There are so many good phones to choose from in 2019 but which one is the king of the castle? Is there even a winner? There's no one perfect choice for everyone, so bear in mind 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.
Should I buy a smartphone now or wait for Black Friday?
Black Friday is one of the biggest sales events of the year, and in 2019 takes place on 29 November. We're already seeing some great consumer tech deals and expect them to continue right into January, with Black Friday deals followed by Cyber Monday deals, Christmas deals, Boxing day deals and then we've got the January sales.
That's both good and bad, of course, because how do you know that a product won't drop in price the very next week? The truth is you can never be entirely sure, but we're now close enough to the main event that many retailers have already begun their Black Friday sales. Of the big UK retailers, Currys has started its Why Wait? sale, guaranteeing that products won't drop any further in price for Black Friday, while Amazon has a range of Black Friday Countdown deals, with its main event starting on 22 November.
They aren't the only ones, and we've been busy hunting down the best phone deals so that you don't have to. While prices may go down further for Black Friday, some discounts will also end sooner, so unless you're sure that a product will be discounted it's always best to take a deal at face value: if you think the product is worth that amount of money, go for it. Sometimes it doesn't pay to hold out for something that will never happen.
Below we've provided some buying advice on what to look for in a phone: even if the products we round up here are not discounted, you may find similar products at much lower prices - and if our #2 or #3 ranked product is discounted, that be enough for you to consider it over the #1 smartphone.
Your buying guide for the best phones in 2019
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 will cost between £600 and £800 but can be 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 think buying a phone outright is the best value, but we appreciate you may not be able to afford to do that. 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. Windows phones are still around, but only account for around one percent of all phones sold, so go with Android or an iPhone.
The vast majority of phones today run Android; Pie is the latest version. While Apple’s iOS platform has a much lower market share, developers almost always release their apps on iOS so it has one of the best app stores you'll find.
If you have an Android phone or an iPhone and want to move to the other type of phone, it's fairly easy move your contacts and other data from one to the other. What you can't move is paid-for apps, so keep this in mind if you're considering a change of platform.
Why you should buy an unlocked phone
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 are Apple's iPhones - because of their traditional popularity, operators do often subsidise the cost of buying an iPhone in order to lock you into a lucrative long-term deal.
But 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 in to 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 a 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 4G you get a 4G-enabled phone and SIM.
The prices listed below for each product in this feature are updated automatically, and include the latest early Black Friday deals and sales.
1. OnePlus 7T
The OnePlus 7T is an impressive smartphone that offers quite the upgrade over the standard OnePlus 7, featuring a large 6.5in AMOLED display with a transformative 90Hz refresh rate, a triple-camera setup on the rear and rapid 30W charging that boosts your phone by just under 50 percent in 20 minutes. It offers just about everything you need from a smartphone in 2019, and OxygenOS 10 (based on Android 10) enhances that experience too.
The design is eye-catching without being too in-your-face, thanks mainly to the frosted glass finish, and the lightweight form factor makes it feel great in the hand.
If you've got your heart set on a curved display and pop-up camera, you might want to consider the OnePlus 7T Pro instead. It's a great phone, but considering how similar the two T-series smartphones are, it doesn't offer the same value for money as the standard 7T.
Read our full OnePlus 7T 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. Xiaomi Mi 9
Devilishly fast, insanely beautiful and offering the best value for money you'll find in any smartphone, anywhere. Mi 9 is a cracking deal at £499, and well worth the upgrade from even Mi 8.
New is an in-display fingerprint sensor as standard, Qualcomm's latest Snapdragon 855 processor, 20W wireless charging, a larger screen and a triple-lens camera that includes a massive 48Mp lens.
It's available direct from Xiaomi at £499, or on contract from Vodafone. If you're happy to ship from China, GearBest offers an incredible deal at £300.07, and at this price no other phone comes even remotely close.
Read our full Xiaomi Mi 9 review
4. Google Pixel 3
The Pixel 3 phones give the cleanest Android experience. The only differences between both models are the larger screen (and notch) and battery on the XL.
They have the best point and shoot camera, outperforming all rivals in most situations. Both have the most premium Google phone hardware to date, good battery life, can charge wirelessly and are waterproof.
Read our full Google Pixel 3 review
5. Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus
The Galaxy S10 Plus is the best Galaxy phone ever with outstanding cameras, build, display and performance. The Exynos version is let down by its merely acceptable battery life.
If you want to spend £100 / $100 less there's the regular Galaxy S10 which has most of the same features including the triple rear cameras and outstanding screen. You could even go for the S10e, but it's a different phone with a smaller screen, less battery and fewer cameras.
Read our full Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus review
6. Oppo Reno 10x Zoom
The Reno 10x Zoom feels a lot like the OnePlus 7 Pro, but trades that phone's phenomenal screen for a better camera instead - a trade-off that's likely to make sense for a lot of people. It's got top specs, decent battery, and a slick design - as long as you don't mind the shark fin.
Getting a Snapdragon 855 and a full-screen, notchless display for £699 is a good deal no matter which way you look at it, but the real sell is the triple camera array. With a 48Mp main lens and a 5x optical zoom that can simulate 10x thanks to software tricks, this is one of the few cameras on the market that can rival the Huawei P30 Pro.
The few downsides are that the AMOLED panel is only 1080p, the speakers are a bit wimpy, and ColorOS still feels like a bit of a work in progress - but for most people these will hardly matter at all.
Read our full Oppo Reno 10x Zoom review
7. Huawei P30 Pro
The Huawei P30 Pro bears many similarities to the older P20 Pro but also to the Mate 20 Pro that sits below it in this chart. Huawei's software leaves a lot to be desired, but this phone excels with extraordinary cameras.
With an amazing 10x optical zoom and outstanding low light performance the P30 Pro pushes Huawei firmly into the conversation. Battery life is also outstanding.
It's the same price as the Galaxy S10 Plus at £899 and isn't available in the US but this is the best phone Huawei has ever made.
Read our full Huawei P30 Pro review
8. 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
9. Xiaomi Mi Mix 3
Swapping out the awkwardly placed selfie camera with a new dual-lens model that is tucked away behind the screen, the Mi Mix 3 is one of several new slider phones that shows how the concept should work. Not only allowing a proper full-screen display, but adding new quick-access functionality to the phone.
In other respects Mi Mix 3 is not a huge upgrade over the 2S, and actually loses some of its bling over its predecessor with the absence of its 18K gold camera surround. But it's still a great phone, available at an incredible price, and it's astonishing to see just how far the original full-display phone has come.
We recommend purchasing the UK model, unless you're on an extremely tight budget. But you can't argue with the pricing: at £499 Mi Mix 3 offers phenomenal value. There's also a 5G version, exclusive to Vodafone, which is the first - and cheapest - 5G phone to go on sale in the UK.
Read our full Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review
10. Sony Xperia 1
The Xperia 1 looks wacky at first with its very tall 21:9 aspect ratio, but aping the dimensions of a cinema screen means many Netflix films looks absolutely stunning with no letterboxing or cut-off. It costs £849 or $949.
The tallness is also handy in portrait though, letting you split screen apps – you can watch a video in the top third while using, say, maps or messaging in the bottom two thirds with enough screen space for neither to be cramped.
With an industry-first notchless 4K HDR OLED display and much-improved cameras, Sony has made a phone that isn’t for the mainstream but ties together the best the company has to offer in smartphone displays, video capture and video playback.
Read our full Sony Xperia 1 review