- Best overall
- Best runner-up
- Best for less
Every carrier has to offer the latest Galaxy, and for good reason: this is the top-end phone everyone knows and lusts after, right alongside Apple's latest iPhone. T-Mobile, of course, offers both the Galaxy S9 and larger S9+, but which size you want is purely personal preference — the experience is ultimately the same on both aside from a few differences.
Inside you obviously get all of the latest specs, including Samsung's go-to features like wireless charging, waterproofing, and an industry-leading display. Its hardware is typical excellent Samsung design and execution. The dual camera on the Galaxy S9+ is extremely impressive in all lighting conditions, and the 960 fps slow-mo is a crowd pleaser. The phone is of course expensive, but you just can't skip over considering the latest Galaxy when shopping for a flagship phone.
Bottom line: The Galaxy S9+ is as top-of-the-line as it gets, packed with every feature under sun.
One more thing: The Galaxy S9 is smaller and less expensive, but doesn't have the same battery life or secondary camera as the GS9+.
Why the Galaxy S9+ is the best
There's no better marriage of form and function than the Galaxy S9 and larger S9+. The curved edges on both sides of the phones are engineering marvels, and feel sleek in the hand. The 18.5:9 displays fill almost the entire front of each phone without having to bother with controversial notches, and the dual aperture cameras take phenomenal photos.
On top of that, there's no shortage of hardware features, both new and old, on the Galaxy S9. You want wireless charging? You've got it. Water resistance? Check. MicroSD expandability, flexible mobile payments, and a headphone jack? All present. There's even a blood pressure monitor. You may not use every single feature on the Galaxy S9, but it's always better to have too many features than not enough.
LG continues to play second fiddle to Samsung's dominance in the flagship smartphone space, but it keeps getting better even though it may not get the same amount of attention. LG's done with the gimmicks, and is just making great phones — the G7 is the latest that shows how far it's come.
The G7 has a beautiful metal body, big display, and all of the highest end specs. There are a few neat tricks in the camera and software, plus solid battery life and performance. The only really negative mark on the LG G7 is that it doesn't do anything particularly better than the Galaxy S9+ does. You can argue it has a better audio experience with a high-end DAC and new speaker setting, and that its wide-angle camera is unique, but other than that Samsung has it matched or beat.
You'll pay a high price for the LG G7, but when you compare it directly to Samsung's latest it actually comes out looking alright. At $750 it's just a little more than the standard Galaxy S9, but in reality competes more with the larger Galaxy S9+ given its bigger screen, bigger battery and dual cameras.
Bottom line: It's a good all-around phone with an above-average camera and all of the latest specs, for a little less than a Galaxy S9+.
One more thing: If you're willing to wait, LG has a history of putting its phones on steep discount a handful of months after launch.
Best for less
When you're looking to save some money, LG's last-generation G6 is a great pick at just $360. Sure it's over a year old, but this is a wonderful price for the amount of phone you're getting — a $3-400 phone unlocked is typically filled with compromises, and considering the G6 was a true flagship when it launched in 2017 it has lots of nice-to-have specs and features.
The metal-and-glass body with an extra-tall display still feels modern in 2018, and the internal specs — Snapdragon 821, 4GB RAM, 32GB storage — are still capable of giving you solid performance. You get a headphone jack, wireless charging and water resistance. There's also a really good dual camera setup on the back that was one of the top performers in its time.
Bottom line: For half the cost of a Galaxy S9, you can get last year's LG G6 which is still a great device for the money.
One more thing: When you buy a phone that's well over a year old, you have to expect few (if any) software updates going forward.
Update July 2018: The Galaxy S9+ is still T-Mobile's best phone, alongside its smaller version the standard Galaxy S9. The LG G7 ThinQ is a good alternative for a little less money, and if you want to save even more, the last-generation LG G6 is a great choice.