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
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.
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.
best mid-tier device
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.
best for Instagram (aka best camera game)
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.
outright best phone of 2019
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