Apple IPhone 11 To Google Pixel 4, The 7 Best Smartphones Right Now. Updated: New Deals

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A smartphone like the Apple iPhone 11 Pro or the Google Pixel 4 is a sensational gift. So, which of the phones currently on the market should you be considering, and why? Below, read about the seven best phones around. All of them have outstanding design, good-to-great battery life and superb ease-of-use. Some are tremendous value or have exceptional build quality.

Update: Now updated with Amazon prices for iPhones and revised Pixel 4 prices, plus changes to offers that have finished and new ones just launched.

Since the camera is easily one of the most important features on a smartphone now, I’ve given special weight to how each performs as a camera, too.

>AirPods Pro: Has The Latest Update Dented The Pro's Outstanding Feature?
Forbes David Phelan

The aspiration with any smartphone camera is to provide photographs of such high quality that you can leave your dedicated digital SLR behind.

Multiple camera sensors, found on all the phones here, mean you can achieve neat effects like bokeh, where your subject is in pristine focus while the background is blurred.

>Apple iPhone 11 Pro Long-Term Review (Updated With New Deals)
Forbes David Phelan

Here are the best smartphones you can buy right now, based on everything from their photographic prowess to sheer head-turning design.

Best all-round smartphone

Apple iPhone 11 Pro From $999

Rear cameras

Wide 12MP, f/1.8, 26mm

Telephoto 12MP, f/2.0, 52mm (2x zoom equivalent)

Ultrawide 12MP, f/2.4, 13mm (0.5x zoom equivalent)

Front camera 12MP, f/2.2, 23mm plus TrueDepth sensing camera

The latest iPhones (the iPhone 11 is below, too) mark a return to form for Apple. Not only did the design turn out to be rather fetching, but the phone’s performance is irreproachably good, from speedy responsiveness throughout the experience to astonishingly good battery life. It runs for way more than a full day’s use. The camera on the iPhone has been consistently good but this year’s model takes things to a whole new level. As always, Apple does the heavy lifting for you, with machine learning analyzing the image, HDR swinging into action automatically, and a brilliant night mode that works its magic when needed. Plus, there’s Deep Fusion, designed to take astonishingly good shots indoors or in medium-light situations. Of course, it has a Portrait mode, adjustable after the fact, and fun extras like Slofies (that’s slow-motion video selfies, of course). There’s no doubt Apple’s photos are image-processed but that processing is done with such good taste that it works brilliantly well.

Add in Face ID for an effortless, intimate phone unlock and painless, secure payments, immaculate build quality, great new colors and a gorgeous display and you have a phenomenal phone.

Apple iPhone 11 Pro: Buy it from Apple here.

Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max: Buy it from Apple here and from Amazon here.

Best for display

Sony Xperia 1 From $909.88

Rear cameras

Wide 12MP, f/1.6, 26mm

Telephoto 12MP, f/2.4, 52mm (2x zoom equivalent)

Ultrawide 12MP, f/2.4, 16mm (0.6x zoom equivalent)

Front camera 8MP, f/2.0, 24mm

You can’t mistake the Xperia 1 for any other phone: its super-long shape with 21:9 ratio display is unmissable. It takes a little getting used to but then it’s great, fitting the hand superbly. The super-smooth joins between Gorilla Glass front and back and the aluminum frame make it especially comfortable. The fingerprint sensor is on the side of the phone, in just the right place for your thumb or finger to fall as you grip it. And this phone, almost uniquely, has a 4K-resolution display (3,840 x 1,644 pixels because of the long, thin aspect ratio). Sony has always made great camera sensors, used widely in the smartphone industry, but hasn’t had the best cameras on its own phones. The trio of 12MP sensors with different focal lengths make for a versatile and responsive camera experience.

There are useful manual overrides to allow you to take better pictures, including white balance tweaking after you’ve shot. Plus, lots of effects including portrait selfie (blurred background, sharp subject) or Augmented Reality where you can add dinosaurs to your photos, for instance. Really.

An eye-tracking effect means the camera will focus on the eyes of your subject, so you can be sure the face is in sharp relief.

Since this is a 4K screen, you can record movies in 4K HDR resolution and play it back on the screen, where it looks tremendous. Advanced video features allow you to shoot with or without high dynamic range.

Unlike most other phones here, there’s no wireless charging on this one.

Sony Xperia 1: Buy it for $909.88 here.

Best for black-and-white photography and onboard photo editing

Nokia 9 PureView $603.66

Rear cameras

Five sensors, all 12MP, f/1.8, 28mm. Two RGB, three monochrome

Front camera 20MP

The PureView is an exceptionally slick-looking phone with a lush design that’s slim and gorgeous. It feels good in the hand because, unusually in a smartphone, all its cameras are flush to the phone’s surface. There are five of them, yes, five, all 12-megapixel sensors and all with the same focal length, so there’s no equivalent zoom here. But when multiple sensors are shooting at the same time it makes for a very high-resolution image, so zooming in digitally is fine. There is extensive picture editing possible on this phone, too. When it first launched, the software needed attention but that’s been done and this is a highly effective phone. My only camera issue is that it takes a moment or two to process the images so it’s not as fast going shot-to-shot as some cameraphones.

Like the Samsung and Huawei phones here, the fingerprint sensor is under the display itself. The display, by the way, is high-resolution (538 pixels per inch, statistics-fans) but it’s not a full-screen front, not quite. There’s a chin and forehead at the ends of the phone.

Nokia 9 PureView: Buy it for $603.66 here.

Best for image processing

Google Pixel 4 Was $799, now from $696.22, Google Pixel 4XL was $899, now from $812.37

Rear cameras

Wide 12.2MP, f/1.7, 27mm

Telephoto 16MP, f/2.4, 50mm (approx 2x zoom equivalent)

Front camera 8MP, f/2.0, 22mm

The new Pixel comes in two sizes, and three colors including one, Oh So Orange as Google calls it, that’s especially good-looking. Google’s phones have always stood out for their camera software, allowing portrait effects from just one camera, for instance, when rivals needed two snappers to achieve it. Now, the latest model has dual rear cameras and lots more features as a result. Low light photography and portrait mode are better than ever, for instance. It also has great night shot results, on a par with the iPhone 11. The phone has an effective face unlock feature but no fingerprint sensor, like the latest iPhones. It also has a spectacularly good display with a faster refresh rate than most, making for a smooth viewing experience on all levels, even down to scrolling quickly through the phone. Note that battery life is okay, but no more than that, on the Pixel 4, but very good on the larger Pixel 4 Plus.

Google Pixel 4: Buy it for $696.20 from Amazon here.

Google Pixel 4 XL: Buy it from Amazon here for $811.99, a discount of $87.01.

Best for zoom

Huawei P30 Pro From $685

Rear cameras

Wide 40MP, f/1.6, 27mm

Telephoto 8MP, f/3.4, 125mm (5x zoom equivalent)

Ultrawide 20MP, f/2.2, 16mm (0.6x zoom equivalent)

Time of Flight camera

Front camera 32MP, f/2.0, 26mm

Huawei’s P30 Pro is a sensational cameraphone and has just been updated with two new colours and a snazzy redesign. It’s ideal for taking on holiday, and is especially good at shooting wildlife, for instance. That’s partly down to the periscope camera on board. Sadly, that doesn’t mean it pops up out of the phone. It uses a mirror that reflects the light inside the phone to create a bigger focal length than would otherwise have been possible in a phone this thin.

That camera is 5x the main wide lens, and means the camera is great for getting up close, even from a distance. The zoom is the best on any phone, though at 5x it can sometimes be too much to be useful.

The strength of this phone also lies in the way it employs Artificial Intelligence to customize the way it sets exposures for different lighting situations. It’s very strong in extremely low light for a start, and can even turn something shot in pitch darkness into a visible scene. Its main camera uses a Red-Yellow-Yellow-Blue sensor instead of Red-Green-Blue, which contributes both to the image sharpness (because yellow sensors are faster at absorbing light) and to the vividness of the colors.

There is a technique to get the best from this camera: when you’ve pressed the trigger, stay where you are. The camera will take more data to add to the shot and increase the sharpness. This works especially well at 5x zoom.

The lenses come from Leica, the AI is immaculately done and the way the lenses work together to automatically create a strong bokeh effect is very impressive.

Huawei P30 Pro: Buy it here for $685.

Best for value

Apple iPhone 11 From $699

Rear cameras

Wide 12MP, f/1.8, 26mm

Ultrawide 12MP, f/2.4, 13mm (0.5x zoom equivalent)

Front camera 12MP, f/2.2, 23mm plus TrueDepth sensing camera

You can read my full, indepth review of the iPhone 11 here, with details of every feature and benefit. It’s the iPhone which people thought wasn’t going to look great, thanks to the leaked images and incorrect understanding of the design. In the end, it looks terrific, arriving in six cool colors. Four of them: white, black, yellow and Product(Red) are all variants of last year’s iPhone XR shades and the other two are all-new. These are purple (which is rather lighter than you might expect but is a real head-turner), and green, which is a pleasingly pepperminty kind of hue.

But the phone’s beauty is more than skin-deep. The processor is blazingly fast, the same as in the pricier iPhone 11 Pro, and the cameras are identical to the wide and ultra-wide on the Pro phone. With features like an automatic night mode and the same superb system called Deep Fusion found on the Pro, the camera is very hard to beat. Video recording is also a standout and is better than pretty much every phone here. Of course, it has the same ground-breaking Face ID that is still industry-leading. Battery life is tremendous, too. The display is less high-resolution than many rivals, though a match for the Retina display that has been on smaller-screened iPhones previously. It’s also an LCD screen, not the OLED found on the Pro model iPhones.

Apple iPhone 11: Buy it from Apple here and from Amazon here.

Best big smartphone

Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ From $1,099

New deal added below

Rear cameras

Wide 12MP, f/1.5-f/2.4, 27mm

Telephoto 12MP, f/2.1, 52mm (2x zoom equivalent)

Ultrawide 16MP, f/2.2, 12mm (0.44x zoom equivalent)

Time of Flight camera

Front camera 10MP, f/2.2, 26mm

Samsung pioneered big-screen phones with the Note range and this model has a huge 6.8-inch display. The other specialty of the Note is that it has a slim but versatile stylus which tucks in to the body of the phone – if you don’t need this, consider the S10 range instead. The design is great, with shimmering colors on the glass back and the front-facing camera tucked into the display. It unlocks with a fingerprint sensor which is also in the display itself, though buried deep enough to be invisible. The cameras here are extremely good, packed with features and capable of delivering very strong results. One Samsung feature is LiveFocus which creates a bokeh effect to blur the background, and is adjustable after you’ve taken your shot. That’s not unique but the ability to have this effect in video is and it works spectacularly. There’s also the AR Emoji feature which lets you add avatars to photos. Great battery life, too.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10+: Buy it here for $1,099 or get $260 off if you have an eligible phone to trade in. Note that this link is to all versions of the Note 10, that is, Note 10, Note 10+ and Note 10+ 5G. Not to mention the Note 10+ Star Wars Special Edition, which is currently out of stock. Sadly.

If you don’t have a phone to trade in, you can still get $50 off at Best Buy, $1,049 unlocked, here.

Happy shopping!

By the way, I’ll be updating this feature with deals as tempting ones become available.

_________________________ 

Follow me on Instagram by clicking here: davidphelantech and Twitter: @davidphelan2009

More on Forbes: Apple MacBook Pro 16in Review: A Balance Of Design, Power & A Brilliant Keyboard

Apple Releases iOS 13.3: Brand New Features, Vital Bug Fixes And Security Patches

_________________________ 

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A smartphone like the Apple iPhone 11 Pro or the Google Pixel 4 is a sensational gift. So, which of the phones currently on the market should you be considering, and why? Below, read about the seven best phones around. All of them have outstanding design, good-to-great battery life and superb ease-of-use. Some are tremendous value or have exceptional build quality.

uncaptioned

The seven best smartphones from iPhone 11 to Google Pixel 4

David Phelan

Update: Now updated with Amazon prices for iPhones and revised Pixel 4 prices, plus changes to offers that have finished and new ones just launched.

Since the camera is easily one of the most important features on a smartphone now, I’ve given special weight to how each performs as a camera, too.

>AirPods Pro: Has The Latest Update Dented The Pro's Outstanding Feature? Forbes David Phelan

The aspiration with any smartphone camera is to provide photographs of such high quality that you can leave your dedicated digital SLR behind.

Multiple camera sensors, found on all the phones here, mean you can achieve neat effects like bokeh, where your subject is in pristine focus while the background is blurred.

>Apple iPhone 11 Pro Long-Term Review (Updated With New Deals) Forbes David Phelan

Here are the best smartphones you can buy right now, based on everything from their photographic prowess to sheer head-turning design.

uncaptioned

Apple iPhone 11 Pro in gold finish

David Phelan

Best all-round smartphone

Apple iPhone 11 Pro From $999

Rear cameras

Wide 12MP, f/1.8, 26mm

Telephoto 12MP, f/2.0, 52mm (2x zoom equivalent)

Ultrawide 12MP, f/2.4, 13mm (0.5x zoom equivalent)

Front camera 12MP, f/2.2, 23mm plus TrueDepth sensing camera

The latest iPhones (the iPhone 11 is below, too) mark a return to form for Apple. Not only did the design turn out to be rather fetching, but the phone’s performance is irreproachably good, from speedy responsiveness throughout the experience to astonishingly good battery life. It runs for way more than a full day’s use. The camera on the iPhone has been consistently good but this year’s model takes things to a whole new level. As always, Apple does the heavy lifting for you, with machine learning analyzing the image, HDR swinging into action automatically, and a brilliant night mode that works its magic when needed. Plus, there’s Deep Fusion, designed to take astonishingly good shots indoors or in medium-light situations. Of course, it has a Portrait mode, adjustable after the fact, and fun extras like Slofies (that’s slow-motion video selfies, of course). There’s no doubt Apple’s photos are image-processed but that processing is done with such good taste that it works brilliantly well.

Add in Face ID for an effortless, intimate phone unlock and painless, secure payments, immaculate build quality, great new colors and a gorgeous display and you have a phenomenal phone.

Apple iPhone 11 Pro: Buy it from Apple here.

Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max: Buy it from Apple here and from Amazon here.

uncaptioned

Sony Xperia 1

David Phelan

Best for display

Sony Xperia 1 From $909.88

Rear cameras

Wide 12MP, f/1.6, 26mm

Telephoto 12MP, f/2.4, 52mm (2x zoom equivalent)

Ultrawide 12MP, f/2.4, 16mm (0.6x zoom equivalent)

Front camera 8MP, f/2.0, 24mm

You can’t mistake the Xperia 1 for any other phone: its super-long shape with 21:9 ratio display is unmissable. It takes a little getting used to but then it’s great, fitting the hand superbly. The super-smooth joins between Gorilla Glass front and back and the aluminum frame make it especially comfortable. The fingerprint sensor is on the side of the phone, in just the right place for your thumb or finger to fall as you grip it. And this phone, almost uniquely, has a 4K-resolution display (3,840 x 1,644 pixels because of the long, thin aspect ratio). Sony has always made great camera sensors, used widely in the smartphone industry, but hasn’t had the best cameras on its own phones. The trio of 12MP sensors with different focal lengths make for a versatile and responsive camera experience.

There are useful manual overrides to allow you to take better pictures, including white balance tweaking after you’ve shot. Plus, lots of effects including portrait selfie (blurred background, sharp subject) or Augmented Reality where you can add dinosaurs to your photos, for instance. Really.

An eye-tracking effect means the camera will focus on the eyes of your subject, so you can be sure the face is in sharp relief.

Since this is a 4K screen, you can record movies in 4K HDR resolution and play it back on the screen, where it looks tremendous. Advanced video features allow you to shoot with or without high dynamic range.

Unlike most other phones here, there’s no wireless charging on this one.

Sony Xperia 1: Buy it for $909.88 here.

uncaptioned

Nokia 9 PureView with its five rear cameras

David Phelan

Best for black-and-white photography and onboard photo editing

Nokia 9 PureView $603.66

Rear cameras

Five sensors, all 12MP, f/1.8, 28mm. Two RGB, three monochrome

Front camera 20MP

The PureView is an exceptionally slick-looking phone with a lush design that’s slim and gorgeous. It feels good in the hand because, unusually in a smartphone, all its cameras are flush to the phone’s surface. There are five of them, yes, five, all 12-megapixel sensors and all with the same focal length, so there’s no equivalent zoom here. But when multiple sensors are shooting at the same time it makes for a very high-resolution image, so zooming in digitally is fine. There is extensive picture editing possible on this phone, too. When it first launched, the software needed attention but that’s been done and this is a highly effective phone. My only camera issue is that it takes a moment or two to process the images so it’s not as fast going shot-to-shot as some cameraphones.

Like the Samsung and Huawei phones here, the fingerprint sensor is under the display itself. The display, by the way, is high-resolution (538 pixels per inch, statistics-fans) but it’s not a full-screen front, not quite. There’s a chin and forehead at the ends of the phone.

Nokia 9 PureView: Buy it for $603.66 here.

uncaptioned

Google Pixel 4XL

David Phelan

Best for image processing

Google Pixel 4 Was $799, now from $696.22, Google Pixel 4XL was $899, now from $812.37

Rear cameras

Wide 12.2MP, f/1.7, 27mm

Telephoto 16MP, f/2.4, 50mm (approx 2x zoom equivalent)

Front camera 8MP, f/2.0, 22mm

The new Pixel comes in two sizes, and three colors including one, Oh So Orange as Google calls it, that’s especially good-looking. Google’s phones have always stood out for their camera software, allowing portrait effects from just one camera, for instance, when rivals needed two snappers to achieve it. Now, the latest model has dual rear cameras and lots more features as a result. Low light photography and portrait mode are better than ever, for instance. It also has great night shot results, on a par with the iPhone 11. The phone has an effective face unlock feature but no fingerprint sensor, like the latest iPhones. It also has a spectacularly good display with a faster refresh rate than most, making for a smooth viewing experience on all levels, even down to scrolling quickly through the phone. Note that battery life is okay, but no more than that, on the Pixel 4, but very good on the larger Pixel 4 Plus.

Google Pixel 4: Buy it for $696.20 from Amazon here.

Google Pixel 4 XL: Buy it from Amazon here for $811.99, a discount of $87.01.

uncaptioned

Huawei P30 Pro

David Phelan

Best for zoom

Huawei P30 Pro From $685

Rear cameras

Wide 40MP, f/1.6, 27mm

Telephoto 8MP, f/3.4, 125mm (5x zoom equivalent)

Ultrawide 20MP, f/2.2, 16mm (0.6x zoom equivalent)

Time of Flight camera

Front camera 32MP, f/2.0, 26mm

Huawei’s P30 Pro is a sensational cameraphone and has just been updated with two new colours and a snazzy redesign. It’s ideal for taking on holiday, and is especially good at shooting wildlife, for instance. That’s partly down to the periscope camera on board. Sadly, that doesn’t mean it pops up out of the phone. It uses a mirror that reflects the light inside the phone to create a bigger focal length than would otherwise have been possible in a phone this thin.

That camera is 5x the main wide lens, and means the camera is great for getting up close, even from a distance. The zoom is the best on any phone, though at 5x it can sometimes be too much to be useful.

The strength of this phone also lies in the way it employs Artificial Intelligence to customize the way it sets exposures for different lighting situations. It’s very strong in extremely low light for a start, and can even turn something shot in pitch darkness into a visible scene. Its main camera uses a Red-Yellow-Yellow-Blue sensor instead of Red-Green-Blue, which contributes both to the image sharpness (because yellow sensors are faster at absorbing light) and to the vividness of the colors.

There is a technique to get the best from this camera: when you’ve pressed the trigger, stay where you are. The camera will take more data to add to the shot and increase the sharpness. This works especially well at 5x zoom.

The lenses come from Leica, the AI is immaculately done and the way the lenses work together to automatically create a strong bokeh effect is very impressive.

Huawei P30 Pro: Buy it here for $685.

uncaptioned

Apple iPhone 11

David Phelan

Best for value

Apple iPhone 11 From $699

Rear cameras

Wide 12MP, f/1.8, 26mm

Ultrawide 12MP, f/2.4, 13mm (0.5x zoom equivalent)

Front camera 12MP, f/2.2, 23mm plus TrueDepth sensing camera

You can read my full, indepth review of the iPhone 11 here, with details of every feature and benefit. It’s the iPhone which people thought wasn’t going to look great, thanks to the leaked images and incorrect understanding of the design. In the end, it looks terrific, arriving in six cool colors. Four of them: white, black, yellow and Product(Red) are all variants of last year’s iPhone XR shades and the other two are all-new. These are purple (which is rather lighter than you might expect but is a real head-turner), and green, which is a pleasingly pepperminty kind of hue.

But the phone’s beauty is more than skin-deep. The processor is blazingly fast, the same as in the pricier iPhone 11 Pro, and the cameras are identical to the wide and ultra-wide on the Pro phone. With features like an automatic night mode and the same superb system called Deep Fusion found on the Pro, the camera is very hard to beat. Video recording is also a standout and is better than pretty much every phone here. Of course, it has the same ground-breaking Face ID that is still industry-leading. Battery life is tremendous, too. The display is less high-resolution than many rivals, though a match for the Retina display that has been on smaller-screened iPhones previously. It’s also an LCD screen, not the OLED found on the Pro model iPhones.

Apple iPhone 11: Buy it from Apple here and from Amazon here.

uncaptioned

Samsung Galaxy Note 10+

Samsung

Best big smartphone

Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ From $1,099

New deal added below

Rear cameras

Wide 12MP, f/1.5-f/2.4, 27mm

Telephoto 12MP, f/2.1, 52mm (2x zoom equivalent)

Ultrawide 16MP, f/2.2, 12mm (0.44x zoom equivalent)

Time of Flight camera

Front camera 10MP, f/2.2, 26mm

Samsung pioneered big-screen phones with the Note range and this model has a huge 6.8-inch display. The other specialty of the Note is that it has a slim but versatile stylus which tucks in to the body of the phone – if you don’t need this, consider the S10 range instead. The design is great, with shimmering colors on the glass back and the front-facing camera tucked into the display. It unlocks with a fingerprint sensor which is also in the display itself, though buried deep enough to be invisible. The cameras here are extremely good, packed with features and capable of delivering very strong results. One Samsung feature is LiveFocus which creates a bokeh effect to blur the background, and is adjustable after you’ve taken your shot. That’s not unique but the ability to have this effect in video is and it works spectacularly. There’s also the AR Emoji feature which lets you add avatars to photos. Great battery life, too.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10+: Buy it here for $1,099 or get $260 off if you have an eligible phone to trade in. Note that this link is to all versions of the Note 10, that is, Note 10, Note 10+ and Note 10+ 5G. Not to mention the Note 10+ Star Wars Special Edition, which is currently out of stock. Sadly.

If you don’t have a phone to trade in, you can still get $50 off at Best Buy, $1,049 unlocked, here.

Happy shopping!

By the way, I’ll be updating this feature with deals as tempting ones become available.

_________________________ 

Follow me on Instagram by clicking here: davidphelantech and Twitter: @davidphelan2009

More on Forbes: Apple MacBook Pro 16in Review: A Balance Of Design, Power & A Brilliant Keyboard

Apple Releases iOS 13.3: Brand New Features, Vital Bug Fixes And Security Patches

_________________________ 

Source : https://www.forbes.com/sites/davidphelan/2020/01/12/apple-iphone-11-to-google-pixel-4-the-7-best-phones-you-can-buy-now-updated-new-deals/

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