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Best Phones 209

The best mobile phones of 2019

28 Oct 2019
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From premium experiences to our favourite mid-tier device in the market, here’s your guide to the best phones of 2019.

With the arrival of 5G enabled devices, to the foldable phone trend; 2019 has proven to be a huge year for the mobile phone industry, with phone makers continuing to one-up each other in order to win your allegiance and bid for your hard-earned money.

Although the influx of new mobile phone technology is opening up a world of new possibilities, the constant evolution of specs and features has made choosing a new phone and plan rather difficult - I mean where on earth do you even start?

Naturally, price remains a huge factor, you’ve then got preferred operating system, tech specs, screen size and photo-taking prowess to name just a few of the variables people need to consider. Moral of the story; phone hunting is no longer option a vs option b.

Whether you’re currently in the market for a new device or are simply curious about which of the latest mobiles phones deserve your attention, our in-house phone connoisseurs have compiled a list of the best mobile phones of 2019.

best bang for your buck

Google Pixel 3a

Coming in at $649 (AUD), the Google Pixel 3a offers an A-Grade Android experience that rivals many of the higher-end Android phones, at half the price.

Simply put, the Google Pixel 3a doesn’t feel like a poor man's version of a high-end phone.

It more than holds its own and feels more like a powerful mid-range handset, with rock-solid specs and a stack of features inherited from the Google Pixel 3 that you won’t find in other similarly-priced devices.

Not to mention the device includes a headphone jack (unlike the regular Google Pixel 3) and boasts what we consider the best camera experience for a phone within the $400-$800 (AUD) price bracket.

Anyone who’s considered buying a Pixel knows the camera is its best feature and the same can be said of the Pixel 3a. In fact, Google has given the device the exact same rear camera specs as the Pixel 3, as well as keeping the Night Sight camera feature that allows you to shoot beautiful looking photos in low-light settings.

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Arguably the only downside of the Google Pixel 3a is its storage capacity, with the Pixel 3a maxing out at 64GB of storage. Unlike the mainline Pixel series, you won't get complimentary storage of photos through Google Drive, so space might become an issue if you don't have alternative storage options lined up.

Needless to say, the Google Pixel 3a remains a tremendous option based on its price point and overall performance.

IPhone 11
Image Courtesy of Apple

best mid-tier device

Apple iPhone 11

Forget the iPhone 11 Pro, the iPhone 11 is Apple's phone of the year

Yes, the 11 Pro is a fantastic device, boasting Apple's best-ever smartphone camera. However, in our eyes the iPhone 11 is the device most users should consider moving to if you’re in the market for an iPhone upgrade, offering nearly all of the same features as the Pro, at almost $600 less than its elder sibling.

Apple didn't need to reinvent the wheels for the iPhone 11 to be a winner, instead the device has been built on the foundation and success of last years' iPhone XR model.

The iPhone 11 ticks all the right boxes, delivering day-long battery life, excellent performance, and an improved camera that's a huge step up in comparison to the XR, offering much greater versatility.

Although the regular model misses out on telephoto zoom lens and a punchier OLED display, it's still an excellent choice for those upgrading from iPhone 6, 7, 8 or the iPhone XR, especially with its lower price and ultra-wide lens capability.

iPhone 11 Pro
Image Courtesy of Apple

best for Instagram (aka best camera game)

iPhone 11 Pro

After spending the past few years in the shadows of the Google Pixel and Huawei P-Series, the iPhone 11 Pro has put Apple firmly back in the mix for best smartphone camera.

Headlined by three distinct 12-megapixel cameras, the iPhone 11 Pro includes a triple-lens 12-megapixel ultra-wide and wide camera, with the ultra-wide lens offering an aperture of f/2.4 and 120 degree field of view and the wide lens featuring an aperture of f/1.8. The final piece to the puzzle is a telephoto lens that provides an aperture of f/2.0

The iPhone 11 Pro takes extremely detailed snaps with beautiful colour across all three of its cameras. Zooming in and out is seamless and you don't even notice you’re changing lenses, which is something that can feel slightly jarring with other triple-lens camera phones.

Another impressive camera improvement is the new night mode feature. It works in a similar fashion to Google’s acclaimed Night Sight, except Apple’s solution is simpler, kicking in automatically when photos are taken in low light settings. Apple’s night mode photo quality matches or surpasses rival systems including the Pixel's.

If you're an avid phone photographer looking to up your camera game, the iPhone 11 Pro truly is a joy to use. Although the price point is at the higher end of the spectrum (starting at $1749 AUD), you won't be disappointed in the photo output provided by Apple's premium device of 2019.

best megaphone of 2019

Samsung Galaxy Note 10

Samsung's Galaxy Note is the OG of the megaphone world. After first being introduced in 2011, Samsung's 10th iteration of the Galaxy Note is an absolute beast of a device, bringing with it incredible performance and an immaculate design, thanks to its near bezel-free Infinity-O screen.

One of the most impressive changes to this years Note, is its overall sleekness. At 6.3 inches, the Galaxy Note 10 has a slightly smaller screen than the 6.4-inch Galaxy Note 9, but it’s remarkably thinner and lighter, making it much easier to hold in comparison to previous iterations.

The Note 10 rear camera is headlined by a triple-camera setup that includes a wide-angle 12MP lens, an ultra-wide camera that takes 123 degree pics, and a 12MP telephoto lens that handles portraits and offers 2x optical zoom.

As expected, the Note's trademark S-Pen has also gained some additional tricks, allowing you to perform Air Actions so you can change camera modes with a wave of your hand and convert handwriting into text.

When it comes to under the hood performance; the Note 10 is powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 855, making it one of the speediest Android experiences to date.

Overall, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 boasts pretty much everything you’d want from a premium handset and is a device you should comfortably be able to use for 2+ years.

Samsung Galaxy S10
Image Courtesy of TechDissected

outright best phone of 2019

Samsung Galaxy S10+

A year after the Samsung Galaxy S9 drew mixed reviews from critics, it's fair to say Samsung has bounced back with this years' flagship device, the Galaxy S10+ being our pick for best phone of 2019.

Simply put, if you're looking for the best smartphone currently available in the market, this would be our choice.

The Galaxy S10+ is the first handset in the world to include an ultrasonic fingerprint sensor, built into Samsung's beautiful new 6.4-inch infinity-O display. It's also the first Samsung device to feature a staggering five cameras (three on the back and two on the front).

The three cameras on the back include a regular 12-megapixel shooter, an ultra-wide camera and a telephoto lens for zooming. The versatility at play with the camera is really fun to play with and allows you to get really creative with your snaps.

Like the Galaxy Note 10, the Galaxy S10+ features Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 processor, making this one of the fastest Android phones to ever exist. We're also huge fans of the wireless PowerShare feature that lets you share battery handouts and charge other Samsung devices using the back of your phone.

All in all, if you're a Galaxy user or Android fan and haven't upgraded in a couple of years, the S10+ is a device that thoroughly deserves your attention and is well and truly worth the splurge.

Note:The opinions provided in this article are those of the author only


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Pixel 5

Google Pixel 5: Everything we know so far

13 Aug 2020

Fresh on the heels of the Pixel 4A being announced, the hype train for the Google Pixel 5 is now well and truly underway.

After months of speculation about whether the Pixel 5 launch would be pushed back, Google put much of this chatter to rest by providing a sneak peak of the Pixel 5 during the recent launch of the Pixel 4A.

Last years flagship device, the Pixel 4, was a phone full of potential. As we've come to expect from the Pixel series, it featured an incredibly powerful camera, however its average battery life, held it back from being a serious contender for phone of the year.

While the Pixel 4 had its flaws, it was still a really good phone overall, and it will interesting to see how this years model, stacks up against other flagship models from 2020 such as the Samsung Galaxy S20 and Apple's highly anticipated iPhone 12.

With all this said, we wouldn't count Google out from delivering something special and with such a positive early response to the Pixel 4A, perhaps 2020 will prove to be the year of the Pixel.

To help bring you up to speed on what Google has in-store with this years flagship Pixel device, here's everything we know so far about the Pixel 5.

at a glance: rumoured Google Pixel 5 features

  • Expected October release
  • 5G connectivity
  • Android 11
  • New camera features; Adjustable Flash, Motion Blur & Audio Zoom
  • 120Hz refresh rate
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G

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    Expect 5G

    It's widely expected the Pixel 5 will include 5Gconnectivity.

    The feature was all but confirmed in early August with the announcement of the Pixel 4A, where Google teased two new 5G devices, the Pixel 5 and a 5G version of the Pixel 4A, both of which are set to be released during the final quarter of 2020.

    Release Date

    Since the phone’s inception back in 2016, Google has remained incredibly consistent with their release schedule for the flagship Pixel series, with all previous launches taking place in October. This trend is set to continue, after a leak surfaced from a Google affiliated website in France, claiming the Pixel 5 will be available for pre-order from October 8.

    Android 11

    This shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise, since a beta version of Android 11 is already available for public download, however it’s expected the Pixel 5 will be the first device to don the latest Android software straight out the box.

    Some of the expected improvements and features of Android 11 include a new media player widget, easier ways to control smart home devices using your phone, a new power button menu and refinements to the messaging system and conversation bubbles.

    Pixel 5 Render
    Image Credit: Google

    Design & Display

    Last year Google teased images of the Pixel 4 in the months leading up to its official launch. This time round, the only confirmed sighting of the Pixel 5 has been the side image (seen above) which Google teased during the launch of the Pixel 4A.

    Outside of this image, there have been a number of different leaks floating about which have helped paint a picture of what this years phone might look like.

    Like the Pixel 4, it's expected the Pixel 5 will feature an OLED panel, with a matte glass finish on the back and full HD/QHD resolution. According to Front Page Tech who gained access to an early Pixel 5 prototype, a forehead bezel on the front side of the device is also expected to remain.

    In terms of refresh rate, last year we got to enjoy a smooth 90Hz experience with the Pixel 4. However with Samsung (and others) already making the jump to 120Hz and Apple reportedly looking to do the same with the iPhone 12, it will be interesting to see if Google sees this as an important feature upgrade and whether they'll look to roll out a 120Hz refresh rate with the Pixel 5.

    A Mighty Fine Camera

    While earlier leaks suggested the Pixel 5 would include a triple-lens camera on the rear of the device, more recent leaks suggest Google will once again opt for a two camera setup on the back.

    The quality of images with the Pixel 4 were outstanding, so it's not as if this should be a concern. For some though, the added flexibility of a third, wide angle lens, would of been the cherry on top, for a camera that many consider one of the top-tier mobile phone cameras.

    With that said, Google doesn't appear to be standing still, instead opting to fine-tune the Pixel's two-camera setup by adding new features.

    Expected new features include an adjustable camera flash, a new motion blur feature and the introduction of audio zoom, which will allow you to zoom in when recording video to help you capture audio more precisely.

    Long story short, it looks like we're in for a treat with this years camera setup.

    Under The Hood

    In the past, Pixel devices have typically featured the best Qualcomm chip available, which this year would be the Snapdragon 865 Plus. With the Pixel 5, this might not be case, with an inside scoop from 9to5Google suggesting the phone may be shipped with a Snapdragon 765G processor.

    The Snapdragon 765 is more of a mid-range chip, unlike the high-end Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 which powers the latest Samsung phones. This would suggest slightly less processing power than some of its competitors. With that said, the 765 is obviously no slouch and will still pack a solid punch in terms of performance.

    In terms of RAM, while it hasn't been a huge strength of the Pixel series in the past, there should be improvements on this front, with the Pixel 5 set to include 8GB of RAM in comparison to last years 6GB.