Smartphones today are an integral part of our daily routine. Therefore, having a great phone with zero compromises and all the latest features is essential. For this reason, we have curated a list containing the best flagship phones you can buy right now. But, before we start, let us go through the crucial aspects you must keep in mind before buying a flagship phone.
What to Look for in a Flagship Phone
The first aspect is the smartphone’s performance. Flagship phones offer the best processors paired with a sizeable amount of RAM in order to produce fantastic performance. iPhones typically tend to have less RAM when compared to Android phones as they are more optimized in that respect.
Flagship phones should come with a top-notch camera feature set that allows for a variety of different photo and video options. Also important is how well the phone can process the captured media in places like low-light photos and videos.
Another aspect to consider is the display. Most flagships come with high-resolution displays with many features. HDR and the color accuracy also make for a great viewing experience and a high refresh rate allows for smooth gaming and animations.
Finally, the battery is one of the most valuable factors, as it will determine how long you can use your smartphone. Fast and wireless charging are also useful add-ons, which can make topping up your battery quick and painless.
Best Flagship Phones
1Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G
OS: Android 10 (OneUi 2.5) | Screen size: 6.9-inch | Resolution: 3088×1440 | Refresh rate: 120Hz | CPU: Snapdragon 865+ (U.S.) / Exynos 990 (Global) | RAM: 12GB | Storage: 128/256/512GB | Battery: 4,500mAh | Rear camera: 108MP+12MP+12MP | Front camera: 10MP | Weight: 208g | Dimensions: 164.8 x 77.2 x 8.1 mm
Samsung’s recently launched Note 20 Ultra is one of the more expensive phones out there but is one of the most decked out flagships out there with exclusive features like the S-pen. On the inside, you get a Snapdragon 865+ coupled with 12GB of RAM, a powerful combination for productivity-oriented workloads and gaming. The phone also has UFS 3.0 for fast data transfer speeds.
The incredibly large 6.9-inch QHD AMOLED display supports a refresh rate of 120 Hz for a smooth experience, though it will lock the screen resolution at FHD, but should do for applications like gaming. The display also supports HDR10+ for a better viewing experience and Corning’s new Gorilla Glass Victus for more durability.
The camera suite includes a triple camera setup, wide, ultrawide, and a periscope lens with up to 50x of zoom, which produces vivid photos with an excellent dynamic range. Battery life is a downgrade, though, with a 4,500mAh capacity. You can get a day’s worth by tuning the refresh rate down to 60Hz and the resolution to FHD. Another let down is the 25W fast charging, which is slower when compared to other flagships.
One UI 2 running on Android 10 provides excellent functionality with the included S-pen and with the hardware is the top smartphone for note-taking and other productivity tasks. Samsung also significantly reduced the S-pen’s latency, making it almost seem like you’re writing in real-time. The phone also comes with 5G, which offers a significant future-proofing, although it is still in its infancy.
Starting at $1200, the Note 20 Ultra 5G is an excellent flagship that aims to offer the features that improve your experience, and we recommend it if you plan on using the S-pen regularly. Otherwise, the smaller battery and slower charging speed make the S20 Ultra a better option.
2Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max
OS: iOS 13 | Screen size: 6.5-inch | Resolution: 2688×1242 | Refresh rate: 60Hz | CPU: Apple A13 Bionic | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 64/256/512GB | Battery: 3,969mAh | Rear camera: 12MP+12MP+12MP | Front camera: 12MP | Weight: 226g | Dimensions: 158 x 77.8 x 8.1 mm
The iPhone 11 Pro Max, Apple’s flagship smartphone released last year, still manages to hold its own against today’s competition. It runs iOS 13, which provides a smooth and minimalistic experience along with seamless integration with other Apple products.
Its triple camera system on the rear is one of the best camera systems providing stunning low light photography and excellent video.
The wide-angle, telephoto, and ultra-wide lenses also allow for a variety of different photography options. The beautiful 6.5-inch OLED screen, although at the standard 60Hz, offers a 120 Hz touch sensitivity for responsiveness, and the Retina resolution, combined with the Dolby Vision certification, will give an excellent viewing experience with deep blacks and lots of colors.
Battery life has seen a significant increase from previous generations and manages to hold on for a full day of use. It also includes a fast charger in the box for topping it up quickly. Regarding performance, the A13 Bionic manages to provide an identical performance compared to the Snapdragon 865, although it does seem to show its age, in terms of graphics horsepower.
The iPhone 11 Pro Max is an all-around smartphone great for content consumption and battery life, but a price tag of $1100 is costly for the features provided. We recommend this smartphone if you are already in the Apple ecosystem, but it would still be better to wait for the next generation.
3Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra
OS: Android 10 (One UI 2) | Screen size: 6.9-inch | Resolution: 3200 x 1440 | Refresh rate: 120 Hz | CPU: Snapdragon 865 (U.S.), Exynos 990 (International) | RAM: 12GB | Storage: 128GB | Battery: 5,000mAh | Rear camera: 108MP+48MP+12MP+0.3MP | Front camera: 40MP | Weight: 220g | Dimensions: 166.9 x 76 x 8.8 mm
Samsung’s flagship, the S20 Ultra, aims to be the perfect smartphone with an elaborate quad-camera system and gigantic size with a price to match. The 6.9-inch AMOLED display is one of the largest in a smartphone and impresses with the HDR10+ support and crisp QHD resolution.
It also has 120 Hz support, though the screen must scale down to an FHD resolution in abid to save the battery. Adding to this is the camera with features like a 108 MP sensor and the 100x zoom features, though the advantages they provide over other smartphones are quite low. For regular use, though, the camera will provide an excellent companion for grand photos and videos.
As for performance, the S20 Ultra comes with a Snapdragon 865 paired with 12 GB of RAM, which allows for faster multitasking and gaming. As far as battery life is concerned, the 120Hz screen will chew through it pretty quickly, so it is best if you only use it for gaming, and the 45W quick charging capability is a great feature. The One UI2 based on Android 10 is excellent for multitasking and productivity workloads and will perform well on the included hardware.
The S20 Ultra is a great package providing many features for the $1200 price tag. If you want a large and beautiful screen and a powerful smartphone with a great camera and can afford it, this is the right match for you. But if you need a more compact phone, lower budget, or the best camera on a smartphone, it is better to skip this one.
4OnePlus 8 Pro
OS: Android 10 (Oxygen OS 10) | Screen size: 6.78-inch | Resolution: 3168 x 1440 | Refresh rate: 120Hz | CPU: Snapdragon 865 | RAM: 8/12GB | Storage: 128/256GB | Battery: 4,510mAh | Rear camera: 48MP+48MP+5MP+8MP | Front camera: 16MP | Weight: 199g | Dimensions: 165.3 x 74.35 x 8.5mm
OnePlus decided to go the flagship route with the announcement of the OnePlus 8 Pro. Although a flagship, the OnePlus 8 Pro is priced competitively and is an excellent choice. It comes equipped with a spectacular 6.78-inch AMOLED display with a crisp QHD display, HDR 10+ support, and a 10-bit color input, allowing it to display more colors. The 120 Hz refresh rate also supports the QHD resolution, unlike the S20 Ultra, making it one of the best smartphone screens. The Snapdragon 865, combined with the 8 or 12 GB of RAM which depends on your storage configuration and allows for faster games and multitasking.
The camera system employed by OnePlus is much better than previous versions. It offers excellent photos and videos, even in low light scenarios, though it lacks the color provided by other smartphones on the list. The 4,510 mAh battery will comfortably take you through the day, though, keep in mind to lower the refresh rate and possibly the resolution, and the WarpCharge 30T and 30 Wireless will allow you to quickly to it up. The OxygenOS software provides the best Android experience with tweaks to make the software as useful as possible. Also, the 5G compatibility is incredible, considering the price tag.
The OnePlus 8 Pro is our recommendation if you can make do with the camera and afford a $900 budget. It beats every other phone in terms of value and even provides features like an extraordinary screen and 5G support while not going overboard on features that are not very important.
5Google Pixel 4
OS: Android 10 | Screen size: 5.7-inch | Resolution: 2280 x 1080 | Refresh rate: 90Hz | CPU: Snapdragon 855 | RAM: 6GB | Storage: 64/128GB | Battery: 2,800mAh | Rear camera: 12.2MP+16MP | Front camera: 8MP+TOF | Weight: 162g | Dimensions: 147.1 x 68.8 x 8.2 mm
Pixel 4 is Google’s latest attempt at a flagship smartphone. Released in 2019, the Pixel 4 has not aged quite well but has features that are still relevant currently in 2020. The 5.7-inch P-OLED panel comes with a lower resolution FHD display, though it might not be that apparent considering the screen size. The screen also does not shoot up to a very high brightness, which might hinder outdoor visibility. The massive top bezel housing a speaker and the Motion Sense sensors are quite apparent. It supports a 90Hz refresh rate for a smoother experience.
What is perhaps the flagship feature is the Pixel 4’s camera system. The quality of photos is the best among any smartphone with a vast dynamic range and realistic colors. The excellent industry-leading Night Sight and Super Res Zoom make for an even better experience. The Face Unlock feature is also a great addition, whereas the Motion Sense gestures still need some work. The Snapdragon 855 inside, though not as powerful as the current 865 will run games, and tasks fast, while the 6 GB of RAM is decent enough. As for software, the vanilla Android again is the best with fast updates and much more features. What is most disappointing is the 2,800 mAh battery, which will need you to charge your smartphone frequently.
The Pixel 4 is a dated smartphone with a small battery and older processor but makes up by having the best camera in a smartphone. The $590 price tag makes it budget-friendly and excellent value for the price. Buy this if the camera quality, software, or budget is essential to you.
6Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro 5G
OS: Android 10 (MiUI 11) | Screen size: 6.67- inch | Resolution: 2340 x 1080 | Refresh rate: 90Hz | CPU: Snapdragon 865 | RAM: 8/12GB | Storage: 256/512GB | Battery: 4,500mAh | Rear camera: 108MP+12MP+8MP+20MP | Front camera: 20MP | Weight: 208g | Dimensions: 162.5 x 74.8 x 9 mm
The Mi 10 Pro is Xiaomi’s latest flagship handset, which is an excellent choice for those living in non-US markets. It comes with the Snapdragon 865 SoC with up to 12 GB ram for the optimal performance. The 6.67-inch AMOLED display supports a refresh rate of 90Hz, though providing an FHD resolution and the pop-up selfie camera allows for an all-screen smartphone.
The camera system on the Mi 10 Pro includes a 108MP sensor for detailed shots and excellent low light photos. The pictures taken have a more realistic color profile with lesser saturation than the competition, and the camera quality offered is almost on par with the S20 Ultra. The 4,500 mAh battery will last easily for a day, while the 50W charging will charge it up in no time. The added 5G support is a bonus feature absent in most flagships. As for software, the MiUI 11 has quite a lot of bloat, but you will get used to it quickly.
The Mi 10 Pro 5G is one of the best value smartphones at $700, with an excellent camera system and 5G support. It may lack great software and a high-resolution screen, but delivers at this price point, though keep in mind this will only be available in non-US markets.
7Oppo Find X2 Pro
OS: Android 10 (Color OS 7.1)| Screen size: 6.7-inch | Resolution: 3168 x 1440 | Refresh rate: 120Hz | CPU: Snapdragon 865 | RAM: 12GB | Storage: 256/512GB | Battery: 4,510mAh | Rear camera: 48MP+13MP+48MP | Front camera: 32MP | Weight: 217g (Ceramic) / 200g (Leather) | Dimensions: 165.2 x 74.4 x 8.8 mm (Ceramic) / 165.2 x 74.4 x 9.5 mm (Leather)
Oppo’s Find X2 Pro places itself as a great alternative to the S20 Ultra or an iPhone 11 Pro Max, especially if you live in a region outside the U.S., The smartphone comes with beautiful vegan leather or ceramic as a finish for the phone which screams luxury. The brilliant 6.7-inch QHD+ AMOLED display comes with an HDR10+ certification and a peak brightness of 1200 nits. Adding to that is the ability to run the screen at 120Hz even at higher resolutions. The Snapdragon 865 paired with 12 GB of RAM will easily shred through any given task.
The cameras are also great, employing a three-camera system on the rear with great colors and dynamic range with an option for 60x zoom. As for the battery, the 4,510 mAh capacity will easily last you your day provided you keep the refresh rate low, but the 65W charging is fantastic, allowing you to quickly top-up your battery. Another addition is the 5G support for faster mobile network speeds. Color OS has come a long way from what it used to be and will complement the hardware just fine.
The Oppo Find X2 Pro is an excellent buy for $1180 and beats the S20 Ultra for its premium looks and fast charging. The only downsides are unavailability in the U.S. and a lack of wireless charging, but it still proves to be a great flagship overall.
8Sony Xperia 1
OS: Android 10 | Screen size: 6.5-inch | Resolution: 3840 x 1644 | Refresh rate: 60Hz | CPU: Snapdragon 855 | RAM: 6GB | Storage: 64/128GB | Battery: 3,330mAh | Rear camera: 12MP+12MP+12MP | Front camera: 8MP | Weight: 178g | Dimensions: 167 x 72 x 8.2 mm
Sony’s flagship, the Xperia 1, released last year, is a great smartphone to consider if you want a phone primarily for content consumption. The 4k OLED screen is stunning and offered only on this flagship. The 21:9 aspect ratio and HDR support will allow you to watch movies natively with absolute clarity. The audio, though hindered by the lack of a headphone jack, delivers through the Dolby Atmos configuration. As for performance, the Snapdragon 865, coupled with the 6 GB of RAM, will manage to perform up to your expectations.
As for the camera, it comes included with three lenses for the standard “good but not great” photo and video quality. The 3,300 mAh battery is significantly below the competition, especially considering the screen, though the 18W fast charging is a useful add-on. Also, wireless charging is absent. For a price tag of $800, the Xperia 1 is a good buy if you need a smartphone to consume content. Otherwise, the dated internals and weak battery are reasons enough to skip this entirely. The Xperia 1 II will launch soon and might be a better candidate, but for a higher price tag.
9Huawei P40 Pro
OS: Android 10 (EMUI 10.1) | Screen size: 6.58-inch | Resolution: 2640 x 1200 | Refresh rate: 90Hz | CPU: Kirin 990 | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 128/256/512GB | Battery: 4,200mAh | Rear camera: 50MP+12MP+40MP+TOF| Front camera: 32MP+TOF | Weight: 209g | Dimensions: 158.2 x 72.6 x 9 mm
The final smartphone on our list is Huwaei’s P40 Pro. The FHD AMOLED display falls over the sides to ensure an immersive viewing experience coupled with the smooth 90Hz refresh rate. The camera is where the P40 Pro shines, with a quad-camera setup, providing the right amount of saturation and dynamic range. The low-light photography is one of the best-in-class, mainly due to the great sensor choices by Huwaei.The Kirin 990 is a great processor providing ample performance like the Snapdragon 865, also supporting 5G, when paired with the 8 GB of RAM, but keep in mind that the older GPU may affect the gaming performance.
The 4,200 mAh battery should carry you through your day fine, considering the lower-res screen and refill quickly with the 40W SuperCharge. As for software, the EMUI 10.1 based on Android 10 comes without the Play Store and Google Services, due to the U.S. Government restrictions, which is a shame considering the impressive hardware.
The P40 Pro has a great suite of hardware but spectacularly fails in the software side mainly due to the lack of Google services. If you are in the market where this phone is available, it would be a great choice over the S20 Ultra, especially considering the better camera, at a price of approximately $1100, if you can mange the software limitations.