The New Year is a time for new beginnings and fresh starts, so why not celebrate in style this year by trading in your old phone for one of the top smart phones of 2019? It’s a great time to upgrade to a new phone—or to take advantage of the increased camera power and functionality of the new smartphones.

 

5G overview

Before we get into smart phone comparisons, it’s important to consider the implications the growing 5G network holds for the coming year. Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg estimates half the US population will have access to 5G’s faster download and upload speeds by the end of 2020.

 

Does this mean all the top smartphones for 2019 all have 5G capabilities? The short answer is no, not yet. The current generation of top smartphones take full advantage of existing 4G LTE networks, however. With that said, here’s our 2019 top smart phone comparisons!

 

The iPhone 11

Starting at $699.99, the iPhone 11 is a versatile phone. Sure, at 6.1 inches, the iPhone 11 is one of the largest of the new smartphones, making it a little unwieldy, but it more than makes up for its large size with its features and fun color choices.

 

The iPhone 11 runs on Apple’s new A12 Bionic chip, with storage options of 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB. The case is water resistant and rated for 6 feet for thirty minutes, so worrying about rain (or dropping the phone into the bathtub) is no longer an issue.

 

Like most of the top smartphones on this list, the iPhone 11 has an impressive camera array. All cameras, including the front camera, are 12 megapixels. The dual back camera includes a standard and wide-angle lens and can record 4K video at 60 fps.

 

A new Night Mode improves the quality of photos in low-light conditions, while the Deep Fusion option helps process pictures in lighting you can see in, but which is dimmer than a sunny day. It’s not the best camera phone on the list (that would be the Pixel 4), but iPhone’s camera is both flexible and powerful, with a faster autofocus than previous models.

 

In terms of battery use, the iPhone 11 has a battery life of approximately 36 hours, although this depends on what features and apps you’re running. With color choices of green, purple, black, white, yellow, and red, the iPhone 11 adds a burst of color missing in the 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max.

 

The iPhone 11 Pro

Starting at $999.99 for 64GB of storage, the iPhone 11Pro offers an additional storage tier of 512 GB. At 5.8 inches, the iPhone 11 Pro’s Super Retina XDR screen is smaller than the larger iPhone 11’s Liquid Retina screen but provides higher resolution. The back-camera array on the Pro includes a 2x optical zoom. The phone also has additional water resistance, being rated for 12 feet for 30 minutes.

 

The iPhone 11 Pro Max

Rounding out the new smartphones in the iPhone 11 family is the iPhone 11 Pro Max, with a 2x optical zoom and a 6.5-inch Super Retina XDR screen. Like the iPhone 11 Pro, the Pro Max includes a 512GB storage tier. Prices start at $1099.99 for the 64GB option.

 

Google Pixel 4

With a starting price of $829.99, the Google Pixel 4 offers 64GB and 128GB of storage—lacking the higher storage rates of the other phones on our 2019 smart phone comparisons list. This could be a problem for avid videographers and photographers, but the 5.7-inch phone still has some of the best camera stats of the year.

 

With an 8 MP front camera, dual rear 16 MP telephoto, and 12.2 MP standard cameras, the Google Pixel 4 boasts Astrophotography, Google’s answer to Apple’s Night Vision. Astrophotography makes it possible to take long exposures to capture the night sky and moon. You’ll need a tripod to keep the phone steady during up to four minutes of exposure, but the results are exceptional.

 

Powered by a Snapdragon 855 processor, the Google Pixel 4 is dust and water resistant, comes with dual front stereo speakers, and supports Qi wireless charging. Battery life is, however, less impressive, clocking in at just over 14 hours.

 

Pixel 4 XL

Honestly, there’s little difference between the Pixel 4 and the Pixel 4 XL, which starts at $899.99. The extra $60.00 may or may not be worth the 6.3-inch screen and 18:9 display, depending on whether you prefer smaller screens or the added viewing please of a phablet. A larger battery (3,700 mAh to the Pixel 4’s 2,800 mAh) offers increased battery life, although still leaves the phone lagging behind the other top smart phones of 2019.

 

Galaxy Note 10

The Galaxy Note 10 offers 256GB of storage for $949.99. While the phone lacks a 3.4mm headphone jack and microSD card slot, its other features make up for these omissions.

 

The Note 10 runs Android 9 using a Snapdragon 855 chipset. Upgrades to Android 10 are planned for the near future.

 

A 3,500 mAh battery provides the Note 10 with over 35 hours of usage time, in part because the battery learns your routine and uses it to optimize power throughout the day. The phone can also wirelessly charge other Qi-enabled devices.

 

The Samsung S Pen has seen some improvements with the Note 10. You can now take notes without unlocking the phone and convert handwritten notes to Microsoft Word text.

 

In terms of audio and video, the Note 10 boasts a 16 MP camera with 12 MP wide-angle and 12 MP telephoto lenses. Audio Zoom uses three microphones to capture sound within your video’s field of view, reducing the impact of background noise.

 

The Galaxy Note 10 Plus

The main difference between the Note 10 and the Note 10 Plus is size: with a 6.8-inch screen the Note 10 Plus is one of the largest of the new smartphones. The Note 10 Plus has the same camera features as the Note 10, with the addition of a small time-of-flight sensor that measures depth and distance in three-dimensional space.

 

Under the hood, the Note 10 Plus has 12 GB of Ram compared to the Note 10’s 8GB. Both cameras have 256GB, but the Note 10 Plus has the option of upgrading to 512GB. Unlike the Note 10, the Note 10 Plus has a microSD slot.