(Pocket-lint) – The smartphone is the heart of the modern world, it’s not only essential for communication, it’s your entertainment, smart home control devices and your constant companion.
We continually update our best smartphone guide to reflect recent launches and recognise price changes. All of these top phones have also been fully reviewed by us – we don’t just include stuff we think sounds good.
If you’re in the market for a cheap phone, then check out our sub-£400 smartphone and budget phone roundups, and consider a SIM-only deal if you’re buying your phone outright.
OnePlus 8 Pro
OnePlus has shifted itself from budget manufacturer to competing with top-tier brands. Top quality internal components deliver awesome Android speeds, with 5G for those looking for next-gen connectivity too.
But on the software front, OnePlus wins over some rivals in offering a cleaner take on Android, avoiding bloat and clutter while keeping its phones running fast and smooth. While the camera has been a weakness for OnePlus in the past, the 8 Pro is a lot more complete, with useful cameras giving a competitive showing for themselves. This is backed up with fast charging, great battery life and a great display.
Samsung Galaxy S20+
Samsung’s experience pours into the S20 family, with the + model having the size and clout to cut it as one of the best phones around. It has oodles of power, good battery performance and a great display, all efficiently packed into a tidy handset package. There’s 5G for connectivity – which makes this phone a little more expensive – but also some great work happening with the camera.
The Galaxy S20+ betters the S20 Ultra offering better value for money and a more consistent camera performance escaping some of the gimmicks of the Ultra. That sees good zoom performance and quality images across the board. But the Galaxy S20+ is really tied together by the software experience, which is the best of the skinned Android versions out there.
Samsungs Galaxy S20 FE
Samsung’s Galaxy S20 FE takes the best parts of its flagship phones, replaces the back with plastic, flattens the display and drops the price. The result? The flagship experience that’s easier on the pocket, with no real disadvantages.
The cameras are great, avoiding the gimmicks, while the 5G version – the one you want – has loads of power. There’s great speakers, a 120Hz display for smooth gaming and the option to expand the storage via microSD. What’s not to like?
Apple iPhone 12 Pro
The 2020 iPhone 12 Pro introduces a fresh new design, boosting screen protection and enhancing the cameras on the rear of the handset. The addition of a LiDAR sensor is designed to boost depth perception, while the camera gets boosts to night mode, offering more skills across all the cameras.
With powerful innards and the introduction of 5G, this is a phone that’s designed to be future proof.
Samsung Galaxy S20
The Samsung Galaxy S20 repeats most of the experience of the S20+ but in a slightly smaller package. That means it still offers a great display, lots of power and decent battery life – but it’s also boosted by offering a 4G only model, meaning the price can drop a little lower than some of the 5G rivals on this list.
Again you have great build and software, but you also have a fairly compact phone that doesn’t compromise on what it’s offering – and that’s a top-tier smartphone experience.
Oppo Find X2 Pro
Oppo has been progressively improving its devices and adding appeal, with the Find X2 Pro being the most accomplished so far. There’s loads of power and a really great display, topped off with a great camera experience. It’s the zoom that really appeals, but supported by a strong showing in other areas too, although it’s not the best in low light.
It’s a little on the expensive side, however, considering the OnePlus 8 Pro is similar and cheaper, and the software experience offered by ColorOS isn’t as widely appreciated as OnePlus or Samsung’s offering. Still, there’s a lot that this Pro handset has to offer.
Google Pixel 4a 5G
Google’s 2020 line-up is slightly confusing with the Pixel 4a 5G offering better value and equal performance to the Pixel 5. It misses out on some premium features, but it offers an experience that’s close to flagship.
The cameras are excellent – class leading – while the pure Android user interface avoids unnecessary additions and tweaks and means you’re at the front of the upgrade queue.
Apple iPhone 12
The main camera is joined by an ultra-wide lens, which means that while it doesn’t have the zoom functions of the 12 Pro, it offers much the same experience. With all this crammed into a new design, it’s a great phone.
The OnePlus 8T swings in to update OnePlus’ regular flagship model, here really pushing value for money, while still delivering a flagship experience. It has a good display with 120Hz refresh rate and loads of power.
The cameras aren’t the best, with a little more crammed in than you’ll bother to use – but with a big battery and really, really, fast charging, there’s no worries about battery life.
Sony Xperia 5 II
The Sony Xperia 5 II is Sony’s most accomplished recent phone, offering a compact flagship phone, with plenty of power and appeal.
There’s a great display, with 21:9 aspect, offering 120Hz, and good balanced performance, excellent sound quality and capable cameras. It’s a great compant entertainment phone.
Google Pixel 4a
The Google Pixel 4a is a mid-range device, affordably priced and making some cuts to match its positioning. That means you have a smaller display and a plastic body, with mid-range Snapdragon 730 hardware.
But there’s no lack of power for daily tasks, no lack of refinement in the pure Android experience that it offers – and there’s a class-leading camera on the rear of this phone. It might only offer one lens, but it manages to produce better images from that one camera than most of the devices on this list. The downside is that the screen is pretty small.
The OnePlus Nord is part of a new generation of Qualcomm Snapdragon 765 devices, offering 5G at mid-range prices. There are a few cuts to match this new mid-range positioning, but very few compromises.
What the Nord delivers is a big display, premium build and plenty of power at a fraction of the price of flagship devices. When it comes to value for money, the Nord is right up the list. There’s very little it can’t do.
Moto G 5G Plus
Moto has long offered great phones in the Moto G family and adding 5G to the mix through Snapdragon 765 results in a great handset. It’s one of the best devices in this category thanks to its affordable pricing and clean software.
It’s build isn’t as premium as some – and half the cameras are really wasting space – but there’s no questioning bang for your bucks.
Xiaomi Mi 10 Lite
The Mi 10 Lite is another Snapdragon 765 phone, meaning excellent value for money, while offering 5G and performance that’s close to a flagship phone.
It might not be to all tastes as the camera is a little over-sold on the rear while the software isn’t the cleanest you’ll find. But it’s still a great smartphone experience for the price.
Moto G8 Power
The cheapest phone on this list and the lowest positioned in terms of specs, the Moto G8 Power earns its place through one significant virtue: it’s easily the longest lasting phone in terms of battery life. That not only comes down to the huge capacity, but the efficiency of the components Motorola uses.
Importantly, this isn’t just a huge battery: Motorola has designed a budget star with bags of appeal, from the punch hole display through to the big display that it sits in. Sure, it can’t compete in overall power or camera performance, but if you want the reassurance of knowing your phone will last longer than you do, the Moto G8 Power has a lot to offer.
Apple iPhone SE 2020
The 2020 version of the iPhone SE sells itself in one major area: power for the money. If anything, this phone equipped with the same core hardware as Apple’s top phones makes those other devices look more expensive than they need to be.
The downside is that you get a 2017 designed phone with a display that hasn’t moved forward. It’s probably the only 16:9 phone that’s launched in the last two years. But what you do get is access to the Apple iPhone at prices that are hard to match – and undercutting many rivals in terms of price in the process.
Samsung Galaxy Note 20
The Samsung Galaxy Note has always been the phone for those who want a stylus. In 2020 there are two versions, the Ultra and the slightly more understated regular Note 20. And it’s this regular version that we prefer.
As far as stylus devices go, there’s nothing that can match the Galaxy Note, but paired with powerful hardware, 4G or 5G options, a great display and the slickness of Samsung’s One UI, it’s a great phone.
Writing by Chris Hall. Editing by Dan Grabham.
This article originally appeared on https://www.pocket-lint.com/phones/buyers-guides/120309-best-smartphones-and-flagship-mobile-phones-to-buy