Hexbyte – Science and Tech
If you’re on the hunt for a new smartphone, chances are you’ve got a lot of devices on your shortlist. There are so many different options out on the market today that it can make finding the right one a bit difficult. So, let’s take a look at the best Android phones you can buy today, as of November 2019.
Nomad case for Pixel 3
Hexbyte – Science and Tech BEST ANDROID PHONES – NOVEMBER 2019
New for November:
Hexbyte – Science and Tech Samsung Galaxy S10 and S10+
The best Android phones for most people
Samsung is the biggest name in Android, and for 2019, the company has pulled no punches. The Galaxy S10 and S10+ are the two best Android smartphones you can buy today — here’s why.
The main focus of the Galaxy S10 is the display with a 6.1-inch panel on the S10 and a 6.4-inch panel on the S10+. In either case, it’s an Infinity-O display at 3040×1440 with a “hole-punch” at the top right corner to house the 10 MP selfie camera. There’s just a single camera on the S10, but a dual-camera array on the S10+ for improved portrait mode. Each display also has a built-in ultrasonic fingerprint sensor.
As far as the build goes, Samsung has also stuck with the same aluminum and glass build as in years past. Wireless charging is on board, USB-C, and a dual-speaker system as well. Around back, the S10 and S10+ also both have three cameras with a standard 12 MP primary sensor, 12 MP telephoto zoom lens, and a 16 MP super wide-angle option, too.
Both devices also run on top of a Snapdragon 855 processor, 8 GB of RAM, and 128 GB of storage. The smaller Galaxy S10 has a 3,400 mAh battery while the S10+ has a 4,100 mAh battery. Both devices can also be upgraded to 512 GB of storage, but the S10+ can also go up to 1 TB of storage and 12 GB of RAM. Samsung has also managed to keep the headphone jack and IP68 water/dust resistance. Android 9 Pie ships out of the box with the company’s OneUI software layer.
Why they’re the best Android phones you can buy:
Put simply, it doesn’t really get much better than the Galaxy S10 lineup. These phones have the strongest processors on the market right now, a frankly crazy spec package, and promising cameras, too. The software continues to get better too, and pricing is well in line with the rest of the industry.
The only glaring flaw with the Galaxy S10 and S10+ is software support. Typically, Samsung is slow to push out major updates, and security patches are generally delayed, too, depending on your carrier. It’s a shame, and something you’ll want to keep in consideration.
Where to buy the Galaxy S10 and S10+:
Unlocked, the Galaxy S10 starts at $899 while the S10+ starts at $999. That’s in line with other flagships, but a big jump from last year’s Galaxy S9 family. The device can be purchased in its unlocked state from Amazon, Samsung, and B&H Photo (S10, S10+). As for carriers, Verizon (S10, S10+), T-Mobile (S10, S10+), and AT&T (S10, S10+) all carry both the S10 and S10+.
Hexbyte – Science and Tech New for November – OnePlus 7T
OnePlus has always had a heavy focus on packing strong specs at an affordable price point, and the OnePlus 7T is the culmination of that. Here’s what you need to know about the OnePlus 7T Pro, and why it might just be the best overall smartphone available right now.
First, let’s talk specs. The OnePlus 7T has a 6.55-inch OLED display at 1080p which has a 90Hz refresh rate. It has a small notch up top to house a front-facing camera and also peaks at a crazy 1,000 nits for stellar outdoor viewing.
Under the hood, there’s also a lot backing that up. The Snapdragon 855 Plus processor is at the core paired with 6GB or 8GB of RAM and 128GB or 256GB of storage. There’s also Android 10 and OxygenOS out of the box. OnePlus is also using UFS 3.0 storage inside which is much faster than what you’d find most of the other phones on this list.
In the camera department, the OnePlus 7T has a triple camera array on its back. There’s a 48MP primary sensor as well as a telephoto lens and an ultrawide lens as well. OnePlus also used some motors to enable a special macro mode that can focus on subjects from an extremely short distance. There’s also an in-display fingerprint sensor here too which is one of the best out there today. Not everything is perfect, though. You won’t get proper water resistance with an IP rating, a headphone jack, or wireless charging on this device. But you do get unlocked compatibility with GSM carriers as well as Verizon.
Why it’s the best Android phone you can buy:
From $599, the OnePlus 7T is put simply, a fantastic value. It’s one of the most affordable flagship smartphones on the market today and you get a ton for that price tag. The camera may be a bit behind competitors such as the Pixel, but for a lot of people, it will be totally acceptable. Plus, you’re getting clean, fast software that’s updated fairly quickly.
Where to buy OnePlus 7T:
As usual, the OnePlus 7T is sold unlocked directly from OnePlus Store, but you can also get it through T-Mobile. There are some special promos available through the carrier too. Notably, the 8GB/128GB is the only variant sold in the United States.
Hexbyte – Science and Tech New for November – Google Pixel 4 XL
The best* Android experience you can get, just don’t get the small one
Ok so here’s the thing. The Pixel 4 is probably the most controversial smartphone on this list. If you put a huge value on battery life – hence the asterisk above – you should probably look elsewhere. However, if you want the best Android experience on the market today, the Pixel 4 is exactly that.
What makes the Pixel 4 such a good experience? It really comes down to the software. Android 10 comes out of the box on the Pixel 4 and it runs like a dream with the Snapdragon 855 and 6GB of RAM onboard. Google also leverages its new Neural Core chip to include faster Google Assistant, a special Recorder app that includes live transcription, and more.
The Pixel 4 also makes some upgrades to the phone’s already famous camera chops. The primary 12MP camera gets some software enhancements that make shots look even better, but thanks to an added 16MP telephoto camera, Google can enable some new features. That includes legitimately impressive zoom up to 8x which is of stellar quality. This phone can also quite literally capture the stars with a special astrophotography mode.
The Pixel 4 also brings a 90Hz OLED display to the table along with 64GB or 128GB of storage, dual speakers, and a matte finish on the side rails on all models and the back glass of the Clearly White and Oh So Orange variants.
You shouldn’t buy the smaller phone
Here’s the biggest problem with the Pixel 4 series. You should not buy the smaller phone. The Pixel 4 XL is the only model worth considering because, from a battery life aspect, the smaller device is simply awful. It barely lasts a full day if you’re lucky and it’s just not worth the anxiety. If you need a smaller device, the Pixel 4 is not your solution and that’s just sad to say, unfortunately.
Where to buy the Pixel 4 XL
If you want to buy the larger Pixel 4 XL, it starts at $899 for the 64GB variant and it’s available just about everywhere. The device is sold unlocked from Google, Amazon, B&H Photo, and other retailers. You can also pick it up from all major carriers including Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, and for the first time, AT&T too.
Hexbyte – Science and Tech OTHER EXCELLENT ANDROID SMARTPHONES
OnePlus 7 Pro
The OnePlus 7T is a better value for most people, but the OnePlus 7 Pro might just be one of the most impressive Android smartphones that hit the market in 2019. Its display is free of bezels and notches thanks to a pop-up camera and that display was also one of the first widespread 90Hz OLED panel. The OnePlus 7 Pro also packs a Snapdragon 855, up to 12GB of RAM, and 256GB of UFS 3.0 storage. There’s also a solid in-display fingerprint sensor too.
OnePlus packed a ton into the OnePlus 7 Pro for a surprisingly low price. Months after its release, the company sells this device from a starting price of $649 for its 8GB/256GB variant. It also now runs Android 10 and should work on AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon too.
New for November – LG G8X ThinQ
The LG G8X ThinQ offers a 6.4-inch display that has an in-display fingerprint sensor and a 32MP front-facing camera. There’s also a Snapdragon 855, 6GB of RAM, 128GB of expandable storage, a 4,000 mAh battery, and a dual-camera array on the back. There’s a 12MP primary sensor and a 13MP ultra-wide sensor. Oh, and there’s also the rarely seen headphone jack too.
The dual-screen accessory included in the box is the real selling point, though. It gives you another whole screen to use for multitasking and it’s genuinely useful. For $699, too, it’s a pretty good value. AT&T and Sprint are the only carriers offering the G8X, but you can also buy the device unlocked from B&H Photo and other retailers.
Samsung Galaxy S10e
If the standard Galaxy S10 is too rich for your blood, the Galaxy S10e brings a lot of the same fun for a discount. You’ll still get a Snapdragon 855 processor and Infinity-O display, but this time that’s a 5.8-inch FHD+ panel and comes with 6GB of RAM. Aside from that, the third camera sensor gets removed, leaving just a 12MP primary and 16MP super wide-angle sensor. Wireless charging, IP68 water resistance, 128GB of storage, a headphone jack, and a 3,100 mAh battery all round out the package.
For its $749 price tag, I can honestly say the S10e is one of the best values currently on the market at the moment. It can be purchased unlocked from Amazon, Samsung, or B&H Photo. As far as carriers go, it’s available just about everywhere including Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile.
Samsung Galaxy Note 10/+
Samsung makes some of the best Android phones on the market, and its Note line is some of the best in the business for productivity especially. The latest generation of Galaxy Note brings even more to the table with two sizes, the latest specs, and some gorgeous colors too.
The Galaxy Note 10 family includes the standard Galaxy Note 10 and the Note 10+. The smaller Note 10 has a 6.3-inch FHD display, lacks microSD, and is limited to 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. The Note 10+, on the other hand, offers a 6.8-inch QHD display, up to 12GB of RAM and 512GB of storage, and even has a 5G variant too. In both phones, you’ll find a smaller centered punch-hole display cutout, a Snapdragon 855 processor, and a triple camera array that includes a 12MP primary, 16MP ultrawide, and 12MP telephoto lens. There’s also faster wired and wireless charging, slimmer bezels, and new S-Pen features. One loss, though, is the headphone jack.
Pricing for the Galaxy Note 10 starts at $949 from Samsung, Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T, Sprint, and other major carriers. Meanwhile, the Note 10+ starts at $1,099 from Samsung, Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T, Sprint, and other major carriers, with the Note 10+ 5G currently exclusive to Verizon for $1,299. Both devices are also available unlocked from Amazon and B&H Photo.
ASUS ZenFone 6
The ZenFone 6 offers up a near-stock build of Android Pie that only has minimal bloatware. Alongside that, it’s powered by the Snapdragon 855 chipset found in flagships twice its cost, and it also has a nearly bezel-less 6.4-inch FHD display. To accomplish that, ASUS designed a clever “flip-up” camera that uses a motor to bring the rear 48 MP and 13 MP cameras to the front of the phone. There’s also a huge 5,000 mAh battery, up to 8 GB RAM/256 GB of storage, 18 W fast charging, a Google Assistant button, and a fingerprint sensor on the back as well.
The ASUS ZenFone 6 only works on GSM carriers in the United States, but if you’re interested in picking one up, you can preorder from Mobile Advance or B&H Photo. If you opt for the latter, you’ll be able to pick between the 64GB and 128GB variants and get a bit of free prepaid service, too. In terms of sheer value, the ZenFone 6 is one of the best Android phones on this list.
Samsung Galaxy Note 9
When you’re looking for basically every major spec and feature out there, Samsung’s Galaxy Note lineup is usually the best place to turn. The current Galaxy Note 9 is the king of the hill in that department. It packs a Snapdragon 845 chipset, 6GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, microSD, IP68 water resistance, a 6.4-inch OLED display, slim bezels, a glass/metal design, and it even has a headphone jack. With the Note 9, you’re also getting wireless charging, a 4,000 mAh battery, an excellent camera and Samsung’s famous S-Pen.
The Note 9 is truly a killer package and one of the best Android phones out there today, but all that tech comes at a cost. Pricing for the Note 9 starts at $999 and jumps to $1,249 for the 512GB/8GB variant. You can read more about the Galaxy Note 9 in our full review.
The Galaxy Note 9 is available unlocked from Amazon, B&H Photo, Samsung, and Best Buy. As far as carriers go, you’ll have all the usual options including Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T, and Sprint. Amazon even sells refurbished units for nearly $500.
Sony Xperia 1
Sony definitely isn’t the biggest name in Android today, but the company continues to try out new ideas in the industry. Aligning with its focus on these phones as an “entertainment” device, the Sony Xperia 1 packs a 4K OLED 6.5-inch 21:9 display. That taller aspect ratio makes it stand out from the crowd and offers a better movie experience.
Under the hood, the Xperia 1 lacks nothing from modern flagships. There’s a Snapdragon 855 processor at the core paired with 6GB of RAM. There’s a 3,330 mAh battery with fast and wireless charging as well. Sony has a traditional array of buttons along the right side of the device, including its dedicated shutter button, as well as a fingerprint sensor that is not a button. The device is available in black and purple.
Another thing Sony is touting with the Xperia 1 is the camera array on the back. The company’s first triple-sensor setup on a smartphone uses three 12MP shooters with standard, telephoto, and wide-angle lenses. These cameras also draw from the company’s Alpha cameras to enable better auto-focus and burst-shooting. The f/1.6 aperture also helps ensure a well-lit, sharp image.
The Sony Xperia 1 is a great piece of hardware with traditionally solid software support behind it, but it comes at a cost. Sony asks $949 in the US for the Xperia 1 unlocked. The device is available in other regions around the globe for the same price point. US sales start on July 12th from Amazon and B&H Photo.
Motorola Moto Z4
Motorola has a strong history in the Android market, but the company hasn’t been pushing as hard for the past couple of years. At the end of May, the Moto Z4 officially debuted and it straddles the line between high-end flagship and affordable phone.
The Moto Z4 packs a Snapdragon 675 processor, 4GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage. There’s also a 6.39-inch OLED display with a waterdrop notch and an in-display fingerprint sensor. Android 9 Pie also comes out of the box with the same skinless version of Android the company has been using for ages. Motorola also advertises 2-day battery life with the 3,600 mAh battery.
Notably, and unlike a lot of other devices on this list, Moto brought back the headphone jack for the Z4. The feature hasn’t been available on any top-tier Moto Z device to date. There’s also a 48MP rear camera, 25MP selfie camera, and compatibility with Moto Mods yet again. Those Mods even allow 5G connectivity.
The Moto Z4 simply is not the best Android phone on this list by any measurement, but it offers a fairly solid overall package. At $499 it’s a tad overpriced, but Verizon offers the devices for as little as $240 on payment plans. With the right discount, this phone becomes a great choice. Sales are available now from Amazon and B&H Photo for unlocked models, with Verizon sales starting June 13th.
Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL
Google’s Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are the latest and greatest devices from the company, and they nail a lot of aspects that Google’s past Pixel devices have failed. You’ll find a Snapdragon 845 processor powering these devices, along with 4GB of RAM, 64/128GB of storage, wireless charging, and IP68 water/dust resistance. The smaller Pixel 3 has a 5.5-inch AMOLED 1080p display, where the Pixel 3 XL has a 6.4-inch AMOLED 1440p notched display.
The Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL also run Android 9 Pie out of the box without any bloat or changes. This is Android as Google intends it, and it’s lightning quick, reliable, and gets updates quickly. You’ll also get enhanced security thanks to Google’s Titan M chip within the device. Further featured are dual front-firing speakers that are loud and clear, along with a new hardware design which feels more premium than its predecessors. There’s also a fingerprint sensor on the back that’s quick and reliable.
If you want to buy a Google Pixel 3 or Pixel 3 XL, you’ll be looking at prices starting at $799. Add $100 for extra storage or the bigger model. Buying unlocked from the Google Store means the phone will work on any US network, and the same applies for the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL purchased from B&H Photo.
Alternatively, the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are also available from Verizon Wireless (Pixel 3, Pixel 3 XL) in the United States. Following I/O, the Pixel 3 is also available from T-Mobile (Pixel 3, Pixel 3 XL) and Sprint (Pixel 3, Pixel 3 XL).
If you’re a fan of LG’s smartphones, you’ll be happy to know that the LG G8 ThinQ goes on sale this month. The company’s latest Android flagship delivers a Snapdragon 855 chipset, 6GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, and a 6.1-inch display. That QHD+ panel is now OLED and also offers a “Crystal Sound” tech which replaces the traditional earpiece. There’s still a notch up top, but this time it holds a ToF sensor along with the front-facing camera. That ToF sensor is used for gesture control using your hands and more secure face unlock.
The LG G8 ThinQ also offers a dual-camera array with 12MP/16MP sensors, Android 9 Pie, and USB-C charging for the 3,500 mAh battery. Pricing comes in at $819 and varies by carrier. The LG G8 ThinQ lands in the United States on April 11th.
It’s not a phone we’re quick to recommend, though. If you’re looking to pick it up, Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile all sell carrier variants, with Best Buy and B&H Photo offering unlocked models. B&H especially offers the phone at regular discounts.
Alternatively, if you’re looking for something a bit bigger, the LG V40 ThinQ might be a good bet. This device brings the same great features that the G7 does, including that “boombox” speaker, but offers a larger 6.4-inch OLED display, 3,300 mAh battery, and adds a third camera for optical zoom. Pricing for the LG V40 ThinQ is typically around $900. The phone is available from the usual Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint carriers, with B&H Photo offering unlocked units.
Red Magic 3
Gaming phones are built for a niche market, and they’ve inspired some crazy designs. Nubia recently debuted the Red Magic 3, an affordable gaming phone that goes above and beyond your needs with great specs and a literal fan inside to keep things cool.
For $479, the Red Magic 3 offers up a Snapdragon 855 processor, 8GB of RAM (upgradable to 12GB), and 128GB of storage (upgradable to 256GB). There’s also a 5,000 mAh battery, 90Hz 6.65-inch OLED display, and stereo speakers. To make the gaming experience more pleasant, there’s also a fan built into the device, touch-sensitive triggers along the top, and stereo speakers. Of course, there’s also RGB lighting on the back along with a fingerprint sensor and 48MP camera.
The Red Magic 3 also offers up a near-stock Android Pie experience with minimal bloatware. For its price tag, it’s a really solid value, even if the design means it’ll only really appeal to gamers – a slight shame since on paper it’s one of the best Android phones you can get for the price. The Red Magic 3 is available directly through the company’s site and works with GSM carriers in the US.
Razer Phone 2
Love mobile games? Here’s the phone for you. The Razer Phone 2 builds on the original with a more mainstream design, some welcome upgrades, and all of the same great gaming features.
Where the original Razer Phone was a brick with gaming as its only purpose, the Razer Phone 2 brings wireless charging, water resistance, and a much brighter display that borderline makes it a device acceptable for the average person. Still, though, this is a device best suited to gamers. It packs a Snapdragon 845 with 8GB of RAM, Android 8.1 Oreo, a 120Hz refresh rate on the display, and louder speakers as well. The Razer logo on the back even has RGB lighting.
Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+
If you’re looking to save a few bucks without losing much, Samsung’s Galaxy S9 and S9+ are solid options to pick. You’ll lose out on the improved triple-camera array of the S10 series, reverse wireless charging, and the smaller bezels too, but you get a solid package at a discounted price in return.
The Galaxy S9 and S9+ offer a Snapdragon 845 processor (or Exynos in certain regions), between 64GB and 256GB of expandable storage, wireless charging, and IP68 water/dust resistance. Both also have 1440p OLED displays which feature thin bezels all around and no notch. Each has a fingerprint sensor and a facial recognition system for unlocking. Between the two phones, though, there are some big differences.
The Galaxy S9 is a 5.8-inch device which has a single 12MP rear camera with dual-aperture. There’s also a 3,000 mAh battery in that device, 4GB of RAM, and a smaller overall footprint.
The Galaxy S9+, on the other hand, has a 6.2-inch display, dual rear cameras with a primary 12MP dual-aperture sensor, 6GB of RAM, and a larger 3,500 mAh battery. Despite their differences, though, both are very solid phones with similar features, performance, and endurance. Oh, and they both have a headphone jack too.
As for where to buy the S9 or S9+, you can still pick them up from carriers and unlocked brand new. Retail pricing started around $720 at launch, and they’ve only gone down in the time since. Amazon offers the S9 and the S9+ unlocked. Samsung also starts pricing at $599 right now. As for carriers, Verizon (Galaxy S9 – Galaxy S9+), AT&T (Galaxy S9 – Galaxy S9+), and T-Mobile (Galaxy S9 – Galaxy S9+)all still offer the phone as well.
Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL
You should always be a bit wary when buying older devices when their successors are already out on the market, but with Google’s Pixel 2 family, there are a few reasons why they’re still worth considering.
The Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL make some huge upgrades over the Pixel 2 series, specifically in regards to the display quality and wireless charging, but last year’s crop is still solid.
The smaller Pixel 2 may have an outdated design and the Pixel 2 XL may have an admittedly poor display, but both of these phones deliver quick updates which are guaranteed through 2020, they still feature some of the best cameras out there today, and specs that still provide a smooth experience. Just keep in mind they’re no longer sold in the Google Store.
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