There are so many good phones to choose from in 2020 but which one is the king of the castle? Is there even a winner? In truth, there’s no one perfect choice for everyone, so bear in mind that the best phone for you might not be number one in our chart.
Phones come in all shapes, sizes and prices. Here, we have ranked and reviewed the ten best phones money can buy.
Some of the latest phones include the Galaxy S20, and OnePlus 8 Pro, but newcomers like Realme and Red Magic have managed to oust more established brands for a place on our top 10 list too.
Best smartphone 2020
1. OnePlus 8 Pro
The OnePlus 8 Pro is arguably the company’s first full flagship, finally incorporating long-requested features like wireless charging and an IP68 waterproof rating to make it a genuine contender with Samsung’s finest.
Understandably the price has gone up accordingly, but at £799/$899 for the base model – no slouch at 8GB RAM and 128GB storage – it still represents serious value by flagship standards, meaning you will save at least some money by opting for OnePlus over most other manufacturers. You can save even more with the £599/$699 OnePlus 8, though you’ll have to give up a few features and downgrade the display and cameras.
The 8 Pro camera is OnePlus’ best yet, and while it still lags behind rivals slightly in some software the hardware is among the best around, which has helped to close the gap considerably. Throw in 5G, a great design, and the best Android skin around and the OnePlus 8 Pro is easy to recommend to anyone who can afford it.
Read our full OnePlus 8 Pro review
2. iPhone 11
The iPhone 11 didn’t need to rewrite the smartphone rule book to be a winner. It simply needed to build on the success of the XR and it has done exactly that.
Not a huge amount has changed, but that means the 11 has a nice design which comes in various colours. Face ID has been improved and the telephoto lens has been swapped for a more useful wide-angle lens. The screen still isn’t OLED but offers a decent experience anyway and performance is top-notch here – even when playing the very demanding Oceanhorn 2.
All of this for a cheaper price than when the iPhone XR arrived. Apple has done it again so most won’t need to spend extra on the Pro.
Read our full Apple iPhone 11 review
3. Samsung Galaxy S20
The Galaxy S20 is the best phone in Samsung’s S20 series, and simply the best phone the company makes right now. It’s compact, powerful, and packs a versatile camera system that may not match the top-tier S20 Ultra on zoom or detail, but it meets – and sometimes beats – it across the rest of the board, which means it’s more than a match for just about any other phone out there too.
The wider 5G ecosystem isn’t quite there yet, but will be within the lifetime of this phone, making it almost worth the upgrade. And while battery life remains a slight concern, that’s really the only major fault here. The Android ecosystem offers more for less elsewhere, but usually without Samsung’s level of prestige or polish, and in this case we think that’s worth paying for.
Read our full Samsung Galaxy S20 review
4. Oppo Find X2 Pro
The Oppo Find X2 Pro is a phenomenal phone by any measure. The 6.7in, 10-bit, 120Hz, QHD+ panel is the best display you’ll find in any phone right now, and Oppo backs it up with the fastest wired charging around at 65W, and a top-tier camera that boasts two 48Mp lenses, 12-bit colour photos, and up to 10x hybrid zoom.
You’ll have to live without wireless charging, and the choice between bland grey ceramic or garish orange vegan leather finishes might leave some shoppers struggling to find a design that suits their style.
For pure performance though, the Find X2 Pro can’t be beat right now, with all of the above plus a Snapdragon 865 5G chipset, 512GB storage, and 12GB LPDDR5 RAM – you’ll just have to be willing to pay the price for it, as at £1,099 it doesn’t come cheap.
Read our full Oppo Find X2 Pro review
5. Realme X50 Pro
Realme’s first 5G flagship (and second-ever flagship phone) is an impressively affordable device that doesn’t skimp on high-end specs and features.
The Realme X50 Pro forgoes aspects like IP water resistance and a thin body, but in return sports the latest and greatest Snapdragon 865 chipset, 5G, up to 12GB of RAM, fast UFS 3.0 storage and insane 65W ‘SuperDart’ fast charging, which delivers 60% charge in just 15 minutes and a full charge in only 35.
Best of all, with an initial starting price of £569, the X50 Pro costs nearly half that of most top-tier Android flagships on the market in 2020.
Read our full Realme X50 Pro review
6. OnePlus 8
Colour quirks aside, the OnePlus 8 is a fantastic flagship smartphone at an amazing price. You rarely get this quality level of design, features and performance at such good value.
When the biggest let down is that the main camera can do a better job of close-ups than the macro lens, you know you have an excellent phone. The main thing is whether the Pro is enough to tempt you to splash out.
Read our full OnePlus 8 review
7. iPhone 11 Pro
We’re not fully on board with the ‘Pro’ naming but there’s no doubt this is the best iPhone to date for various reasons.
We like the matte finish which provides more grip than standard glass and helps negate fingerprint, too. The OLED screen is stunning, especially with Dark Mode in iOS 13, the cameras are excellent, performance is slick and battery life is better than ever so there’s a lot to like.
Still, it’s a lot more expensive than the regular iPhone 11 which has the things that most people want and doesn’t really break any new ground. It’s not even 5G capable.
Read our full Apple iPhone 11 Pro review
8. Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite
Due to it’s unusual release timing, the Galaxy S10 Lite doesn’t really feel like an S10. It has arrived around a year after the other S10 phones and therefore very close to the S20 range.
It also looks like an S20 so we’re a bit confused. Naming aside, this is an excellent phone for the money with an excellent screen, decent cameras and more powerful internals than you might expect. There’s also features like an in-screen fingerprint scanner, solid battery life and speedy charging
What you miss out on is things like wireless charging and waterproofing – oh and there’s no headphone jack. Unless you can find the S10 or S10+ at a similar price, this probably the model to get if you can’t afford an S20.
Read our full Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite review
9. Red Magic 5G
The Red Magic 5G is undeniably one of the best gaming phones on the market. Its 144Hz display and stereo speakers are among the best in their class, while the camera enjoys a notable upgrade over the Red Magic 3S.
The phone is targeted squarely at mobile gamers and as such, some aspects are less well suited to mainstream users. These include its imposing industrial design and some unimpressive software tweaks – the frustrating in-display fingerprint scanner chief among them.
All things considered, however, the Red Magic 5G offers everything budding gamers are looking for, not to mention 5G speeds, at a price that means it’s hard to resist.
Read our full Red Magic 5G review
Your buying guide for the best phones in 2020
When choosing a phone, you should consider these things: build quality and design, ease of use, features, performance and value.
Generally speaking, a flagship phone in 2020 will start at around £700 but can cost over £1,000 in some cases. On contract, you’re looking at between £30 and £50-per-month on average but you can spend a lot more if you want an expensive phone and lots of mobile internet data.
We also have charts for mid-range and budget phones if you’re looking for something still excellent, but also more affordable.
Buying a phone outright is will usually give you the best value, but we appreciate finances in the real world don’t always accommodate such big standalone purchases. If you can, you’ll obviously need a SIM card and plan, as well as the phone. If you don’t already have one, check out our best SIM-only deals.
Should you buy an iPhone or an Android phone?
There’s more than one mobile phone operating system, but really only two worth talking about: Android and iOS.
The vast majority of phones today run Android; 10 being the latest version. Apple’s iOS platform, meanwhile, may have a lower market share but developers almost always release their apps on iOS first, partly as a result of this it has one of the best app stores you can find.
If you have an Android phone or an iPhone and want to move to a phone running the other OS (operating system), it’s fairly easy to transfer your contacts and other select data from one to the other. What you can’t move is paid-for apps and certain app data, so keep this in mind if you’re considering a change of platform – and research any specific concerns you may have about the process.
Why you should buy an unlocked phone
An unlocked phone is one which is not tied to any particular mobile operator, such as Vodafone or EE. Buying ‘unlocked’ usually means buying the phone outright without a SIM.
The most important point is that an unlocked phone is almost always a better deal than buying a phone on contract – if you can afford it.
The only real exception to this is Apple’s iPhones – because of their traditional popularity, operators often subsidise the cost of buying an iPhone in order to lock you into a lucrative long-term deal.
Generally speaking, if you can afford the upfront cost of the handset, you will pay less over the life of your phone by buying unlocked.
More importantly, you are not locked into a lengthy contract. If you want a new handset at any time, you can buy one without having to up-purchase your way out of said contract or commit to another two years.
Just be sure to make certain the phone you’re getting is not locked to a certain network.
The right SIM
One other thing to consider is the size and shape of the SIM required for your phone. Make sure you get a nano-SIM if a nano-SIM is what your phone requires.
For the record, every phone in our top 10 takes a nano-SIM.
If you get that wrong it is easily solvable – every network will gladly send over a different-sized SIM. SIM cards tend to come in all three sizes – you simply pop out the one you need.
But that’s assuming you are getting a new SIM, and if you’re looking for a SIM-free phone or unlocked phone you probably already have one.
More important is to make sure that if you want 5G you get a 5G-enabled phone and SIM.
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