Looking for the best Samsung phones? Samsung’s lines, particularly the well-regarded Galaxy series, include a wide range of models for different types of users and there’s something to suit all budgets. Picking one out on your own can be hard, but we’ve fully tested the range to create our list of the best Samsung smartphone options.
After much debate, we’ve landed on the Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus as our choice for the best overall Samsung smartphone, but we’ve got suggestions for the best Samsung smartphone under $500 and Samsung’s best productivity smartphone coming up too, amongst others. Our list of the top Samsung phones includes details on what makes them great plus links to detailed reviews for each phone. Check it out below to see which phone is best for you.
The Best Samsung Smartphone
1. Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus
The optimum option from the S20 range
- Cool design
- Great screen
- Nippy performance
- Decent battery
- Ugly UI
- 8K video recording is pointless
For our money, the Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus is the pick of the bunch when it comes to the S20 series. Crucially, it delivers in all the key areas: battery, performance, and camera. The battery easily lasted us through the day (although it wasn’t as impressive with the screen running at 120Hz), it packs a punchy performance that should satisfy mobile gamers, and the versatile camera delivered good results even in low light.
We have only minor grumbles about this phone; the software skin might not be to everyone’s tastes, and the 8K video recording option is more of a gimmick than anything. But we reckon that this is the best Samsung handset you can buy right now.
2. Samsung Galaxy S10
The best alternative to the S20
- Enthusiast’s phone, accessible design
- Triple view rear camera
- Headphone jack
- UK version not quite as powerful as US
Sometimes Samsung leaves the standard-size S-series phone a little less feature-rich than the XL-side Plus version, but the Samsung Galaxy S10 is every bit as good as the Plus model.
It has a smaller 6.1-inch screen, but you still get the triple-view camera on the back, and one of Samsung’s new Infinity-O displays. The Galaxy S10’s is better, if anything, as the cut-out, is smaller and therefore less distracting when you watch videos.
Unlike most flagships, the S10 series phones also have 3.5mm headphone jacks. That’s the best kind of blast from the past.
What does the Plus have that the standard S10 doesn’t? An extra front camera, which adds an additional field of view for selfies and enables smart depth effect processing.
3. Samsung Galaxy S10e
The best alternative to the S10
- Lower price than the S10
- Some of the same high-end features
- Lacks the curved front of the S10
- Still pricey
The Samsung Galaxy S10e is the lower-cost option in the S10 family. It has elements of the high-end duo but misses out on a few extras in each area.
The parts it keeps? Glass on the front and back, the Exynos 9820 processor and high-quality rear cameras led by a stabilised 12-megapixel one.
And the snipped-out bits? The Galaxy S10e has a much flatter screen, with clearer surrounds and a less glossy appearance. There’s no zoom lens on the back, the screen is smaller, and lower-res at 1080p and 5.8 inches, and the battery shrinks to suit too.
Samsung has tried to avoid this seeming like the “cheap” Galaxy S10, perhaps because the price isn’t all that low, by giving it some bolder colours. Most are still reasonably tasteful, but the highlighter pen yellow is an eye-opener.
4. Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra
Best camera (and screen)
- Zooming up to 10x is fantastic
- The screen is a delight
- Samsung’s software has never been better
- Very fast charging
- It’s very expensive
- Battery can struggle to cope with 120Hz
- It’s just so big
If you’re after versatility in your camera phone, then the Galaxy S20 Ultra is a great choice. It packs three main rear cameras (wide, ultra-wide and tele), a sensor for calculating depth, shoots 8K video and captures selfies with a 40-megapixel front camera.
Instead of focusing on computational photography like the flagships from Google and Apple, the S20 Ultra goes for big wins with loads of megapixels. There are 108 in the primary wide camera, 60 in the telephoto and 12 in the wide.
That telephoto is arguably the pick of the bunch, allowing you to zoom up to 100x. While 100x photos aren’t the best, use it to zoom 10x, and you’ll capture some delightful shots with lots of detail.
When it comes to viewing photos you’ve got a 6.9-inch OLED panel that’s the best in the business. It’s big, bright, smooth and very responsive to the touch. Samsung has shrunk down the notch from the S10 to make it less obvious, and the curved edges feel steeper.
Inside the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra, you’ll find a 5000mAh battery that can be charged via 25w fast charge or wirelessly, either a Snapdragon 865 or Exynos 990 and 12 or 16G RAM. It’s a 5G phone too, so if you’re on a 5G network transferring snaps, uploading to social media and backup services should be very fast. Storage options range sit at 128GB or 512GB, but there’s microSD expandability too – which might come in handy if you’re shooting a lot of 8K videos.
5. Samsung Galaxy A7
The best budget Samsung phone
- Triple rear camera
- Fairly weak GPU
The Samsung Galaxy A7 was a test drive for Galaxy S10 range. It has three rear cameras, including a wide and an extra depth sensor, and a fairly large 6-inch screen.
As you might expect, no element, from the screen to the camera to the design, is quite Galaxy S10-level. But you get that Samsung Galaxy look and feel for around a third of the price. And, of course, one of Samsung’s famous bright and colourful OLED screens.
Cutbacks to consider include a relatively weak graphics processor and plastic coated sides, rather than metal ones. You can’t play high-end games like PUBG with the graphics maxed out here. However, we still consider the Galaxy A7 a pretty good phone for gaming thanks to its large display and extensive storage. Can gamers do better for the price? Yes, from a more value-driven series like the Moto G, or an Honor line.
6. Samsung Galaxy M31
Best affordable Galaxy phone
- Includes AMOLED screen despite the price
- Fantastic battery life
- Solid main camera
- Great value for money
- Lacklustre wide-angle camera
- Bland, slippery design
- Slow charging
The Galaxy M31 is the first M-series phone to launch in the UK/US for quite some time, despite being a familiar sight in India for quite some time. It sits below Samsung’s more established A-series as the firm’s entry level/affordable line. But, despite costing less than £250, it manages to maintain a surprisingly accomplished features set, making it an excellent option for any buyer on a budget.
The biggest perk is the phone’s 6.4-inch AMOLED, FHD+ resolution display. Though it doesn’t have the high 90Hz refresh rate seen on its arch-rival, the Moto G 5G Plus, the screen’s use of AMOLED is a huge bonus you won’t find on most competing phones. It lets the phone offer wonderfully immersive blacks and contrast levels competing handsets LCD panels simply can’t match. This makes it a great way to watch TV and movie content on the go.
The mid-range Exynos 9611 CPU and 6GB RAM are also ample power to keep the phone humming away happily with regular use. Add to this its stellar battery life and solid for the money quad-sensor rear camera setup and the Galaxy M31 easily earns a place as one of Samsung’s best affordable phones.
best samsung phone to buy
Best Overall — Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra
The Galaxy S20 Ultra 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 S20 Ultra is incredibly well-built, and its massive footprint allows it to squeeze in top-of-the-line specs, 5G support, and a massive 5,000mAh battery.
It also has the best display we’ve ever seen on a phone: an enormous 6.9-inch Dynamic AMOLED panel with a 120Hz refresh rate and 240Hz touch sampling. It has plenty of other great hardware features, too, including microSD expansion, water resistance, and bilateral wireless charging. It runs Samsung’s most mature One UI software yet, and it’s buttery smooth thanks to the Snapdragon 865 chipset.
Of course, we can’t talk about a Samsung phone without mentioning the cameras. The S20 Ultra goes all out with a 108MP primary camera, featuring a sensor 3x larger than that of the preceding Galaxy S10 series and 9:1 pixel binning for extra-sharp and bright 12MP photos. You also get an ultra-wide camera and a new periscope-style telephoto camera that lets you reach all the way up to 100x zoom.
There’s also 8K video recording, complete with editing tools built into the gallery, and a new Single Take shooting mode that captures multiple different types of photos and videos all at the press of a button.
- Incredible 120Hz display
- Top-end specs
- Incredible cameras with massive sensors
- Support for mmWave and sub-6 5G
- Massive 5,000mAh battery
- No headphone jack
- Too large for some
- Very expensive
best samsung phones 2020
Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra
The super-phone that does it all
The S20 Ultra has an incredible 120Hz display, great cameras, a beautiful design, and top-of-the-line specs.
- $1,400 at Amazon
- $1,400 at Best Buy
- $1,400 at Samsung
Best Compact — Samsung Galaxy S20
Source: Andrew Martonik / Android Central
The S20 Ultra may be the most eye-catching phone in Samsung’s 2020 lineup, but the cheaper S20 is every bit as good for most people. You get a nearly identical experience, with the same 865 processor and equally impressive cameras, all in a size that actually fits in your hands (and pockets).
The screen is smaller at 6.2 inches, but still wonderful with the same 120Hz refresh rate. The smaller 4,000mAh battery should still be plenty for most people (especially when you consider the reduced power draw of the smaller display), and you’ll still be able to zoom all the way up to 30x with the telephoto camera. It also still has 5G, although only sub-6 and not mmWave 5G. Otherwise, this truly is a Galaxy S20 experience through and through, with a much much manageable size and more accessible pricing.
- Core GS20 experience for less
- Compact size fits most hands
- Reasonable price for all it offers
- Smaller battery
- No mmWave 5G support (sub-6 only)
- Screen may actually be too small for some
Samsung Galaxy S20
The surprisingly pocketable member of the S20 family
The S20 doesn’t have the 108MP camera of the S20 Ultra, but it’s otherwise essentially the same phone in a smaller size.
- $1,000 at Amazon
- $1,000 at Best Buy
- $1,000 at Samsung
Best for Productivity — Samsung Galaxy Note 10+
Source: Android Central
The Galaxy Note 10+ offers almost everything that makes the Galaxy S20 Ultra great in a slightly cheaper package, with the added benefit of the unrivaled S Pen stylus. All of the basics are the same, with excellent build quality, a high-end screen, consistently good cameras, and software that’s packed with features. You’ll get last year’s Snapdragon 855 processor, but that’s hardly a downside.
The S Pen offers a unique experience you won’t find on any other phone. 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. You can even use it as a remote shutter for Note’s cameras, making it far easier to take challenging shots without contorting your hands, or even grab a fun group selfie.
- Outstanding performance
- Great battery life and fast charging
- Consistent camera performance
- Expandable storage
- Best stylus experience on any phone
- Camera isn’t great at low-light
- No 5G support on most carriers
- No headphone jack
Best for Productivity
Samsung Galaxy Note 10+
Productivity never stops when you have a Note
With a Galaxy Note you get incredible performance and battery life, a huge display, and the powerful S Pen.
- $1,100 at Amazon
- $1,100 at Best Buy
- $1,100 at Samsung
Best for Less — Samsung Galaxy S10
Source: Joe Maring / Android Central
When Samsung unveiled the Galaxy S20 series, it also announced that it’d continue selling the Galaxy S10 at a reduced price. This provides an excellent option for shoppers who don’t want to shell out four figures for a new phone; even a year in, the Galaxy S10 is still a terrific phone with powerful specs and three great cameras.
You won’t get 5G with the Galaxy S10, but most networks throughout the U.S. don’t yet offer a worthwhile 5G experience anyway. You get the same Android 10 software experience with One UI 2, a blisteringly fast Snapdragon 855, water resistance, reverse wireless charging … basically everything and the kitchen sink!
- Last year’s flagship at a discounted price
- Three versatile cameras
- High-end Snapdragon 855
- Top-notch build quality
- No 5G support
- Likely won’t be updated for much longer
Best for Less
Samsung Galaxy S10
Last year’s flagship is still an excellent buy
Even a year on, the Galaxy S10 is still a fantastic phone. You won’t get 5G support, but it still has excellent build quality.
- $747 at Amazon
- $750 at Best Buy
- $750 at Samsung
Best Mid-range Option — Samsung Galaxy A71
Source: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central
The Galaxy A71 is one of Samsung’s best phones yet — and not just in the mid-range segment. There really isn’t anything missing on the device: you get a massive 6.7-inch AMOLED screen (second only to the S20 Ultra) backed by robust internal hardware, versatile quad cameras at the back with a 64MP primary sensor, and incredible battery life with 25W fast charging.
Combine that with a gorgeous design and it’s easy to see why the Galaxy A71 is one of the best devices around. If you’re looking for a reliable option without spending too much money, the Galaxy A71 should be at the top of your list.
- Outstanding battery life
- Gorgeous design
- Massive AMOLED screen
- Robust internal hardware
- Great 64MP camera
- Slow fingerprint sensor
Best Mid-range Option
Samsung Galaxy A71
The best mid-ranger from Samsung yet
The Galaxy A71 has it all: a massive AMOLED screen, great internal hardware, versatile cameras, and outstanding battery life.
- $400 at Amazon
Best on a Tight Budget — Samsung Galaxy A51
Source: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central
The Galaxy A51 continues the heritage of last year’s A50 by bringing the best features that Samsung has to offer to a more attractive price point. The phone has a large 6.5-inch Super AMOLED display with vibrant colors and excellent contrast levels, and you also get a 48MP camera at the back, along with a 12MP wide-angle lens, a 5MP macro lens, and a 2MP portrait module.
The design itself has also been refreshed, with the Galaxy A51 looking just as modern as the Galaxy S20 series. There’s a hole-punch cutout for the front camera, and the thanks to thin bezels, the phone isn’t too unwieldy to use. The A51 has a generous 4,000mAh battery with 15W fast charging, and while it isn’t the fastest phone in the world, it gets all the basics right. The only thing it’s missing is Samsung Pay.
- Premium design
- Vibrant AMOLED screen
- Great battery life
- Decent cameras
- Good value
- Laggy at times
- No Samsung Pay
Best on a Tight Budget
Samsung Galaxy A51
Gorgeous design meets great cameras
With a modern design and stunning AMOLED panel and quad cameras at the back, the Galaxy A51 has a lot going for it.
- $274 at Amazon