Sometimes, it feels like choosing a smartphone is akin to picking out a place to go to college. Each one has their own pros, cons, and obnoxious fan clubs waiting to pounce on the competition. Compound that with the fact that there are different types of phone users. There are those who read every spec, which, let's be honest, only tech diehards do. Then, there are those who are completely clueless about retina displays, and will get a phone based on what their favorite influencer uses (hey, this is a judgment-free zone).
Luckily, there are enough smartphones out there for every compatible user or personality type — you just need to know where to look and what to look for. Here’s a short list both tech nerds and noobs can get behind.
The One-Everyone-Wants Phone
Honestly, why shake things up in your life when you know you’ll be perfectly happy with an iPhone? The most recent release (unless you’re reading this too late lol) is the Apple iPhone XR, which is designed to do its thing until the next one comes out. But how could you pass up a 6.1-inch Liquid Retina display and that sexy new A11 Bionic chip capable of — get ready for this — 5 trillion operations per second?! It’s exactly what you want without putting forth too much mental effort. If you have to be a conformist, be a conformist with a phone that unlocks with your face.
SHOP: Apple iPhone XR 64GB, $749.99, available at Best Buy
The Anti-Fan-Boy Phone
Provided you’re one of those people who doesn’t mind the abuse from friends when you’re the bringer of the dreaded green texts, you go with a Google Pixel 3. So, what makes this thing so different from an iPhone? The control: There are myriad apps made especially for Android that don’t need or require the Apple seal of approval. The only hard part is dealing with the diehard Apple fans. CONFORMISTS!
SHOP: Google Pixel 3 64GB, $799.99, available at Best Buy
The Anti-Socialite Phone
Consider this: a phone with no apps, no music, no texting, and no screen. Crazy? Nope — it’s The Light Phone. This minimalist’s dream is a credit-card-sized phone that’s designed to be used as little as possible. You can make calls, set alarms…and that’s kind of it. For those absolutely exhausted of that weighed down feeling you get from smartphones, go light.
SHOP: The Light Phone, $150, available for pre-order at The Light Phone
The Influencer-As-a-Career Phone
For truly different alternatives to powerhouses like Google and Apple, go with the Samsung Galaxy Note9: a truly powerful beast of a phone with an insane battery and storage options that start with 128gb. It’s big, it’s expensive, it’s Samsung. Consider this the perfect accompaniment to the person with an on-the-go lifestyle. It’ll store all your pics, videos, and songs, and it’s designed to pretty much never run out of battery.
SHOP: Samsung Galaxy Note9, $799.99-$899.99, available at Samsung
The Controversial Phone
Hey, have you heard of the Huawei P20 Pro? You've at least probably heard of the company, one of China's biggest telecommunications companies and tech giants. In late 2018, its Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou was arrested in Canada and extradited to the U.S. on fraud charges, straining an already fraught relationship between the States and China. U.S. politicians have advised allies against purchasing Huawei products and even banned the company from getting government contracts. But this post isn't about the politics; it's about the phone. For all this controversy, the Huawei P20 Pro was called the “best phone you’ll never buy” by Engadget. Two day battery life, an insane triple-camera system, plus 128GB of storage — oh my. It’s one of the “little guys” from China that’s proving to be a way bigger threat to the bigwigs we’re used to.
SHOP: Huawei P20 Pro 128GB Dual-SIM (GSM Only, No CDMA) Factory Unlocked 4G/LTE Smartphone (Black) - International Version, $589.94, available on Amazon
Consider this: a phone that won’t shatter like a plate glass window when you sneeze in its general direction. Meet the AGM X2 4G Phablet — this beast has toughed it through some pretty treacherous conditions, and its 16MP camera will surely capture the thing or animal that’s putting it through said conditions. Plenty of storage, huge screen, and ready to rumble.
SHOP: AGM X2 4G Phablet, $531.11, available at Gearbeast