No matter what kind of budget you have, we are living through a wonderful time to be a smartphone buyer. And that’s mostly because no matter the price point, you have an option that will make for an excellent smartphone. You’ll have a phone that can take great pictures or outperforms them all, you could buy a phone with the biggest and best display or go with something that works well, fits in your hand nicely, and won’t break the bank.
We get asked all of the time which phones we think people should buy. In the past, there were typically only a couple of phones we’d recommend. The problem with those recommendations, is the fact that they weren’t always budget-friendly, but they offered the best overall experiences. Today, there are more than a couple of phones we’d recommend that aren’t going to require a loan.
Great phones at all budgets
Let’s say your budget is unlimited and you want the best of the best. Today, I’d probably tell you to go buy one of the Galaxy S10 phones because there are
three four of them to choose from, all of which have their own audiences and include just about every single spec on the planet. If you have $1,000 to spend on a phone, you’ll be happy with a Galaxy S10 (our review).
With that said, at the $700 price point, you now have the OnePlus 7 Pro, which some may argue is a better phone than Samsung’s, yet will potentially save you hundreds of dollars. But the bigger deal around a $700 OnePlus 7 Pro is this price point that no one else is really filling right now. The OnePlus 7 Pro (our review) not only has a great price, but it sits at that price with specific specs that not even Samsung’s phones offer. It has a better display, faster storage, and software that is clean to use and (will be) updated frequently.
So at the top end, you could go wild, spend $1,000, and be happy, or spend hundreds less and probably be just as satisfied. And if your budget isn’t anywhere near $1,000, you have an excellent, no compromise option that you may not have had previously.
What if your budget is somewhere in the $400 to $500 range? Well, you now have Google’s Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL, two phones that are absolutely winners. You get a software experience to love, updates to them for years, an easy-to-use size, semi-durable outer material (F*ck glass!), and a camera that competes with the best. The Pixel 3a is the first time I can recall that you can spend $400 and have a camera that is probably better than the $1,000 phones I mentioned above.
Choice in size
Pricing aside, companies are giving us choice in size these days too. Samsung’s Galaxy S10 comes in four (!) different sizes. You can buy a Galaxy S10 with a smallish 5.8″ display up to a 6.7″ display. That means you can buy a phone or a freakin’ tablet that acts like a phone. I’m kidding, but you get the idea.
Google is also doing it with the Pixel 3 family. With the high-end Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, you get big or large sizes, but that carries through to the Pixel 3a and 3a XL as well. There are essentially four different Pixel 3 models to choose from.
But maybe more importantly, you aren’t giving up anything serious when you choose between these sizes. In the past, we’ve seen “Lite” or “Mini” phones that never came close to matching their more expensive family members. That’s all changed now with what we have seen this year from Samsung and Google.
All the recommendations
Again, in previous years, I typically just told everyone I knew to buy whatever Google’s newest phone was. The camera and software were the best, their designs were fun, and they didn’t fully break most budgets. But now, I won’t hesitate to suggest a Galaxy S10 to someone. I won’t blink before saying everyone should check out the OnePlus 7 Pro. And I’m certainly now about to tell people with a limited budget that the Pixel 3a is their best option and they won’t necessarily be giving anything up.
It feels good to know that there are so many great smartphones choices today.