Trying to find the “best” smartphone can be a rather tough adventure. Regardless of whether you want flagship specs without the flagship price, or just the best camera on a smartphone, the competition is pretty stiff. That sentiment has grown even more over the course of 2020 with so many fantastic handsets becoming available.
For more amazing gift ideas, make sure you check our 2020 Holiday Gift Guide.
Best Smartphones overall
Those looking for a flagship smartphone experience will want to apply here. You’ll find the usual contenders, but some of these surprised us for a multitude of reasons. Nonetheless, if you want the very best a smartphone can offer, here are our favorites.
Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra
When it comes to the Note 20 Ultra, Samsung provides everything and the kitchen skin. From the superior camera array on the back, to the sleek premium design, and the included S Pen, this is the phone that will do everything you need it to, and then some.
If you want to go down the path of using iOS, there's really nothing better than the iPhone 12. This brings a complete redesign, moving away from the curved edges in favor of flat edges. The camera system is top-notch, and the iOS App Store has some of the best apps you won't find on the Play Store.
Learning from its mistakes, Google took a step back with its 2020 flagship. The same great camera system is onboard, but the battery life has been greatly improved, stock Android is still a dream to use, and you'll get up to three years of OS and security updates. Plus, the new metal body feels great to the touch while still making it possible to use wireless chargers.
The latest flagship from OnePlus is just another great example of what a company can provide with flagship specs without breaking the bank. You'll find up to 256GB of storage, a quad-rear camera array, and a flat front display with a 120Hz refresh rate. But the real story is the Warp Charge 65 charger, which provides you more than enough juice with just a 15-minute charge.
Samsung Galaxy S20 FE
Samsung surprised everyone with the Galaxy S20 FE, as this feels more like what the standard Galaxy S20 should have been. Flagship-level specs, a flat display, and numerous color options, along with Samsung's software experience make for a home run.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2
It should come as no surprise that the Z Fold 2 made the list. This device makes you feel like you're living in the future, with its beautiful foldable display and industrial design. Samsung took all of the complaints from the first Galaxy Fold and fixed just about everything with the 2020 rendition.
Best Budget Smartphones
2020 has been an interesting year to say the least. Smartphone makers released the devices we expected them to, with new flagship offerings from every major manufacturer. But the real competition comes in the mid-range and budget market, as we have seen devices that will be great for just about everyone, and proving that you don’t need to spend boatloads of cash just to get a great smartphone experience.
It's hard to argue with how great the Pixel
4a is, as you get 90% of the Pixel 5, at just a fraction fo the cost. You'll miss out on 5G and wireless charging, but the battery will last up to a full-day, and you're still getting stock Android, which means years of software updates.
Moto G8 Power
The Moto G Power is one of the few smartphones that will actually last you for more than a day. With its 5,000mAh battery, and near-Stock Android software, the G Power is a fantastic device that won't break the bank while providing a great experience.
If you want to get an iPhone without dealing with flagship pricing, the iPhone SE is the way to go. It sports the same processor as iPhone 11 Pro, while keeping the fingerprint scanner in-tow. Although the screen is smaller, the bezels are larger, and there's only one camera, the iPhone SE is still a great device.
Poco X3 NFC
2020 is the year of the budget handsets, and the Poco X3 NFC has surprised many to join the ranks of the Pixel 4a and others. The handset offers a 120Hz refresh rate, up to two days of battery life, and a solid experience overall that make up for the cheap build quality and average cameras.
Samsung Galaxy A71 5G
It should come as no surprise that Samsung has a great device available at just about every price point imaginable. But the Galaxy A71 5G combines mid-range specs with a flagship design that is frankly unrivaled when looking at the rest of the market. This device is future-proof with 5G connectivity while providing a stunning Super AMOLED+ display.
Redmi Note 8 Pro
The Redmi Note 8 Pro is one of those devices that you wouldn't expect to be great, until you actually use it. With up to 12GB of RAM and a microSD card slot, paired with a gorgeous 6.53-inch display and sleek build quality, the Note 8 Pro has just about everything you could want in a device.
Whether it's a starter phone for your little one, or a phone for grandma, the LG K40 is a solid device that won't break the bank. This offers a solid set of specs along with a sleek and familiar design. There's a single 16MP rear camera, along with battery life that will last throughout the day.
Phandroid’s 2020 Holiday gift guide
While the list above highlights a few of our favorite gadgets of 2020, we’ve put together a comprehensive list of 250 products in 19 different categories to make it easy for you to find the best gifts for your family members, friends (or yourself) this holiday season. We’d also like to thank MediaTek for sponsoring the Chromebooks, Smart Home, and Smart Speakers & Displays sections of our 2020 Holiday Gift Guide.
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