The smartphone is the centre of the modern world, it's not only essential for communication, it's your entertainment, smart home control devices and your constant companion.
We continually update our best smartphone guide to reflect recent launches and recognise price changes. All of these top phones have been fully reviewed by us - we don't just include stuff we think sounds good.
1. Samsung Galaxy S10+
Samsung's 2019 flagship phone comes with a big experience. There's power, performance and so much refinement in the software, it's hard not to want this phone. It has one of the best displays you'll find on a mobile device, escaping the notch for a fantastic look. Premium design with waterproofing, a great fingerprint scanner in the display and the benefit of microSD support and 3.5mm headphone socket makes for a great all-rounder.
The addition of a wide angle camera on the rear adds to the skill set, offering variety and shooting options. The battery life won't match the Huawei Mate 20 Pro and it's not as competent in low light shooting as the Huawei phone, but the software experience is a little more refined.
2. Huawei Mate 20 Pro
Huawei's romp through smartphones continues with the Mate 20 Pro. The previous phone - the Mate 10 - was impressive, but Huawei ratchets up the appeal with a new handset. It has outstanding battery life and offers lots of power, one of the first phones to offer 7nm hardware, along with a new camera system on the rear, making the Huawei P20 Pro now look dated.
Huawei's software has seen a lot of improvement in recent years, moving from intrusive to offering a lot of smart features. Some might prefer the lighter touch from the Pixel or OnePlus, but as a complete package, Huawei is leading the way with the Mate 20 Pro.
3. Apple iPhone XS Max
Apple and quality go hand-in-hand. But while the iPhone XS is a step beyond the iPhone X of 2017, it's the iPhone XS Max which shakes things up. It's expensive, yes, but this is Apple really committing to the bigger phone format. The XS Max provides a big screen experience that surpasses anything the iPhone Plus models did in the past, including great battery life.
Quality of build is apparent, but there's power and speed in abundance, along with battery life and a great camera experience. But this is really a phone about immersion: it's about full screen gaming, it's about browsing without feeling that you need to reach for your iPad. It's about putting it all in your pocket for the best iPhone experience yet - but you will have to pay for it.
4. Huawei P20 Pro
Of all the manufacturers who are really shaking things up at the moment, Huawei is right up there. The P20 Pro blew us away at launch - we said "a new camera phone king is born" when we reviewed the phone - with a powerful triple camera system. If you're seeking a genuine flagship then you're looking right at one - although it's now bettered by the Huawei Mate 20 Pro.
Criticisms are few and far between: Face Unlock isn't a patch on Apple's Face ID, there's no wireless charging, plus there are minor software quirks - but savvy buyers can snap up this phone over Android rivals and not regret it for one second. With the launch of its replacement looming, the P20 Pro can be yours at some really great prices.
5. Honor Play
The aggressive stance of Huawei and Honor is obvious: while the flagship P20 Pro blows us away technically, it's incredibly hard to compete with the Honor Play's price point. In this phone Honor packed in the same flagship grade hardware as other models, but this big screen phone is offered at an amazing price.
The Honor Play pitches itself as a gaming phone, but in reality, this is a mid-priced Trojan Horse. It has power, great battery life, a great display and there's a capable dual camera too. Some might not be so taken with the company's EMUI interface running over Android, but at this price, you really can't complain. Honor has said that the Play might be a one-off. It certainly made its mark.
6. OnePlus 6T
The second phone from OnePlus in 2018 is an enticing option. It's great value for money and has a build quality that rivals all others on this list, with a great display and lots of power. There's an under-glass fingerprint scanner and options for 6/8GB RAM or 128/256GB storage - as well as a lovely McLaren Edition with 10GB and Warp Charge 30 - for not a lot more money.
The downsides of the OnePlus are no official IP rating, a speaker that's a little lacklustre and a camera that doesn't quite challenge the best. But otherwise, you're getting a fast phone with fast charging, great battery life and optimisation, all with a bloat-free user interface in Oxygen OS.
7. Motorola Moto G7 Power
The Moto G family has long impressed in affordable phones. Offering a pretty clean Android build, they have been increasing the quality in recent years while pushing the price up a little. The Moto G7 Power offers something a little different, however, and that's unbeatable battery life. With a 5000mAh battery, you'll get two days of use - even if you're a power user.
So while it doesn't have the best camera, best display, or the most power, while all the other flagship devices on this list have died, the Moto G7 Power will battle through for another day. If battery matters, then definitely consider the G7 Power.
8. Samsung Galaxy Note 9
The Galaxy Note 9 from Samsung is all about the S Pen. In some ways, that makes this phone uncomfortably close to the Galaxy S9+ that launched in the same year: it looks the same, performs very much the same and offers the same features, but costs more money. It's really the S Pen that makes a difference and it's the S Pen you've got to want - or you might as well snap up the new Galaxy S10.
What's new is that the S Pen provides control that you don't get in any other smartphone - not just in the case of stylus input, but that it can now be used as a remote control for various functions, from controlling the camera to progressing through presentations.
9. Google Pixel 3
The Pixel 3 from Google can never be ignored. Despite some teething troubles, the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL offer some of the best cameras on the market. It you're looking for a smaller format smartphone, then the Pixel 3 offers all that power without getting too big. It offers pure and clean Android 9 Pie with some Pixel extras and is mercifully free of bloat.
The Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL isn't quite stellar when it comes to battery life, but it does offer wireless charging and waterproofing for a very complete handset. Others offer more functionality out of the box, but there's no beating this camera when it comes to night shooting or portrait mode. It also has great speakers.
10. Apple iPhone XR
While the iPhone XS Max is the better phone technically, Apple's second handset, the iPhone XR is seriously worth consideration. A big part of this comes down to the price. You're still getting Apple quality, you're getting all the speed and power and a great display and about the only loss is the size and the camera on the back.
For the most part you'll get the same quality of images, but you do miss that zoom lens and there's a slight difference in the iP rating. But, the iOS experience is the same and the iPhone XR will likely give you a phone that will be more affordable for very few losses, so is worthy of consideration.
11. Honor View 20
Honor had a storming 2018 and one of the first devices to land in 2019 is the Honor View 20. It carries a lot of the goodness through from the previous year and while the price is slowly creeping up - compared to the Honor Play for example - this is a breakthrough phone in many ways. The hole-punch front camera is an example of Honor pushing the latest trends.
At the same time there's the feeling that there's a lot more to come from Honor in 2019. While it doesn't leap leap ahead of other devices on the list, this is still an affordable flagship alternative. There are a few downsides, but it's a strong start to a new year from Honor.
12. Sony Xperia XZ3
The Sony Xperia XZ3 is a surprising return to form for Sony Mobile. The message about design seems to have struck home and Sony has given us a phone that's a lot more competitive that some of its recent offerings. Great design, a great display and lots of power all come together here in a package that holds its own against other flagships.
There are some oddities, like the low placement of the fingerprint sensor on the rear of the phone, but there are some treats, like Android Pie out of the box. The camera isn't the most accomplished, but the overall experience is great.
13. Motorola Moto G7 Plus
The Moto G7 Plus is the most powerful of the Moto G7 models, offer a great all-round proposition in the mid-range. It's unfortunately bettered by the Honor Play in terms of what you get for your money - Honor is a lot more powerful - but there's a lot to love from Moto, not least the clean Android Pie software offering.
You get decent performance from the cameras a pretty good display, a nice design and enough power to do just about everything - just perhaps not a top settings.