rumored to be expensive, so the Pixel 3 phones should offer good value if you’re not looking to spend too much.