Which is the best smartphone of 2020? Here are 14 of our favourites
We’ve reviewed the best of the best when it comes to smartphones in 2020 and this list is here to help you work out which one is right for you.
These are the best smartphones of 2020, giving you a detailed insight into what you should look for when choosing a new phone. This list doesn’t just feature the premium phones that’ll take a chunk out of your wallet either. We’ve chosen phones that are best-in-class for different features – such as, best camera, best display and more.
Read on for a comprehensive look at the best smartphones you can pick up today and, for a bitesize take, we’ve rounded up all of our choices in a handy list just below if you want to get straight to the point.
- Best camera: iPhone 11 Pro
- Best Android: Samsung Galaxy S20/S20 Plus
- Best display: OnePlus 8 Pro
- Best for fast charging: Oppo Find X2
- Best iPhone: iPhone 11
- Best value 5G: Realme X50 5G
- Best value iPhone: iPhone SE 2
- Best looking mid-ranger: Motorola Edge
- Best for specs: Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra
- Best big phone: Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra
- Best for clean software: Google Pixel 4a
- Best zoom camera: Huawei P40 Pro Plus
- Best budget Android: Moto G8
- Best budget gaming phone: OnePlus Nord
Those who already have a specific budget in mind should check out our round-ups of the best budget smartphones and best mid-range smartphones. And if you’re particularly interested in smartphone photography, take a look at our best camera phone guide.
Of course, don’t be too surprised if this list looks very different by the end of the year, with plenty more phones to come. But, for the time being, these are the absolute best phones available, and the ones to beat.
1. iPhone 11 Pro
The iPhone 11 Pro offers Apple’s best-ever image quality
- A lovely, supremely bright display
- One of the best camera systems on any phone
- Includes a quick charger in the box
- Design hasn’t changed much and the notch remains annoying
- 64GB is still the base storage option
- The iPhone 11 is a better pick for most people
Glitzier, flashier and far more expensive than the iPhone 11, the iPhone 11 Pro sits at the top of Apple’s current phone line-up along with its larger iPhone 11 Pro Max sibling. For the extra cash you get a Super Retina XDR display, a triple-camera array on the back and higher-end materials. So is this enough to warrant the now overused Pro tag?
Related: Which iPhones will get iOS 14?
Apple has seriously improved its photographic output with the iPhone 11 Pro – and, in many ways, with the iPhone 11 – which now holds its own among the best phone cameras out there. Packing three distinct 12-megapixel cameras, the iPhone 11 Pro is the first iPhone to feature an ultra-wide-angle lens (13mm equivalent, f/2.4). You also get a standard lens (26mm, f/1.8) and a 2x telephoto lens (52mm, with an improved maximum aperture of f/2.0).
The video recording, audio and super-bright XDR display are all tremendous, and the iPhone 11 Pro is also an absolute performance beast. The new A13 Bionic chipset helps put it up there with the fastest phones we’ve reviewed. This is also the first 5.8-inch iPhone that doesn’t feel hamstrung by a battery which needs constant attention to get it through a full day.
Related: Best iPhone Deals
Downsides include the meagre amounts of base storage, the speed of the refresh display and Apple’s resistance to fully embracing USB-C. The idea of being able to charge the MacBook Pro, iPad Pro and iPhone 11 Pro with the same block and charger just makes so much sense.
The iPhone 11 Pro offers many improvements over its predecessor, but there are still areas that Apple could have pushed forward in, especially as it has now decided to label these phones as Pro. 5G was never going to happen but would have been nice anyway and other notable omissions include some sort of Touch ID-enabled fingerprint sensor inside the display and the rumoured reverse wireless charging, which could have juiced up a pair of AirPods.
It’s worth bearing in mind that the iPhone 12 could be set to land towards the end of this year. There is no confirmed release date yet, but many commentators are expecting a September release. So, if you want the latest and greatest iPhone, it might be worth hanging fire for now.
2. Samsung Galaxy S20/S20 Plus
The best Android phone you can buy right now
- Nice design
- Great screen
- Strong performance
- Good battery
- Ugly UI
- 8K video recording is pointless
The Samsung Galaxy S20 and S20 Plus are the best Android phones you can buy right now. They are both smaller than the Ultra, making them easier to handle, but still have large immersive screens that boasts an incredible refresh rate and an enviable sharpness.
The cameras are also sharp and detailed and have less of the lurid post-processing that affected previous Samsung flagships.
The punchy performance was of a very high standard, only coming up short in comparison to the iPhone 11 Pro, and could handle everything we threw at it (though it broke a sweat undertaking 8K video recording).
Battery life is generally impressive and will comfortably last you a full day – unless, that is, you opt for the high 120Hz refresh rate, which takes a big bite out of the battery. In this case, even a moderate usage will see you needing a top-up before the end of the day.
One of the few things we didn’t take much of a shine to was Samsung’s user interface, which is quite a departure from standard Android and might take you some time to get used to.
If you’re looking into buying a Samsung Galaxy S20, it’s worth bearing in mind that the S30 could be just around the corner. Take a look at the latest info on the S30 in our rumour and news round-up, here.
3. OnePlus 8 Pro
The first OnePlus flagship that doesn’t compromise
- Gorgeous 120Hz display
- Improved ultra wide camera
- Clean software
- Very fast charging and now wireless charging too
With the OnePlus 8 Pro, OnePlus has finally made a flagship-worthy device. For the first time, there aren’t any obvious sacrifices here – Qi charging and an IP68 rating finally make an appearance – which makes the £799 price even more impressive. Yes, it is pricier than OnePlus phones of years gone, but it’s far more affordable than similar devices from the likes of Samsung and Oppo.
The star of the show is the 6.78-inch OLED display, which has a 120Hz refresh rate and a QHD+ resolution. It’s smooth, seriously bright and oh so crisp. However, if you want to get the most from that 4510mAh battery, then you’ll probably want to keep the resolution at FHD+.
Like all OnePlus phones, the 8 Pro has all the latest tech inside. There’s a 5G-capable Snapdragon 865 running the show, with either 8 or 12GB RAM. Four cameras sit on the back, including a very impressive 48-megapixel ultra-wide and a less impressive colour filter sensor, while a 16-megapixel version sits on the front. There’s no mechanical pop-up this time around, with the selfie camera housed in a very small cutout.
Warp Charge remains to get you to 50% charge in about 30 minutes, and there’s Warp Charge wireless too, which is just as fast if you’re using the brand’s own wireless pad.
Our biggest criticism is the slightly uncomfortable body, which isn’t helped by the overly sloping display and massive overall footprint. Bunging on a case does help the situation somewhat.
With a price that’s lower than the competition and just about every feature going, the OnePlus 8 Pro deserves its spot as one of the best phones available right now.
4. Oppo Find X2
The Oppo Find X2 offers much of the same experience as the Pro, but for £300 less. It’s a real rival to Samsung’s Android crown
- Cheaper than the pro
- Sharp, punchy screen
- Class-leading fast charging
- Not the best camera
- No wireless charging
The X2 Pro was a real rival to Samsung Galaxy S20 series for the crown of best Android phone. Now, the Oppo Find X2 offers a similarly brilliant experience, with a much more appealing price-tag.
The Snapdragon 865 makes for a seriously fast phone, while the 120Hz OLED is a joy to behold. Battery life is excellent too and the ridiculously fast 65w charging makes up for the lack of Qi wireless charging. There’s 5G too.
The screen on the Find X2 is a stand-out feature and the phone’s primary camera featuring Sony’s new 12-bit IMX689 sensor with a large 1/1.4” size and 1.12-micron pixels. The 13MP periscope camera offers up a 10x hybrid zoom and a 60x digital zoom.
5. iPhone 11
An excellent camera, a great price and strong battery life make this a clear winner for best iPhone
- Great camera
- Long-lasting battery
- Really nice colour options
- Surprisingly excellent value for an Apple phone
- A screen resolution bump would have been nice
- Still no fast charger in the box
You could think of it as an iPhone XRS: it takes the previous phone, leaves the design virtually unchanged and alters the internals. For example, there are now two cameras on the back and the same A13 chipset as the Pro model. Most surprisingly, the iPhone 11 costs less than the outgoing model: at £729/$699 for the 64GB base as opposed to £749/$749, this could be the best-value iPhone yet.
The 11 offers the best size of any iPhone. There’s more screen to play with than on the 11 Pro, but the phone doesn’t feel overly bulky or heavy. In terms of battery life, the iPhone 11 is a really long-lasting phone that we found went slightly further than its predecessor on a single charge.
The new rear cameras are also excellent. The iPhone 11 is much more affordable than the Pro models but boasts exactly the same wide-angle 12-megapixel optical image stabilised (OIS) main sensor with an f/1.8 aperture and the same 12-megapixel ultra-wide-angle camera (f/2.4).
The only thing you’re missing out on is the Pro’s 2x optical zoom telephoto camera, but if you’d take ultra-wide-angle over zoom, you might well see this as a fair trade – it’s hard to see any differences when comparing photos from the Pro and the 11.
The 6.1-inch Liquid Retina LCD, however, falls below the competition in terms of resolution and it would have been nice to see the 1792 x 828 panel upgraded to a 1080p version.
Also less than impressive is the 5W charger included in the box. The omission of a fast charger is clearly a cost-cutting measure and remains a significant negative aspect of this phone. The charger provided has always felt slow and this is even more obvious now that the iPhone 11 Pro models come with an 18W charger.
Overall, if you’re updating an older iPhone then you’ll notice the vast array of improvements to camera, battery life and design straight away. This is a great buy that’ll hopefully perform comfortably for a number of years.
6. Realme X50 5G
A stunning price for a 5G workhorse
- Very good battery life
- Low price for a 5G phone
- Well-specced 120Hz screen
- Strong general and gaming performance
- Surprisingly capable main camera, even at night
- Glass back
- Two of the rear cameras are filler
- No headphone jack
From OnePlus to Google’s budget range, good phones are now cheap and cheap phones (with some exceptions) are good. The Realme X50 5G might be the epitome of this notion.
For under £300, the X50 5G packs in the latest connectivity tech, an impressive 120Hz screen, strong performance and great battery life. Realme has managed to plug a ton of flagship features into a phone that, in some cases, is a quarter of the price.
You may think the design is an area that’s had to be sacrificed to save some dosh but, with the X50 5G, you get a curved glass back and an overall phone build that fits in perfectly well with higher-priced modern smartphones.
7. iPhone SE 2 (2020)
Best value iPhone
- Oh so fast
- Great daylight camera
- All the benefits of iOS
- Fast ToucID sensor
- Boring design
- Battery life merely ‘OK’
Yes, the iPhone SE 2 looks familiar. It borrows design from phones that have been around for years and it does look a tad old-fashioned compared to the mid-range Android options that have ditched the bezel. Yet, it’s a real pleasure to use.
It uses the same chipset as the iPhone 11 and as a result, is very fast. It packs a great camera too, and extras like Qi wireless charging, a very colour accurate screen and an IP67 rating.
If you’re after an iPhone experience without breaking the bank then this is the best choice around.
8. Motorola Edge
Best for curves
- Great display
- Lovely, sleek design
- The curved screen can be annoying
It’s important not to get the Motorola Edge confused with the Motorola Edge Plus. While the latter is a high-end and very expensive device, the Edge is more mid-range – and all the better for it.
The Motorola Edge competes with the OnePlus 8 for best mid-range device and while OnePlus 8 just pips it, there is still a lot to like here. From the 5G chip to the OLED HDR panel, this is a phone punching above its weight. It has three good rear cameras, multi-day battery life and Motorola’s clean software.
Our main issue is the curved display, which can be slightly irritating with accidental presses being very common.
9. Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra
A spec beast
- Great zoom camera
- Best display
- Very fast charging
- Battery life could be better
- Very pricey
The Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra is an absolute behemoth of a phone with a list of features that puts just about every other phone to shame. Highlights include a main 108-megapixel camera, 40MP selfie cam, a 5000mAh battery and fast 120Hz display.
While the camera might sound like the key selling point, it’s the 6.9-inch OLED panel that has us most excited. It is truly stunning, with fantastic colour reproduction, HDR support and unmatched levels of brightness. It’s a 120Hz screen too, rather than the standard 60Hz, meaning everything has a smoother look.
That camera array is supremely capable too, with the typical rich and colourful images you’d expect from a Samsung phone. The multitude of lenses give it great versatility, you can shoot 8K video and its zooming skills are unmatched.
Powering the S20 Ultra is either a Snapdragon 865 or Exynos 990, RAM options up to 16GB and it supports the 5G network which is now live in lots of places. Basically, if there’s a feature going, the S20 Ultra will have it.
You’ll have to pay a hefty price for all this power though, both in terms of cost and battery. With the 120Hz screen option enabled we struggled to comfortably get through the day, even with such a large cell on board. And then it comes down to the price of the phone itself. With a starting price of £1199 in the UK and $1499 in the US, this is one of the priciest phones around.
10. Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra
A big phone powerhouse that looks stunning and takes great photos
- Bronze colour is really nice, and adds a matte finish
- S Pen even more responsive than ever
- Really good triple camera
- The best looking phone around
- Battery life, on Exynos version, isn’t good
- Screen resolution limits are annoying
Samsung is almost carving out a market of its own with its “Ultra”-ultra-premium device. These supercharged devices come with a hefty priced tag but are loaded with the best features that Android phones have to often.
The garguant Note 20 Ultra is one of these devices, sporting a 6.9-inch 120Hz Adaptive Refresh Rate OLED display. The display is indeed big and it’s gorgeous. Alongside the stunning screen. you get that ultra-premium glass sandwich design with a new Mystic Bronze colour option as well as the best processor from Exynos or Qualcomm depending on your location.
Samsung has toned the camera down a bit for the Note 20 Ultra, reducing the frankly silly 100x Space Zoom from the Galaxy S20 Ultra down to 50x. The triple camera setup provides truly impressive results.
11. Google Pixel 4a
Google’s antidote for the £1000 smartphone – and a clean experience with a corking camera to boot
- Great camera
- Refreshingly small size for an Android phone
- The promise of fast updates
- Nice, sharp OLED screen
- You’ll find competition with far larger spec sheets and feature lists
- Some mild performance and touch latency hiccups
- As well as being a Pro, the small screen might put some off
Google shook up the market with the Pixel 3a, especially in the US where mid-range Chinese offerings are much less prominent, offering a flagship quality camera and sleek UI experience for a modest price.
Now, Google is back with the Pixel 4a and, for fans of the previous model, it’s good news as it’s more of the same. Pixel 4a is a cracking sub-£400 phone that offers a great camera, a wonderful throwback to a more pocket-friendly size of phone and a shiny stock Android experience.
The screen isn’t half bad either, with Google managed to squeeze a pleasingly sharp OLED at this low price point. Another goody is Google’s promise of three years of fast updates for the Pixel 4a, meaning you’ll always be on the latest and greatest that Android has to offer.
If you are looking for a more premium Google experience, you shouldn’t have too long to wait. Check out our hub for all the latest news, rumours and other details regarding the upcoming Pixel 5.
12. Huawei P40 Pro Plus
The best camera phone – with a big problem
- The best zoom camera. Ever.
- Just great pictures all around
- Lovely display
- The lack of Google and everything that comes with it
- Very expensive
The Huawei P40 Pro Plus should be much higher up on this list. It should really be competing with the best of what Samsung, Apple, Oppo and OnePlus have to offer.
You won’t find a better camera on any phone and the zooming capabilities here put both the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra and Oppo Find X2 to shame. You can really see detail on objects and animals when you’re at 10x. It’s a fast phone too, with the Kirin 990 chipset still competing with the best out there and offering 5G too.
You’ve also got a lovely screen that curves softly at the top, a sleek design and impressive battery life. Huawei remains one of the best when it comes to fast charging and you can juice up the Pro Plus very quickly.
But, and this is the reason the P40 Pro Plus is hard to recommend to absolutely everybody, the lack of Google services is a pain. Huawei’s done an ok job so far at padding out its App Gallery and offering easy ways of downloading APKs, but while many apps still use the basic services provided by Google there will be missing spots. No Uber, no HD Netflix and no mobile payment solution are all irritants that will likely put a lot of people off.
13. Moto G8
The best cheap phone
- Packed with features
- Nice design
- Screen is far from the best, even for the price
A lot of the phones on this list are expensive, flagship options. If you want to a budget phone that still gets the job done impressively well then we’d suggest the Moto G8.
it has a good camera, clean software and fast performance. It looks nice too and is a comfortable, if large, phone to grip on to. Our biggest qualm is the display, which could use a few more pixels to really help it pop.
14. OnePlus Nord
Best budget gaming phone
- Great quality OLED panel
- Very quick charging
- Lovely version of Android
- Nice, ergonomic design
- 5G and great performance
- Screen seems to mark very easily
- Secondary cameras are pretty much useless
The Nord might not be marketed as a gaming handset, but the OnePlus mid-ranger is packed full of features that lend themselves to mobile gamers. The Snapdragon 765G SoC offers great performance despite not being a flagship chip, and the 90Hz OLED display ensures the image is both sharp and fluid. Multitasking is further boosted by the 8GB and 12GB RAM options.
While there are better camera’s on the market, fast charging, 5G compatability and an affordable price make the Nord a budget smartphone to be reckoned with.
How do we select the best smartphones?
Every handset on this list has been reviewed thoroughly using the same combination of real-world use cases and repeatable benchmark tests.
This means that we test everything, from battery life and processor performance, during the full range of everyday tasks, right up to call quality and screen calibration. Most importantly, we take these phones out and use them as our own over an extended period of time, living with them to learn their quirks and discover any hidden treasures. Discover more about how we test phones.
Still not sure which phone to buy? Check out these comprehensive guides: