The perfect smartphones to purchase in 2024


You may need an thought of which smartphone you wish to purchase subsequent. However there are extra choices than ever earlier than which can be strong — loads of firms are making stellar handsets these days, at related costs, all with comparable function units. That stated, the selection isn’t all the time cut-and-dry. If you recognize you need an iPhone, your decision-making course of is a bit simpler. When you’re an Android individual, you have got much more choices to select from and extra inquiries to reply earlier than you spend any cash. At Engadget, we overview telephones often and have examined dozens over time; thus far for 2024, our prime picks stay the identical as they had been final yr, with Apple’s iPhone 15 Professional and Google’s Pixel 8 handsets sitting on the prime of the checklist. Whether or not you’ve had your eye on them, one among Samsung’s new Galaxy S24 telephones or one other machine, we’re right here that will help you determine which is the most effective cellphone to purchase this yr.

Android or iOS?

While you’re looking for the most effective smartphone, it turns into clear that every OS has its execs and cons. Apple’s tight-knit ecosystem makes it tremendous simple to share information between iPhones, iPads and Macs or seamlessly hand-off cellphone calls or music from one machine to a different. On the similar time, you’re successfully locked in, as providers like Apple Messages aren’t accessible on different platforms.

As for Android, there’s a a lot wider vary of handsets from firms like Google, Samsung, Sony and extra. Nonetheless, Android telephones don’t get pleasure from that very same size of software program assist and sometimes have decrease trade-in values. Briefly, there’s no fallacious reply. Nonetheless, you’ll want to take into account how your cellphone will slot in with the remainder of your units. So until you’re actually fed up with one OS and keen to study one other, it most likely doesn’t make a variety of sense to change from an iPhone to an Android cellphone (or vice versa) – particularly if everybody else in your family is utilizing the identical platform.

Cameras

Since your cellphone typically pulls double obligation as your main digicam, determining what sort of picture instruments you need is vital. These days, virtually each cell phone can take an incredible image in brilliant gentle. However if you’d like an extended optical zoom, you’ll most likely must improve to a dearer machine.

Close up of the Pixel 6 Pro's camera bump.

Cherlynn Low / Engadget

Mid-range telephones typically solely have two rear cameras (a main wide-angle lens and a secondary ultra-wide digicam) and might generally battle in low-light conditions. Every cellphone maker additionally has numerous options that could be a greater match to your fashion, with Apple providing 4 completely different coloration presets on the most recent iPhones, whereas Google’s Pixel 8 comes with neat instruments like devoted lengthy publicity and Motion Pan modes.

Will you get mmWave 5G or Wi-Fi 7?

The excellent news is that in 2024, most telephones have not less than Wi-Fi 6 or Wi-Fi 6e and assist for some type of 5G connectivity. Nonetheless, if you’d like the quickest wi-fi speeds attainable, it’s going to value you a little bit further. For instance, on sure networks, mmWave 5G gives as much as gigabit obtain speeds, much less latency and higher bandwidth. However mmWave 5G additionally requires extra subtle (and pricier) modems, which implies assist for it’s typically lacking on cheaper units, even these just like the unlocked model of the Pixel 8.

On the brilliant facet, mmWave 5G isn’t as extensively accessible as different variations of 5G, so relying on the place you reside and what community you’re on, you is probably not lacking out on a lot proper now should you purchase a cellphone that doesn’t assist it. It’s an analogous scenario for Wi-Fi 7, which is offered on some high-end handsets just like the Galaxy S24, however more durable to seek out on cheaper units. Wi-Fi 7 additionally requires you to have a suitable router, so until you recognize you want it or have a selected use case in thoughts, the shortage of assist for mmWave 5G or Wi-Fi 7 shouldn’t be a dealbreaker when on the lookout for a brand new cellphone.

Different options to think about

As a result of not everybody agrees on what makes the most effective cellphone, you must take into consideration some other specs that could be further essential for you. Cellular avid gamers will virtually actually recognize the 120Hz refresh charges you get on telephones just like the Samsung Galaxy S23 or the Apple iPhone 15 Professional. Alternatively, if lengthy battery life is essential, you’ll most likely wish to go along with a bigger iPhone or an Android cellphone with a battery that’s between 4,000 and 5,000 mAh in measurement. In the meantime, if you end up juggling a variety of units, it may be very nice to have a cellphone that helps reverse wi-fi charging, which on Samsung telephones even allows you to recharge the corporate’s Galaxy Watches.

Picture by Cherlynn Low / Engadget

Display screen measurement: 6.7-inch | Storage capability: As much as 1TB | SIM assist: Twin eSim | Battery Life: About two days

Learn our full overview of the iPhone 15 Professional Max

The modifications to the iPhone 15 Professional and Professional Max could appear small when thought of on their very own, however collectively they add as much as greater than the sum of their components. For the iPhone 15 Professional Max, specifically, the smaller, lighter titanium construct means it could be throughout the realm of consideration for a lot of customers for the primary time. It’s not sharp and hefty like a weapon, however nonetheless has one of many longest-lasting batteries in the marketplace.

The bigger handset additionally will get a brand new 5x telephoto digicam that helps it catch as much as flagships on the Android facet, which have had zoom lenses for years. Although Apple doesn’t outclass the competitors on pictures, it’s actually closed the hole and also you’ll discover nice cameras on each the Professional and Professional Max. In addition they have up to date portrait results and modifying instruments, so pictures is improved whether or not you’re taking pictures faraway topics or one thing simply in entrance of you.

Each iPhone 15 Professional fashions have the brand new Motion Button and USB-C charging, the latter of which will probably be extra significant in a few years when the world presumably ditches Lightning eventually. The Motion Button, in the meantime, takes the customarily unused mute slider and provides you the choice of mapping a continuously used shortcut to it, so you possibly can shortly launch the digicam, flashlight, voice recorder or magnifier. Having this some ways to configure the Motion Button means it’s way more helpful to extra individuals than a easy toggle for silencing your cellphone.

This yr’s A17 Professional chip not solely brings glorious efficiency, however its six-core GPU additionally permits console-level gaming and hardware-accelerated ray tracing for practical lighting results. Later this yr, you possibly can dig into titles like Resident Evil Village and, in early 2024, Murderer’s Creed Mirage on the iPhone 15 Professional and Professional Max. You’ll additionally get a second-generation extremely wideband chip for improved precision object location, and reverse USB charging so you possibly can energy up your equipment in a pinch.

When you think about all these options as an entire, the iPhone 15 Professional and Professional Max are usually not only a strong improve from their predecessors, they’re additionally among the many greatest telephones round. – Cherlynn Low, Deputy Editor

Professionals

  • Smaller and lighter than earlier Professional Maxes
  • Helpful zoom cameras
  • USB-C is the best way of the long run
  • Lengthy-lasting battery
  • Reverse charging by way of USB-C
Cons

  • Motion button is difficult to achieve on the bigger handset
  • Boring colours

$26 at Walmart

Picture by Sam Rutherford / Engadget

(Pixel 8) Display screen measurement: 6.2-inch | Storage capability: As much as 256GB | SIM assist: 1x nano SIM, 1x eSim | Battery Life: 20+ hours

Learn our full overview of the Google Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Professional

The final two generations of Pixels provided a ton of worth, combining good options with strong {hardware}. However on the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Professional, Google has achieved some severe leveling up because of its new Tensor G3 chip, brighter shows, upgraded cameras and a variety of helpful AI instruments. Peak brightness now sits at 2,000 or 2,400 nits, relying on the mannequin, whereas nonetheless producing practical colours. And that’s whereas really seeing battery life enhance between 20 to 25 % in comparison with final yr’s units.

The Pixel 8’s cameras additionally absorb extra gentle, so your images and movies look even higher. And with the arrival of options like Finest Take and Magic Editor, there are much more methods to create the right shot. The Google Assistant can also be extra succesful now as a consequence of newfound skills like extra correct voice typing, the flexibility to summarize or learn new articles aloud and proofreading your texts. However, maybe most significantly, with Google committing to seven years of software program assist – longer than just about some other Android cellphone in the marketplace – the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Professional are in it for the lengthy haul. – Sam Rutherford, Senior Reporter

Professionals

  • New Actua show
  • Genuinely helpful AI options
  • Tensor G3 chip
  • Seven years of software program assist
Cons

  • $100 greater than earlier mannequin

$999 at Google

Picture by Sam Rutherford / Engadget

Display screen measurement: 6.1-inch | Storage capability: As much as 128GB | SIM assist: 1x nano SIM, 1x eSim | Battery Life: Near 18 hours

Learn our full overview of the Google Pixel 7a

The $500 Pixel 7a delivers all the pieces we search for in an incredible inexpensive cellphone. New options embody a quicker Tensor G2 chip, a smoother 90Hz show and for the primary time on one among Google’s A-series telephones: assist for wi-fi charging. And with a refreshed design with IP67 water resistance, it appears to be like and seems like the usual Pixel 7 however for $100 much less. You additionally get nice assist thanks to 5 years of safety updates and not less than three OS upgrades. The cellphone’s solely shortcomings are moderately small and embody a scarcity of a devoted zoom lens and no assist for mmWave 5G (until you buy a barely dearer $550 mannequin from Verizon). – S.R.

Professionals

  • New 90Hz OLED display screen
  • Lengthy battery life
  • Now has wi-fi charging
  • Glorious cameras
  • Similar nice Pixel-specific software program
Cons

  • Wi-fi charging is type of sluggish
  • No devoted zoom lens
  • No XL mannequin
  • Audio system sound a bit shallow

$499 at Google

Picture by Cherlynn Low / Engadget

Display screen measurement: 4.7-inch | Storage capability: As much as 256GB | SIM assist: 1x nano SIM, Twin eSim | Battery Life: 12 hours

Learn our full overview of the Apple iPhone SE

With an A15 Bionic chip and iOS 15, the most recent Apple iPhone SE is presumably probably the most highly effective cellphone you’ll find for beneath $450. Certain, it has a dated design, however some of us would possibly really recognize the retro look. The perfect factor in regards to the iPhone SE is its dwelling button: It’s the one new iPhone to have Contact ID. And although it solely has a single rear digicam, the SE nonetheless takes strong footage. If you will get over the small, low-res display screen, the iPhone SE will serve you nicely. It’s additionally actually the one sub-$500 possibility for iOS diehards.

When you’re open to contemplating Android and wish to spend lower than $400, take into account one thing from Samsung’s Galaxy A-series or the OnePlus Nord N20. These trying to spend even much less can try the Moto G Energy – simply be ready to compromise on options like show and cameras at these lower cost factors. – C.L.

Professionals

  • Acquainted dwelling button and TouchID
  • Speedy A15 Bionic chip for the value
  • Digital camera takes surprisingly good images
Cons

  • Base mannequin’s 64GB of storage is measly
  • Only one rear digicam
  • Small and lackluster display screen

$429 at Apple

Picture by Sam Rutherford / Engadget

Display screen measurement: 6.7-inch | Storage capability: As much as 1TB | SIM assist: 1x nano SIM, 1x eSim | Battery Life: 21 hours

Learn our full overview of the Google Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Professional

Due to a brand new suite of sensors together with a 50-MP foremost cam, a 48-MP ultra-wide and a 48-MP telephoto digicam with a 5x zoom, the Pixel 8 Professional shoots sharper and extra detailed pics than ever. Tack on Google’s glorious HDR+ processing, its class-leading Evening Sight mode and options like Motion Pan, and also you get a smartphone that may seize high-quality pictures in virtually any scenario. However what pushes the Pixel 8 Professional to the highest is its newest batch of AI-powered modifying instruments. Finest Take lets you choose the most effective expression for every individual’s face from a number of pictures. In the meantime, Magic Editor makes it tremendous easy to take away distracting topics, recompose your shot, or transfer issues round, with AI serving to to fill in any holes. For video, Audio Magic Eraser can drastically minimize down on ambient noise from wind, site visitors and different sources. Between upgraded {hardware} and complex machine-learning instruments, the Pixel 8 Professional is the entire package deal for capturing images and movies. – S.R.

Professionals

  • New Tremendous Actua show
  • Genuinely helpful AI options
  • Tensor G3 chip
  • Seven years of software program assist
  • New temperature sensor
  • A lot improved battery life
  • Configs now go as much as 1TB of storage
Cons

  • $100 greater than earlier mannequin
  • Face Unlock setup could be a little difficult

$999 at Google

Picture by Sam Rutherford / Engadget

Display screen measurement: 7.6-inch (foremost) | Storage capability: As much as 256GB | SIM assist: 1x nano SIM, 1x eSim | Battery Life: Virtually 20 hours

Learn our full overview of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5

Whereas Samsung didn’t make a ton of modifications to the Z Fold 5, it’s nonetheless the most effective large versatile cellphone in the marketplace. As earlier than, you get native stylus assist, IPX8 water resistance (good for dunks of as much as 5 ft for half-hour) and naturally, a surprising 7.6-inch foremost show. New for 2023 is a quicker Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip, improved brightness, expanded multitasking capabilities and most significantly, a very redesigned hinge. Not solely does Samsung’s new Flex hinge get rid of the hole between the 2 sides of the cellphone when it is closed (to assist maintain mud out), it additionally makes the cellphone thinner (right down to 13.4mm from 15.8mm), which is a pleasant change for what was already a considerably cumbersome machine. The largest concern stays its value: Samsung’s newest flagship foldable stays exorbitantly costly at $1,800. — S.R.

Professionals

  • New Flex Hinge
  • No extra hole
  • Improved efficiency
  • Extra multitasking gestures
  • Nice battery life
  • Brighter foremost display screen
Cons

  • Very costly
  • S Pen comes individually
  • Unchanged cameras
  • Nonetheless moderately cumbersome

$1,500 at Walmart

Picture by Cherlynn Low / Engadget

Display screen measurement: 6.7-inch (foremost) | Storage capability: As much as 512GB | SIM assist: 1x nano SIM, 1x eSim

Learn our full overview of the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5

When you’re purchasing for a foldable within the US, you even have decisions now. The clear winner of that race within the flip-phone class, although, continues to be Samsung. Whereas Motorola’s Razr+ gave the Galaxy Z Flip sequence some severe competitors, it nonetheless wasn’t adequate. With this yr’s Z Flip 5, Samsung introduced a bigger exterior show that’s extra purposeful than earlier generations. You’ll have to leap by means of a number of hoops to allow full-sized apps and maximize the expertise on that display screen, however when you do, the Flip 5 realizes its potential.

This yr, Samsung additionally up to date the hinges on its Z sequence, utilizing a brand new dual-rail construction that’s supposed to raised diffuse influence than earlier than. It additionally creates a water drop-shaped crease that the corporate says leads to much less stress on the display screen, which ought to enhance general sturdiness. Even when your Flip does break, Samsung is healthier positioned to deal with repairs than some other foldable maker within the US, because it’s probably the most established participant right here.

The Flip 5 additionally has superior cameras in comparison with the Moto Razr+, delivering richer, extra saturated colours in daylight. In fact, don’t anticipate flagship-level footage from any flip-style foldable. The Flip 5 pales compared to the likes of the most recent iPhone or Pixel in low gentle, however for probably the most half, its footage will probably be adequate for Instagram. Plus, you’ll have much more enjoyable snapping selfies or group images with a foldable, since it will possibly act as its personal tripod when flexed and you may see your self within the exterior show. And don’t overlook Samsung’s useful open-palm gesture that triggers a digicam timer, which is able to make capturing stills or movies a lot simpler from a distance.

When it’s time to chill in your sofa, the Flip 5 additionally delivers. It has the quickest processor on a foldable and a vibrant inner display screen that refreshes at as much as 120Hz for easy scrolling and animations. It doesn’t have the longest battery life, particularly when in comparison with non-folding flagships just like the Galaxy S23. However should you don’t thoughts charging your cellphone everytime you’re close to an outlet, and a flipping foldable is in your procuring checklist, the Galaxy Z Flip 5 is the most effective foldable with this type issue. — C.L.

Professionals

  • Helpful exterior display screen
  • Compact when folded
  • New hinge permits gapless design
Cons

  • Plenty of settings to dig by means of to maximise use
  • Quick battery life in comparison with typical Android telephones

$800 at Amazon

Different smartphones we have examined

Samsung Galaxy S24 Extremely

For its newest super-premium cellphone, Samsung gave the S24 Extremely a extra sturdy titanium body, quicker efficiency because of a Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chip and a for much longer battery life. The corporate additionally tweaked its longest telephoto lens with a 5x optical zoom so it is extra usable in a wider vary of conditions. However the greatest improve is a brand new full suite of AI instruments, which incorporates the flexibility to proofread texts, edit pictures and transcribe recordings. And while you tack on the most effective show accessible on a cellphone in the present day and a built-in stylus, you have got a really compelling flagship handset. Sadly, beginning at $1,300, the S24 Extremely is a bit too costly to suggest to anybody with out deep pockets.

OnePlus 12

Whereas the OnePlus 12 wasn’t capable of unseat the most recent Pixel, it’s price mentioning as a result of it gives highly effective specs for the cash. It encompasses a speedy Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chip, an enormous and brilliant 6.8-inch, 120Hz OLED display screen and the most effective battery life we’ve seen on any cellphone up to now. OnePlus additionally introduced again assist for wi-fi charging for the primary time in a number of generations, together with an excellent (however not nice) IP65 score for mud and water resistance. And regardless that its enormous digicam module appears to be like a bit ungainly, its images are surprisingly sharp. However the most effective factor is that, with a beginning value of $800, the OnePlus 12 prices $200 lower than a Pixel 8 Professional or a equally specced S24+.

FAQs

How do I do know which smartphone is the most effective for me?

Whereas selecting the most effective smartphone might be difficult, it principally comes right down to how you propose on utilizing the machine. All the greatest telephones accessible now get the fundamentals proper — you’ll be capable of make calls, textual content and entry the web with out many hiccups. In case your smartphone is your most used gadget, it’s possible you’ll wish to take into account paying for a tool on the upper finish of the value spectrum. That may get you higher general efficiency, higher-quality cameras and a cellphone that may final for a few years. When you don’t use your cellphone for all the pieces, you might be able to compromise on efficiency and further perks and spend much less on a still-capable handset.

How a lot is a smartphone?

Smartphones vary in value from $300 to over $1,500. The perfect price range telephones accessible now will often compromise on general efficiency, design, digicam prowess and further options to maintain prices down. On the flip facet, the most costly telephones could have highly effective processors, triple-camera arrays and even flip or fold designs. Most individuals will discover a cellphone that matches their wants someplace in the midst of that huge value vary — we’ve discovered that a lot of the greatest smartphones accessible proper now value between $500 and $1,000.

What are you able to do on a smartphone?

Smartphones are basically small, transportable computer systems that allow you to do issues like examine e mail, browse social media, observe map instructions, make contactless funds and extra. That is all on prime of the fundamentals like making cellphone calls and texting, which we’ve come to anticipate in all fashionable cell telephones. Smartphones have additionally principally changed compact cameras because of their high-quality, built-in shooters, and the truth that most smartphones in the present day as simply as transportable, if no more so, as compact cameras.

How lengthy do smartphones final?

Smartphones can final years and persons are holding on to their telephones longer now than ever earlier than. Software program updates and battery life are two of the most important elements that may have an effect on cellphone longevity. Apple guarantees 5 years price of software program updates for its newest iPhones, and Google guarantees the identical for its Pixel telephones. Samsung telephones will get 4 years price of Android updates from the time they launch. As for charging speeds and battery life, your cellphone can deteriorate over time as you utilize and recharge your cellphone regularly.

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