I’m in a rather fortunate position to have access to a lot of different devices, and sometimes it’s nice to change for the sake of change.
There’s simply no such thing as one-size-fits-all, so I thought I’d post some personal choices and recommendations of phones I think are suited for certain preferences.
In most cases, these are phones that have been on sale for a while and will now be cheaper than the many new models arriving in 2020. Of course early adopters will more likely want to check out the Galaxy S20 range, the forthcoming Huawei P40 series and so on – but these phones are coming in the future.
Everything here is available now.
There are plenty of options out there, and these are just a selection. Every phone I’ve mentioned brings something to the table that makes it a worthy choice for different needs.
Best phone for mobile data speed
It’s fair to say 5G hasn’t really taken off as quickly as hoped, despite efforts by the mobile operators to sell it as the next best thing.
It’s also the case that 2020 will see loads of new 5G handsets hitting the market, but that doesn’t mean the OnePlus 7 Pro 5G suddenly becomes obsolete.
For one, it came with the flagship Snapdragon 855 chipset when launched, as well as a fantastic bezel-free display thanks to a pop up selfie camera.
The screen is bright, the cameras respectable if not earth shattering, there’s stereo sound, good battery life, and a 90Hz refresh rate that beat everyone else to this new ‘must-have’.
It is worth noting that the OnePlus 7 Pro 5G, like other first-generation 5G phones, doesn’t support all the frequencies that will be used in the UK in the coming years, but unless you plan to keep the phone for a few years, this isn’t likely to matter too much.
As of now, all of the UK operators use just one frequency band – and this phone supports that as well as all the 4G bands that ensures this phone will also be able to take full advantage of existing 4G and 3G networks too.
Best Camera phone
The P30 Pro has been my daily driver since the first day I got the phone. It’s probably the longest I’ve ever had my primary SIM in the same device. It’s testament to just how good this phone is in the camera department.
Even when I try another phone, it may have a higher pixel count and other cool features (the P30 Pro’s weakness comes from lacklustre video recording performance) but it just doesn’t come close for stills.
To this day, I am still flabbergasted at how this phone can literally see in the dark. It can produce amazing photos with the smallest of light sources, while the Time-of-Flight sensor with the right app can work in complete and utter darkeness.
The screen is also bright and clear, even if limited to Full HD+ resolution, and the 4,200mAh battery makes it one of the best performers when it comes to battery stamina.
All that means you can enjoy this phone without having to fear running out of power. In a whole year of ownership, I’ve never had the phone switch off before I can charge it – and 40W SuperCharging has you covered there, making it quick and easy to top up.
I’ve also become a big fan of Huawei’s Emotion UI. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but I’ve grown accustomed to Huawei’s user interface and find everything incredibly quick and intuitive.
I only wish there was a 5G version, but the P40 Series is coming for that…
Best value gaming phone with 90Hz display
Since the OnePlus 7 Pro models arrived in early 2019, OnePlus finished the year with the usual ‘T’ upgrade.
The 7T Pro upgrade was pretty minimal, and there wasn’t even a 5G model for the UK, but when it came to the OnePlus 7T over the 7, OnePlus pulled out all the stops and boosted the camera performance significantly, and also improved the screen beyond all recognition.
Now the 7T comes with the same 90Hz refresh rate, as well as the more powerful Snapdragon 855+ chipset.
It now does great for gaming and photography, with a super smooth display that looks wonderful.
Sure, other phones now have 90 or even 120Hz displays, but the OnePlus 7T costs £549.
Best value for multimedia enjoyment
The Honor 9X was a little less exciting that it could have been, thanks to the use of an older chipset to get around certification issues caused by Donald Trump’s relentless attack on parent company Huawei.
Nevertheless, while it isn’t the fastest phone on the market it does still perform in many areas.
Thanks to the extremely bright and colourful display, which has no notches or cut-outs thanks to a motorised selfie camera, it makes the £249 phone an excellent choice for multimedia consumption, as well as being fairly capable in the gaming department too.
The plastic rear, a sign of the budget price, actually makes the phone more durable than using glass, and it also retains much of the styling the more expensive glass backed models feature.
Best value all-rounder
Oppo is rapidly gaining pace in the UK, despite having been in the market a little over one year.
During this time, Oppo has announced a huge investment in R&D and has recently hinted that it will start to produce its very own chipsets, reminiscent of what Samsung and Huawei has been doing for some years.
The first Reno range was launched last April, and quite quickly followed up with the Reno 2 series.
The Reno 2 is an absolute marvel even without a flagship chipset, because the whole package has been perfectly designed to cater for all different usage cases.
The battery life is nothing short of amazing, with 7 or 8 hours of screen on time being regularly achieved, making it a phone you can absolutely rely on to last a full day without you being put off using it.
Rather like the rather more expensive Huawei P30 Pro.
And, like the P30 Pro, the Reno 2 truly excels is in the camera department too, with a performance that comes very close to that of the Huawei P30 Pro for a fraction of the price.
It can’t quite match the low-light performance (it doesn’t see in the dark like the P30 Pro for one), but it comes extremely close.
When it comes to video recording, it actually does better thanks to a stabilisation mode that really has to be used to be fully appreciated.
The motorised selfie camera also gives the same notch and bezel-free display like the OnePlus 7 Pro, which makes it beautiful for multimedia consumption.
The aspect ratio makes sure the phone is comfortable to grip, and also allows better split-screen usage.
Best phone for creators
Samsung Note 10
All eyes are naturally now on the Samsung Galaxy S20 series, but there are plenty of Note fans who will have to wait until later in the year to get the new S-Pen equipped phone.
Or you can just invest in the existing Note 10, also available as the Note 10+ and with a 5G option too.
Samsung’s S-Pen puts other stylus-equipped phones to shame, and the company has had plenty of time to perfect things.
It didn’t get much of a camera upgrade over the S10 series, but frankly it didn’t need to.
The ability to take notes at any time, or annotate documents or screen grabs, makes this great for people working on-the-go, and for artists the capabilities are endless.
- Please share your thoughts and opinions, including your own choices if you think I’m way off base!