(Pocket-lint) - The smartphone is the heart 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.
OnePlus 8 Pro
OnePlus has shifted itself from budget manufacturer to competing with top-tier brands. Top quality internal components deliver awesome Android speeds, with 5G for those looking for next-gen connectivity too.
But on the software front, OnePlus wins over some rivals in offering a cleaner take on Android, avoiding bloat and clutter while keeping its phones running fast and smooth. While the camera has been a weakness for OnePlus in the past, the 8 Pro is a lot more complete, with useful cameras giving a competitive showing for themselves. This is backed up with fast charging, great battery life and a great display.
Samsung Galaxy S20+
Samsung's experience pours into the S20 family, with the + model having the size and clout to cut it as one of the best phones around. It has oodles of power, good battery performance and a great display, all efficiently packed into a tidy handset package. There's 5G for connectivity - which makes this phone a little more expensive - but also some great work happening with the camera.
The Galaxy S20+ betters the S20 Ultra offering better value for money and a more consistent camera performance escaping some of the gimmicks of the Ultra. That sees good zoom performance and quality images across the board. But the Galaxy S20+ is really tied together by the software experience, which is the best of the skinned Android versions out there.
Apple iPhone 11 Pro
Apple made some fundamental changes when it introduced its 2019 range of phones, moving to address rivals who were running away with camera performance. The iPhone 11 Pro has three cameras, introducing wide-angle for the first time, and opening up new possibilities.
But there'a also the ramping up of low light photo quality on the iPhone 11 series, making it a lot more competitive than previous models. Add that to the wonderfully fluid interface, oodles of power and wonderful build quality and the iPhone 11 Pro is one of the hottest phones around.
Samsung Galaxy S20
The Samsung Galaxy S20 repeats most of the experience of the S20+ but in a slightly smaller package. That means it still offers a great display, lots of power and decent battery life - but it's also boosted by offering a 4G only model, meaning the price can drop a little lower than some of the 5G rivals on this list.
Again you have great build and software, but you also have a fairly compact phone that doesn't compromise on what it's offering - and that's a top-tier smartphone experience.
Oppo Find X2 Pro
Oppo has been progressively improving its devices and adding appeal, with the Find X2 Pro being the most accomplished so far. There's loads of power and a really great display, topped off with a great camera experience. It's the zoom that really appeals, but supported by a strong showing in other areas too, although it's not the best in low light.
It's a little on the expensive side, however, considering the OnePlus 8 Pro is similar and cheaper, and the software experience offered by ColorOS isn't as widely appreciated as OnePlus or Samsung's offering. Still, there's a lot that this Pro handset has to offer.
The OnePlus Nord is part of a new generation of Qualcomm Snapdragon 765 devices, offering 5G at mid-range prices. There are a few cuts to match this new mid-range positioning, but very few compromises.
What the Nord delivers is a big display, premium build and plenty of power at a fraction of the price of flagship devices. When it comes to value for money, the Nord is right up the list. There's very little it can't do.
Google Pixel 4a
The Google Pixel 4a is a mid-range device, affordably priced and making some cuts to match its positioning. That means you have a smaller display and a plastic body, with mid-range Snapdragon 730 hardware.
But there's no lack of power for daily tasks, no lack of refinement in the pure Android experience that it offers - and there's a class-leading camera on the rear of this phone. It might only offer one lens, but it manages to produce better images from that one camera than most of the devices on this list. The downside is that the screen is pretty small.
Moto G 5G Plus
Moto has long offered great phones in the Moto G family and adding 5G to the mix through Snapdragon 765 results in a great handset. It's one of the best devices in this category thanks to its affordable pricing and clean software.
It's build isn't as premium as some - and half the cameras are really wasting space - but there's no questioning bang for your bucks.
Xiaomi Mi 10 Lite
The Mi 10 Lite is another Snapdragon 765 phone, meaning excellent value for money, while offering 5G and performance that's close to a flagship phone.
It might not be to all tastes as the camera is a little over-sold on the rear while the software isn't the cleanest you'll find. But it's still a great smartphone experience for the price.
Moto G8 Power
The cheapest phone on this list and the lowest positioned in terms of specs, the Moto G8 Power earns its place through one significant virtue: it's easily the longest lasting phone in terms of battery life. That not only comes down to the huge capacity, but the efficiency of the components Motorola uses.
Importantly, this isn't just a huge battery: Motorola has designed a budget star with bags of appeal, from the punch hole display through to the big display that it sits in. Sure, it can't compete in overall power or camera performance, but if you want the reassurance of knowing your phone will last longer than you do, the Moto G8 Power has a lot to offer.
Apple iPhone SE 2020
The 2020 version of the iPhone SE sells itself in one major area: power for the money. If anything, this phone equipped with the same core hardware as Apple's top phones makes those other devices look more expensive than they need to be.
The downside is that you get a 2017 designed phone with a display that hasn't moved forward. It's probably the only 16:9 phone that's launched in the last two years. But what you do get is access to the Apple iPhone at prices that are hard to match - and undercutting many rivals in terms of price in the process.
Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite
The Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite might not appear to sell itself with its unusual name, but with a Snapdragon 855, it's 2019 flagship grade hardware at a fraction of the price of 2020 flagships. There's a few compromises - the mono speaker, the lack of waterproofing - but there's some big benefits too, in a slick design and Samsung's slick user interface - and all that power.
It can't compete with the Galaxy S20+ in terms of performance, but the compromises more than justify themselves when you consider the price. This might be named "Lite" but it's nothing like a lite in performance.
Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro
At one point, Xiaomi had suggested that it wouldn't be able to keep making flagship phones at silly-cheap prices. Then it launched the Mi 9T Pro, leaving us scratching our heads, but filling our boots.
Xiaomi out-strips basically all rivals on price. Yes, the software is a bit clunky in MIUI compared to OnePlus or Samsung, but there's no questioning how much phone you get for your money. Sure, some areas could be better, but at this price, you really can't complain. There's even a 3.5mm headphone socket.
Apple iPhone 11
The Apple iPhone 11 comes with a number of surprises. That it's virtually as powerful as the Pro and only missing out on some of the camera features, isn't one of them. That it's been priced to be more competitive should be. That's right, with Apple's devices getting more expensive, it's made a more compelling device lower down the range.
That means that the iPhone 11 is likely to be the big seller in the range. While it's not quite the Pro - and everyone will know you didn't go for the Pro - when it comes to actually using this phone, you won't be left wanting. Yes, there's no wide-angle camera, but you basically get everything else.
Samsung Galaxy Note 10+
Samsung made a major change in the Note 10, introducing two sizes of phone, of which the Note 10+ feels like the natural Note. It's now been replaced by the Note 20 Ultra, but with only a handful of improvements for the jump in cash, the Note 10+ remains a viable alternative.
Sure, it's a year older and slightly less powerful - but it still offers the same advantages - the big screen, the S Pen interaction and some good cameras, while being a lot more affordable.