Best phones of 2019: iPhone, Samsung, Pixel, Motorola...

The best phones from the biggest brands. Hand-picked by CNET editors, here's our list to help you find the best smartphone..

Lynn La Senior Editor / Reviews - Phones
Lynn La covers mobile reviews and news. She previously wrote for The Sacramento Bee, Macworld and The Global Post.
Lynn La
4 min read

From phones with wireless charging and AMOLED screens to in-screen fingerprint sensors and extended battery life, you've never had more high-quality smartphone options than you do right now. Now that we're in a new year (and decade!), it's the best time to consider all the smartphone options out there from  Apple , Samsung Google  and others.

If you're looking to upgrade your smartphone or get a gift for someone special, there are a ton of choices in different categories at different prices. Fortunately, we've done the hard work culling down the massive smartphone release list to something more manageable, and called out which features each phone does the best (never underestimate the importance of a killer selfie camera) so you can take some time out these holidays.

Read on to learn more about the best phones of 2020 and our tips on how to buy a new phone.

Read more:


With a price tag that starts at $700, the iPhone 11 is the best midtier cell phone model Apple has ever made. Its cameras have an excellent new Night Mode and an ultrawide-angle camera adds extra detail in photos. Video is fantastic, too. It also houses the latest and fastest Apple processors, making it among the fastest iPhones ever. Some things to keep in mind, though. First, the latest iPhones don't have a headphone jack, so you also might want to invest in a dongle for your giftee. Second, the iPhone 11 does not offer a fingerprint sensor, just Face ID.

Read more: Best iPhone 11 and 11 Pro cases you can get now


The refined, feature-packed Note 10 Plus closes the gap with rival phones. This top-of-the-line device was made for people who want the best Android. It has a killer 6.8-inch screen, all-day battery life, wireless charging capabilities, and excellent camera tools. It also offers water resistance in up to 1.5 meters of water for up to 30 minutes.


A year after this cell phone's release, the iPhone XR is still a fantastic choice. It's fast, it's screen has a bright and colorful LED display, and at $600 is one of the best values out there. The rear camera doesn't have a telephoto lens, but its front-facing selfie camera takes great portraits -- extremely important in this age of Instagram.


The iPhone 8 (and 8 Plus) is the only iPhone with a home button that Apple still sells new. If you're not a fan of swiping up to get to your home screen, but still want a powerful cell phone, with a good camera, a fingerprint scanner, and water resistance, this is the best and most affordable one at $449. Word to the wise, though, this particular smartphone doesn't have great battery life.


Phones nowadays are constantly one-upping each other with pop-up selfie cameras, in-display fingerprint sensors and multiple rear cameras in addition to their selfie camera. The OnePlus 7 Pro has all the features du jour to keep us enticed. But it's the phone's $669 starting price that's the deal maker. OnePlus' followup for the US market, the OnePlus 7T is also an excellent phone.


As the most wallet-friendly Galaxy S10 smartphone, the Galaxy S10E has a lot to offer. It's a smaller device, which is great for those looking for a small grip, it has a superfast Snapdragon 855 chipset and a lengthy battery life. Beyond wireless charging for its own battery, the Galaxy S10E can also wirelessly charge other phones and accessories, has a fingerprint scanner and a fantastic AMOLED screen.


If you know a tech person who has a Pixel XL but is looking to upgrade, look no further than the Pixel 3A. This smartphone shaves a few features off of last year's Pixel 3: It doesn't offer water resistance, doesn't have wireless charging (it has a usb type-c port), and it maxes out at 64GB of internal storage. But it adds a headphone jack and keeps the same amazing Night Sight camera that can shoot great photos in the dark. (Daytime photos look amazing, too.) The OLED display is excellent as well, and the phone has great battery life.


Though the Moto G7 isn't a foldable phone in the vein of the brand's much-loved Razr (a new version of which was just announced) it is an affordable and reliable smartphone. Though its single speaker doesn't offer the greatest sound and it takes mediocre low-light photos and video, the G7 has dual rear cameras, an enduring battery life, wireless charging capabilities and a sleek design. It also offers fast charging, which is useful when you need to juice up while on the go.