Smartphones – Best Smart Phones Buying For Reviews 2020
Best Smart Phones 2020
Galaxy S20+, Galaxy S20 Ultra are the first unlocked all-carrier 5G smartphones in the US
All the Galaxy S20 models in the US are compatible with 5G networks, but the Galaxy S20+ (SM-G986U) and the Galaxy S20 Ultra (SM-G988U) are superior to the Galaxy S20 in terms of 5G connectivity. They support both mmWave and sub-6GHz 5G networks, and are the first truly all-carrier unlocked 5G smartphones in the US.
The Galaxy S20+ and the Galaxy S20 Ultra will work across all major carriers in the US. Even if you don’t buy unlocked versions of the phone in the US, there would only be a single hardware version of the phones in the country. Although, they would come with the firmware of the respective carriers. If you buy an unlocked version of either of those phones, you can insert a SIM card from any carrier and enjoy the fastest possible 5G speeds on the network.
Galaxy S20+ and Galaxy S20 Ultra support all forms of 5G networks in the US
If you buy a Galaxy S20+ or the Galaxy S20 Ultra from any of the carriers in the US and decide to unlock it at a later stage, you would be able to use the 5G network of the carrier that you’re switching to. The phones support all the 5G bands that are used (or are going to be used) by US carriers. The 5G bands supported by the phones in the US include n2, n5, n41, n66, n71, n260, and n261, and there’s support for DSS (Dynamic Spectrum Sharing) as well.
The two phones also support 2G, 3G, and 4G cellular technologies across GSM and CDMA networks. It is also being reported that the Galaxy S20+ and the Galaxy S20 Ultra also support features like CA (carrier aggregation), SA (standalone) 5G networks, VoLTE (Voice over LTE), and VoWi-Fi (Voice over Wi-Fi).
The Galaxy S20+ and the Galaxy S20 Ultra might not work properly on 5G networks if you travel to other countries, though. However, you would still be able to latch onto almost all 4G networks worldwide. If you buy the unlocked version of the Galaxy S20 in the US, it won’t be able to connect to Verizon’s 5G network since there’s no support for mmWave on the phone.
At a time when US flagship phones are getting bigger and bigger, it’s hard to find one narrow enough to comfortably fit in one hand. The Samsung Galaxy S20 ($999) can be comfortably cradled in a single paw, yet it has a big battery, a zoom camera, 8K video recording, and a 120Hz screen. That’s a good balance between power and portability. It’s a terrific option if your primary concern is size, but the Galaxy S20+ is our Editors’ Choice for its longer battery life and high-band 5G.
Design: The Right Size
People who want to use their phones in one hand have been fighting a rearguard action for years. I like to go with an old LG study that says most people find phones wider than 2.8 inches are hard to use in one hand. The Galaxy S10e, at 2.75 inches, is still good. The Samsung Galaxy S20+, at 2.9 inches, is just a little too wide. The S20 is 2.72 inches, which means that it will still work well in one hand even though it’s 0.4-ounce heavier than the S10e and nearly six inches tall. (Samsung is getting its very large screen diagonals nowadays by making its phones tall and narrow.)
Apple iPhone 11 Pro/Pro Max Reviews
The iPhone 11 Pro Max isn’t just the best phone around, it’s the phone I’d buy with my own money. And I would still pick it over other great phones like the Samsung Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra and OnePlus 8 Pro.
Yes, the regular $699 iPhone 11 is a fantastic value, but the iPhone 11 Pro Max ($1,099) has a more dynamic OLED display compared with the iPhone 11’s LCD. I also like having the third lens on the iPhone 11 Pro Max for telephoto zoom, which the iPhone 11 lacks. And as much as I like the smaller iPhone 11 Pro — which shares all the key features with the Max — I prefer the iPhone 11 Pro Max for its bigger screen and longer battery life.
Apple should have included more storage to start, and I’m getting tired of that notch. But as you’ll see in this in-depth iPhone 11 Pro Max review, it’s the best iPhone period. Although some may want wait until this fall for an iPhone 12 with 5G and a bigger and smoother 120Hz display, the iPhone 11 Pro Max is the best phone money can buy today.
iPhone 11 Pro Max review:
- The triple cameras on the iPhone 11 Pro Max now give Apple the best camera phone, thanks to its great Night mode and improved Smart HDR. Check our our iPhone 11 Pro vs Pixel 4 camera face-off.
- The cameras also shoot gorgeous-looking 4K video with extended dynamic range and cinematic video stabilization.
- Apple’s slow-motion selfies are fun at 120 fps, even though the slofie name hasn’t taken off.
- If you want the longest iPhone battery life, the iPhone 11 Pro Max is the one to get, as it lasted nearly 12 hours on our web surfing test.
- Apple finally included a fast charger in the box, so you can get to 50 percent in 30 minutes.
- We wish Apple included more than 64GB of storage, so you may want to pay for more if you shoot a lot of video.
iPhone 11 Pro Max price and availability
The iPhone 11 Pro Max is now available and went on sale Sept. 20. The phone starts at a fairly steep $1,099 ($45.79 per month) but can be had for as little as $499 ($20.79) if you trade in an iPhone XS Max. (Older iPhones fetch a smaller trade-in value from Apple.)
The iPhone 11 Pro Max comes with 64GB of storage. A 256GB model sells for $1,249 and the 512GB version costs $1,449. It’s worth noting that the Galaxy Note 10 and Note 10 Plus come with 256GB standard, which is quadruple the storage.
If you’re buying the iPhone 11 Pro Max in the UK, prices start at £1,149 for 64GB of storage, then £1,299 for 128GB and £1,499 for 256GB. Apple is running a trade-in offer if you’re willing to give them your current phone in part-exchange, meaning that you can get the iPhone 11 Pro Max for as low as £859 depending on your existing phone’s value.
iPhone 11 Pro Max design: Downright Intimidating
The iPhone 11 Pro Max has a look from the back that says “Come at me, Android.” The three camera lenses are so large that I feel like something’s about to launch out of them. I do like the matte glass finish on the back, which is downright refreshing compared with glossy, smudge-prone phablets like the Galaxy Note 10 and Huawei P30 Pro.
I could see why the iPhone 11 Pro Max might be jealous of the regular iPhone 11. It comes in four colors to the iPhone 11’s six. And instead of fun hues like green, purple and yellow, Apple sticks with more conservative options for the iPhone 11 Pro Max that befit its pro-user status. These include the midnight-green color on our review unit (which frankly looks gray). The midnight green only really shines through on the stainless-steel band and in the rings around the cameras. Space gray (which is darker), silver and gold round out the options.
The iPhone 11 Pro Max looks the same from the front as the iPhone XS Max. The notch toward the top, which houses the Face ID TrueDepth camera, is still distracting but I’ve gotten used to it.
At 6.2 x 3.06 x 0.32 inches and 7.97 ounces, the iPhone 11 Pro Max continues to be a handful. It’s heavier than the 7.34-ounce iPhone XS Max and also a bit thicker. The Galaxy Note 10 Plus, which has a larger 6.8-inch screen, is a full ounce lighter at 6.9 ounces and it’s also slightly narrower and slimmer at 6.4 x 3 x 0.31 inches.
iPhone 11 Pro Max durability
Speaking of intimidating, Apple says that the front and back of the iPhone 11 Pro Max have the toughest glass in a smartphone. However, the regular iPhone 11 cracked on the first drop in our drop test from 3.5 feet on a sidewalk. We would invest in a case if you’re worried about breakage.
By the same token, some iPhone 11 Pro owners have complained that their screens have scratched easily. We have not encountered any issues with our review unit. But if you’re concerned about your phone picking up scuffs or scratches we would invest in a screen protector.
Apple has improved the IP68 water resistance on the iPhone 11 Pro Max; the phone can withstand being submerged in 4 meters of water for 30 minutes (up from 2 meters on the iPhone XS Max). That makes it more durable than any other flagship phone against liquids, earning it the top spot in our list of the best waterproof phones.
iPhone 11 Pro Max display and audio: This is bright
If you’re on the fence between the iPhone 11 Pro Max and iPhone 11, don’t bring both phones outside. You’ll notice the huge difference in brightness that I did. In fact, the iPhone 11 Pro Max’s 6.5-inch Super Retina XDR display vastly outshined the Galaxy Note 10 Plus, too, when I put both phablets side by side.
When watching the Star Wars Episode 9 Trailer: The Rise of Skywalker on both the iPhone 11 Pro Max and last year’s iPhone XS Max, I could make out more gradations of color in Princess Leia’s hair as she hugged Rey. This is likely thanks to the extended dynamic range offered by the improved panel on the iPhone 11 Pro Max.
Our lab results backed up my real-world impressions, as the iPhone 11 Pro Max turned in an average nit reading of 761 nits, compared with 652 nits for the iPhone 11 and 686 for the Galaxy Note 10 Plus.
The iPhone 11 Pro Max’s panel isn’t the most colorful, registering 118.6% of the sRGB color gamut, compared with 124.6% in the Note 10 Plus’ Natural screen mode. The OnePlus 7 Pro hit 180%. Regarding color accuracy, the iPhone 11 Pro Max’s display registered a Delta-E score of 0.28 (where 0 is perfect). That’s stellar, but not quite as good as the Galaxy Note 10 Plus (0.25) and OnePlus 7 Pro (0.18).
The sound on the iPhone 11 Pro Max is just as bright as the visuals, as there’s now spatial audio with Dolby Atmos support. When watching the trailer for Yesterday, Jack’s cover of The Beatles famous track had more dimension to it through the iPhone 11 Pro Max compared with the iPhone XS Max. The guitar strings and vocals were much more present, while they sounded flatter on last year’s phone.
iPhone 11 Pro Max cameras: A true triple threat
Although Apple has taken a back seat to Android camera phones over the past couple of years, Apple has regained its footing — and then some— with the iPhone 11 Pro Max. The new phone offers three stellar 12-MP rear cameras: a wide-angle, a 2x telephoto with wider aperture that lets in more light than before and an ultra-wide camera with a 120-degree field of view.
Check out the many photo comparisons below, as well as our iPhone 11 Pro vs Pixel 4 camera face-off to see how the two phones compare in various situations.
While you’re shooting with the standard-wide camera, the iPhone 11 Pro Max’s camera interface shows you a live preview outside the frame of what you could fit into your shot if you engaged ultra-wide mode. It’s a nice touch and I found myself switching to that mode several times during my testing to get a more dramatic shot.