Android Central's Best of 2019 Awards — The Tech We Loved This Year
2019 was yet another excellent year for technology fans — particularly those who lean toward the Android world. There are so many great phones at a variety of price points, amazing cameras across the board, and the best features we all want are just about standardized. And outside of phones, 2019 brought tons of amazing accessories that enhance our connected world, from headphones to smartwatches and into the smart home.
These are our picks for the best products of 2019.
Best Android Phones of 2019
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OnePlus consistently over-delivers in every category given its price.
The OnePlus 7T is a great phone, primarily because it keeps things simple. Its hardware and specs are top-notch, and its OxygenOS software is fast, consistent and useful. It's not the best in every category, but it nails the user experience where it counts. It's telling that even though the OnePlus 7 Pro is a higher-end phone, and is only marginally more expensive, that we still picked the 7T — it's all the phone most people need, at a great price.
Filled with features and an incredibly versatile camera setup.
Huawei goes after the highest-end phones, and in many ways, succeeds. The P30 Pro takes on much of Samsung's approach in giving you beautiful hardware with a packed spec sheet and huge display and adds in what is simply a better camera system. Battery life is a true winner with the P30 Pro, even over the already stellar Galaxy S10+. The only real downside is the software, which has improved over the years but still feels overbearing and tough to manage.
The one flagship phone that can address every person's needs.
Samsung takes everything that people crave in a high-end smartphone and packages it all up into a single device. It matches or beats the competition in hardware, with every little spec and feature you could ask for, and ties it up in beautiful metal and glass with the best-looking screen you'll see in a phone. The cameras come up short of the competition in outright quality, but are still solid and consistent from shot to shot.
Best Value Android Phone of 2019
You get far more than you pay for — including one of the best cameras in the business.
Google's focus on simplicity in its smartphones translates incredibly well to the mid-range Pixel 3a. Its hardware, display and specs are nothing out of the ordinary, but the software is fantastic and the 3a XL's battery life is strong. And to think you can get a camera that's nearly identical to the Pixel 4's for half the price is amazing. The Pixel 3a is a perfect example of a value-focused phone being far more than the sum of its parts, and worth more than its price.
More than enough phone for most people, at a really appealing sub-flagship price.
It's an incredible achievement for the OnePlus 7T to be both our top overall pick and our runner-up in the value category. One of the things that makes the 7T so appealing is everything it offers for only $600, making it a fantastic value. Yes, it's notably more expensive than the Pixel 3a XL, but it offers a lot more across the phone experience in return.
Best Android Phone Camera of 2019
Hands-down the best Android camera available.
Google extended its lead in photography once again. The Pixel 4 takes incredible photos with crisp details and great colors in all types of scenes, and Night Sight takes the best low-light photos of any phone. Google's gotten rid of the performance hiccups of prior models, and its camera app has plenty of useful shooting features as well. The sole downside of the Pixel 4's camera is the lack of a wide-angle lens, but you wouldn't be willing to give up its amazing image quality in order to get one.
A great all-around camera system with 5X zoom and versatile features.
The P30 Pro really holds its own in shots during the day, with great colors and consistent shot-to-shot quality. It has an ultra-wide camera for interesting shots, and its telephoto lens offers both 5X lossless zoom and really good hybrid digital zoom to rival Google's. But even its impressive night mode can't match Google's on the Pixel 4.
Best Chromebook of 2019
A powerful, premium Chromebook with Google's great design prowess on display.
The Pixelbook Go isn't a 2-in-1 or convertible like most other Chromebooks, but Google's design and build quality still stands out. The rounded body, ergonomic keys and non-slip bottom are all usability wins. It also has a great screen and 12-hour battery life, with high-end options for RAM, storage and processor if you want to go all-out.
A portable powerhouse you can use anywhere.
Between its thin and solid construction, excellent battery life, and options for higher RAM and storage, the C434 is a Chromebook that can do it all. One of the few Chromebooks to offer a backlit keyboard, it's perfect for long nights and dim offices. The 14-inch touchscreen fits into a typical 13-inch laptop size, preserving portability.
Best Smartwatch of 2019
Samsung's best-balanced wearable that hits fitness and daily smartwatch features.
Samsung's wearable hardware is excellent, with a sleek body that matches up nicely to a wide range of bands and a really good display with a capacitive touch bezel. On the software side, it has all of the features you want for fitness tracking, linking up to Samsung Health, but also day-to-day smartwatch usage with helpful widgets. This is a single smartwatch that can bridge the gap between fitness and daily use.
The incredible Fitbit tracking and ecosystem meets more smartwatch extras.
The Fitbit Versa 2 isn't a drastic upgrade from its predecessor, but the changes it makes are all for the better. The shift to an AMOLED display is great to see, Fitbit Pay is now included by default, and battery life is outstanding. FitbitOS still has room to grow, particularly outside of the fitness aspects of a smartwatch, but this is still a great wearable.
Best Headphones of 2019
Bose returns with a new design and amazing noise cancellation.
The headphone industry is evolving, and Bose is once again leading the pack with its new Noise Cancelling Headphones 700. Featuring a beautiful, stylish metal frame, incredibly comfortable and breathable ear cups, and some of the smoothest, most easy-listening sound on the market, the Bose NC700s are fantastic. Even better is the noise cancellation, which cuts out even the most persistent droning.
A tiny little earbuds revelation.
Many, many companies release true wireless earbuds in 2019, but Jabra's Elite 75t's were worth waiting for. The tiny buds are exceptionally comfortable while delivering superb sound, call quality, and battery life. If you're looking to cut down on the size of your everyday carry, these are for you.
Best Smart Home Device of 2019
A true hub for your home, with a great display and speakers to back up the smarts.
The Nest Hub Max has what it takes to really be the hub of your home. For $230 you get a great speaker with a phenomenal display and a genuinely useful video chat experience, plus all of the Google Assistant smarts and ecosystem connections you expect. And for people who use smart displays in the kitchen, being able to control the music without your voice and without smearing food on the display is amazing.
Bringing Google's smart home platform to as many rooms as you want.
The Nest Mini is a fantastic smart home device for many of the same reasons as the Nest Hub Max. Google Assistant is helpful and extensible, and Google's ecosystem of products brings everything together well. The Mini makes it dead-simple to bring all of those great features to any room in your home, with multiple color options and a simple mounting system if you want to keep it on a wall.
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The s10e should be in the Samsung category. It's not a clunker like the other ones, no ridiculous curved screen, great performance...winning.
Yeah, it really is great! Damn near a perfect smartphone if you ask me. I can actually use it one handed and not want to throw it out the window.
The 7t is the best phone for the money, you can't beat the price for what's offered. Huawei makes a great phone but it's useless without Google apps here in the US. I chose my s10+, why? It incorporates all the premium features including the kitchen sink plus it still has the headphone jack which I use daily. But I'm sure everyone has their personal favorite!
Who the hell made these decisions? None of these are right. #redo
Well it is subjective anyway but I really don't understand it at all. There are like 7 "best" Android phones this year? I get that they are all pretty much the same but it kind of defests the purpose of a "best" list...
How does the Fossil Gen 5 not make the list of best smartwatches?
No Note 10+ love anywhere??
Totally agree with this selection. Oneplus 7T is an awesome phone at this asking price. Plan to move up to it from my current Oneplus 6T this coming holiday season.