(Pocket-lint) - 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. OnePlus 8 Pro
OnePlus has shifted itself from budget manufacturer to competing with top-tier brands. The advantage that OnePlus holds is that it still offers better value for money considering the hardware that you're getting. 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.
2. 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.
3. Apple iPhone 11 Pro
Apple made some fundamental changes when it introduced its latest 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's 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 - if you can afford it - with the lack of 5G leaving it a step behind in 2020.
4. Oppo Find X2 Pro
Oppo has been progressive 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.
5. 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.
6. Huawei P30 Pro New Edition
The Huawei P30 Pro was one of the best phones of 2019 - and one of the last Huawei devices to have the full Google experience, fully updated to Android 10. Huawei has updated this phone with the New Edition - which is the model you should be looking for - which has a little bump in RAM and storage, while coming in at an affordable price.
The software experience isn't as clean and refined as some other models in the list and the future might be a little uncertain, but the quality of this phone, including the camera, is very much a match for its 2020 rivals.
7. 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.
8. 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.
9. 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 at a cheaper price point than the Mi 9, 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.
10. 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.
11. OnePlus 7T
OnePlus was quick to update the 7, resulting in the 7T which added a range of updates that means this phone is virtually on the level of the OnePlus 7 Pro. The triple camera system moves OnePlus forward in quality, while the 90Hz display is receiving rave reviews.
OnePlus' simple take on Android focuses on speed, rapid updates and the reduction of clutter, while the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855+ makes this a powerful phone and still good value for money.
12. 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 high-end devices getting more expensive, it's made a more compelling device lower down 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.
13. Google Pixel 3a
The Google Pixel 3a blasts into the mid-range, offering something special - the full potency of Google's camera. It's a single lens, but it's oh so smart, producing reliable results in all conditions with effortless ease. The 3a is our pick here thanks to the price point - step over to the XL and you're approaching the price of some much more powerful devices.
The Pixel 3a runs on mid-range hardware, so it doesn't quite have the punch that flagship phones offer, but otherwise it's an easy route into Google's Android system, free from bloat, at the front of the update queue and offering a great experience.
14. Samsung Galaxy Note 10+
Samsung made a major change for the Note 10 launch, introducing two phones, the Note 10 and the Note 10+. Of these, it's the Note 10+ which keeps the size, making it the natural Note successor. With it comes a range of enhancements in the S Pen, including a collection of gestures to make the phone do things without you touching it.
But outside of the S Pen, you might be better off with the Galaxy S10, because the Note 10 doesn't really move things long. Yes, it's a great phone, with a wonderful display and an interesting finish to the rear, but beyond the S Pen, it feels little different to Samsung's existing devices.