The Wrap Special – The best phones of 2019 (so far)

It’s the middle of the year, and there have been some seriously good phones so far. But if you need to buy one now, what’s the best phone of 2019 so far, or should you just settle down and wait?


You may not realise it, but buying a phone is hard work. There’s research and budgets, and in the end, you need to be happy. But halfway into 2019, we’re looking at the best phones so far to help you decide.

This is The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup, and by the middle of 2019, there have been over 20 phones released in the world, some of which are some pretty heavy hitters.

You know the names and have probably seen the ads. Samsung, Google, Huawei, LG, Oppo, Motorola, Nokia, BlackBerry, and Alcatel have all released phones this year.

It means if you’re in the market for a phone, you may not have it quite so easy. Even if you have an idea of how much you want to spend, the choice might be tough.

Fortunately we’ve brought in two of Australia’s best reviewers to talk shop and settle the matter of what the best phones of 2019 are thus far.

It starts in the mid-range bracket, a category that will see you spending between $500 and $800 these days. You can get a bit for that budget, and this year, it doesn’t get better than the Google Pixel 3a.

Alex Kidman, Vertical Hold: In the mid range, this year’s really been the story of the Google Pixel 3a. There’s not too much that can touch it in that space in terms of overall battery life and performance and quality. But especially that camera which is just astonishing for a mid range phone.

That’s Vertical Hold’s Alex Kidman, who agreed with WhistleOut’s Alex Choros on calling the Pixel 3a the best mid-range phone of 2019 so far.

Alex Choros, WhistleOut: The Pixel 3a redefines the very proposition of the value smartphone. At just 649 outright, it’s a comparatively affordable handset with the kind of camera we’ve previously only seen in smartphones that cost over a grand. It’s a top-tier camera at mid range price point, and it’s hard to want more.

It’s a choice we agree with, too.

Back when we reviewed it in May, we found a phone that delivered one of the best cameras and a solid day and a half of battery life, all for a mid-range price. It misses out on the wireless charging and water resistance, but other than that, it’s a great Pixel for the money.

If you’re spending over a grand, it’s a different story, with reviewers heaping praise on the Huawei P30 Pro.

Alex Choros, WhistleOut: Despite the whole US situation, the Huawei P30 Pro is my favorite flagship smartphone of the year so far. It has everything you could want from a high-end handset and then some, including the best camera around, a battery that can last up to two days, and lightning fast performance.

You can stick us in the same boat on that one. The P30 Pro delivers a top tier experience with a great screen, battery life, and the best camera of any phone, and it’s something agreed upon by Alex Kidman, as well.

Alex Kidman, Vertical Hold: In the best premium phone space the Huawei P30 Pro is the phone to beat. A little bit marred, obviously because we don’t exactly know what Huawei’s Android future is.

The question of Huawei’s Android future is over updates and whether Huawei will be able to keep Android going on its phones. Currently, Huawei is part of a China trade war with America, and unless the situation is cleared up soon, it may not have Android to use on phones.

Outside of this issue, however, the Huawei P30 Pro is the one to beat, but the question is, for how long?

There’s more choice in phones, with 5G already out, and more devices on the way.

In August, you can expect at least two Samsung Galaxy Note 10 models, with as many as four likely to be announced. After Samsung, Apple will have at least three iPhones, and following that, there’s the Google’s Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL, as well as the Huawei Mate 30 and Mate 30 Pro.

And that doesn’t even mention our foldable future, because those devices are coming as well.

Foldable phones haven’t really set the world on fire yet, but they’re definitely in development. Huawei has the Mate X, Motorola is rumoured to be working on a pocket-friendly foldable RAZR, and then there’s the Samsung Galaxy Fold, which came out only to be withdrawn so Samsung could work on it even more.

Alex Choros, WhistleOut: In terms of the phones I’m looking forward to, there’s obviously the iPhone 11 and the Pixel 4, but I’m really hoping the Galaxy Fold ends up coming to market before the end of the year, because I’m so excited about the concept of a foldable, and I really want to believe.

The reality is that as good as the phones are now, we wouldn’t blame you if you decided to wait for something even newer.

Foldable phones won’t be cheap, and are expected to cost at least three thousand dollars, making them among the most expensive of the bunch. Meanwhile, the high-end phones from Apple and Samsung that aren’t foldable will command high prices, too, so if you’re expecting a cheap iPhone in the coming weeks, think again.

But if you do wait, you may see prices of other phones start to fall, and that could be good. With the release of new iPhones, the older iPhones usually see a price drop, as do the other phones as well.

If you still can’t decide between mid-range and flagship or something else, waiting might be the best plan. With only a few weeks until the last of the year’s phones kick off, the good news is you won’t have long to wait to find out.