1. Samsung Galaxy S20/S20 Plus/S20 Ultra
Samsung announced the Galaxy S20 series a month ago and phones are now available for consumers. After spending a couple of weeks with the S20 Ultra 5G, it is clear the phone is built for business and captures the crown for best Phone available today.
The focus on the S20 line this year is universal 5G and improved camera experiences. There are some focus issues Samsung is currently dealing with on the S20 Ultra and while you may not want to pay $1,400+ for that phone right now, the S20 Plus may be more appropriate.
Samsung's S20 series are powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865, AMOLED 120Hz refresh rate displays ranging from 6.2 to 6.9 inches, 12GB RAM (with 16GB option), 128GB to 512GB storage options with a microSD for even more capacity, three rear cameras (the Ultra has unique camera specifications), IP68 rating, WiFi 6, and Bluetooth 5. Battery capacity ranges from 4,000 to 5,000mAh. The S20 does not support high band (mmWave) faster 5G networks so make sure you pick the device that will fit your network needs.
An argument can be made that the S20 series isn't the best smartphone available today, but in terms of 5G and the latest technology, they are tough to beat. The price makes them a bit tougher to justify, but when you realize how this tool is used constantly the price for the value is easier to comprehend.
2. LG V60 ThinQ 5G
The LG V60 THINQ 5G recently launched on T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon. It's only available in the US from one of these wireless carriers, but it may appear as an unlocked model on Amazon in the future.
This latest LG V series device continues to focus on video creation with a triple rear camera system, 8K video recording, four microphones, ASMR and Voice Bokeh audio technology, and advanced camera software. It's also powered by a massive 5,000 mAh battery with a 1080p display so it is sure to help you capture hours of video content.
The LG V60 ThinQ 5G is composed of two pieces of Gorilla Glass 5 with a metal frame and is certified for shock resistance to MIL-STD 810G. LG's new phone has a 6.8-inch OLED panel, Qualcomm Snapdragon 865, 8GB of RAM, 128GB of internal storage with a microSD card, and 5G. A Dual Screen cover is included for the $900 price and gives you a large platform for serious productivity.
Along with 5G and a focus on video capture, the LG V60 continues LG's tradition of audio excellence with a 3.5mm audio port with quad DAC support and stereo speakers. It sounds great through the speakers, but the wired headphone experience is even better. It's one of the last phones remaining with a 3.5mm audio port so audiophiles are sure to be pleased.
3.OnePlus 8/8 Pro
OnePlus rolled out its new 2020 phones with the OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8 Pro, both compatible with 5G networks. T-Mobile will carry the OnePlus 8 while Verizon will also get a unique version with 5G mmWave support.
This latest OnePlus flagship offers extremely responsive performance with its 90Hz and 120Hz displays, fast UFS 3.0 internal storage, generous RAM, and the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 processor.
The phones are lovely with Interstellar Glow, Glacial Green, and other color options available. There are is a couple of different RAM and internal storage options for each phone. With the size and battery capacity differences between the OnePlus 8 and 8 Pro, we also find some differences in cameras, display refresh rate, and wireless charging functionality.
4. Samsung Galaxy Note 10/10 Plus
The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 sat on top of our 10 best smartphone list for much of the past year and was at the top of this list earlier this year. While the headphone jack is gone, everything else has been improved on the 2019 version of the Galaxy Note. The Note 10 is now offered in two variants, with the presence of a microSD card slot, display size, and battery capacity being the prime differentiators.
The Galaxy Note 10 Plus is an excellent enterprise smartphone with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor, massive amounts of RAM, fast internal storage, microSD card expansion, capable rear quad-camera system, and much more.
Note 10, starting with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of internal storage, starts at $949.99 while the Note 10 Plus with 12GB of RAM and 256GB internal storage starts at $1,099.99. There are also increased RAM and storage options for both devices, but the default base models offer ample RAM and storage for most users. The Note 10 Plus is available now from Samsung and all carriers. T-Mobile also just rolled out a 5G variant.
5. Apple iPhone 11 Pro/Pro Max
My full review of the Apple iPhone 11 Pro led me to almost rank it with my first perfect 10. I held back from that since Apple launched it with just 64GB of internal storage capacity, which I find unacceptable for a $1,000+ flagship phone with a triple camera system -- the best video capture system on a phone. Apple has also been struggling with iOS 13 performance issues, which is why it doesn't remain at the top of this list.
The only differences between the iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max are the display size and battery capacity. After going full cirle, it's clear that the 5.8-inch model works best for me. There's a lot to be said for a phone that is easily pocketable and capable of satisfying people with smaller hands. It's usable with one hand.
Apple has once again shown it bests all other phones in benchmarking testing with the Apple A13 Bionic chipset. It has a fabulous OLED screen, good-sized battery with a rating of four hours more than last year's iPhone, and new camera hardware (with improved software) to make it a very compelling flagship. It continues to get regular updates (one coming within the first week of release) and iOS apps are still better than comparable Android apps, despite the improvements in Android phones.
Face ID continues to be one of the fastest and most secure methods of maintaining security on your phone, and the version in the iPhone 11 Pro has been improved for better performance. Google may release an alternative with the upcoming Pixel 4, but current ultrasonic fingerprint scanners are not proving very reliable for consistent performance.