It’s that time of the year: it’s time to look at the best phones of 2019. From the best camera, best value, best flagship, and more, here’s Pickr’s Best Picks for Best Phone of 2019.
The year 2019 was a pretty big deal for phones in Australia. While Sony left, at least five phone manufacturers arrived, and you may have seen them in stores. From Realme, Vivo, Xiaomi, Mintt, and Aspera, Australians had more choices than ever when it came to buying a phone, including
Best Android Phone: Google Pixel 3a
Google makes Android, and so it should come as no surprise to learn that Google’s phones tend to offer the best Android experience around.
However 2019 had a bit of a surprise: while Google released two ranges of Pixel phones this year, it wasn’t the flagship Pixel 4 that managed to impress. Rather, it was the less expensive and more value-packed Pixel 3a.
While it lacks some of the niceties that more expensive phones like the Galaxy S10+ or even the Pixel 3 and 4 see, the Pixel 3a is a brilliant budget bundle, and one that delivers an easy to use and connect with Android experience.
Best iPhone: Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max
There were officially three iPhone models this year, much like last, with two high-end models in big and small sizes, and one that sits in the centre for sizing, but yet sacrifices a premium features for less expensive alternatives.
We’re still writing up our iPhone 11 review, and while we like it, we can already say that the iPhone 11 Pro Max is our favourite iPhone this year, delivering an excellent three camera setup, a lovely premium design, and a battery life that keeps the whole thing going into the second day.
Essentially, if you’re after the best iPhone for 2019, the iPhone 11 Pro Max is the iPhone you’re looking for.
Best big-screened phone: Samsung Galaxy Note 10+
Featuring a staggering 6.8 inch screen with a cute little dot in the top centre for the front-facing camera, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ not only provided one of the nicer big screen experiences, but corrected the weird hole punch display of the Galaxy S10+ earlier in the year.
The phone itself is easily one of Samsung’s best, and is the best of the year, adopting a beautiful form and design. It’s a lovely big-screened phone, and there’s even a special Star Wars edition, too.
Best camera phone: Huawei P30 Pro
Appearing at the beginning of the year and remaining mostly unchallenged, Huawei’s P30 Pro is a bit of smartphone camera black magic. It is crazy good at pretty much everything, be it low-light, regular light, portraiture, macros, landscapes, or anything else.
Huawei’s US-China trade issues paint a bit of a question mark over the future of Huawei’s upgrades, but if you’re happy with Android 9 for now and the best phone camera you can find on any phone to date, you’ll love the Huawei P30 Pro.
Best 5G phone: Oppo Reno 5G
2019 was the first year 5G was actually a thing you could play with, and while it didn’t quite deliver the crazy hyperfast results we had been promised, it was a start. Depending on where you were in Australia, you could see some high speeds in some genuinely interesting phones.
Oppo’s Reno 5G was the first we saw, and had the most intriguing design of all of the 5G phones, with an all-screen approach and a cool pop-out camera, as well as a snazzy camera multi-camera setup on the back.
The Oppo Reno 5G also had the honour of being the best value 5G phone Australia saw this year, being one of the more affordable 5G phones for most of the year and packing in a complex camera setup built for Oppo’s take on the high end.
Best battery life of any phone: Asus ROG Phone II
At the time the Pickr Best Picks for 2019 was being written, we were running a little behind in completing our phone review, but it has the best battery life of anything we’ve seen all year.
Carrying a 6000mAh battery and weighing a good 240 grams, there’s a pretty good reason why it handles so well, though it will be dependent on whether or not you use the ROG Phone II for games.
Use it for games and you may need a nightly charge. Use it as a very big phone and you should see over two days of life. It’s a big phone with a very big battery, and while it won’t be for all, the battery life is hard to ignore.
Best value phone: Google Pixel 3a
With its $649 price at retail and closer to $579 at the time the holidays hit, Google’s cut-price Pixel 3 is next to impossible to beat, providing one the best implementation of Android, because it’s the one delivered by Google.
Add to that an excellent single camera, a solid battery life, and support for mobile payments — something that doesn’t always appear in the mid-range — and you have what is easily the best value phone of 2019.
If you’re looking to save money and don’t need water resistance or wireless charging, you cannot beat the Google Pixel 3a.
Best flagship phone: Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max
But if you want everything, you’ll probably want to turn to Apple’s beauty this year, the iPhone 11 Pro Max.
The iPhone 11 Pro Max is basically the whole package, including a powerful three-camera system, a fantastic battery life, wireless charging, mobile payments, water resistance, superb design and performance, and just about the best flagship you can find.
It is the very opposite of cheap, and rates as one of the most expensive phones you can find in 2019, but wow, it’s no slouch and is pretty freakin’ awesome.