The old adage of “April showers” certainly holds true for the world of smartphones this month, as April 2019 is refreshing the top 10 list in a big way. 4 out of the 10 phones on this list are brand new to the market and represent fantastic refreshes of the previous year’s phones. There’s something for everyone here, so be sure to check out the entire list before making the decision as to what your next phone will be!
Samsung Galaxy Fold
Foldable phones are the latest smartphone craze, and while they’re on the very edge of cutting-edge, Samsung isn’t wasting any time with its launch of the Galaxy Fold. Announced back in February and teased several times before that, Samsung Galaxy Fold is considered to be the first true foldable phone since it has a single large screen that can be unfolded to enhance your viewing experience.
Samsung’s design differs from other “foldables” that have already been launched by offering up a single, large foldable screen inside a dual-frame chassis complete with 6 cameras in total. A smaller screen is included on the outside for using the phone while it’s folded up, and the App Continuity feature ensures that moving from the smaller to the larger screen is a cohesive experience for supported apps.
There’s no denying that the $2,000 price tag of the Galaxy Fold is going to shut more than a few users out of this revolutionary experience and, to further complicate matters, this is a limited edition phone anyway, so Samsung is only producing a certain amount of units. The initial batch of pre-orders are sold out but it’s highly likely that Samsung will enter a second round of production to meet demand. If you want to be on the bleeding edge of tech, there’s simply no better place to find it than on the Galaxy Fold.
Samsung Galaxy S10 Family
A family of phones that’s far more in reach, both in availability and in budget, is Samsung’s Galaxy S10 line. This year, Samsung has launched 3 phones to fit a wide variety of budgets and preferences. The Galaxy S10+ is the largest of the three, with the Galaxy S10 sitting in the middle, and the Galaxy S10e residing on the smallest end of the chart.
All of these phones deliver an identical software experience but differ in price and hardware specifications. Shared among all three sizes is the new punch-hole camera up front, which places a camera in a literal hole cut out of the brilliant OLED display. You’ll also find the incredible new Samsung OneUI, built atop Android 9 Pie, powers the experience on all phones, sporting levels of customization and features that no other OEM can top. All three phones also have a brand new ultra-wide 123-degree angle camera on back alongside the standard camera as well, giving users a wider view of the world than any other range of phones available.
What’s different between these three devices? The Galaxy S10 and Galaxy S10+ feature a telephoto camera in addition to that ultra-wide angle one, and both of these phones have a significantly higher resolution screen than the Galaxy S10e as well. There’s no denying that the side-mounted fingerprint scanner on the Galaxy S10e is a superior design to the in-glass ultrasonic fingerprint scanner on the other two devices though, which makes choosing between these phones more difficult than a simple price-to-size equation.
LG G8 ThinQ
LG’s G-series of phones has been a bit of a rollercoaster ride over the years, but 2019’s G8 ThinQ is back on the upswing with some fantastic new features. Chief of the improvements is the Crystal Sound OLED display, which isn’t just the first OLED display on a G-series device from LG, it’s also the first time we’re seeing stereo speakers on an LG flagship phone.
Sound comes straight from the display itself, a new technology LG debuted with its OLED line of premium TVs, as well as the bottom-firing single speaker and the fantastic Boombox speaker on back. This, paired with the DTS:X virtual surround sound on the phone makes for some incredible audio fidelity without need for headphones or external speakers.
Folks wanting the absolute best audio experience need to look no further than the amazing quad-DAC system, available by plugging your headphones or external audio system into the 3.5mm audio jack on the bottom of the phone. LG’s range of sound and the overall fidelity of the audio that comes from this port is simply unparalleled.
Lastly is the new TOF camera on front. This depth-sensing 3D camera enables some interesting gestures that need a bit of work, but LG’s Hand ID technology, complete with proper secure facial recognition means that the brevity of ways to biometrically secure your phone aren’t just locked into fingerprint recognition. This new TOF camera also helps the front-facing camera take the best selfies we’ve ever seen from an LG phone, and puts the G8 at the top of the charts for best selfie cameras on the market right now.
There’s some killer deals for the G8 through various US carriers right now too, so hit up the link below to see the best prices for the phone and where you could score a price that’s almost too good to be true.
Huawei P30 Pro
Huawei has been churning out quality flagship titles every 6 months, and right on queue is the Huawe P30 family. It took some years before Huawei caught up to the best in the smartphone camera business, but 2018’s P20 Pro finally surpassed that mark, and 2019’s P30 family looks to continue that pedigree. Following up with the Fall’s fantastic Mate 20 Pro’s introduction of an ultra-wide angle camera that also doubles as a super-macro camera comes the introduction of a periscope zoom camera on the P30 Pro.
This new 5x optical zoom camera seems to break all conception of physics in smartphone photography as we knew it, enabling up to 10x hybrid zoom and 50x digital zoom for an unbelievable experience that you simply cannot get anywhere else. Both phones ship with a 40-megapixel rear camera but the P30 Pro, once again, has the better setup with an improved f-stop rating and the ability to raise that ISO up to an insane 409,600.
This bests even its own record, set on the Mate 20 Pro, and gives the P30 Pro the crown of low light champion by several leagues. There’s more to it than camera prowess, for sure, but it’s clear that Huawei has found its niche in the photography realm and is willing to go all-in to make sure it doesn’t lose that title any time soon. It’s also actually available in the US as well, which might be a shocker to many throughout the globe that have been following tech headlines.
Xiaomi’s Mi series started the “cheaper is better” hardware craze many years ago, and Xiaomi is still offering more bang for the buck than most other OEMs on the market. The Mi9 is a driving force of several new technologies, one of which is super-fast wireless charging, all without driving up the expected price of the phone.
At under $500 there’s no mistaking this for the ultimate blend of premium and budget, especially considering you’d never peg this phone for a budget model by any definition. Sporting the latest in mobile processing tech, plenty of RAM, a beautiful screen, build and design, and the latest MIUI 10 OS that throws everything and the kitchen sink into the mix without confusing users with overwhelming design.
It’s more practical than the Mi MIX 3, another excellent phone by Xiaomi, and improves upon that phone in several ways as well. Xiaomi fans will be more than happy with what’s available here, and folks looking for an equally excellent, if not better experience than those other names don’t need to look further or spend more money. This is the “everyman's phone” without a doubt.
HONOR was the first to market with a punch-hole style camera on the front of its latest phone, but that wasn’t the only headline-making reason for this phone to exist. HONOR has been the king of value for quite some time now, and while the View20 doesn’t represent their least expensive phone, it does hold the title of best camera on an affordably-priced phone.
Despite a relatively affordable price, the HONOR View20 sports an impressive 48-megapixel camera, which is the first of its kind in a new camera sensor generation. It’s also got Huawei’s latest and greatest HiSilicon Kirin 980 SoC, which is not only capable of some pretty fantastic processing power but also packs in dual Neural Processing Units (NPU) to help enhance photography and videography alike.
A sizable battery sits inside and will net most users an easy 2-day battery life, something that most flagship phones could only dream of. A super unique texture and pattern exist on the back of every available color of View20, and the Magic UI 2.0 that’s based on Android 9 Pie will deliver just as solid of an experience as the hardware. Looking for excellent photography and videography without breaking the bank? You’ve come to the right place.
OnePlus has never been one to shy away from controversy, and while we’re seemingly on the heels of a new product announcement from the company, the OnePlus 6T remains one of the best values you can find in the smartphone world. This especially holds true in the US, where carrier T-Mobile officially carries and promotes the phone with excellent pricing and promotions.
At around half the price of the Samsung Galaxy S10, and with a far superior in-display fingerprint reader, the OnePlus 6T delivers quick performance, lots of features, and an impressively beautiful build, all without the high price of the competition. You’ll notably miss some extra features like waterproofing or wireless charging, but some users might be OK with the lack of support in these areas.
OnePlus has quickly become one of the best OEMs for regular updates too, a huge turnaround for a company that was once in the running for worst post-purchase support on the market. OnePlus’s rise from small OPPO spin-off to massive worldwide manufacturer is part of this improvement in customer service, and its goals to dominate a specific segment of the market seem closer to being within grasp than ever.
Sony Xperia XZ3
For a time, Sony was behind the curve for design aesthetics and camera performance. With the Xperia XZ2 and XZ3, that all changed for the better, and the Xperia XZ3 represents the finest flagship Sony has made thus far. Sporting a gorgeous new design, including a curved OLED screen for the first time on a Sony flagship, the Xperia XZ3 is gorgeous to look at from any angle.
It’s also got those phenomenal front-facing stereo speakers that Sony is so well known for, and that unique dynamic vibration system that makes the vibration motors in the phone behave more like a subwoofer when you’re watching shows and movies. That slightly modified Android 9 Pie build sports better multitasking than stock Pie does, in addition to offering a number of value-added features that don’t muddy up the experience.
LG V40 ThinQ
LG’s flagships have improved significantly over the past few years, and there’s little better example of that than the LG V40. It’s been 6 months since the phone launched and it still feels like a brand new device, with snappy performance, a uniquely gorgeous design and build, and a manual camera experience that’ll make any fledgling content creator happy.
It’s this manual camera experience that sits at the core of what makes the LG V40 such a fantastic phone. We’ve been using the LG V30 and V40 since their releases for filming content on our YouTube channel, and the experience has been nothing short of stellar.
You don’t need to be a content creator in order to appreciate what LG has built here though. A stunning OLED display complete with the best vibration motors in the business make for an experience that’s excellent all around, and LG’s snappy and convenient software experience makes sure the experience doesn’t degrade over time.
Waiting for that Android 9 Pie update has been long in the tooth though, so while the experience is a solid one, LG doesn’t appear to have prioritized the update schedule for its latest flagships. If frequent updates are a requirement, this phone probably won’t make you happy, but if a solid experience that offers quite a bit more than stock Android if your gig, this could be the phone for you.
Samsung Galaxy Note 9
The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 was our 2018 Phone of the Year for a reason. Samsung threw everything and the kitchen sink at their most expensive flagship phone for a year, and the experience reflected that in every way. The Galaxy Note 9 represents everything that’s excellent about mobile computing including an amazing display, phenomenal speakers, a range of audio output options, great software updates, tons of useful features, a wide range of customization options and, of course, the S-Pen.
The S-Pen has been the defining piece of the Note series since its inception, and the S-Pen is better than ever on the Galaxy Note 9. While it looks the same on the outside, there’s a brand new Bluetooth radio on the inside that provides new ways of launching and interacting with content on screen than ever before. Use it as a remote shutter button for the camera, or as a way to quickly launch your favorite note-taking app, among a swath of other options.
We’ve been quick to highlight Samsung’s Good Lock app in our recent reviews of Samsung flagships, and it’s on the Galaxy Note 9 that the rebirth of Good Lock appeared. This oddly named app brings about the most customizable experience on any smartphone in the world and allows users to truly make their Galaxy Note 9 a unique looking and operating device. Want the phone that does it all? That’s the Galaxy Note 9.