most rugged samsung phone

What is the most rugged android phone? Today, we review the Most Rugged Samsung Phone. Called the Galaxy XCover Pro, the new phone looks like an updated version of the Galaxy S Active line from recent years. The phone is IP68 water and dust resistant and is MIL-STD 810G certified which Samsung says should provide “reliable protection against extreme altitude, humidity, and other severe environmental conditions” and support drops of up to 1.5 meters (just under five feet). 

Samsung has now gone official with its latest rugged smartphone. Called the Galaxy XCover Pro, the phone is built like a tank and is primarily intended for field workers and enterprises. It will go on sale for $499 in the United States sometime in the first half of 2020. Individual customers will be able to buy the Galaxy XCover Pro as well from Samsung’s website for the same price. So which is the best rugged phone?

which is the best rugged phone

Being a rugged device, the Samsung Galaxy XCover Pro’s headlining feature is its thick exterior that is designed to withstand falls (of up to 5 feet) and other damages a regular glass phone won’t likely survive. It is IP68 dust and water-resistant and also MIL-STD 810G certified which essentially means it won’t die on you in extreme environments of high temperatures, altitudes, and more.

The other highlight that helps the Galaxy XCover Pro stand out is its removable battery. You can swap out the phone’s hefty 4,050mAh battery for a new pack (that is sold separately) when you don’t have a charger or outlet around just like the good ol’ days. In addition, it supports 15W fast-charging over a USB Type-C port.

The XCover Pro has a 6.3-inch full HD Plus “infinity display” that is designed to be used in rain or snow with a cutout in the upper left corner for a 13-megapixel front camera. Around back are two rear cameras, one at 25-megapixels and F1.7 aperture and an 8-megapixel lens at F2.2. 

The phone runs Android 10 and is powered by Samsung’s own Exynos 9611 octa-core processor with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of built-in storage (which can be expanded through microSD). 

In addition to expandable storage, the XCover Pro will also have a 4,050-mAh removable battery. 

To further show that the phone means business, Samsung has worked with Microsoft to add push-to-talk walkie talkie functionality into the phone that supports Microsoft Teams and the phone can also function as a point-of-sale system having been approved for use in Visa’s Tap to Phone pilot program. A fingerprint sensor is built-into the side of the phone to go along with facial recognition for extra security. 

Verizon will offer the phone for $500 when it goes on sale later in the “first half of 2020.”

Best Unbreakable Smartphone

Cat S61 ($729)

cat s61 laying on rock
Simon Hill/Digital Trends

Who better to supply your rugged phone than a company known for making construction vehicles and other equipment? The Cat S61 is the toughest in a series of tough phones from Cat, and as you might expect, it comes with the latest tools to make life easier for anyone who needs a reliable phone for the toughest working conditions. They are constantly innovating with new products soon to hit the market.

But before we get to that, let us assure you that this phone is tough. It’s made from a combination of thick aluminum and black plastic, giving the phone a great range of resistances, and making it supremely durable. It’s IP68 and IP69K rated, so it can survive being immersed in water for up to an hour and is resistant to high-pressure water jets, and it can resist drops up to 1.8 meters onto concrete. The 5.2-inch screen displays a 1920 x 1080-pixel resolution, and it can be used with wet fingers and with gloves on — though there are also navigation keys below the screen just in case.

The phone’s performance is average and it comes with 64GB of storage, but what really sets the Cat S61 apart is the massive range of tools you won’t find anywhere else. The integrated Flir camera gives the phone Predator-esque thermal vision, useful for finding hot water pipes, internal swelling, or people hiding in bushes. There’s also a built-in laser measurement tool, which allows for quick measurements of distances, and an air quality sensor which lets you know when the air quality in the surrounding space has dropped to dangerous levels. Rounding all this up is a 4,500mAh battery that has the potential to last for two days.

All of these tools are unlikely to be useful to most people but should be invaluable for anyone who requires them in their day-to-day. However, the Cat S61 is priced to match its range of tools, and it’ll set you back a cool $729. Still, if you want an exceptionally tough phone with some amazing tools, look no further.

CAT

Land Rover Explore ($320)

land rover explore with battery

If the Cat S61 is the rugged phone for contractors and other similar professions, the Land Rover Explore is the ultimate rugged phone for the great outdoors. It’s super-tough, coming with IP68 rated water-resistance, a durable build, and the protection of Gorilla Glass 5 and a glass screen protector on the 5-inch display. The display runs a Full HD 1920 x 1080-pixel resolution with midrange specs, and it ran Android 7.0 Nougat out of the box, but has since been updated to Android 8.1 Oreo.

The real charm of the Land Rover Explore is in the details. While it boasts an already hefty 4,000mAh battery, the Explore comes with modular options including the Adventure Pack, an additional battery pack that adds another 3,600mAh and a Ceramic Patch GPS antenna. That additional antenna boosts the phone’s GPS capabilities, making sure you always know where you are, even in the most challenging areas. The extra GPS capability draws even more power, but the additional battery is more than up to the task, and we saw the Land Rover Explore still last a day despite a persistent GPS connection and near-constant screen use.

The ViewRanger app also includes additional tools for hiking and cycling, displaying a compass, barometric data, distance traveled, and other details depending on your activity. The Land Rover Explore is meant for people who love to range into the wilderness, and who want their phone to be a big part of their adventures. It’s tough, reliable, and supremely well-suited to life outdoors. The catch? It’s currently only available in the United Kingdom and would require importing to the U.S. While the phone used to be far pricier, it’s currently being sold for ~$320 USD. Still, for a life spent loving the great outdoors, there’s no better option than the Land Rover Explore.

LAND ROVER

best smartphone with unbreakable screen

Cat S48c ($480)

Cat S48c
Simon Hill/Digital Trends

The Cat S61 isn’t the only Cat phone up for taking a tumble through some harsh environments. The Cat S48c comes at a lower $500 price point — which is perfect if the $700+ tag on the S61 is a bit too much.

Thankfully, Cat has only stripped out some of the more outlandish elements from the S61 to slash down the price, so the protective qualities are untouched. This is very much a rugged phone, with a tough rubberized body and a hefty weight of 248 grams. Protective flaps cover each port and raised edges protect the screen from surfaces. An IP68-rating means it can cope with drops into water with few issues, and the MIL-SPEC 810G and Non-Incendive Class1 Div2 certification mean the S48c can take multiple drops onto concrete and resist extreme temperature changes. There’s a customizable Push-To-Talk (PTT) button on the side, a 5-inch IPS LCD display protected by Gorilla Glass 5 that can be used with wet or gloved fingers, and physical buttons at the bottom.

The low price shows in the internal hardware though, and while the Snapdragon 630 is more than adequate for most daily tasks it’ll struggle to keep up with other phones in this price bracket. However, we had no issues during use and it even ran Asphalt 9 fairly well. Any issues you have will probably be offset by the huge 4,000mAh battery that lasted for at least two days during our tests. The camera is — as expected — somewhat disappointing. But it will take good enough pictures in strong lighting, and it takes underwater photos too.

But the price is a serious draw. The Cat S48c is available from Sprint for just $480 (plus tax), or $20 per month for 18 months on Sprint’s Flex Lease option. The Cat S48c is also available from Verizon for $499.

CAT SPRINT VERIZON

Unihertz Atom ($280)

Unihertz Atom Review
Mark Jansen/Digital Trends

Small and solid, the Unihertz Atom is a tiny titan that should serve you well in a variety of situations. It’s a small phone, with the screen measuring in at a teensy 2.4-inches — for comparison, the iPhone X has a 5.8-inch screen — and the body isn’t much bigger. Chunky bezels surround the display, and you’ll find a tough TPU-style material encasing the body of the phone, some red accents for added style, and full IP68 waterproofing. It’s certainly not stylish, but it looks and feels like a tank.

Despite the small size, it doesn’t skimp on power. There’s an octa-core processor inside, along with 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, and Android 8.1 Oreo. It proved powerful in our review, holding its own against some of the best midrange phones in the world right now, like the Moto G6. It comes with a ton of mod cons too, like a fingerprint scanner, facial recognition, and support for NFC card payments.

It’s not perfect — the camera is unreliable, and the small display makes typing a nightmare — but thanks to the modest specs, the battery lasts a lifetime, and you can expect to get days out of this little device. With strong waterproofing, a durable body, and plenty of stamina, the Unihertz Atom is built to survive building sites, long hikes, and bike rides.

Following a successful Kickstarter campaign, the Unihertz Atom is now available from Unihertz’s website for $260, or Amazon.

UNIHERTZ

Doogee S90 ($300)

Mark Jansen/Digital Trends

Little-known brand Doogee has cranked out a considerable number of rugged smartphones over the years, so you’d expect it would be able to do a good job. That’s certainly the case, and the Doogee S90 is a capable rugged phone — but it’s the magnetic Moto Mod-style modules that make it really stand out from the crowd.

Initial impressions show this is a seriously rugged device. It’s extremely heavy at 300 grams, and the titanium alloy build, backed up with a rubberized body, gives serious protection. It boasts IP68 and IP69K water resistance, has protective port covers, and the huge 6.18-inch LCD notched display runs a 2246 x 1080-pixel resolution. The performance is solid and uses Mediatek’s Helio P60 processor well. You won’t be playing the latest games here, but Alto’s Odyssey ran smoothly. An impressively large 5,050mAh battery gives multiple days of battery life on a single charge.

But the meat of the phone is in the add-ons. Some are a bit niche — the gamepad and the night vision camera fall neatly into this category — but we can see some people being interested in the walkie talkie module that turns the phone into a full-fledged walkie talkie. The one everyone will want, though, is the battery module. Adding 5,000mAh of extra power, this module basically doubles the phone’s battery life. We reckon you could easily take this phone out for longer than a weekend on a single charge and it would probably be alright — and there will be some people who will adore that idea.

The Doogee S90 is available for $279 from Doogee’s website.

DOOGEE

LG X Venture ($180)

LG Venture X phone
Adam Ismail/Digital Trends

It can be tough to find a rugged smartphone that doesn’t break the bank, but the LG X Venture is one of the few tough phones that you can pick up for a bargain price. It’s rugged, with an easy-to-grip textured back that won’t slip out of your hand unexpectedly. The lower price doesn’t affect the build quality — the phone feels extremely solid and comes with an IP68-rating for water and dust resistance, as well as military-grade (MIL-STD810G) shock resistance.

It’s not the most powerful phone in this lineup, you may find some issues with speed and apps taking longer to load than usual, and Android 7.0 Nougat is now very dated. But it comes with a capable camera that provided good performance in our review, and a truly enormous 4,100mAh battery that should keep your phone going for a long time, which is especially useful if you’re away from the charger for a while.

It’s not the most powerful phone on this list, but it’s packed to the brim with useful features, including the physical QuickButton on the side, and a toggleable Glove Mode. It’s a long-lasting phone that won’t break the bank.

AMAZON

Kyocera DuraXE (AT&T) ($200)

No, your eyes do not deceive you — that’s a flip phone up there. But really, a phone that curves up into a clamshell to protect its most vulnerable parts does make sense as the basis of a rugged phone, and Kyocera has built up from there to create the delightfully retro-rugged DuraXE.

But first, there’s an admission to be made. This post may be called “the best rugged SMARTphones,” but this isn’t a smartphone. You won’t find Android on here, and the proprietary OS isn’t even touch-capable. But despite that, this is still a very well protected little phone that’s perfect for you if you just need something small but tough that’ll keep you in touch. It’s rated at IP68 for water and dust-resistance, and the drop protection has been tested up to Military Standard 810G. There’s even a programmable side key for easy access to required apps.

So it won’t play Angry Birds, and you won’t take incredible pictures with the 5-megapixel camera lens — but with a 1,500mAh battery that Kyocera claims will last on standby for up to 16 days, this could be all the phone you need for long trips out. It’s only available on AT&T, but Kyocera has a long list of handsets for other carriers.

KYOCERA

Phone Brands Compared

No phone brand is perfect, and each comes with a set of pros and cons. Samsung phones have great hardware, but sometimes have issues when it comes to Android and its own UI. Apple, by contrast, has fantastic integration between hardware and its own operating system, but its phones are notoriously expensive.

Let’s take an in-depth look at each phone brand:

Samsung Phones

The Korean brand manages to produce brilliant phones across a range of prices – something few other companies can achieve. Whether you want to splurge on a wallet-busting Galaxy Note 10 or Galaxy S20, or scrimp on a Galaxy A10, there’s something for everyone.

Samsung Galaxy S20

While there are three S20 models on sale, we think the S20 is probably the best choice. It has the same 120Hz refresh rate screen tech as the other phones in the series, as well as a lot of the same camera tech. However, at $999, it is significantly cheaper than the other S20 models — the S20 Ultra, for example, costs a whopping $1,399.

Plus, it has 5G as standard. The S20 is undoubtedly one of the best phones on sale at the moment (just don’t tell Samsung it’s better than the more expensive versions).

Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus

The S10 Plus is arguably the best phone on sale at the moment, and certainly our favorite. Its screen is brilliant, the cameras are top-drawer, and its performance is staggering. It is expensive at $999, but it’s way better value for money that some similarly-priced phones (we’re looking at you, Apple). Read our full S10 Plus review for more.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus

The Note 10 Plus is huge but brilliant phone. It has a dazzling 6.8-inch display with a small hole punch front camera. As ever with Note-series phones, it comes with a built-in stylus, but also packs four rear cameras and serious performance with a Snapdragon 855 processor and 12GB of RAM on tap. If you need a phone that could feasibly replace your laptop, this is the one to go for. Read our full Note 10 Plus review for more.

Verdict – Quality across the board means that Samsung has something for everyone

samsung galaxy s10 plus screen

Samsung Galaxy S10 PlusArguably the best phone on sale today5In Short

Pros

  • Fantastic screen
  • Great-looking design
  • Strong cameras
  • Speedy processor
  • OneUI is a huge improvement over previous Samsung skins

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Samsung can be slow to issue OS updates
  • Bixby isn’t very helpful

GalleryClick to expand

samsung galaxy s10 plus screen
samsung galaxy s10 plus screen

Buy from Amazon

Apple Phones

The one you love to hate, or indeed, love to love. Apple stands out from the crowd, being the only manufacturer on this list not to use Android. Its phones are unashamedly expensive, although that doesn’t seem to put anyone off buying one.

Not sure which iPhone to get? See our simple guide, Which iPhone Should I Buy?

Apple iPhone 11 Pro

The follow-up to the XS, the 11 Pro is (in our mind, at least) the best iPhone to buy. You get a pin-sharp 5.8-inch screen, high quality materials, and typically blistering performance. It might cost $1,000, but the 11 Pro is closer than ever to being able to justify that price. We’re big fans of its new triple rear cameras and improved front snapper, while the screen is better than ever. However, Apple is being a bit stingy offering just 64GB of storage as standard.

Apple iPhone 11

The new cheap iPhone is actually $50 cheaper than the phone it replaced. At $699, you get a 6.1-inch LCD (boo) display and the same rapid performance as the 11 Pro and Pro Max. You also get some upgraded cameras over last year’s XR and a brilliant choice of color options. Most pleasingly, though, you also get a larger, longer lasting battery compared to the XR. All told, it’s a good phone that almost everyone will be smitten with.

Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max

The largest of the new iPhones, the Pro Max is a bit of a beast. It has a 6.5-inch AMOLED display and a very large 3,969 mAh battery. Compared to the 11 Pro, however, there aren’t too many differences beyond the larger screen and battery. As a result, we’d probably opt for the cheaper phone. That’s not to say the 11 Pro Max is bad, just that we’d rather save $100 and have a just-as-capable phone.

Verdict – Apple iPhones may be expensive, but they’re excellent across the board

iphone 11 front

iPhone XSIt’s still great but for $100 more, we’d still choose the iPhone 11 Pro4.5In Short

Pros

  • Great cameras
  • Incredibly powerful
  • Fantastic screen

Cons

  • Still expensive
  • Might be a touch too big for some

GalleryClick to expand

iphone xs max review in hand front

Buy from Verizon

Google Phones

It sounds surprising, but the current crop of Google phones is only the company’s third attempt at making a phone itself. However, the search engine giant excels in software, and it shows in the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, with the powerful Google Assistant and excellent cameras making for awesome Android phones.

Google Pixel 4 XL

The Pixel 4 XL is, in our mind, a great phone. However, it’s proven to be one of the most controversial phones of 2019 with large bezels and decent, but not impressive battery life, and stingy storage space. Despite these concerns, it packs the best cameras of any current phone (despite the lack of ultra wide-angle lens) and remains as easy to use as all the previous Google phones.

Google Pixel 3a XL

The Pixel 3a XL is a new cheap version of a Google phone. You still get the same excellent camera quality, but it costs $420 less. The Pixel 3a XL isn’t the fastest phone on sale, and it loses the glass rear case found on the more expensive Pixel phones. But the Pixel 3a XL is still a remarkably good phone for just $479. Read our full Pixel 3a XL review to find out more.

Google Pixel 3a

Like the above, but smaller and even cheaper. Starting at just $399, the Pixel 3a is one of the best value phones on sale. The screen is smaller at 5.6-inches but it’s still a 1080p, OLED unit. Plus, you get the best phone camera on the market for a remarkably low price. Read our full Pixel 3a review here.

Verdict – Camera lovers and Android purists can rejoice, as Google Pixel delivers

google pixel 4 xl screen

Google Pixel 4 XLAn improvement over the Pixel 3 XL, but some problems remain4.5In Short

Pros

  • Stunning camera
  • Impressive screen quality with new 90Hz refresh rate
  • Snappy Face Unlock tech
  • Significantly better battery life than Pixel 3 XL and Pixel 4
  • Stock Android interface is easy to use

Cons

  • Design might not be to everyone’s taste
  • Gesture controls feel a bit gimmicky at the moment
  • No ultra wide-angle camera lens

GalleryClick to expand

google pixel 4 screen

Buy from Verizon

OnePlus Phones

Probably the first surprise entrant on the list, OnePlus has been quietly cranking out good phones for a while. It’s most recent 7 and 7 Pro models are its most expensive ever, but they’re still pretty good value compared to a lot of flagship phones.

OnePlus 7T Pro

OnePlus is famed for cramming all manner of headline-grabbing features into its phones and it’s managed to outdo itself with the 7T Pro. It has a 6.7-inch super-sharp AMOLED display with a 90Hz refresh rate for smooth scrolling and video playback. It also packs in a Snapdragon 855+ processor and 8GB of RAM. It doesn’t end there though, with triple rear cameras, and a motorized pop-up 16Mp selfie snapper. It was also one of the first phones to use Android 10. Our only sticking point is the lack of waterproofing and the $865 price tag.

OnePlus 7T

You’d be forgiven for thinking that the 7T is an updated version of the 7 which launched back in June. However, OnePlus effectively ripped up the script and started again. You get a larger screen with that all-important 90Hz refresh rate. It gets a new ultra wide-angle lens to give three rear facing in total, plus it gets a larger battery (3,700 mAh vs 3,800 mAh) and even faster fast-charging.

OnePlus 7

The 7 might feel like an ugly duckling in the company of the 7T and 7T Pro. However, it’s still a top quality phone with an AMOLED display, Snapdragon 855, and dual rear cameras including a 48Mp lens. In light of the newer models, the 7 has also had a price cut. It now costs around $410, making it a seriously impressive piece of kit for the price. Read our full OnePlus 7 review for more.

Verdict – Compelling flagship-killer phones at lower prices

oneplus 7 screen

OnePlus 7A seriously impressive phone for the price4In Short

Pros

  • Blisteringly fast
  • Good screen
  • Great cameras
  • Faster updates than bigger manufacturers
  • Cheaper than most similarly-specced rivals

Cons

  • OnePlus phones are becoming more expensive
  • Construction feels a little bit plasticky
  • No waterproof rating

GalleryClick to expand

oneplus 7 home screen
oneplus 7 rear case

Buy from Amazon

Huawei Phones

Huawei’s had some difficult times recently. In fact, its most recent flagship phones — the Mate 30 and P40 series — were banned from being able to use Google-made apps. This means no Play Store for your favorite apps and no integration with wider Google services. As a result, we can’t really recommend these phones. Fortunately, 2018’s Mate 20 series models are still available and still have access to Google services, and they’re cheaper than ever.

Huawei Mate 20

Another fabulous cut-price Android phone. The Mate 20 comes with an unusual square arrangement for its three rear cameras, a tiny notch and a pin-sharp OLED screen. It also comes in a range of delightful colors and packs the super-speedy Kirin 980 processor.

Huawei Mate 20 Pro

The Mate 20 Pro is a real flagship rival with a Google and Samsung-rivalling price tag. It has a big 6.4-inch OLED display, runs the latest version of Android, and is available with either 6GB or 8GB Ram. You get the same triple-camera set-up at the rear, with one 40Mp, 20Mp and 8Mp lenses. It’s well worth considering if you’re in the market for an Android flagship.

Huawei P30 Pro

The P30 Pro is a true powerhouse. It has a 6.47-inch OLED display, four rear cameras, the speedy Kirin 980 processor, 6GB of RAM, and a huge 4,200 mAh battery. If you need a phone to power through games and multitasking, while also lasting all day — the P30 Pro might be for you (if you can get one).

Verdict – Excellent phones, subjected to unusual geopolitical pressures

huawei mate 20 pro medium

Huawei Mate 20Lacks some top-end features but excells at the core jobs expected of a smartphoneIn Short

Pros 

  • Powerful processor
  • Excellent battery life
  • Huge screen

Cons 

  • LCD display isn’t as sharp as the Pro
  • Might be too large for some
  • Not as water or dust-proof as many phones

GalleryClick to expand

huawei mate 20 small

Buy from Amazon

Motorola Phones

You might think of Motorola as a brand relegated to the smartphone cemetry, but you’d be wrong. The brand that gave us the iconic RAZR is still knocking out some incredible mid-range phones, which are well worth taking a look at.

Moto G8 Plus

Motorola’s G-series phones have long been regarded as the best cheap phones on sale and, with the G7 Plus, the company has created another cut-price classic. It runs Android, a 6.3-inch 1080p display, triple rear cameras, and a tiny notch. It costs just $310 — yes, you read that correctly. Read our full review for more.

Motorola One Zoom

The One Zoom was launched at IFA in Berlin packing four (yes, four) rear cameras while costing just $449. That array of rear-facing lenses include a depth-sensor, a 117-degree ultra-wide angle lens, and a telephoto lens — meaning you should get great photos whatever the conditions. Find out more about the One Zoom here.

Motorola One Vision

The One Vision costs the same as the g7 Plus but is a very different phone. Firstly, it’s tall — the screen has a 21:9 aspect ratio, making it three times taller than it is wide. Secondly, it takes incredible photos with dual rear cameras (including a 48Mp lens). Thirdly, it uses Android One, a version of Android that gives you speedy updates and minimal bloatware. It’s an unusual but impressive phone.

Verdict – The cheap G-series are a solid option for those one a budget, while its Android One series keeps getting better

motorola g8 plus rear case

Motorola Moto G8 Plus ReviewOne of the best cheap Android phones gets even better4In Short

Every year, it feels like we say the same thing. The latest phones from Motorola’s G-series are great, and arguably the best value for money phones on the market. And believe it or not, 2019 is no different. The Motorola G8 Plus is a great phone, and it costs just north of $300. When a phone this good is this cheap, why would you buy anything else?GalleryClick to expand

motorola g8 plus screen
image 515
motorola g8 plus rear case
image 514

Nokia Phones

Recently resurrected, Nokia has come back to life with a flurry of activity, launching some seriously impressive mid-range Android phones. They’re certainly not flagship killers – leave that to OnePlus – but they provide a compelling alternative to Samsung’s cheaper options.

Nokia 8.3 5G

The 8.3 is Nokia’s first 5G-enabled phone and starts from around $640 in the US — that’s cheap for a 5G device.

However, the 8.3 is more than just a 5G phone. It has a 6.8-inch display that upscales content into HDR-compatible formats for better clarity and contrast. It has four rear cameras: a 64Mp wide angle lens, a 12Mp ultrawide lens, a 2Mp macro lens for close-up shots, and a 2Mp depth sensor. Plus, it has a large 4,500 mAh battery for extra long battery life.

Nokia 7.2

The 7.2 is a very impressive budget option if you’re looking for strong camera quality. Costing $349, the 7.2 comes with a 48Mp main camera, an 8Mp ultrawide lens, and a 5Mp depth sensor. Plus, these cameras use Zeiss optics for the best clarity and image quality.

The 7.2 is powered by a Snapdragon 660 processor and 4GB of RAM, meaning it should be more than fast enough for most people. The 6.3-inch Full-HD+ display means it should be perfect for streaming TV shows and movies.

Nokia 3.2

The 3.2 is a remarkably cheap phone, costing just $150. It’s not perfect, with slightly sluggish performance and a finnicky face unlock system.

However, it has remarkable battery life — thanks to its efficient processor and large 4,000 mAh battery. It’s also extremely well-built, unseemingly so for a phone at this price.

If you’re looking for the perfect backup phone, the 3.2 might be the perfect fit. Find out more in our full Nokia 3.2 review.

Verdict – Buyers on a budget should definitely take a look at Nokia

Nokia 8.3 5G

Nokia 9 PureViewA left-field alternative with innovative camera set-upIn Short

Pros

  • Great cameras
  • Impressive pOLED screen
  • Stock Android
  • Powerful processor and healthy Ram figure

Cons

  • Battery isn’t the biggest at 3,320 mAh
  • Only IP67 is waterproof-rated, despite not having a headphone jack

GalleryClick to expand

nokia 9 pureview medium

Buy from Amazon

LG Phones

LG’s mobile division has fallen on hard times, and has failed to grab the imagination at the top end of the market. That’s not to say it doesn’t have some phones worthy of consideration, though.

LG V60 ThinQ 5G Dual Screen

LG has taken a different approach to folding phones compared to Samsung and Motorola. Instead of one screen which folds up, LG has decided to give its flagship phones two screens — no creases of reliability problems here — via a unique case attachment.

It costs $899 and, although you get the option of two screens, the rest of the spces aren’t that impressive. The primary screen has a 1080×2460 resolution — which is sharp, but not as sharp as other flagship phones. It has a large 5,000 mAh battery and uses a Snapdragon 865 processor. It gets three rear cameras including a 64Mp main lens, a 13Mp wide angle lens and a time-of-flight sensor for depth perception.

LG G8 ThinQ

The G8 ThinQ is LG’s answer to the leading flagship phones on the market. It packs a sharp 1440×3120 6.1-inch P-OLED display, a Snapdragon 855 processor for top-notch performance, and dual rear cameras. Price? At $849, it isn’t the cheapest, but it is certainly capable.

Verdict – LG is a bit of a leftfield choice, but not necessarily a bad one

LG G8 small

LG G8 ThinQ ReviewUnusual features but a way behind the compeitionIn Short

Pros

  • Interesting features such as HandID and in-display speakers
  • Decent battery life and cameras
  • Decent OLED display
  • MicroSD carad and headphone jack support

Cons

  • Fluctuating price makes it a difficult value proposition
  • Not as powerful as other rivals
  • Sluggish OS updates

GalleryClick to expand

lg g8 thinq

Buy from Verizon

Sony Phones

Sony has been stuck in a rut for a while now. However, with its new lineup of Xperia 10 phones, and the flagship Xperia 1, it’s look to change that. The phones are certainly head-turning, with overly tall displays. But are they actually any good?

Sony Xperia 10

The Xperia 10 seems like a pretty standard low- to mid-range phone. It has a Snapdragon 630 processor, dual rear cameras, and a 6-inch 1080p display. But that screen has a 21:9 aspect ratio and is, basically, just a bit too tall for one-handed use. Still, it’s good for watching films and it’ll set you back $299. Intrigued? Read our full review.

Sony Xperia 10 Plus

Like the above, but even bigger. It has a whopping 6.5-inch and it’s frankly too tall and heavy to be used with a single hand. Still, like its smaller brother, performance isn’t bad and that screen is great for watching TV shows and films, or playing games. There’s a significant price bump for that extra screen, though, as the Xperia 10 Plus costs $429.

Sony Xperia 1 II

The confusingly named Xperia 1 II is Sony’s latest flagship phone. Its main selling point is the 6.5-inch 4K 21:9 OLED display. This makes it perfect for watching movies or TV shows, as you’ll have plenty of screen real estate, as well as pin-sharp pixels.

However, you’ll pay a small fortune for that screen quality — the Xperia 1 II is expected to cost $1,300 when it goes on sale in the US.

Verdict – Sony produces decent phones at a range of prices

sony xperia 10 screen

Sony Xperia 10 ReviewA decent mid-range phone with an unusual screen3.5In Short

Pros

  • Tall screen makes watching some stuff better
  • Not too expensive

Cons

  • Plasticky design doesn’t feel brilliant
  • Underwhelming battery life

GalleryClick to expand

sony xperia 10 screen
Sony Xperia 10 screen
Sony xperia 10 plus rear
Sony Xperia 10 side on

Buy from Amazon

Phone Brands by Budget

These are the best phones you can buy, whether you have $300, $500 or over $1,000 to spend!

Best Phones Under $300 (Or $20 per month)

It’s safe to say that if you only have $300 to spend on a phone, you’re not going to be getting an iPhone. However, some brands offer great phones for budget-conscious buyers.

You should consider a phone from Motorola — anything from the G8 series would be perfect — or Nokia. Rather than looking to cut costs on the features and components, these companies produce phones that you could happily use every day. Some of the materials might not match those at the top of the market, but they have to save money somewhere.

motorola g8 plus screen

Best Phones under $500 (Or $30 per month)

While flagship phones now cost twice as much, there are some great phones to be had for under $500.

For this budget, we’d struggle to look past the Google Pixel 3a XL. It has strong performance, guaranteed software updates, and the best camera of any phone, at any price. If you’re not keen on a Google phone, you could look at a Samsung Galaxy A50.

Best Phones under $750 (Or $40 per month)

The $500-750 phone market doesn’t have the choice that you’d perhaps expect nowadays, with the market becoming polarized towards increasingly expensive or cheap phones – but that’s not to say you won’t find some good phones.

Again, in this price range, you’ll struggle to find a better phone than the OnePlus 7. However, if you’ve currently got an iPhone, we’d probably opt for the new 11.

oneplus 7 rear

Best Phones around $1,000 (or $50+ per month)

If you’re lucky enough to be able to drop a grand on a phone, you’ve got plenty of options. Not all of them are as good as others, though.

Of course, we’re now really entering iPhone territory. The 11 Pro is a great phone, though we’re not sold on the 11 Pro Max. If you don’t fancy something from Apple, we’d go Google or Samsung. If you need the best cameras, get the Google Pixel 4 XL. If you need incredible all-round capabilities, get the Samsung S20.

Leave a Comment