Best Samsung Phones Android Central 2020
Samsung is one of the biggest phone manufacturers in the world, and with good reason — it makes some pretty incredible phones, combining outstanding hardware design with long lists of handy features that differentiate its phones from the competition. The Galaxy S10+ is the company's top phone, but there's also a range of other devices that hit different sizes, price points and value propositions.
- Best Overall: Samsung Galaxy S10+
- Best Compact: Samsung Galaxy S10e
- Best for Productivity: Samsung Galaxy Note 10+
- Best for Less: Samsung Galaxy A50
- Best with 5G: Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ 5G
- Best on a Budget: Samsung Galaxy A10e
Best Overall — Samsung Galaxy S10+
The Galaxy S10+ is the culmination of years of iteration and improvement. Samsung has been sticking with this general design language since the Galaxy S6, but it feels like it might have finally perfected it; the S10+ is sleek and thin, yet manages to squeeze in top-of-the-line specs and a massive 4100mAh battery.
It has the best display we've ever seen on a phone. Of course, it has plenty of other great hardware features, too, including microSD expansion, water resistance, and wireless charging. It runs Samsung's most mature software yet, and it's buttery smooth thanks to the Snapdragon 855 chipset.
And we can't talk about a Samsung phone without mentioning the cameras. This is the first time Samsung has included three rear cameras in a flagship phone, fitting the S10+ with standard, ultra-wide, and telephoto lenses. This makes for an incredibly versatile shooting experience, and the combination of OIS and EIS produces incredibly smooth 4K video.
- Best-ever smartphone display
- Top-end specs
- Fun triple camera array
- Headphone jack
- Smaller, cheaper Galaxy S10 available
- In-display fingerprint sensor isn't great
- Too large for some
This phone can do it all for just about anyone.
The GS10+ has an incredible display, great cameras, beautiful design, and top-of-the-line specs. And it's filled with useful hardware and software features.
Best Compact — Samsung Galaxy S10e
Samsung's Galaxy S10 lineup starts with the high-end S10+ but scales down in size and price for the S10e as well. You get a full core Galaxy S10 experience, but one that fits in just about anyone's hands (and pockets).
The screen is smaller but still wonderful. Battery life takes a hit, but it's likely worth it if you are drawn to the compact size. You miss out on a secondary selfie camera and telephoto rear camera, but that doesn't impact the overall photography experience. This really is a Galaxy S10 experience throughout, but you don't have to pay much to get it.
- Core GS10 experience for less
- Compact size fits most hands
- Great price for all it offers
- Weaker battery life
- Missing secondary cameras
- Screen may actually be too small for some
The surprisingly great, pocketable addition to the S10 family.
The S10e doesn't have the stellar endurance of the S10+, but this is essentially the same phone in a smaller size that's much easier to use in one hand.
Best for Productivity — Samsung Galaxy Note 10+
To understand the Note 10+, take everything that makes the Galaxy S10+ great and turn it up to a new level. All of the basics are the same, with excellent build quality, a top-end screen, consistently good cameras, and software that is packed with features. But the screen is even bigger, the battery lasts even longer (and recharges faster), and the specs have improved.
And of course, you get the S Pen stylus, which you simply can't get anywhere else. You can write, draw, annotate, and sign documents all day long. Plus, it can be used in a pinch to control your phone from a distance over Bluetooth. And you better see value in that S Pen, because it makes the Note 10+'s price jump: you spend hundreds more for the Note 10+ compared to the S10+, despite most of the experience being identical.
- Incredible display
- Hardware looks and feels expensive
- Outstanding performance
- Great battery life and fast charging
- Consistent camera performance
- Best stylus experience on any phone
- Low-light camera quality is weak
- Software requires lots of tweaking
- No headphone jack
Best for Productivity
Productivity never stops when you have a Note in your hands.
For many, there's no replacement for a Note. You get the best Samsung has to offer, on a huge display, with the powerful S Pen.
Best for Less — Samsung Galaxy A50
The goal of the Galaxy A50 is to bring some of the great Galaxy S10 DNA down to a dramatically more affordable price point, shedding superfluous features but keeping some of the core of what makes Samsung flagships great.
The A50 has a solid build, a typically great Samsung AMOLED display, three cameras on the back, the latest One UI software, and a 4000mAh battery that's robust even for heavy use. As a mid-range phone, it, of course, has missing hardware features, but for this price, you can't have any complaints.
- Gorgeous design
- Vivid AMOLED display
- Powerful specs
- In-display fingerprint sensor
- Monstrous battery life
- Bloatware apps
- Samsung Pay is missing
- Basic camera quality
Best for Less
Gorgeous design meets outstanding hardware
With a gorgeous display, robust specs, and three cameras, the A50 has a lot. It runs the latest One UI software, and the battery offers over a day's use.
Best With 5G — Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ 5G
The biggest thing the Galaxy Note 10+ 5G has going for it is that it's built on the exact same platform as the excellent Note 10+. The Note 10+ 5G is the same in terms of size, specs, and capabilities — meaning it has the same amazing screen quality, high-end internals, consistent cameras, and Samsung software that's filled with features. Plus, it still has the S Pen, if you're into that.
But for a couple hundred dollars more than the LTE-only Note 10+, it's incredibly tough to justify the extra experience to get 5G. If you're on Verizon (or soon, T-Mobile), and it offers 5G where you live, it may be worth looking at — but chances are you're going to find the value just isn't there, and you're better off saving hundreds getting a regular Note 10+
- 5G connectivity for upcoming networks
- Huge, high-quality screen
- Complete Galaxy Note 10+ experience
- Extremely expensive for what you get
- Limited to just Verizon (and T-Mobile soon)
- 5G networks will be limited for some time to come
Best with 5G
The future is now … with a few caveats.
The Note 10+ 5G has access to the future of networking, but you spend a whole lot to get it. 5G aside, it's effectively a Note 10+.
Best on a Budget — Samsung Galaxy A10e
As the naming scheme would suggest, the Galaxy A10e is the bottom end model of the recently refreshed Galaxy A series. The 10e designation. There's far less flagship to be found in the A10, however. You're getting the same design cues, but that's about it. This is a low-end phone befitting of the price, though it has a large (for the segment) 5.8-inch display and a good loadout of features. You won't be wowed by anything the A10 does unless you're comparing it to other similarly priced phones.
The one big downside of the A10e is availability — Samsung is currently only offering it via AT&T and Sprint. You can get the Galaxy A10e unlocked for less than the usual MSRP, but you won't get a warranty along with it — but that may be worth it if you're on a very tight budget.
- Solid build
- Large Infinity Display for the price
- Consistent Samsung software
- Only available officially from AT&T and Sprint
- Basic specs and simple camera
- 3000mAh battery on the small side
Best on a Budget
It won't blow you away, but it's a great value.
It gets the job done with typical Samsung consistency in hardware and software, at a great price. If you're tied to the Samsung brand, it's worth a look.
The Galaxy S10+ is Samsung's best phone, and the default choice for people who want to have a single device that can do it all. It has so many hardware and software features that it's capable of appealing to just about anyone, which is how it justifies its high price. You'd be hard-pressed to find something you need to do that the GS10+ can't accommodate.
The smaller and less expensive Galaxy S10e is an interesting alternative choice for those who have different size or budget needs because it offers the same core Galaxy S10 experience regardless. Last year's Note 9 is much the same in the budget department, with many things that are directly comparable to the Galaxy S10+ for a couple hundred dollars less.
On the lower end, Samsung offers the Galaxy A series, with hints of the flagship Galaxy S models at mid-range prices that are incredibly appealing if you can't push your budget even as high as the Galaxy S10e.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Andrew Martonik is the Executive Editor, U.S., for Android Central. Keeping you up to date with mobile news and analysis since 1989. You can follow him on Twitter at @andrewmartonik.
Hayato Huseman is a recovering trade show addict and Video Editor for Android Central based out of Indianapolis. He can mostly be found complaining about the cold and enthusing about prog metal on Twitter at @hayatohuseman.
Daniel Bader (@journeydan on Twitter) is the Managing Editor of Android Central. As he's writing this, a mountain of old Android phones is about to fall on his head, but his Great Dane will protect him. He drinks way too much coffee and sleeps too little. He wonders if there's a correlation.
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