Best phones for 2020 – CNET

New mobile phones are shaping up to be what we largely expected, now that we’re more than halfway through 2020 — a big year for phones that have 5G connectivity, screens with high refresh rates, flexible displays, and better rear and selfie cameras. Samsung proved this point by including many of these premium features in the new Galaxy S20 devices and the foldable Galaxy Z Flip phone, which were announced earlier this year. We’ve come a long way from the mobile phones of yesteryear, but this shouldn’t be surprising, as phone-makers are evolving and innovating faster than ever. 

Samsung’s Galaxy line and Apple’s iPhones are many people’s top choices, but other phone-makers including OnePlus and Motorola offer fantastic handsets of their own with amazing displays, a fast refresh rate and security features like a fingerprint scanner. All this competition benefits us, giving us excellent phones to choose from at a range of prices. 

Read on to see the mobiles competing for the honor of best phone for your needs and take a look at our tips on how to buy a new cell phone

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Starting at only $399, the 2020 version of the iPhone SE is the best budget phone you can find right now. With an A13 processor (the same as the iPhone 11) and an amazing camera, the iPhone SE is way more powerful than it has any right to be. Old-school iPhone fans will also appreciate the return of TouchID and the home button.

Read our Apple iPhone SE (2020) review.

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As Samsung’s flagship phone for 2020, the Galaxy S20 features a brilliant 6.2-inch AMOLED display with an ultra-smooth 120Hz refresh rate, reverse wireless charging, a water-resistant design and three rear cameras. It’s a fantastic daily driver for an Android user, and if you have more to spend, there’s also the Galaxy S20 Plus and Ultra.

Read our Samsung Galaxy S20 5G review.

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While OnePlus isn’t as well-known as Apple or Samsung, the 8 Pro offers a premium experience at a relatively more affordable price than its rivals. As the more advanced phone, the OnePlus 8 Pro has a 120Hz display and a telephoto camera. But the OnePlus 8 is more affordable and still has 5G, a fast 90Hz display and the same top-of-the-line processor.

Read our OnePlus 8 review.


The Motorola Edge Plus has pretty much everything you’d hope for in a premium 5G phone: A Snapdragon 865 chipset, a giant battery, an OLED screen with a high refresh rate and multiple rear cameras with heavy-duty specs. Motorola took features found on other top-of-the-line Android phones, put its own Moto spin on them and built them all into one of our favorite Android phones of the year.

Read our Motorola Edge Plus review.

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Starting at $700, the iPhone 11 is the best midtier model Apple has ever made of its flagship phone. Its cameras get an excellent new Night Mode and an ultrawide-angle camera adds extra detail in photos. Video is fantastic, too. Just be aware, though, that there isn’t a headphone jack.

Read our Apple iPhone 11 review.

Read more: Best iPhone apps of 2020

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In addition to its main Galaxy S flagship phones, Samsung has a more cost-conscious A series line of phones. This year it launched the Galaxy A51, another phone that costs $399 (there is a 5G variant that costs $499). The device has four cameras, an in-screen fingerprint reader and expandable storage.

Read our Galaxy A51 review.

Read more: Best Android phone of 2020

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As we wait for Google’s upcoming launch of the Pixel 4A (predicted to happen this summer), the Pixel 3A  meanwhile is still a great phone. Though it’s not water-resistant, doesn’t have wireless charging and it maxes out at 64GB of storage, it adds plenty of other features at a low cost. That includes a headphone jack and the same amazing Night Sight camera that can shoot great photos in the dark. (Daytime photos look amazing, too.) It’s because of its great value that the phone earned a CNET Editors’ Choice.

Read our Google Pixel 3A review.

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Despite being a year “old,” the refined, feature-packed Galaxy Note 10 Plus from 2019 still closes the gap with rival phones. This top-of-the-line phone was made for people who want the best Android. It has a killer 6.8-inch screen, an all-day battery life and excellent camera tools. Note that Samsung also has the less expensive Note 10.

Read our Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus review.

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